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OldDinosaur's Grow Blog 2021

OldDinosaurWesH

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Yes there is life in here.

Tobacco 2021 - 3.jpgTobacco 2021 - 4.jpgTobacco 2021 - 1.jpgTobacco 2021 - 2.jpg


A little late winter snow from two weeks ago. An honest 18" of temporary misery.

But...The annual tobacco crop must go on!

JM minerals.8.jpg

For just about the last year, (March 2020) I have been obsessing over a VERY large rock and mineral collection. Attached is a photo of several large pieces of Covellite. A rare and valuable copper mineral. (Look that one up on E-Bay!) Just a few of thousands of pieces that have come my way simply for the price of going and getting them. As is the case of most things that are "Free" they come with a whole lot of labor attached. This is part of the reason I have been so silent for quite a while. I've been busy sorting thru ~ 250 5-gallon buckets full of rocks. About 80% of which is worthless fill rock.

furnace .2.jpg

Fodder for my new custom built one-of-a-kind Crucible furnace. This baby will exceed 3,000 degrees F (~1,750 C)

Hope everyone has a good year. Spring is almost here.

Wes H.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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I'm thinking good thoughts about the weather. It is supposed to get into the upper 60's today. I'm ready for it to be spring.

My furnace runs on Anthracite coal and was designed to melt copper and silver ore. You could use up to a #10 crucible easy enough. Melt 20 or 30 #'s in 20 or 30 minutes. Much faster than gas. That's part of the reason I'm thinking good thoughts about spring, so that I can build a fire...if you know what I mean.

It's also time to start working in the garden! Maybe a little wishful thinking yet, but we'll get there.

Wes H.
 

skychaser

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Good to hear from you again Wes. All that late winter snow went south of me and I barley got any. But you really got nailed down your way. Better you than me. hehe

I have a buddy who is a real rock hound. He was out somewhere near Vantage last weekend and got half a truck full of petrified wood. A couple weeks earlier he was somewhere near Naches and got a truck load of geodes. He has some of it cut and polished now. Pretty cool stuff. I'm going to tag along with him one of these days. He hasn't gotten into melting things yet, but I bet he will after I show him your furnace. He's into doing things like that. A few years ago he decided to learn glass blowing and has become quite an artist at it now.

I see you plant like I do. Nice and thick! Most of my flats look like chia pets before I take the thinning scissors to them. Better to have too many than to few.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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Skychaser:

Yes, I use the Chia pet method for seed starting. Our growing season is short enough you 'gotta make hay when the sun shines.

Saddle Mountain, south of Vantage, is thick with wood.

Naches for geodes is new to me, but knowing some about the local geology, it makes sense. Lots of volcanic ash around there.

Hope your friend has lots of $ to spare. A custom made refractory type furnace cost quite a few $ for materials and forms. Not to mention my aching back from doing all that heavy labor building it.

Hope you have a good season!

Wes H.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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Yes, Diesel, Gasoline, you name it, are acceptable fuel sources. The benefit of liquid or gaseous fuel sources are their instant heat, vs. coal which takes some time to build up the heat. The down-side to liquid or gaseous fuel sources are: lower temperatures and longer burn times to generate the necessary calories of energy to perform the job at hand. It all depends what your priorities are for your individual uses.

In my case, when I get the coal fired up and the furnace heated up, I can melt one crucible full and pour it, melt a second crucible and pour it, and so on. Up to 3 crucibles in one hour. Add more coal and put another crucible in and so on 'till I run out of material to process. But, then it takes a day or more for it to cool down enough to do maintenance.

Natural Gas or Propane are pretty instant but take at least an hour to melt a similar amount amount of material. (One crucible.) In my geographical area we don't have natural gas and propane has to be trucked in from 60 miles (96 km) away, but I can buy Anthracite coal in 40 pound (18.8 kg) bags and stockpile it. (Plus the coal fired design is simpler and easier to build.) If you want to use NG or Propane and have good results without possible explosions it would be best to buy a professionally built furnace. In my size range ~ $3,500 - $6,000 US.

An example of this phenomenon would be the old coal fired locomotives. Coal provides a lot of energy and can make for a very powerful steam engine. The problem with that form of energy is that it takes six or more hours to generate enough heat to make enough steam to make the thing go. And several days for it to cool down enough to actually work on it. That is why the American rail industry started phasing out coal and steam in favor of Diesel Electric in the 1930's.

Diesel fuel is significantly more expensive than coal. However, the "instant" nature of Diesel engines make for less fuel consumption in total and more cost efficiency in the long haul.

As an interesting sidebar: The only place that still uses and still manufactures coal fired locomotives...any guesses???

