Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Biofuel created by a wood hog near Timmins Ontario

See the video Mulcher Wood Hog Timmins Ontario. You can take a look at how the slash left over from a harvest operation is turned into a fuel that will be burned to create electricity.

This harvest operation is what we call mechanical. Fellerbuncher fells the trees, then a grapple skidder pulls the bunches of trees roadside. Once roadside the tree is either processed or delimbed, sometimes both.

What is left behind from that process is the tops, branches and leaves. It is this biomass that is placed in the mulcher to create a material that can be fed into power plants.

The Centre for Energy is just one of the very many Canadian site on the topic, but it has a very good general overview of the bio energy sector.

The material from this block is destine for facilities operated by Northland Power. One facility is the Kirkland Lake Generating Station, the other facility is the Cochrane Generating Station.

muddy mark webpage

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Seeding Machine - Soon the greenhouse will be all green!!

One day this week I was in the greenhouse helping on the seeding line.

I was at the "front" of the machine. My job was to place the template on the top of the growing medium before it passed under the seeding machine. What does that mean?

The growing medium (in this cased jiffy pellets) are contained inside a plastic insert. The template lines up so that the seeds will fall, one seed into each container.

Once it passes under the seeding machine the template is removed and the, now seeded, containers move forward under a gentle spray. Two of these inserts are placed in a plastic tray and then forwarded onto a conveyor that will take the tray down the bench.

Millions of tree seedlings are started this way.

Coming soon, the greenhouse will turn green. I love going into the greenhouse when it is -30C. My glasses steam and the moist air smells wonderful.

Watch for picture of the greenhouse turning green.

Skidder Operator Now

It is always good to learn new things. The last couple of months in the bush I have been a grapple skidder operator. It is a John Deere 748 GIII.

It takes a little getting use to. For a person that is use to seeing the trees from ground level, walking gently on the forest floor, this is a bit of a change.

The grapple skidder is used in most conventional harvest operations in the boreal forest. After the layout of the block is completed a fellerbuncher harvests the trees and leaves them in bunches in the harvest patch. The skidder backs up to the bunch and pulls it roadside.

The idea is to have the trees piled a couple of bunches high to make it easier for the next machine, which is a delimber. To get the pile high you drive over the previous placed bunches. Sometimes the machine does not go where you want it to. Sometimes it gets a little sideways.

Sometimes you have to call a more seasoned operator to get the machine off the pile.

One picture below I am stuck and have to get Peter to get the machine out of the pile. When the front tire was up in the air, it made me just to uneasy.

In the second picture I have the machine stuck in the pile when I was attempting to flatten the branches to be able to drive over the pile from behind.

Guess I need to show you a fellerbunch and delimber, I will get some pictures next week. If you want to see processing of the wood in the bush you can see the youtube video.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Favorite Bird - Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus.

Today was a very bright very cold day. All the snow on the ground and in the trees reflecting everywhere.

Then, there swooping across the road, a familiar bird. It is the unmistakable flight path of the Pileated woodpecker. I call to another machine operator to look at the bird, just as it glides across the road again. He tells me it looks like a bird to him.

I have been trying to get a good picture of the bird for many years, so many years that it was back in the film days when I finally got close. I was armed with a 200mm lens on my 35mm camera traveling almost silent on a trail with cross-country skies.

A pileated woodpecker swooped in just in front of me. I was able to ski very close. Closest I have ever been able to get. The bird "worked with me" turning the head and showing off the bright red colours in the sunshine.

I smile and only take a couple of pictures, which is unusual since shooting off a roll of film during a ski was easy to do.

I smile and talk to the bird asking how he knew. "How do you know?" "What little birdie told you?"


I did put the picture in the forestry yearbook I did at Sault College. Ever couple of years when I flip the pages and see the picture it still mkaes me smile.


All About Birds

Ancient Forest Research Report No. 15

Summary of Forest Management
Guidelines for the Provision of Pileated
Woodpecker Habitat

Muddys' Emporium