Topics

leaving logs/biochar in a trench #technology


Dick Gallien
 

Yrs. ago Ron liked the idea of making biochar in a trench, but that was with light brush, before I was restricted to burning only between 8 and 4 and there'd have been mud from quenching etc..  Now, before Paul and Sue come up with a system--notice I didn't mention turtle tanks--  what are your thoughts on dozing a 30' long trench in this clay, 2'or 3' deep,  the dozer blade is 11' wide,, in which to burn/char the Cities brush/logs?   In an 8 hr. burn, I only expect a couple inches of the logs will char.  Quenching will leave biochar and logs in a muddy bottom, with no easy way to remove them.  Wood can evidently be torched with a blow torch as a preservative.  There are a few hundred black locust on this farm that will last 50+ yrs. in the soil; luckily none from town. Will the charred layer of ash trees, etc. act as a preservative, if left in the trench?  What are your thoughts, as to enriching the trench for a garden by not removing logs and biochar, but covering it with compost or the clay, knowing the city supply of "waste wood" is endless and the goal is to make some use of it while proving they can't bury us? 
  
The Winona Farm Community Service Compost Site has been open every day from dawn until dark since 1990, operating only with a donation jar during which time a private tree trimmer has run his business year around on City land adjoining the City sewage plant, including an office and maintenance building for only his equipment while being paid $1 1/2 million, by the City, plus thousands in cash from Winonans deposits, though open limited hrs., for 8 mo. yrs..  This cozy arrangement was set up by a 23 yr. City Mgr. from Chicago and would surely have won a Chicago Corruption Contest.  

Spring of 2021, for the first time in 30 yrs., this farm can bid on becoming the City Compost Site vs. some wealthy person paying a few million for these 175 unique acres to become their locked gate, show off estate.  The farm is protected from development by the Mn. Land Trust. Their compost site has never accepted the City's 400 truck loads of City street leaves each year--they have been stock piled here, or the 1500+ ash, trees etc., which the City burns on the other end of the sand bar in the Ms. River, which Winona 27K is built on.

I was communicating with Jeff Moyer, head of The Rodale Inst., about donating this farm to them.  They were planning to visit when the straight wind hit their newly acquired farm and nature center at Marion/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Now I see the flames have hit Napa Valley, .Ca., where they acquired a place last Fall.  Time is getting short.   

Visiting with a long time City employee while he was loading trees on their burn pile, about having all those trees coming to this farm and he said "They'll bury you".  Before the bid, I believe it is essential to prove that they can't bury us with their "waste wood".  .Thanks, Dick  

Dick Gallien 
22501 East Burns Valley Road
Winona  MN  55987
dickgallien@...  [507] 312 0194
www.thefarm.winona-mn.us



David Yarrow
 

years ago, when i first started teaching biochar, i met a young man who was in the peace corps in Malawi, and discovered how they make charcoal – the 'malawi cigar."  a rural family makes significant charcoal by this method, which they sell in the city as cooking fuel, and thus gain significant cash from this process.

an entire tree trunk is brought down, and carefully covered with a thin layer of loose dirt.  a wood fire is built under the tipped over root mass, and tended until a glowing red eye of ember develops in the root mass.  the entire bottom end is covered in more loose soil.  the family camps out to carefully watch this glowing ember slowly burn from butt end to crown.  more or less soil cover will be adjusted day by day to manage the slow smoldering burn.

when the ember reaches the top, it is snuffed out, the charcoal is exposed and easily cut up for transport and sale.

i used to remember a few more details about this simple combustion technology, but this tale was told to me over a decade ago.

~david

for a green & peaceful planet,
david yarrow


On Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 7:20 PM Dick Gallien <dickgallien@...> wrote:
Yrs. ago Ron liked the idea of making biochar in a trench, but that was with light brush, before I was restricted to burning only between 8 and 4 and there'd have been mud from quenching etc..  Now, before Paul and Sue come up with a system--notice I didn't mention turtle tanks--  what are your thoughts on dozing a 30' long trench in this clay, 2'or 3' deep,  the dozer blade is 11' wide,, in which to burn/char the Cities brush/logs?   In an 8 hr. burn, I only expect a couple inches of the logs will char.  Quenching will leave biochar and logs in a muddy bottom, with no easy way to remove them.  Wood can evidently be torched with a blow torch as a preservative.  There are a few hundred black locust on this farm that will last 50+ yrs. in the soil; luckily none from town. Will the charred layer of ash trees, etc. act as a preservative, if left in the trench?  What are your thoughts, as to enriching the trench for a garden by not removing logs and biochar, but covering it with compost or the clay, knowing the city supply of "waste wood" is endless and the goal is to make some use of it while proving they can't bury us? 
  
The Winona Farm Community Service Compost Site has been open every day from dawn until dark since 1990, operating only with a donation jar during which time a private tree trimmer has run his business year around on City land adjoining the City sewage plant, including an office and maintenance building for only his equipment while being paid $1 1/2 million, by the City, plus thousands in cash from Winonans deposits, though open limited hrs., for 8 mo. yrs..  This cozy arrangement was set up by a 23 yr. City Mgr. from Chicago and would surely have won a Chicago Corruption Contest.  

Spring of 2021, for the first time in 30 yrs., this farm can bid on becoming the City Compost Site vs. some wealthy person paying a few million for these 175 unique acres to become their locked gate, show off estate.  The farm is protected from development by the Mn. Land Trust. Their compost site has never accepted the City's 400 truck loads of City street leaves each year--they have been stock piled here, or the 1500+ ash, trees etc., which the City burns on the other end of the sand bar in the Ms. River, which Winona 27K is built on.