China.

Coal-fired locomotives are a simple and very old (nearly 200 year old) design.

Wes H.
 

Oldfella

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Coal does produce a large btu output but unfortunately or fortunately it's become less popular because of global warming. China's not bothered about that. Not an argument that I want to get into. Diesel fuel has a good but output, I used it in my backyard forge many years ago I made a burner out of cast iron, fitted a small valve in line to control the flow, and used an Electrolux vacuum cleaner as a blower. It worked perfectly. The only downside was that I had to use it outside.
I really only needed to heat steal bars to a nice cherry red, I made 6ft long bar's out of old rock drill rods. The local contractors loved them. They used them for levering the tracks back on when they came off. I digress here sorry about that.
Cheers Oldfella
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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Coal has been fading away for a hundred years. Except here in OldDinosaur land where we are not quite to the fossil state yet! Give it a few years. Please!

The blast furnace is now obsolete. (Except maybe in China) Better and newer will always replace the old stuff. Efficiency is always what it is all about. More stuff for less inputs.

Technology always moves in fits and starts. Iron was made the same way for 3,500 years and then Bessemer invented his converter. What a radical change. Copper processing had been done the same way for 6,500 years. The modern refining process that is now in use in the copper industry was only invented in 1979. It took more than a century to make electricity an actual useable thing. And then Nicola Tesla showed up on the scene. Alternating current electricity. What a novel concept.

Maybe Tesla's intellectual successor is already out there. That would be nice.

Wes H.
 

Oldfella

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The blast furnace is now obsolete. Maybe Tesla's intellectual successor is already out there. That would be nice.
Magnetic induction perhaps :unsure:
They already using it, just need to make it more efficient I guess. I don't know if you could use it to cure Tobacco. A sticky situation.
Oldfella
 

Knucklehead

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The blast furnace is now obsolete. Maybe Tesla's intellectual successor is already out there. That would be nice.
Magnetic induction perhaps :unsure:
They already using it, just need to make it more efficient I guess. I don't know if you could use it to cure Tobacco. A sticky situation.
Oldfella
I use modern solar power to cure my orientals. :)
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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My Chia pets are about ready for some transplantation.

Tobacco 2021 - 3 4-3-21.jpgTobacco 2021 - 4 4-3-21.jpg

I have two types that didn't do much this year. Must be time for some new seed. Fortunately, these are not my main production varieties.

The weather is getting nicer around here. It is still way to early to plant much except frost tolerant plants. The farmers are busy planting spring crops and spraying for weeds. I try to have decent sized seedlings to put out in the garden by about memorial day.

Our school kids are finally getting to have sports. The schools are trying to cram all three seasons into one. A bit of a mess I suspect.

Waiting impatiently for spring...

Wes H.
 

Oldfella

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My Chia pets are about ready for some transplantation.

View attachment 35803View attachment 35804

I have two types that didn't do much this year. Must be time for some new seed. Fortunately, these are not my main production varieties.

The weather is getting nicer around here. It is still way to early to plant much except frost tolerant plants. The farmers are busy planting spring crops and spraying for weeds. I try to have decent sized seedlings to put out in the garden by about memorial day.

Our school kids are finally getting to have sports. The schools are trying to cram all three seasons into one. A bit of a mess I suspect.

Waiting impatiently for spring...

Wes H.
Why do you sow so many seeds? Looks like you gonna have a lot of thinning to do. I only Sprinkle a few, then thin down to 3-2-1at 2 I take the best looking one and chuck the rest. I would keep 3-4 as replacements for any my Chickens might stomp on. I found that when I had them crowded like yours I done to much damage when thinning. Still whatever ever works.
They look good so good luck with them and I hope you can get your weather to play nicely, we are heading into Autumn now and darn
Daylight savings changed last night.
Oldfella
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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Well...I'm doing the same thing. Picking the best I can, to transplant into larger pots. Except I'm looking for 30 or so transplants from each variety. Mine is purely the numbers game.

As you can see from my photos, two of my varieties didn't do much. No picking the best out of those bunches. I'm stuck with what germinated. Fortunately, I'm only looking for a few transplants from those two varieties, six of one and twelve of the other.

Ultimately I want to plant about 150 total. Most of those will be just 5 varieties. My space is limited, so I have to produce as much as I can given my limited resources of space and sunlight.

It would also be nice if that darn tree trimmer would come and finish the job on the neighbor's tree. I would get some extra sunshine out of that little operation which would be nice. The trimmer guy was supposed to be here last October. I guess he has bigger fish to fry. Drat him anyway!

Wes H
 
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