Gordon Haverland

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since Jun 22, 2016
Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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Recent posts by Gordon Haverland

This some times shows up as bio-security?  Or things related to this do?

If you want to plant alfalfa, clover or other legumes; you can often buy a source of the nitrogen fixing bacteria which are meant to be seeded with the seed, so that you get the best crop.

All things in the world, revolve around this idea of forever growth.  If you are in the business in innoculating yellow clover, at some point you move to other clovers, then to other legumes, then to .... and it just goes on forever.

That is Wall Street.  All businesses must grow, in order to be successful.  That isn't real; that is Wall Street's view of the world.  Exponential growth always has business fail because they don't grow.  I think there has always been service businesses  (like the neighbourhood plumber) who fit into society just fine, and never grow (appreciably).

Let's look at white clover innoculants.   It may be that the current North American centre for white clover innoculants is Ottumwa, Iowa (I am just making things up).  What some biobacerial plant in Ottumwa is brewing, is the bacteria for white clover which work best for Ottumwa.  They might be 2% worse for Barber County, Kansas; but that isn't important.  The idjuts in big business in Ottumwa can make their poorer bacteria more than 2% cheaper for you; so you should buy their stuff.  And this just spreads all over.

As near as I can tell, there are no Canadian sources of innoculants for legume plants.

Let's get back to this hypothetical situation.  A common answer that could come up, is that it costs too much to ship things from Barber, Kansas to Ottumwa.  Which is dumb.  I t may be that someone in Barber was already making this before.  This better stuff.  There is no reason to ship from Barber, it has what it needs already.  The problem, is this Wall Street crap about endless growth.

We are talking bacteria, and most of us have experience (unintended) at growing bacteria.  If you have ever left a wet piece of food at an elevated temperature for a few hours; and had someone eat it and get food poisoning; congratulations!  You have successfully grown bacteria.

I don't know if there are any bacterial recipes which start from chicken soup; but chicken soup isn't far from what bacteria want to grow on.

Finding the bacteria to grow, and scaling them up to the point where you can brew gallons of them can be a little bit of a problem.  But once you have a good population of bacteria to draw from; doing a scale-up to inoculate a few thousand acres of white clover shouldn't be too much of a problem.  The Wall Street boys who want to do everything out of Ottumwa, they may need to wrry about product stability as it takes some time to ship things from Ottumwa to wherever.

There is absolutely no reason why any community in the world, can't be producing innoculants (to fix nitrogen, or anything else)).  If I go looking around the Peace Country; there could be more than 100 kinds of soil.  An innoculant made in the Peace Country is probably going to perform better than one made in Ottumwa.  All the arguments are like: our medicore product is N% worse than your local products, but we can make thiis crappier product for much less than you can make thiis localized product.

All of agriculture has known that this idea of producing all  innoculants from some mega plant is the wrong solution; and yet  we have all been led down that path.

It is not just innoculants, it is a bunch of things.

So there should be reasons for local suppliers of things like innoculants to become successful.  And it would be nice if government would stop the purchase and closing of local suppliers; just to allow Wall Street to make more dollars.
1 week ago
There was a metasequoia.org website.  I gather it died for some reason or another.  It supposedly has moved to metasequoia.net.

The webpage title at metasequoia.net is metasequoia.org.

This page, links to a PDF of a poster from nominally 2008 data, as to where metasequoia were planted.

I am planning to try some metasequoia here.  Compaing temperature data from here, to where metasequoia seems to be successful, is of limited usefulness.  It says where I am, has a limited chance because it can get colder here in winter.  It also points out a similar thing, in that we seemingly don't get enough rainfall.  Which swales should be able to tilt things for.

What more research has pointed towards, is that "by nature" metasequoia tends to be oriented towards growth later in the year than most other trees.  And this is something that I think would be bad here.  Evan's cherry gets put into dormancy on the Canadian Prairies by the typical August drought.  My hope, is to put metasequioa into drought at some point every August, to make it dormant before winter arrives.

3 weeks ago
Just before I stumbled on this thread via google, I ran across how the term muskeg evolved.  It is a Cree word.  Or rather, muskeg is an English bastardization of a Cree word.  Most people call it bog.

I am at Dawson Creek, BC.  Where the Alaska Highway begins.  In WWII when they started building the highway, there was lots of muskeg to cross.

