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Sunday, January 29, 2012

What Draws the Smoke Up the Flue?

Sitting in front of this fire prompted the question, "What causes the smoke to rise up through the chimney?" Obviously, hot air rises but a bit of research provided the full story. The following excerpt comes from How Your Chimney Really Works within the Chimney Safety Institute of America website:

Draft and Flow
Many experienced chimney professionals use the similarities between water and air to explain the way your chimney works. Although most people don't realize it, the air moving up your chimney works under the same set of physical principles as water flowing in a hose or pipe.When a fireplace chimney is full of hot air, it actually pulls air through the firebox. This pulling effect is called draft and it corresponds to the amount of pressure in a water hose - the only difference is that the air pressure is negative and the water pressure is positive (think of using a straw to drink with instead of to blow bubbles). Thus, a chimney is called a negative pressure system. Increasing the draft in your chimney is like opening the faucet wider on the hose. The simplest way to increase the draft in your chimney is to burn the fire hotter - hotter air is lighter, so it has more pull.

Another way to get more draft is to increase the height of your chimney - except when the chimney is already so tall that frictional forces negate the effect of the extra height. Given the same amount of pressure, a larger pipe can obviously carry a greater volume of water than a smaller one. The same is true for chimneys - with the same amount of draft (pressure), a larger flue will exhaust more smoke from your fireplace than a smaller one. But just as a water hose can be kinked or plugged, the airflow in your chimney can have a restriction that slows down the smoke flowing up the chimney. Some of the reasons for poor flow in a chimney are: excessive creosote deposits; closed or plugged dampers; improper construction; structural damage or even a dirty chimney cap. In fact, having a plugged-up chimney cap at the end of your chimney is just like having a closed nozzle at the end of a hose - you just can't get any airflow through the chimney.

There's also a good section in the Chimney Safety Institute of America website on How to Select Firewood.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Brunswick - The Film

Brunswick, A Film by Nate Simms

Brunswick is a film about landscape change, told through the personal story of a farmer’s lifelong connection to his now-threatened land.  The film weaves together the plight of Sanford Bonesteel, an aging farmer in his 90s, with the dynamics of small-town politics as a residential development is planned on Sanford’s former land. 

The film takes place in Brunswick, New York, a small country town facing the challenge of balancing  economic growth with the preservation of its rural character.  It is a story both specific to Brunswick and yet recognizable to rural communities all over the United States.

Brunswick will be shown at the Catskill Film Festival on Sunday, January 29th

Brunswick Trailer

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Early Toll Road

This historical marker is at the corner of Elm Street (Co. Rd. 38) and NY State Rt 22 in Berlin. The road dates back to the Manor of Rensselaerswyck days when tenant farmers traveled it to bring payments of grain and poultry to the Patroon Stephen Van Rensselaer. It appears on the 1829 map of Rensselaer below as "Eastern Turnpike." The toll for a horse and rider was 5 cents or 12-1/2 cents for a four-wheel carriage with two horses.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rensselaer Plateau Weather Station

Baby, it's cold outside!

I took this screenshot of my Rensselaer Plateau Weather Station's reading at 6:15 a.m. this morning.  Note that the low was -10 degrees at 5:22 a.m. 

I provide a feed to Davis Instruments' webpage set up from my station and to a webpage set up for for my weather station.

Here are some details on the station, which is located on our property at Taconic Lake in the Town of Grafton.  It's powered by solar cells, transmits a signal to a module located in my house which then feeds the signal via a Time-Warner cable internet link to Davis Instruments in Hayward, California where it is routed into Davis Instruments' server for distribution on the internet via their WeatherLink site.

Latitude: N 42 ° 44 ' 1 '' ( 42.734 ° )
Longitude: W 73 ° 24 ' 53 '' ( -73.415 ° )
MADIS ID: D7536 (NOAA's Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System -- which collects the data from member weather stations such as mine which makes it available for use by the National Weather Service and others.)

