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WHAT IN THE H*ll are you burning!!!!!!!

Jackmartin Member Posts: 196
Well, Happy New Year 2021 is coming and so will less stress ,hopefully. I was sitting here trying to think of a funny story because we do serious everyday. This is a tale from my early years, very early. The year was 1956 and I was the ripe old age of 5 ,almost time to leave home. I have never in my long life met people who could make life worst for themselves better than my parents. We were Irish prattle diggers and that’s where would should have stayed. The old man at that time was working at Sheas brewery as a helper in the electrical shop ,so we had, oh ,zero money. The old man and my mother came up with a guaranteed money maker, we were going to buy a chicken farm and get rich selling eggs. There were only two problems ;we didn’t know the first thing about chickens, and living on a farm means you are going to spend more money than you would in town. Well, the summer went okay , the chickens were pretty unhappy but they’d get used to it. This country back before global warming got cold in the middle of October and stayed cold until the end of April. The fall arrived and guess what ,we didn’t have enough money to fill the coal bunker, not a dime. We had an old gravity hot air furnace and it was fired on coal and well those lousy coal yards wanted money for their coal,wankers. We were in shall we say ,a cold position.The old man took the shovel by the handle and told my mother one of the old chicken huts was going to be our path to preventing chilblains. He tears the hut down and cuts all the lumber into stove lengths. My job, after all I was five, was to pile the crap in the basement, crap will become a major theme in this tale. The old man was loading the furnace three times a day ,wood is a much poorer fuel than coal. Things went well for awhile even though the house was a little on the cold side until we got down to the interior boards of the hut. Chickens,for whatever reason, didn’t use the toilet they just let it go ,so the boards had a coating of ,shall we say, organic goodness. Well it was December and that was a cold year, the temperature was at a steady 25 or lower so we were going through wood. Finally, we hit the juicy boards and the old man fills the furnace at 4 in the morning. Luckily, it was Saturday so my mother didn’t have to weather the storm ,so to speak. The back door was hammered off the hinges about 9 that morning and our neighbor from the other farm was asking the old man if we were using chemical warfare the whole prairie stank for five miles around. It would seem ,chicken manure and the process of combustion was an aroma all of its own. I went outside with the old man and the aggrieved farmer and the smoke from the chimney was a dirty brown colour and it smelled, well, like a burning chicken hut. The old man was always a diplomatic Irish redneck and he told the guy to do something sexually impossible and stomped back into the house. Things were not going well ,the chickens were legs up frozen solid , who knew they couldn’t take 40 below, and the neighbours were getting up a burn an Irishman before Xmas gang. The day was saved, we were down to about three days of “ friendly” boards , the neighbours had the gibbet erected for the old man, when my grandmother lent my parents money for a load of coal. True to form ,my old man burned the boards to the scraps because the neighbours could all go to hell. What a Xmas ,60 legs up chickens, people lining up in the yard yelling for the old mans blood and December 23 a load of coal delivered by my old mans brother, he worked for the coal yard. Thinking back I still laugh, believe or not ,things only got worse, but at my age it was just another adventure. Stay Well and Be Blessed Jack

Larry WeingartenJUGHNEEdTheHeaterManSolid_Fuel_ManHVACNUTMaxMercykcoppGordoZmanluketheplumber


  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,153
    Ahhh! The good old days.

    Happy New Year!

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,870
    I thought burning peat was the rage.
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 848
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,089
    I lived in India for 6 months about 45 years ago.
    The roaming cows of the streets of New Delhi would follow you if you were eating a banana etc., then you dropped your organic trash on the ground, the cows would eat it up and then eventually drop their dung in the streets and it was scooped up almost immediately by women or children who walked the streets with a basket.
    Then it was taken to the paddy making site, where the same people would form it into paddies about 10" by 2" thick.
    These were piled up in teepee form to dry and then burned for cooking.
    The smoke from this burning, combined with the city air pollution, caused some severe eye problems, some went nearly blind.
    But I never noticed any odors......live in that part of the world for 1 year or so and nothing smelled bad anymore.

    One solution was the Gobar Gas plant.
    A large open tank, maybe 12' by 3' deep, with a slightly smaller dome tank inverted in the larger. Put the dung in thru a shoot to get in under the smaller tank. Add some water to make a slurry.
    As the dung digested and released methane gas it was captured in the upper dome. The weight of the dome would pressurize the gas and it was piped to the cooker and a few lights.
    Some times the family "outhouse" was elevated above the setup to collect from that resource also. These were the originators of the "Squatty Potties". And no TP shortage, none needed, that is what the left hand is for, along with a can of water.
    The heavy sludge from the bottom was collected occasionally for field fertilizer.

    The process was said to save wood, which one (usually only the women) had to walk miles to gather, reduce pollution from dung smoke and still provide fertilizer.

    And I still never smelled anything bad.
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 848
    Interesting that women in India tend to be the 'thought leaders'.
    Given your description...its understandable.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,746
    Happy New Year @Jackmartin !!
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,938
    I hauled home a load of cow manure last year to run through my outdoor wood/coal boiler and to be quite honest, it stunk less than coal does. However I once burned down an old chicken coop at a rental property I had purchased which was saturated with organic chicken waste, and the neighbors were on their way over with their torches and pitchforks within short order. Very "fowl" you could say (pun intended).
  • luketheplumber
    luketheplumber Member Posts: 149
    I friend of mine who is 2 years younger asked me if I could hook him up with a pack on smokes. After cursing him out and calling him a complete idiot for wanting to start a nasty habit like that I told him Hell no. I am now tempted to prank him by giving him a pack chicken poop cigs to send him a message.
    I just earned my GED and am looking for a apprenticeship with one of these steam gurus on this site!
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 919
    @JUGHNE; What you described in your Dec 2020 answer to is exactly how an anaerobic waste water plant works. (sewage treatment plant). I worked on a few of these across Pennsylvania that used the methane gas as fuel in a hot water boiler to heat the "poop" so the bugs would work overtime to break down the waste. Talk about efficiency. Collect waste, break it down, collect the gas, and use the gas (methane) which you had to get rid of anyway, to help with the production of the gas. Most of the burners were S T Johnson gas/oil. The worst part for me was getting used to the "perfume aroma" of the gas.