I was communicating with Jeff Moyer, head of The Rodale Inst., about donating this farm to them.  They were planning to visit when the straight wind hit their newly acquired farm and nature center at Marion/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Now I see the flames have hit Napa Valley, .Ca., where they acquired a place last Fall.  Time is getting short.   

Visiting with a long time City employee while he was loading trees on their burn pile, about having all those trees coming to this farm and he said "They'll bury you".  Before the bid, I believe it is essential to prove that they can't bury us with their "waste wood".  .Thanks, Dick  

Dick Gallien 
22501 East Burns Valley Road
Winona  MN  55987
dickgallien@...  [507] 312 0194
www.thefarm.winona-mn.us



Daniel Pidgeon
 

Dick,

It sounds like the simplified questions are; How do you deal with 30 odd years' worth of mixed 'waste wood' in a beneficial way, or at least environmentally friendly way? And how do you show that you can continually do so?

Different methods of use/disposal suit different sizes and shapes. And I know that you have some sorted already, so I have been ruminating on three sorted sizes; chips, logs/trunks, and brush & branches.

There has been extensive talk about turning it into char with flame cap kilns, which deal best with brush and branches up to about arm or leg diameter, and I have written my thoughts on that before, so I won't touch on them at the moment.

It struck me that even though charring would be quickest at dealing with it all (and even though this is a biochar conversation!), there might be other ways of dealing with the material that are more suitable to your situation. More suitable to your time constraints, finances, energy levels and urgency.



Have you looked into Hugelkultur for the logs? Pretty much a compost pile built over and around logs, that can be gardened on top of even as the logs break down, and eventually the fungal rich compost can be dug up and used elsewhere. If you use that 'dozer of yours to dig a trench beforehand, it will help any rain to seep and soak all the way into the centre rather than running off, you will have the dirt to cover things up once the pile of logs, nitrogen rich material, and maybe some inoculants have been built. If it was a long enough mound, or mounds, maybe there is a possible use as a community garden along the way??

But do not use the locust trees for this, as they are apparently fungal resistant. At the best, will take a long time, at the worst, will hinder microbial action through the whole mound. Leave them in the 'To Char' pile!!

This takes more calendar time, but it can be set up, and pretty much forgotten for years. Microbes will do their things 24/7 without issues from the inspectors. There should be no smell, so no after hours issues.




As the woodchip is wet, it would need to be dried before it could be charred, and even then, I believe it is not ideal to char woodchip in the flame cap kilns.

In my research I had stumbled across Johnson-Su Bioreactors(JS composting) which interested me and might fit the bill. Basically a woodchip, set and forget, no turn compost pile, with aeration holes built in so all composting material is within 12 inches/300mm of air. If set up with a tap and timer to automatically keep it damp, there is almost no further human time and effort needed. David Johnson(designer) used soaked/drenched woodchip, and allows it to compost for a full 12 months, but ends up with a very rich, fungally dominant compost with many uses.

I have attached a pdf of the instructions.

This one is 1.5-1.8 metres(5-6') by 1.2-1.5 wide (4-5'). And it is set up on pallets to give it ventilation below.

Bill, for your use, I think a windrow set up a bit like the attached picture, might do the job for composting your woodchip. I envisage two walls made of horizontal logs(another use for your logs!), held up by pairs of vertical logs(one inside, one outside, as many as you think needed), high enough to get higher than the minimum 5' high and still reach over with your 'dozer bucket, far enough apart so you can still reach with your bucket to fill the centre. Enough pipes attached to 2"x4" to create ventilation holes for one day of filling, to be removed after 3 days(from memory), and reused further along as you continue to fill.


Anyway, these are my thoughts, what I would do if I was in your situation.

Daniel


From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> on behalf of Dick Gallien <dickgallien@...>
Sent: Thursday, 1 October 2020 10:20 AM
To: Biochar@groups.io <biochar@groups.io>
Subject: [Biochar] leaving logs/biochar in a trench
 
Yrs. ago Ron liked the idea of making biochar in a trench, but that was with light brush, before I was restricted to burning only between 8 and 4 and there'd have been mud from quenching etc..  Now, before Paul and Sue come up with a system--notice I didn't mention turtle tanks--  what are your thoughts on dozing a 30' long trench in this clay, 2'or 3' deep,  the dozer blade is 11' wide,, in which to burn/char the Cities brush/logs?   In an 8 hr. burn, I only expect a couple inches of the logs will char.  Quenching will leave biochar and logs in a muddy bottom, with no easy way to remove them.  Wood can evidently be torched with a blow torch as a preservative.  There are a few hundred black locust on this farm that will last 50+ yrs. in the soil; luckily none from town. Will the charred layer of ash trees, etc. act as a preservative, if left in the trench?  What are your thoughts, as to enriching the trench for a garden by not removing logs and biochar, but covering it with compost or the clay, knowing the city supply of "waste wood" is endless and the goal is to make some use of it while proving they can't bury us? 
  
The Winona Farm Community Service Compost Site has been open every day from dawn until dark since 1990, operating only with a donation jar during which time a private tree trimmer has run his business year around on City land adjoining the City sewage plant, including an office and maintenance building for only his equipment while being paid $1 1/2 million, by the City, plus thousands in cash from Winonans deposits, though open limited hrs., for 8 mo. yrs..  This cozy arrangement was set up by a 23 yr. City Mgr. from Chicago and would surely have won a Chicago Corruption Contest.  

