dry wood and how to get it quickly
Thursday, February 1 2007
I've found that I can usually drive most of the water from firewood, even fairly green firewood, if I just stack it up beside the hot woodstove for a day or so. Such conditions are much hotter and drier than any a piece of wood could hope to encounter during the six months it is purportedly required to spend drying in a woodshed. When drying wood in the house this way, the indoor atmosphere gets the benefit of the moisture that had been locked up in the wood. Of course, sometimes I'm overzealous with my drying and pile the wood too close to the stove or even (briefly) on top. In such cases the food can start to smoulder and fill the house with fumes. I find pine sap bears too close a resemblance to cheap cleaning compounds, and it's not a smell I like. (Smouldering pine needles, on the other hand, make for delicious smoke.) The worse smell of all comes from smouldering Cottonwood, which bears a striking similarity to horse manure, though it's a bit more "chemically" than that.
For those wondering why there's any advantage to drying wood in the house over just tossing moist wood into a hot firebox, I can explain. Heated moisture from a drying stick of wood stays in the house, where it can later release its latent heat should it, say, condense out on a cold surface. But water boiled from the wood in the firebox charges immediately up the chimney and is released into the outdoors, carrying away all of its latent heat with it. The boiling-off of water from moist firewood has noticeable impact on the heat produced in the firebox; it's much easier to start and maintain a fire and to heat the house if I use perfectly dry firewood.
Today I wrote a PHP function that looks up all the foreign key relationships for a table being viewed in my generic database tool and then comes up with a SQL select statement containing all the possible joins to related tables (these actually have to be left joins). This SQL can then be used to produce displays of many records of data with all the foreign key IDs converted into meaningful text. As always with my system, the benefits of this improvement were even greater than I'd expected. Now, for example, a search of a table (using the tool's search functionality) can be for a string that is actually held in foreign table, so long as that foreign table is related to the searched table by a foreign key relationship.
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