Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   not usually proud
Friday, November 20 2015
This morning was sunny and fairly warm, so I didn't bother to start a fire in the woodstove. I took advantage of the cold firebox to remove and weigh the ashes. Since, for the first time ever, I'd measured all (or very nearly all) of the material I'd burned in the stove during this ash-collection period, I could finally calculate a conversion factor for turning pounds of ash into pounds of original wood (at least for dry Chestnut Oak burned in the manner that I burn it). The wood burned during this ash collection period came to 1229.4 pounds, and, at 4200 lbs./cord (for White Oak, of which Chestnut Oak is a close relative), that comes to 0.293 cords. My old guestimate formula for converting pounds of ashes to cords calculates that the wood burned was 0.209 cords, or 29 percent less than measured reality. My guestimate formula for pounds of wood burned per day calculated that I'd burned an average of 16.4 pounds per day, though the measured reality was 25.09 pounds per day. I will continue measuring wood as I burn it for at least another ash collection period to see if ash weight consistently tracks the weight of the wood burned to produce it.

Number of daysAsh
Est. firewood burntEst. firewood/day
Nov 14-Dec 19 20133613.5 lbs0.27 cords29 lbs
Dec 20 2013-Jan 22 20143320.5 lbs0.41 cords48 lbs
Jan 23-Feb 19 20142824 lbs0.48 cords66.23 lbs
Feb 20-Mar 20 20142916 lbs0.32 cords42.63 lbs
Apr 21 2014-Aug 16 201411810.6 lbs0.21 cords6.94 lbs
Aug 17-Dec 12 201411820.8 lbs0.41 cords13.62 lbs
Dec 13-Dec 26 2014145.8 lbs0.116 cords32.02 lbs
Dec 27 2014-Feb 2 201538 (31)13.75 lbs0.275 cords27.96 lbs (34.27 lbs)
Feb 3-Mar 5 20153112.25 lbs0.245 cords (actual firewood burned closer to 0.75 cords)31.12 (inaccurate)
Mar 6-Mar 31 2015268.4 lbs0.168 cords (actual firewood burned closer to 0.25 cords)24.97 (inaccurate)
Apr 1-Jul 25 201511611.8 lbs0.236 cords (much of which was paper ash)7.86
July 26-Oct 1 20156810.35 lbs0.207 cords (nearly all of which was paper/cardboard ash)11.7
Oct 2-Nov 19 20154910.45 lbs0.209 cords (est)
1229.4 lbs (measured)
0.293 cords (calculated)
16.4 (est)
25.09 (calculated)
Figures in red limit the calculations to days of actual firewood heating.

Later, in the middle of an otherwise-leisurely morning spent drinking decaf in the living room, I opened up the blind plug on the stove's chimney pipe and used my extendible fibreglass rods and makeshift scraper (made from old windshield wiper metal) to scrape loose as much creosote as I could, letting it fall into the firebox to eventually be recycled as fuel.
Later in the afternoon, Gretchen caught a bus down to Manhattan to attend one of only two American performances by the Electric Light Orchestra on a tour promoting a new album. For those too young or forgetful to remember, ELO was the late-70s band famous for such radio hits as "I'm Alive" and "Last Train to London." Gretchen loves their zany exuberance, and I remember as a pre-pubescent boy thinking they were among the lesser of the many evils on broadcast radio. Tickets had been hard to obtain, and the only reason Gretchen got one was due to the efforts of a wealthy friend with a "ticket guy" (there is evidently a whole spectrum of services for the wealthy that are unknown to the middle class).
This evening as I continued tinkering with the code driving my Ahmed Mohamed clock, at some point I stumbled onto a clever way to parse decimal data using a parser (in this case a function called make2Longs) that mostly ignores non-digit characters (though it does accept "-", "/", " ", and "," as delimiters) and completely ignores ".". I'm not usually proud of the details of my coding, which rarely or never demonstrate any signs of brilliance on that level. But in this case, I actually did something interesting. The magic happens in these lines of code:

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