Spring of 2021, for the first time in 30 yrs., this farm can bid on becoming the City Compost Site vs. some wealthy person paying a few million for these 175 unique acres to become their locked gate, show off estate.  The farm is protected from development by the Mn. Land Trust. Their compost site has never accepted the City's 400 truck loads of City street leaves each year--they have been stock piled here, or the 1500+ ash, trees etc., which the City burns on the other end of the sand bar in the Ms. River, which Winona 27K is built on.

I was communicating with Jeff Moyer, head of The Rodale Inst., about donating this farm to them.  They were planning to visit when the straight wind hit their newly acquired farm and nature center at Marion/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Now I see the flames have hit Napa Valley, .Ca., where they acquired a place last Fall.  Time is getting short.   

Visiting with a long time City employee while he was loading trees on their burn pile, about having all those trees coming to this farm and he said "They'll bury you".  Before the bid, I believe it is essential to prove that they can't bury us with their "waste wood".  .Thanks, Dick  

Dick Gallien 
22501 East Burns Valley Road
Winona  MN  55987
dickgallien@...  [507] 312 0194
www.thefarm.winona-mn.us



Joshua Bogart
 

Another non biochar option for woodchips is winecap mushroom inoculated mulch beds.  They are easy to set up,  the winecaps breakdown chips rapidly, provide large amounts of edible mushrooms spring and fall. The high organic mater soil created is first class. Mulch beds can be set up around existing plants, or established in poor sections of fields and planted back to grass in a couple of years.  


On Fri, Oct 2, 2020, 2:52 AM Daniel Pidgeon <daniel.pidgeon@...> wrote:
Dick,

It sounds like the simplified questions are; How do you deal with 30 odd years' worth of mixed 'waste wood' in a beneficial way, or at least environmentally friendly way? And how do you show that you can continually do so?

Different methods of use/disposal suit different sizes and shapes. And I know that you have some sorted already, so I have been ruminating on three sorted sizes; chips, logs/trunks, and brush & branches.

There has been extensive talk about turning it into char with flame cap kilns, which deal best with brush and branches up to about arm or leg diameter, and I have written my thoughts on that before, so I won't touch on them at the moment.

It struck me that even though charring would be quickest at dealing with it all (and even though this is a biochar conversation!), there might be other ways of dealing with the material that are more suitable to your situation. More suitable to your time constraints, finances, energy levels and urgency.



Have you looked into Hugelkultur for the logs? Pretty much a compost pile built over and around logs, that can be gardened on top of even as the logs break down, and eventually the fungal rich compost can be dug up and used elsewhere. If you use that 'dozer of yours to dig a trench beforehand, it will help any rain to seep and soak all the way into the centre rather than running off, you will have the dirt to cover things up once the pile of logs, nitrogen rich material, and maybe some inoculants have been built. If it was a long enough mound, or mounds, maybe there is a possible use as a community garden along the way??

But do not use the locust trees for this, as they are apparently fungal resistant. At the best, will take a long time, at the worst, will hinder microbial action through the whole mound. Leave them in the 'To Char' pile!!

This takes more calendar time, but it can be set up, and pretty much forgotten for years. Microbes will do their things 24/7 without issues from the inspectors. There should be no smell, so no after hours issues.




As the woodchip is wet, it would need to be dried before it could be charred, and even then, I believe it is not ideal to char woodchip in the flame cap kilns.

In my research I had stumbled across Johnson-Su Bioreactors(JS composting) which interested me and might fit the bill. Basically a woodchip, set and forget, no turn compost pile, with aeration holes built in so all composting material is within 12 inches/300mm of air. If set up with a tap and timer to automatically keep it damp, there is almost no further human time and effort needed. David Johnson(designer) used soaked/drenched woodchip, and allows it to compost for a full 12 months, but ends up with a very rich, fungally dominant compost with many uses.

I have attached a pdf of the instructions.

This one is 1.5-1.8 metres(5-6') by 1.2-1.5 wide (4-5'). And it is set up on pallets to give it ventilation below.

Bill, for your use, I think a windrow set up a bit like the attached picture, might do the job for composting your woodchip. I envisage two walls made of horizontal logs(another use for your logs!), held up by pairs of vertical logs(one inside, one outside, as many as you think needed), high enough to get higher than the minimum 5' high and still reach over with your 'dozer bucket, far enough apart so you can still reach with your bucket to fill the centre. Enough pipes attached to 2"x4" to create ventilation holes for one day of filling, to be removed after 3 days(from memory), and reused further along as you continue to fill.


Anyway, these are my thoughts, what I would do if I was in your situation.

Daniel

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> on behalf of Dick Gallien <dickgallien@...>
Sent: Thursday, 1 October 2020 10:20 AM
To: Biochar@groups.io <biochar@groups.io>
Subject: [Biochar] leaving logs/biochar in a trench
 
Yrs. ago Ron liked the idea of making biochar in a trench, but that was with light brush, before I was restricted to burning only between 8 and 4 and there'd have been mud from quenching etc..  Now, before Paul and Sue come up with a system--notice I didn't mention turtle tanks--  what are your thoughts on dozing a 30' long trench in this clay, 2'or 3' deep,  the dozer blade is 11' wide,, in which to burn/char the Cities brush/logs?   In an 8 hr. burn, I only expect a couple inches of the logs will char.  Quenching will leave biochar and logs in a muddy bottom, with no easy way to remove them.  Wood can evidently be torched with a blow torch as a preservative.  There are a few hundred black locust on this farm that will last 50+ yrs. in the soil; luckily none from town. Will the charred layer of ash trees, etc. act as a preservative, if left in the trench?  What are your thoughts, as to enriching the trench for a garden by not removing logs and biochar, but covering it with compost or the clay, knowing the city supply of "waste wood" is endless and the goal is to make some use of it while proving they can't bury us? 
  