Muskeg is nominally moss floating on water.  It often appears to be like land, but there need not be any bedrock "connected" to the muskeg.  It can be entirely floating on water.  So, any kind of concrete solution which makes use of near full density concrete isn't like to work.  If you use concrete which has a bulk density less than 1, it can float.

But, going back to building the Alaska Highway in WWII, what they did was corduroy.  They built up a row of logs on top of the muskeg, and then put the gravel fill on top of the logs for the road.

What you need to do, is going to share a lot with building boats (or barges).  If your building is 40 foot across, I am thinking you want wood (tree trunks) 80 foot long.  If trees where you live are not significantly taller than 80 feet, you probably need to "make" an 80 foot tree by fastening two trees together at the crown end.  For this to last any length of time, you need durable wood.  In general, the only durable wood in Canada is tamarack (aka Larch).  I think Newfoundland calls tamarack juniper?  The other way around?  Doesn't matter, you aren't in Newfoundland.

So, that is the old technology.  You can probably help things by learning about shallow, frost protected foundations.  I just built a mushroom home making use of this kind of science, to get enough heat to come through the mushroom "heart" to keep it warm enough to be viable (and we seen -40C once and -30C a few times this winter).

I'm going to try growing black locust, Osage-orange and honey locust for use on the farm this year.  But you can't wait for me to grow trees, and the shipping costs might kill you.  
3 weeks ago
Effects of environmental factors and management practices on microclimate, winter physiology, and frost resistance in trees
Guillaume Charrier, Jérôme Ngao, Marc Saudreau and Thierry Améglio

Apr 2015


All the authors are from central Europe (Austria, France).

A little more practical article for me.  I think it would help these authors to go visit some place that gets cold in winter (Siberia, the Canadian Prairies, southern Chile).  For me, the obvious thing that is missing is Foehn winds; there is no mention of Foehn winds (or as I know them, chinooks) in this article.

I think this is a more useful article for most people who live where freezing can happen.  But, I think the authors lack experience for where things get really cold.  They seem to think that snow will prevent freezing in the soil, or it just gets a little cold in the soil.  When I moved to Dawson Creek in 1975, we could actually see 2 or more weeks of winter where the warmest temperature on any given day was below -40.  Some people talk about "frost lines" of 4 feet and think they are a bother.  The frost line here, at that time, was 9 feet (I still think it is defined to be 9 feet, but that is another problem).

The authors also talk about the bark of a tree as having thermal inertia.  I don't think of thermal inertia, I think of thermal mass; but I think the two concepts are closely related.  But no, I would never say that the bark of a tree provides significant thermal mass to the interior of a tree.

I should try to read this at least once more.

3 weeks ago
I found another article, which I will post title, author and URL to.

I am NOT a biology person, I am trained in Materials Science and Engineering.  My M.Eng. thesis (1986) was on simulating grain growth in solids, which shares a lot with freezing of solids (both are nucleation and growth dominated).

If one just considers water that is "almost pure", there are two effects of interest.  The first is something most people know, and that is that there is a positive change in molar volume for water on freezing.  Which is atypical, most materials experience a decrease in volume on freezing.  The other is that the nucleation and growth of ice in water is driven by surface energy considerations in the solid phase (ice).  Small concentrations of solutes near the solid/liquid interface can have large affects on surface energy.

Some ice crystals form sharply pointed solid ice, which can damage things like cell walls.  Other ice crystals have more uniform curvature (positive or negative) as a function of position, and tend to form equi-axed solid water (ice), which has much smaller ability to damage cell walls.  In plants, the first thing one thinks of in terms of "anti-freeze" are sugars, and then maybe sugar-alcohols.
3 weeks ago
That article is from Sep 2018.
3 weeks ago
Cold Hardiness in Trees: A Mini-Review
Michael Wisniewski1, Annette Nassuth and Rajeev Arora


It may be that you can freely get a PDF, I didn't try.

For me, the gist of this review is that they (scientists) are nowhere near understanding cold hardiness in plants (cold being, temperatures allow for water to freeze).  What this paper gives you, is some keywords to look for, and some references.  It seems that a textbook by Frank in 1985 is a key book to have in understanding this kind of thing.  It is referenced in the article (it is 210 pages I believe).