Hardware: Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2
Weather Station Software: WeatherLinkIP

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rahob Dharma Center

Meditation Hall (Buddhist)
 18 Hewitt Road - Petersburgh
Meditation Practice: Sundays, 11am-noon
Rahob Rinpoche, Head Lama
"Rahob Rinpoche began his career as the reincarnated head of Rahob Monastery in Tibet at the age of three. His lifetime dedication in helping others is inspiring to all of us. He graciously offers his knowledge and exuberance for life. Rahob Dharma Center in Upstate New York in the Berkshires has cultural, religious, and practical practice for cultivating the mind. Enjoy, learn and bring home knowledge on Mindfulness, Self-improvement, Healing Habitual Patterns, Mind Training, Reducing Stress, Anger and Fear and nurture the way we live."
(credit: Rhahob Dharma Center Website)

Rahob Dharma Center website

A Visit with Rahob Rinpoche (credit Go Beyond Words: Wisdom Publications' Buddhist Blog)

Rahob Dharma Center

Meditation Hall Weathervane

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reynolds Farm - Petersburgh

"William W. Reynolds was a native of Westerly, Rhode Island.  He settled in Petersburgh in 1780 and became a prominent and successful farmer and filled the office of supervisor for several terms and was magistrate for many years. He served in the Revolutionary War as a volunteer for a short time without pay, and participated in the Battle of Bennington. He reared four sons and two daughters."
Landmarks of Rensselaer County, by George Baker Anderson, D. Mason & Co. Publishers, Syracuse, NY 1897

NY Rt 22 - Petersburgh

Monday, January 9, 2012

Moonlight and Ice Noise on Taconic Lake

Taconic Lake - Grafton
When there are major fluctuations in temperature, lake ice expands and contracts causing relatively loud cracking noise. The evening of January 8th, 2012 provided a virtual symphony on Taconic Lake on the Rensselaer Plateau in southeastern Grafton. Crank up the volume to hear the sound of ice expanding, cracking and "popping" in the movie clip below. The loud "clunk" you hear, about 3/4 of the way through the clip, is actually from the lake ice.  For a more professionally recording of this phenomena listen to the clip Cracking Ice-Sheets Sound Like Star War Blasters.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Meeting House Gallery

19219 NY Rt 22 - Petersburgh

Petersburgh as two retail estblishments that I'm aware of: Papas Pizza and The Meeting House Gallery. I paid a visit to The Meeting House Gallery for the first time this weekend and and was impressed with what was available: paintings, sculptures, folk art, pottery, glass, maps, books, china, pewter, stoneware and a whole lot more on three floors of the meeting house.

Three Floors Chock-Full

Antique Bugle: $95

Open 10am-4pm Daily
Phone: (518) 658-2099

All Saints Church

4935 NY Rt 2 - Hoosick

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tibbits State Forest

The 883-acre Tibbits State Forest was donated to New York State in 1953 by Reverend John K.Tibbits as a memorial to his family who had owned the land for over 150 years.

Nearby, is Tibbits Mansion which is now part of Hoosac School. During the 1800's travelers on the turnpike, which later became Route 7, had to be aware of the "Shingle Hollow Desperadoes" who lie in wait in the forest.

Today, New York Route 7 divides the Forest into two sections. There are about four miles of hiking and logging trails. An old logging road starts gradually up the hill from the parking spot on Route 7. To the left is the "Nature Trail" and to the right a two mile hike around the back side of the hill following another logging road.

If you head west from the start of the "Nature Trail", you will find easy walking for about 1.5 miles as it parallels Route 7 and Shingle Hollow Creek. The forest has groves of pine, hemlock, and white oak. Ferns and wildflowers thrive throughout.

For those outdoor enthusiasts, the trails lend themselves to hiking and cross-country skiing along with trail rides. For hunters, the forest offers many opportunities to hunt for a large variety of wildlife. For anglers, try fishing Shingle Hollow, a NYS classified trout stream with trout spawning designation.

Source: Town of Hoosick website