The Winona Farm Community Service Compost Site has been open every day from dawn until dark since 1990, operating only with a donation jar during which time a private tree trimmer has run his business year around on City land adjoining the City sewage plant, including an office and maintenance building for only his equipment while being paid $1 1/2 million, by the City, plus thousands in cash from Winonans deposits, though open limited hrs., for 8 mo. yrs..  This cozy arrangement was set up by a 23 yr. City Mgr. from Chicago and would surely have won a Chicago Corruption Contest.  

Spring of 2021, for the first time in 30 yrs., this farm can bid on becoming the City Compost Site vs. some wealthy person paying a few million for these 175 unique acres to become their locked gate, show off estate.  The farm is protected from development by the Mn. Land Trust. Their compost site has never accepted the City's 400 truck loads of City street leaves each year--they have been stock piled here, or the 1500+ ash, trees etc., which the City burns on the other end of the sand bar in the Ms. River, which Winona 27K is built on.

I was communicating with Jeff Moyer, head of The Rodale Inst., about donating this farm to them.  They were planning to visit when the straight wind hit their newly acquired farm and nature center at Marion/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Now I see the flames have hit Napa Valley, .Ca., where they acquired a place last Fall.  Time is getting short.   

Visiting with a long time City employee while he was loading trees on their burn pile, about having all those trees coming to this farm and he said "They'll bury you".  Before the bid, I believe it is essential to prove that they can't bury us with their "waste wood".  .Thanks, Dick  

Dick Gallien 
22501 East Burns Valley Road
Winona  MN  55987
dickgallien@...  [507] 312 0194
www.thefarm.winona-mn.us



mikethewormguy
 

Joshua,

King Stropharia (wine cap) is a great wood/bark chip colonized.  We have been growing them in our garden paths for years now thru annual reapplication of 3 inches of wood/bark chips and periodic spawn inoculation....

King Stropharia is a great edible mushroom and due to its large size with its 10 inch cap it is unmistakable.....

my 2 cents,

Mike


Joshua Bogart
 

In my garden this it took 6 inches of initial woodchips (power line trimmings). And turned them into about 1/2 inch of soil with a thin layer of remaining chips on top. Seems like you could turn a lot of troublesome woodchips into soil quickly while using easier to handle branches for biochar production. 

If the goal is to handle large quantities of wood waste while improving the soil on location. Stropharia inoculated sheet mulching gives a great use for a substrate that is difficult to turn into biochar due to its tendency to bridge,  and form cavities in a fire chamber. 

On Fri, Oct 2, 2020, 5:50 PM mikethewormguy via groups.io <mikethewormguy=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Joshua,

King Stropharia (wine cap) is a great wood/bark chip colonized.  We have been growing them in our garden paths for years now thru annual reapplication of 3 inches of wood/bark chips and periodic spawn inoculation....

King Stropharia is a great edible mushroom and due to its large size with its 10 inch cap it is unmistakable.....

my 2 cents,

Mike


mikethewormguy
 

Joshua,

In our garden paths, the King Stropharia mushrooms digest 3 inches of wood/bark chip annually.  Periodically when the weather &conditions are right we get flushes of mushrooms here and there.  We look upon the flushes, as suprise gifts, from Mother Nature for our stewardship.

King Stropharia, both caps and stipes, make a fine addition when making mushroom soup.....

my 2 cents,

Mike





 



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


Dick Gallien
 

David, wonder what species of tree and how the Malawi tipped them and charred from within?  The Colorado. Biochar Now 
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIUFWkc-tnI showed spruce falling over 3 yrs. after being killed by the beetle, then showing in a stack of cut off ends, how quickly they deteriorated.  The photo of them ready for the kiln, looked like shreddings, rather than grindings and surely not chips   Paul, did you receive a response from them, including the unit price?  The tree guy I bought a jawed backhoe with thumb from 25 yrs. ago, would laugh at those who would cut a tree off and then dig out the stump, instead of digging around the base and then reach up 10'+ with the rear bucket and push the tree over.  That is the 1' dia X 60' black locust by the side of the log truck, that after digging the shallow roots on the side facing me, I reached up with the rear bucket of the back hoe, a little hydraulic push and gravity did the rest.  

Question:  If the surface of a log is charred, in that the charred area would absorb moisture and attract microbes, should those conditions increase or decrease the decomposition of the log?  

After 9 days of dozing and hozing the relatively small pile of burning brush with green, wet chips--I thought the pile was finally dead, but one 6" hole is still alive down under.  Will dig it out with the backhoe.  Would hate to try that with dry chips, because a small spark could be many feet down in the packed pile and air would find it.

Thanks for your thoughts Daniel.  My goal is to safely land these rare 175 acres as Winona's Farm--Compost Site, demonstrating the best uses of the ;organic materials that too many municipalities burn, bury or landfill.   We have been handling residential wood waste and yard waste for 30 yrs., so adding  more and being paid by the City, would be no problem. It is the City tree crew that has burned over 1500 trees in 4 yrs,, that is the challenge.. Even with most of the ash trees gone, the trees and chips just keep coming.

A 35 acre hay field stretches almost 1/2 mile from where most of these materials are unloaded.  I thought of dozing just a 2'  deep trench, so the biochar and nutrients would be close to the surface. Placing logs on dry brush before lighting, then more brush, With the 1500 gallon. liquid manure tank full of creek or pond water we can drown it at 4 PM.  The mud won't matter, since we're not trying to remove or sell the biochar.  Experiments, like.covering with 5' of green chips or compost can be tried.  The  brush keeps coming, it's needed to start charring the logs and reduce their size while adding biochar to the soil.  One trial will tell how much it shrinks the logs and whether those huge mushrooms like it...

