daniel mielke

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since Aug 13, 2012
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Recent posts by daniel mielke

Hey Nathan, Just thought I'd add to this discussion. My grandfather Erwin Peik use to milk cows at his farm in Minnesota. Had a silo and corn meal mix for fodder for the cows. But he also owned (which I own now) 12 acres of bottom ground that is covered with reed canary grass. Where as now it is "hayed" for winter fodder for cattle, then it was left on the ground to bleach out in the sun and become straw for bedding in the barn for the cows. The "hay" had a blonde color to it just as the straw coming from harvested wheat fields in this area. After being bleached out I really don't think it had any fodder value to it. I think the measure here is if you cut it on a regular basis, it tends to be more leafy and green for consumption. But when you let it grow out for most of the season it will become more stem filled than leafy. Stems being hollow add more roughage to the cob than thin leafy matter. Dan
8 years ago
Hey Chad, I got your info on the upcoming event at Spirit Mountain. Would like to attend. I think I have seen something about this gentleman somewhere here in Permies.com. Unable to determine at this time whether I would be able to attend all days, but a couple over the weekend sounds good. See you in Duluth... , used to live up on the hill N 7th ave. east. And throughly un-enjoyed a ride down all bumpy streets to St. Lukes when my appendix ruptured some years ago. Still have to take revenge on an old landlord now living in Superior WI for that. See you in October.
8 years ago
From what I gathered at this conference in 2005 and from the training sessions is that the aspen you have would work fine. Use the dry stuff. Using wet soft woods and locking it into a wall system will probably cause to wood to rot from inside to outside. Most pictures I have seen of cordwood structures have a field stone type of facade for the first three or four feet from the ground up. But still being cordwood beneath that facade. Having that in place will keep the moisture from rain coming off your roof ( if no rain gutters ) off of the lower reaches of your wall and the close proximity of the moist ground. Dry ends of soft woods tend to not wick moisture into the log ends. And after a rain will not expand as a hardwood will. Check out the site I have mentioned previously. I contacted Richard Flatau who is listed on that site by e-mail and he replied thanking me for a mention on permies.com. It really is a very insightful web site if your interested in building with cordwood. Good luck, Dan.
Yep you bech ya... From the west side of twin cities near the edge of civilization. When I was growing up in this area it was farm country. We still have a few corn and soy bean fields around yet. I have a place in McLeod county. Garden stuff includes water melon (sweet baby), Strawberry's, Raspberries, Highbush Blueberries ( a few years away from production) and aprox. 100 grapes ( Marquette, Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, La Crescent, Western Concord), apple trees and mulberry trees. I have two parcels out here, one 21.5 acres tillable and hay and 18.5 acres prairie wet land 3 miles away from spot one.

I have been watching permies dot com for about three years now and only very recently joined. Currently looking for work but my property with all my projects keep me quite busy. Will be doing my own posting soon on Pole Barn project... completing a stone wall around the structure three sides, then onto building vestibules on either end of the front of the building (cordwood) , then the roof over the stone wall creating a cellar around my pole barn. Also in the works are a refrigerator within the structure (cordwood) for storing grapes harvested.

I am into wild flowers out here too. A relative has 29 acres of CRP which I'm continuing to spread seeds out onto. I also take plugs of materials from my wet land over to the CRP and insert them in it for further additional plantings. I have been also planting trees of various kinds to enhance wildlife aspects of both properties. The wet land sits next to a small mud lake 1/8 mile wide 3/8 miles long and has an interior cattail swamp in the wet land area. I know of a secret place where I can get my hands on 4 to 5 pounds of wild garlic seed, though it is late in this season already for that. Would like to create a butterfly sanctuary on the CRP. Distributing lots of butterfly weed seeds and blazing star seed, among other stuff too. I coin this obsession, Artistic Wildlife Landscape Architecture. And you guys from Minnesota have no idea how deep this goes... I will do guerilla forestry by going out to other parts of the state for tree material!!! No Lie...

That thing in Geneva MN sounds interesting. Maybe if some of my watermelons are still ripe will bring along.

So there!!! 12 in AM. Shows you guys what a late night nut I am, right...
8 years ago
Hey David, I've been to a couple of cordwood workshops in the past few years and to the Continental Cordwood Conference in Merrill, Wisconsin in 2005. At the conference one of the guru's of cordwood construction Rob Roy had told a tale of woe. He related that at one of his early training workshop attempts at building a cordwood structure was with oak. At the first good rain the exterior log ends of the walled structure absorbed the moisture and the wood expanded, breaking apart the wall.

