1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.

1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.
A view through the wheel. The black, horizontal line is the axle, the single largest forging to that time.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stalking the Woody Biomass...


Lately woody biomass is in the news around here.
A local lumber mill wants to build a biomass, steam-generating plant and sell excess power to the grid and, of course (This is Eugene) it faces widespread opposition.
They're a typical, rapacious, tree-mowing company but this seems like a good idea to me. It will eliminate their use of natural gas for their drying kilns as well as get that woody stuff out of the... woods. And it will make power.
The lad and I went out to score some of the biomass ourselves - twice this past week - in my bitchin' new rig.
Top photo. Max took this while I was in the store.
Inside driver's door. Check out that plush armrest. The cool thing is that the pictured vise-grips are brand new - but several years old as they were made in Nebraska rather than China.
I wish I had the bubble pack they came in. I could read about all the features.

Next, the habitat of the elusive... I'm sick of that woody word - I'll say "forest residue" instead.
The residue in question is visible as the shimmery, gray film draped over the hillside.
It's a mass of slash, trash trees, snags and stumps which is, in this case being utilized for its original purpose. Having been logged 7 or 8 years ago, this is now more compost than wood.

Now here's some forest residue!
I'm not sure what's going on here, but it looks like they're planning to log this soon and they've sent a crew out to prepare for clearing out the landing, grading the road etc.
Or, some commercial firewood cartel sent his Latino worker bees out to cut this for next season.
If so, spilled milk - and I plan on spilling at least a few loads more.
Result, pecker-poles and trash trees abound - already fallen for my bucking and loading pleasure.

One of the so-called "trash trees" is Pacific Madrone. It the stuff with the orange bark.
Green, it's 1/4 water by weight. This makes it difficult to dry predictably so, other than for some artsy woodworkers and some flooring manufacturers, it has no use but firewood.
It's excellent wood.
It's dense and heavy (All wood has the same BTU content - 8500 BTU's per pound, as I recall, for kiln-dried anything, balsa, ironwood, cedar).
It's everything this guy says it is although he's stuck in that troublesome "What's the best... whatever?" rut.
A winter spent with nothing but bone-dry madrone (Good name for a bluegrass band) would be a special hell. You'd never let the fire go out because you can't split the stuff, not conveniently like cedar, the "best" kindling wood. And it won't light easily - like cedar does.
However, a winter spent with nothing but cedar would mean you were warmed several times over. You'd get warm carrying the wood to the stove and then again hauling the ashes out. And you'd spend many a toasty night sitting up to keep the voracious cedar eating monster fed.
The best all-around wood is, in my humble one, Douglas Fir.
I don't get the guy's problem with white oak. It's nice wood too.
In closing:
Woody Biomass - The new name for my not-yet-realized-TV-wrestler-persona. It's going to be environmentally themed.
Something like "In this corner - the ENVIROMANGLER... WOODY!! BIOMASS!!".
Woody Biomass has possibilities as a porno name as well.
Forest Residue (With two "R"'s - as in "Forrest") sounds like some Goth, Emo boy rock star.

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