Recently, a tree service plus a crane from Rochester, 45 mi. West of Winona. removed some cottonwood trees 12 miles East of this farm.  The crane weighed one tree at 11,100 lbs., which had to be cut into 5 pieces for the log truck to be able to lift the pieces out of it's 24' long box.  They paid $200 a load, to get rid of 4 loads here.  The log truck operator enjoyed stacking them for a crude privacy barrier.  It would take a cone splitter on an excavator to split and stack them for drying, versus letting the free heat of a turtle tank work on them a few times.   

Food waste question.  Bought this farm in 1956, with a wife and 2 kids while being bored and distracted at WSTC on the G.I. Bill.  Picked up their food waste for 2 yrs. in the late 1950's, then for 40 yrs. they put it through a garbaage disposal to the sewer plant, until MPCA stopped them.  During the last 20 yrs. we've fed an estimated 16 thousand tons of food waste to hogs, which isn't legal in Wi., Iowa and the Dakotas. When WSU started classes Sept. 2019, we were picking up eight 32 gallon barrels of food waste a day, which was soon cut to 2 barrels a day, because their new sustainability coordinator changed from feeding on trays to plates, which is great.  Then it dropped to zero barrels, because they put in a dehydrator.  There was no trash in WSU's food waste, so our hogs were raised 100% on food waste and they ate every thing except a rare piece of silverware.  .Karl Hammer raises hundreds of laying hens 100% on the food waste he composts.  Even if WSU's  evaporated food waste is used as animal feed, does that system make environmental cents/sense ?   We were 1 of 8 licensed to feed food waste,  but the only one cooking with wood.  Because the African Swine Flue has swept through China and will eventually land here, the bureaucrats are clamping down, so we sold all of our standard hogs.
p=karl+hammer+vermont+compost&fr=yhs-avast-securebrowser&hspart=avast&hsimp=yhs-securebrowser

Bought a few mangalitsa hogs, which have smaller litters, grow more slowly, can thrive on just grass and hay, can get as woolly as sheep in winter, their young have stripes, which  may act as camouflage as spots on fawn, are part wild boar, act more kindly toward all young and their meat is evidently different and sells for more.  It is interesting to watch some townie famililes watching these pigs.  Thanks, Dick

 



On Fri, Oct 2, 2020 at 8:30 AM Joshua Bogart <joshua.bogart@...> wrote:
Another non biochar option for woodchips is winecap mushroom inoculated mulch beds.  They are easy to set up,  the winecaps breakdown chips rapidly, provide large amounts of edible mushrooms spring and fall. The high organic mater soil created is first class. Mulch beds can be set up around existing plants, or established in poor sections of fields and planted back to grass in a couple of years.  

On Fri, Oct 2, 2020, 2:52 AM Daniel Pidgeon <daniel.pidgeon@...> wrote:
Dick,

It sounds like the simplified questions are; How do you deal with 30 odd years' worth of mixed 'waste wood' in a beneficial way, or at least environmentally friendly way? And how do you show that you can continually do so?

Different methods of use/disposal suit different sizes and shapes. And I know that you have some sorted already, so I have been ruminating on three sorted sizes; chips, logs/trunks, and brush & branches.

There has been extensive talk about turning it into char with flame cap kilns, which deal best with brush and branches up to about arm or leg diameter, and I have written my thoughts on that before, so I won't touch on them at the moment.

It struck me that even though charring would be quickest at dealing with it all (and even though this is a biochar conversation!), there might be other ways of dealing with the material that are more suitable to your situation. More suitable to your time constraints, finances, energy levels and urgency.



Have you looked into Hugelkultur for the logs? Pretty much a compost pile built over and around logs, that can be gardened on top of even as the logs break down, and eventually the fungal rich compost can be dug up and used elsewhere. If you use that 'dozer of yours to dig a trench beforehand, it will help any rain to seep and soak all the way into the centre rather than running off, you will have the dirt to cover things up once the pile of logs, nitrogen rich material, and maybe some inoculants have been built. If it was a long enough mound, or mounds, maybe there is a possible use as a community garden along the way??

But do not use the locust trees for this, as they are apparently fungal resistant. At the best, will take a long time, at the worst, will hinder microbial action through the whole mound. Leave them in the 'To Char' pile!!

This takes more calendar time, but it can be set up, and pretty much forgotten for years. Microbes will do their things 24/7 without issues from the inspectors. There should be no smell, so no after hours issues.




As the woodchip is wet, it would need to be dried before it could be charred, and even then, I believe it is not ideal to char woodchip in the flame cap kilns.

In my research I had stumbled across Johnson-Su Bioreactors(JS composting) which interested me and might fit the bill. Basically a woodchip, set and forget, no turn compost pile, with aeration holes built in so all composting material is within 12 inches/300mm of air. If set up with a tap and timer to automatically keep it damp, there is almost no further human time and effort needed. David Johnson(designer) used soaked/drenched woodchip, and allows it to compost for a full 12 months, but ends up with a very rich, fungally dominant compost with many uses.

I have attached a pdf of the instructions.

This one is 1.5-1.8 metres(5-6') by 1.2-1.5 wide (4-5'). And it is set up on pallets to give it ventilation below.

Bill, for your use, I think a windrow set up a bit like the attached picture, might do the job for composting your woodchip. I envisage two walls made of horizontal logs(another use for your logs!), held up by pairs of vertical logs(one inside, one outside, as many as you think needed), high enough to get higher than the minimum 5' high and still reach over with your 'dozer bucket, far enough apart so you can still reach with your bucket to fill the centre. Enough pipes attached to 2"x4" to create ventilation holes for one day of filling, to be removed after 3 days(from memory), and reused further along as you continue to fill.


