Archive | June, 2012
This is a picture of a nice looking rice field I drove by today.
Rice is one crop I refuse to work. They hold a flood of water on the fields all summer long. The water doesn’t hurt the rice, but it keeps weeds from growing in the field. Once they pump the water on for the permanent flood, it becomes foul and stagnant. There are always swarms of mosquitos, as well as lots of snakes! And you have to walk around in that awful water, it smells just like a teenager’s gym locker. Pee-Yew!
I stopped by the construction site just one day after the walls started and found this in the trash pile.
All of that lumber on top of the woodpile I picked out of the trash pile. I told the contractor to put all of it to the side, I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. After all, I’m paying for this. Most of these 2×4 pieces are 12-24 inches long. There were 2 pieces of 2x12s 24 inches long and some plywood 4 feet long and 18 inches wide. I could use those for all sorts of projects from shelves, bird houses, dog feeders, or hen nests. If nothing else, I can burn those 2x4s in my woodstove to heat my workshop. Waste not want not I always say.
I went out to the homestead yesterday and saw these huge manufactured boards. They are made like plywood, but are 26 feet long, 24 inches wide and 2 inches thick. ( I don’t even want to know what that cost )
They screwed and nailed the three of them together to form a beam to span the garage and attach the shorter floor joists.
They have put up a lot of floor joists, all on 12 inch centers. The great room is looking like an outdoor arbor used to block the sun.
Part of my job involves irrigation scheduling. It is a lot easier now than it was say 15 years ago. Back then we had to use plastic or aluminum pipe like this pictured here.
This pipe was laid out and put together along the high side of the field (crown) by a team of 3 or 5 men. One of the big disadvantages of this method is not being able to take a tractor into the field for spraying. ( Cotton requires a lot of spraying ) When the tractor needed to spray the field, all that pipe had to be picked up by the same 5 man crew. Then when the field needed to be watered, the pipe had to be strung out and reassembled again. Very labor intensive. But now we have a method which is much easier. We use a long roll of poly-pipe, commonly called gut. The best way to describe it for someone who has never seen it is to say it is a single, super heavy-duty garbage bag, 1/2 of a mile long.
This equipment attached to the tractor will dig a shallow trench for the pipe to lay in, then roll out the pipe into the trench.
One end of the pipe is attached to the well using a zip-tie ( cable tie ). The well is powered by a diesel, propane or electric motor. When the well starts pumping, the water begins to fill the pipe. At this point someone walks along the pipe and punches a hole in the pipe using a tool which is nothing more than a wooden handle with a sharp punch attached to the end.
When the hole is punched water spurts out of the pipe and runs downhill between the rows. In a cotton field we punch every other row to avoid saturating the soil. Cotton doesn’t like wet feet.
When the well is shut off, the water drains out of the pipe and lays flat on the ground in the trench dug earlier.
The advantage to this is to allow the tractor to spray the field by simply driving across the pipe. The plastic is heavy-duty enough to allow this without tearing most of the time. If it does tear, it can be patched or repaired with duct tape.
This is Sweet Thing holding a piece of the pipe as it is just taken off the roll.
This is what it looks like split down one side. When the farmers are laying out this pipe, if they come up with a short bit left on a roll (50, 100 or even 150 feet ) it usually gets pitched in the garbage. I could have access to dozens of these bits of roll, free of charge. Now I just have to figure out what they could be used for. I am thinking of using one for a disposable creeper to work under the truck. You could also cover up any old leaky, drafty windows in the winter. I know some of you homesteaders, preppers, and survivalist could come up with some great uses for this. Any ideas?