This URL, gives you the complete article to read.

3 weeks ago

Sebastian Köln wrote:Gordon, that sounds like an awful lot of stuff to fail! I don't want any electronics exposed to the weather here, and given how much fence is needed, I doubt a 5 "smart clips" on every post would be affordable.

If you have to pay someone (I am picking the labour rate from local car dealerships here) $160 per hour to build things, then none of this could be affordable.  And knowing the work some of these "technicians" perform (I would rather have a mechanic fix my car, than a technician), it won't work long.

Have you ever looked at an Arduino board?  Or a Raspberry Pi computer?  I think the original price point for Raspberry Pi (model 1) was $35 USD.  About the size of a credit card.

Two of my desktop/servers that I have here, have 750W power supplies.  I just bought a Pinebook Pro laptop which has a Rockchip 3399 CPU in it.  I also have a Raspberry Pi clone here, which has the same Rockchip 3399 CPU in it.  It has a 15W power supply (wall wart).  I first tried to install a 1 TB NVMe SSD in it which drew 6.8W of power, and the machine wouldn't boot.  Too much power.  I had to go buy a different SSD which only draws 4W of power; now it boots.

I am going to use that Rockchip 3399 RPi clone, as part of a GPS basestation on my farm so that I can do realtime kinematic corrections and get precisions down to about 1cm.  Not bad for something with the cross section of a credit card (it's about 2-3 inches thick, but most of that is air).  I think the local John Deere dealership sells add-ons to equipment (and then yearly subscriptions) for thousands (10s of thousands?  More?) of dollars.  Once I get my GPS base station up and running (probably about $400 CDN for parts), I may let local farmers use my data for free, or some minimal price.  If commercial operations look to access the data, it will be closer to John Deere's prices.

Lots of electronics gets "potted".  Once the circuit (which could include a printed circuit board) is finished, it is put in a mold and liquid epoxy resin is poured in to encapsulate all of the electronics.  This works for low power electronics (because epoxy is lousy at conducting heat).  But the epoxy encapsulation pretty much keeps all the weather away from the electronics.

We can make epoxy conduct heat better.  The two best heat conductors are diamond and graphite/graphene/buckminsterfullerene/carbon nanotubes.  Diamond doesn't conduct electricity, whereas all the other carbon based things in the second category do.  So, some kind of diamond addition to epoxy could probably let epoxy potting work for higher powered circuits to (if we get the price of diamond low enough).

There has been a zillion service stations and similar, who have buried steel tanks for gasoline, diesel, ....  And lots of those installs (especially the early ones) resulted in huge leaks of fuel into the ground and huge potential bills for someone to redevelop the land after the service station went away.  A local company in that business a few years ago dug up a glass/epoxy tank which had been buried for 50 (?) years.  It looked like new.  Glass/epoxy is still more expensive on the initial install; but lifetime costs is like comparing someone who gets migraines most days with a person who has never had a headache.

1 month ago
I have no idea if things could be reduced to a screwhead or not.  What I would want to avoid for myself, is anything produced by MBAs.  

I think you want the wire in contact with something like a scroll button on a mouse.  So that it can measure how much the wire scrolls positive or negative at a post.

If a person can staple into a post (such as treated SPF), I think a box might make the most sense.  If the wood is hard like Osage-orange or black locust; I think drilling and possibly even tapping makes the most sense.  Something that resembles a screw (with a big head or possibly a really fat washer under a screw head) might work better.

Having these boxes charge from the pulses emitted by the energizer (the scary ones and the smaller test ones) avoids a lot of problems.

On my farm, there are big chunks of the farm which do not get any direct sunlight on the winter solstice.  Having solar powered energizers won't work there.  The NE corner of my farm gets the most direct sunlight on the winter solstice, at about 4.5 hours.

I agree that just to replace existing performance this idea won't pay.  This idea does make a bunch of other things possible.
1. Variable sized pulses, chosen by need (sheep need more than cows).
2. Record every pulse delivered to the "animals".
3. Feedback telling the farmer how much parasitic loss to weeds (and other) is happening.
4. New data.  I suspect the fence line can tell us what the wind speed is.  I've no idea of the accuracy/precision of such a thing.  Can it give us information on precipitation?

For me, the big one is point 2.  Point 1 could also be of interest to many people.
1 month ago