Anyway, these are my thoughts, what I would do if I was in your situation.

Daniel

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> on behalf of Dick Gallien <dickgallien@...>
Sent: Thursday, 1 October 2020 10:20 AM
To: Biochar@groups.io <biochar@groups.io>
Subject: [Biochar] leaving logs/biochar in a trench
 
Yrs. ago Ron liked the idea of making biochar in a trench, but that was with light brush, before I was restricted to burning only between 8 and 4 and there'd have been mud from quenching etc..  Now, before Paul and Sue come up with a system--notice I didn't mention turtle tanks--  what are your thoughts on dozing a 30' long trench in this clay, 2'or 3' deep,  the dozer blade is 11' wide,, in which to burn/char the Cities brush/logs?   In an 8 hr. burn, I only expect a couple inches of the logs will char.  Quenching will leave biochar and logs in a muddy bottom, with no easy way to remove them.  Wood can evidently be torched with a blow torch as a preservative.  There are a few hundred black locust on this farm that will last 50+ yrs. in the soil; luckily none from town. Will the charred layer of ash trees, etc. act as a preservative, if left in the trench?  What are your thoughts, as to enriching the trench for a garden by not removing logs and biochar, but covering it with compost or the clay, knowing the city supply of "waste wood" is endless and the goal is to make some use of it while proving they can't bury us? 
  
The Winona Farm Community Service Compost Site has been open every day from dawn until dark since 1990, operating only with a donation jar during which time a private tree trimmer has run his business year around on City land adjoining the City sewage plant, including an office and maintenance building for only his equipment while being paid $1 1/2 million, by the City, plus thousands in cash from Winonans deposits, though open limited hrs., for 8 mo. yrs..  This cozy arrangement was set up by a 23 yr. City Mgr. from Chicago and would surely have won a Chicago Corruption Contest.  

Spring of 2021, for the first time in 30 yrs., this farm can bid on becoming the City Compost Site vs. some wealthy person paying a few million for these 175 unique acres to become their locked gate, show off estate.  The farm is protected from development by the Mn. Land Trust. Their compost site has never accepted the City's 400 truck loads of City street leaves each year--they have been stock piled here, or the 1500+ ash, trees etc., which the City burns on the other end of the sand bar in the Ms. River, which Winona 27K is built on.

I was communicating with Jeff Moyer, head of The Rodale Inst., about donating this farm to them.  They were planning to visit when the straight wind hit their newly acquired farm and nature center at Marion/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Now I see the flames have hit Napa Valley, .Ca., where they acquired a place last Fall.  Time is getting short.   

Visiting with a long time City employee while he was loading trees on their burn pile, about having all those trees coming to this farm and he said "They'll bury you".  Before the bid, I believe it is essential to prove that they can't bury us with their "waste wood".  .Thanks, Dick  

Dick Gallien 
22501 East Burns Valley Road
Winona  MN  55987
dickgallien@...  [507] 312 0194
www.thefarm.winona-mn.us



Geoff Thomas
 

All, I posted on this site many years ago the concept of a bulldozer created trench, as long as need be, with a V shape, and a device that ran on wheels, (the Quencher?) that stretched fully over that trench, with sprayers of water, the which would put out the coals before they turned to ash, following along behind the fire front as it worked it’s way along the trench.

Subsequently, I would suggest that the Bulldozer have it’s inclination towards 45% at maximum on the first pass, and totally the opposite on the second pass, - ie two passes create the V trench, - a flat area between as to the requirement, (ie how much wood to process) and the trench be filled with the fallen or burnt timber by whatever machinery one has.

It might be interesting to use some of the Irrigators technology, - irrigators being these giant behemoths that walk across paddocks spreading water, - you have straight ones and ones which rotate about a centre, - the easiest, - the arms reach many (Hundreds) of meters, called centre pivot irrigators, - they blanket much of USA farmland, and expedite reduction of aquifers, and adding dissolved fertilisers, but can be turned to new uses. - eg the motors that would run the quencher.

With some of these devices they have a motor driven by the water flow that will determine the speed of the drive of the wheels that these units have, they  are all synchronised, as they must be to walk in a line or a circle.
Can control the pump speed also, - .

Whatever, this technology is well developed and purchasable by a small farmer, and also suits the dreadful situation where two, biggest you can get, Bulldozers hava a long chain connected to a huge steel ball, between them and can flatten uncountable areas of Forest.

This will be left to burn, the  carbon going into the atmosphere, also generating Methane, - much smaller buldozers can push that fallen  timber into the Trench, and by such creating Biochar, -  
Probably mainly Charcoal at that point, so may need some compost included in to the mix.  


So. we have to look at the big picture and implement action as Possible. 
No need to be afraid of the other uses of land management, - so horrific to just keep on with chemical farming, we can do our local stuff as a local example, and folk can look and maybe copy.



 

 

On 1 Oct 2020, at 1:07 pm, David Yarrow <dyarrow5@...> wrote:

years ago, when i first started teaching biochar, i met a young man who was in the peace corps in Malawi, and discovered how they make charcoal – the 'malawi cigar."  a rural family makes significant charcoal by this method, which they sell in the city as cooking fuel, and thus gain significant cash from this process.

an entire tree trunk is brought down, and carefully covered with a thin layer of loose dirt.  a wood fire is built under the tipped over root mass, and tended until a glowing red eye of ember develops in the root mass.  the entire bottom end is covered in more loose soil.  the family camps out to carefully watch this glowing ember slowly burn from butt end to crown.  more or less soil cover will be adjusted day by day to manage the slow smoldering burn.

when the ember reaches the top, it is snuffed out, the charcoal is exposed and easily cut up for transport and sale.

i used to remember a few more details about this simple combustion technology, but this tale was told to me over a decade ago.