At the conference another guy named Jack Henstridge echoed that story as well. Jack had been one of the modern day builder's who got a lot of people interested in cordwood construction in the late 60's and 70's. He related that in the old days of rock quarrying that holes would be drilled into a surface by the front section, then oak logs inserted. Water would then be poured onto the ends making the logs expand and breaking the slab of stone off the front face of the quarry. He said hardwoods are a very poor choice for cordwood type of construction.

If you had planned on covering the outside somehow to seal off the moisture it might be possible. But you would forever have to be vigilant about any moisture seeping in somewhere and causing your walls to break apart. Go the the web site daycreek.com and onto "all things cordwood". This has all the info you need to do this right from the start.

The woods they highly recommend are soft woods like aspen, cottonwood, white or red cedars, norway pine, tamarack... I'm personally working with cottonwood. One of the instructors, Cliff Shockley used old utility poles that the electric company discarded, that he would cut down to size to do a double stackwall type of construction. His book is also listed on the literature page. On a side note, in the conferences that have been held there are reference lists of how to approach your county or province building committee with the type of construction you plan to do. That can be helpful too.

If this is the only abundant type of wood you have, consider it for heating purposes thru the long term. My suggestion would be to look at the daycreek web site and get better educated before going into something that might cause a lot more heart aches somewhere down the line. Hope this helps. Best regards...

Looks like an older thread here, but to those interested in cordwood construction there is a web site called Daycreek.com. Go to All Things Cordwood. It shows cordwood houses from all over, some of the builders and their stories and where you can get literature from the various builders/teachers and from the Continental Cordwood Conferences from 2011 in Manitoba Canada and from 2005 in Merrill, Wisconsin USA. I have been to two work shops that Richard and Becky Flatau have given and will be doing two cordwood vestibules on either side of a pole barn built into a side of a small hill. I am in the process of building a stand alone stone wall around the pole barn and when roofed over and properly insulated it will be an interior cellar for my small vineyard. There is method of cordwood construction is called Double Wall Stackwall Construction and is done by Cliff Shockley. His book is also on Daycreek's site.

As a way of keeping grapes cool while collecting an amount to transport to other wineries, I plan on building a refrigerator within my pole barn. Two of the walls will be insulated exterior walls to the pole barn while the other two will be the Double Wall Stackwall design. In essence this design has two cordwood walls with a interior of stiff insulated material. Mr Shockley constructed a home and other structures and a insurance office for himself in Manitoba, Canada out of reuseable electric pole that the utility there had as waste. He just sawed them into the length he needed, which if I can remember right was about 5 inches long and of various diameters. So to visualize this, you would have two walls of cordwood with a cement mortar "S" mix type I believe joined in the middle by a stiff insulated product to provided for retaining the coldness of the refrigerator. This will be a post and beam construction with the stackwall as in fill. The type of wood you would use is the most important part of this type of construction. YOU CAN'T USE HARDWOODS!!! When they get wet they will expand and completely break your wall apart. Soft woods are what you need, they don't expand like hardwoods. On my site I have many cottonwoods that I have cut down and some of which are completely dry indoors and will be in the refrigerator part. Others are still whole logs from seven to eight years ago loggings I did locally. And as some of those are a bit rotten I still have enough to build my vestibules and have a bunch left over Hugelkulture, Yeah!!!

Will start my own post forum as to the construction of this site with pictures in the near future. One last thing about Cordwood Construction...It is very labor intensive. It looks great but can take a long time, so getting lots of help for doing this is an absolute must.
I am in the long term planning stage for building with timbers and posts. Plan to in fill with straw bale. I've always been interested in creating a whole log home, framed with the logs vertically and beams through the horizontal with in-fill straw bales. When you say that the wood has a tendency to rot, wouldn't a pre-treat of some kind elevated this problem. Short of using creosote, would a borax, then linwood oil or some sort of organic pine tar to inhibit rot. If as I would like to do, using norway pine for strength, inclosing the entire log within a concrete foundation/basement wall, is there a treatment in the concrete that would encapsulate the timber to prohibit a rot situation? It seems to me when going through some cordwood classes (given by the Richard and Becky Flatau) that there are some kind of polymer additives to concrete that can seal/encapsulate or retard moisture. When looking at Cob structures in these forums, England is a wet North Atlantic country most of the time and they have structures with timber that are hundreds of years old and sturdy as heck. Hope someone with some experience can help us out here. Have been perusing this site for three years now without ever signing up. This is my first post. Thanks beki for forcing me out of obscurity and into this world of PERMIES!!!