~david

for a green & peaceful planet,
david yarrow


On Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 7:20 PM Dick Gallien <dickgallien@...> wrote:
Yrs. ago Ron liked the idea of making biochar in a trench, but that was with light brush, before I was restricted to burning only between 8 and 4 and there'd have been mud from quenching etc..  Now, before Paul and Sue come up with a system--notice I didn't mention turtle tanks--  what are your thoughts on dozing a 30' long trench in this clay, 2'or 3' deep,  the dozer blade is 11' wide,, in which to burn/char the Cities brush/logs?   In an 8 hr. burn, I only expect a couple inches of the logs will char.  Quenching will leave biochar and logs in a muddy bottom, with no easy way to remove them.  Wood can evidently be torched with a blow torch as a preservative.  There are a few hundred black locust on this farm that will last 50+ yrs. in the soil; luckily none from town. Will the charred layer of ash trees, etc. act as a preservative, if left in the trench?  What are your thoughts, as to enriching the trench for a garden by not removing logs and biochar, but covering it with compost or the clay, knowing the city supply of "waste wood" is endless and the goal is to make some use of it while proving they can't bury us? 
  
The Winona Farm Community Service Compost Site has been open every day from dawn until dark since 1990, operating only with a donation jar during which time a private tree trimmer has run his business year around on City land adjoining the City sewage plant, including an office and maintenance building for only his equipment while being paid $1 1/2 million, by the City, plus thousands in cash from Winonans deposits, though open limited hrs., for 8 mo. yrs..  This cozy arrangement was set up by a 23 yr. City Mgr. from Chicago and would surely have won a Chicago Corruption Contest.  

Spring of 2021, for the first time in 30 yrs., this farm can bid on becoming the City Compost Site vs. some wealthy person paying a few million for these 175 unique acres to become their locked gate, show off estate.  The farm is protected from development by the Mn. Land Trust. Their compost site has never accepted the City's 400 truck loads of City street leaves each year--they have been stock piled here, or the 1500+ ash, trees etc., which the City burns on the other end of the sand bar in the Ms. River, which Winona 27K is built on.

I was communicating with Jeff Moyer, head of The Rodale Inst., about donating this farm to them.  They were planning to visit when the straight wind hit their newly acquired farm and nature center at Marion/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Now I see the flames have hit Napa Valley, .Ca., where they acquired a place last Fall.  Time is getting short.   

Visiting with a long time City employee while he was loading trees on their burn pile, about having all those trees coming to this farm and he said "They'll bury you".  Before the bid, I believe it is essential to prove that they can't bury us with their "waste wood".  .Thanks, Dick  

Dick Gallien  
22501 East Burns Valley Road
Winona  MN  55987
dickgallien@...  [507] 312 0194
www.thefarm.winona-mn.us






Dick Gallien
 

Wow Geoff, your ideas are HUGE, but they gave me a thought, though I don't have the money to make it happen, without a grant.

My 11' wide dozer blade only pushes and goes up and down, where as I'd have to rent someone with a 6 way blade, which will cast out to either side as snow plow trucks do on streets.  On my very small scale, with such a blade, I'd prefer one pass down and one back, plowing to each side of the trench only 1 or 2 ft deep on a farm field, though trying to save the soil life in the top 6" probably doesn't matter.  Starting with brush, then bigger wood, then for all of us that don't have an irrigation set up., it could be quenched with a liquid manure tank; manure/compost could be spread with a side delivery spreader and the plowed soil could be plowed back over the pile, in whichever order. 

 In this "driftless area" (no glaciel drifts) of the Mn., Wi., Ia. and Illinois corners, erosion is still bad.  The Whitewater Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 28,000 acres of former farms, which the State purchased because the erosion and floods were so bad.  The oak and walnut hill sides are mostly logged off and replaced with scrub trees, which with CCC like labor could fill trenches dozed on the contour, such as the gentle slope on this 35 acres, which could be an example of using Winona's "waste wood". Thanks Goeff--and the Aussie wife said your "centre" is misspelled only by the US.
Off top again.  A letter to the ed. that neither paper have run--but I'm persistent.  Have any of you heard of or seen such a bird feeder?  

letter to the editor
We were recently watching 11 turkey vultures perched together in a large tree overlooking East Burns Valley Creek, when 2 bald eagles landed in a nearby tree.  These scavengers are usually circling high above, in search of tasty morsels. Then my neighbor mentioned almost hitting a vulture by our little overlook on East Burns Valley Road---puzzle solved. The vultures and eagles were full.  The smelly deer carcass on the edge of the road was flat, or I would've put it out in the hayfield, where people could've safely pulled over and  watched these 2 familiar residents at probably the only such bird feeder in this country.  We have hummingbird feeders, the law doesn't discriminate--so why not vulture and bald eagle feeders? 

As with a  recent plea not to throw apple cores out of your car window, because they attract mice, who attract hawks, who in focusing on the meal,  are killed by traffic, that deer provided a banquet, adjacent to the road.  Being startled by and having one of those 13 party goers, with their 6 to 7 ft. wing spans splattered on your windshield, could be messy.  If you or the County sees a relatively fresh road kill and drops it at  The Winona Farm Compost Site, I'll put it in the field, where everyone can watch Mother Natures clean up crew, the ultimate reward being that pair of Bald Eagles might decide to build in one of the tall cotton woods  by the creek, overlooking the Sand Hill Cranes, who have nested there the last 4 years.  ..       
   








On Sun, Oct 4, 2020 at 5:04 PM Geoff Thomas <wind@...> wrote:
All, I posted on this site many years ago the concept of a bulldozer created trench, as long as need be, with a V shape, and a device that ran on wheels, (the Quencher?) that stretched fully over that trench, with sprayers of water, the which would put out the coals before they turned to ash, following along behind the fire front as it worked it’s way along the trench.

Subsequently, I would suggest that the Bulldozer have it’s inclination towards 45% at maximum on the first pass, and totally the opposite on the second pass, - ie two passes create the V trench, - a flat area between as to the requirement, (ie how much wood to process) and the trench be filled with the fallen or burnt timber by whatever machinery one has.

It might be interesting to use some of the Irrigators technology, - irrigators being these giant behemoths that walk across paddocks spreading water, - you have straight ones and ones which rotate about a centre, - the easiest, - the arms reach many (Hundreds) of meters, called centre pivot irrigators, - they blanket much of USA farmland, and expedite reduction of aquifers, and adding dissolved fertilisers, but can be turned to new uses. - eg the motors that would run the quencher.

With some of these devices they have a motor driven by the water flow that will determine the speed of the drive of the wheels that these units have, they  are all synchronised, as they must be to walk in a line or a circle.
Can control the pump speed also, - .

Whatever, this technology is well developed and purchasable by a small farmer, and also suits the dreadful situation where two, biggest you can get, Bulldozers hava a long chain connected to a huge steel ball, between them and can flatten uncountable areas of Forest.

This will be left to burn, the  carbon going into the atmosphere, also generating Methane, - much smaller buldozers can push that fallen  timber into the Trench, and by such creating Biochar, -  
Probably mainly Charcoal at that point, so may need some compost included in to the mix.  


So. we have to look at the big picture and implement action as Possible. 
No need to be afraid of the other uses of land management, - so horrific to just keep on with chemical farming, we can do our local stuff as a local example, and folk can look and maybe copy.



 

 
On 1 Oct 2020, at 1:07 pm, David Yarrow <dyarrow5@...> wrote:

years ago, when i first started teaching biochar, i met a young man who was in the peace corps in Malawi, and discovered how they make charcoal – the 'malawi cigar."  a rural family makes significant charcoal by this method, which they sell in the city as cooking fuel, and thus gain significant cash from this process.

an entire tree trunk is brought down, and carefully covered with a thin layer of loose dirt.  a wood fire is built under the tipped over root mass, and tended until a glowing red eye of ember develops in the root mass.  the entire bottom end is covered in more loose soil.  the family camps out to carefully watch this glowing ember slowly burn from butt end to crown.  more or less soil cover will be adjusted day by day to manage the slow smoldering burn.

when the ember reaches the top, it is snuffed out, the charcoal is exposed and easily cut up for transport and sale.

i used to remember a few more details about this simple combustion technology, but this tale was told to me over a decade ago.

~david

for a green & peaceful planet,
david yarrow


On Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 7:20 PM Dick Gallien <dickgallien@...> wrote:
Yrs. ago Ron liked the idea of making biochar in a trench, but that was with light brush, before I was restricted to burning only between 8 and 4 and there'd have been mud from quenching etc..  Now, before Paul and Sue come up with a system--notice I didn't mention turtle tanks--  what are your thoughts on dozing a 30' long trench in this clay, 2'or 3' deep,  the dozer blade is 11' wide,, in which to burn/char the Cities brush/logs?   In an 8 hr. burn, I only expect a couple inches of the logs will char.  Quenching will leave biochar and logs in a muddy bottom, with no easy way to remove them.  Wood can evidently be torched with a blow torch as a preservative.  There are a few hundred black locust on this farm that will last 50+ yrs. in the soil; luckily none from town. Will the charred layer of ash trees, etc. act as a preservative, if left in the trench?  What are your thoughts, as to enriching the trench for a garden by not removing logs and biochar, but covering it with compost or the clay, knowing the city supply of "waste wood" is endless and the goal is to make some use of it while proving they can't bury us? 
  
The Winona Farm Community Service Compost Site has been open every day from dawn until dark since 1990, operating only with a donation jar during which time a private tree trimmer has run his business year around on City land adjoining the City sewage plant, including an office and maintenance building for only his equipment while being paid $1 1/2 million, by the City, plus thousands in cash from Winonans deposits, though open limited hrs., for 8 mo. yrs..  This cozy arrangement was set up by a 23 yr. City Mgr. from Chicago and would surely have won a Chicago Corruption Contest.  

Spring of 2021, for the first time in 30 yrs., this farm can bid on becoming the City Compost Site vs. some wealthy person paying a few million for these 175 unique acres to become their locked gate, show off estate.  The farm is protected from development by the Mn. Land Trust. Their compost site has never accepted the City's 400 truck loads of City street leaves each year--they have been stock piled here, or the 1500+ ash, trees etc., which the City burns on the other end of the sand bar in the Ms. River, which Winona 27K is built on.

I was communicating with Jeff Moyer, head of The Rodale Inst., about donating this farm to them.  They were planning to visit when the straight wind hit their newly acquired farm and nature center at Marion/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Now I see the flames have hit Napa Valley, .Ca., where they acquired a place last Fall.  Time is getting short.   

Visiting with a long time City employee while he was loading trees on their burn pile, about having all those trees coming to this farm and he said "They'll bury you".  Before the bid, I believe it is essential to prove that they can't bury us with their "waste wood".  .Thanks, Dick  

Dick Gallien  
22501 East Burns Valley Road
Winona  MN  55987
dickgallien@...  [507] 312 0194
www.thefarm.winona-mn.us