|What a corn delivery day is like|
|Written by Administrator|
|Tuesday, 16 November 2010 06:10|
If you are heating one room with a small corn burning stove, you don't have to bother with any of this. You can just buy your corn by the bag. Or, you can have it dumped in the back of a pickup and shovel it into some containers when you get home. Some people use plastic garbage cans, for instance. But, when you are heating a whole house of any size it pays to buy your corn in bulk. And, unless you have a wagon, or good sized truck it pays to just have the corn delivered. Check with the place where you buy your corn. It will cost you something extra for deliver, but I wouldn't expect it would cost more than $80 at the most. And, keep in mind a delivery charge is a flat fee. So, it costs you the same if you are getting a small amount or large amount.In my case, to heat the whole house to a comfortable temperature I need 14 tons (28,000 lbs) of corn. That's more trips than I could possibly make in my pickup. So, I spent the $50 the co-op wanted to have the corn delivered all in one trip. For this truck, fourteen tons was just over half a load.
The most important thing for you is to have everything ready when the truck arrives. Delivering corn to a residential neighborhood isn't going to be something your delivery driver is going to be real excited to do to begin with. And, you will be doing all your fellow corn burners a dis-service if you make him wait around for an hour while you are still getting your ducks in a row. These guys are used to wheeling into a big farm lot. Running their auger up to a high capacity bin and then dumping the load off as quick as a ten inch auger will move it. Which is pretty fast indeed. So, anything you do to slow the process down will be effecting your driver's schedule. Some driver's take things messing with their schedule real personal.
My house, by today's standards, was uniquely setup to be able to handle a solid fuel heating in ways new houses are not. And, if you house is about the same age as mine, which just turned 100 this year, you are likely setup too. See my house spent the first 40 years of its life being heated with coal. So, I have a coal room, with a coal chute leading down to it. All I had to do was line the walls of the coal room below with plywood. (It is never a good idea to pour corn directly on a cement floor you will have rot problems from moisture coming out of the concrete.) And, since I wanted to fill the room up to near capacity, I cut a second hole in the floor of my front porch so I could fill the coal room from both ends.
So, its good I have a coal chute, but that doesn't mean it is perfect either. I live on the edge of a hill. I know if I dig down about four feet I hit solid sand. It didn't seem like a good idea to get thirty two thousand pounds of truck and corn too close to the edge. So the perfect angle to run corn into the coal chute wasn't available. What I did to get around this was I went to Farm & Fleet and bought a length of ten inch plastic drain tile. Now, if I had just a bit more information, like the knowledge the auger on the truck was also ten inches, I would have bought twelve inch tile. But this wasn't something I knew. So, what we had to do was "bag" the end of the auger.
I talked up above about making conditions as good as possible for the delivery driver, but farm conditions are not always perfect either. When I was growing up on a farm down in southern Minnesota, our big auger was a six inch bore. And our bins were setup with a filling hatch not much bigger. The modern driver has to be prepared for these situations and so they will often carry a gunny sack style bag to tie on the end of the truck auger spout. The bag acts like a funnel and keeps the kernels from flying around.
So, once the bag is in place, I took my plastic drain tile which I had drilled with a couple of holes on oposite sides and then used some romex wire to wrap over the top of the auger and hold the tile in place. Setup this way, with the bend the tile had to make the driver was able to run his auger at about 1/3rd full speed. Which, he was happy enough with. I had The Wife, who is the family conversationalist, out there to chat him up and keep him from getting too impatient.
Because the tile is hanging off the auger we didn't want it to start to fill up with corn because it would get quite heavy. And, if we ran the auger too fast it seemed to fill the tile faster than it could run out at the bottom. So that necessitated the slower speed.
Its also important for you to know there is a tremendous amount of dust involved in something like this. And, even more important for you to know that dust is explosive. Remember corn burns, so therefore dust from corn mixed with an oxidizer such as air burns very, very fast. As in BOOM! So, open flame would be a bad idea. If you can't seal up the room where the corn is being dumped, you better make sure your corn burner is shut down and cold. Furnace and gas water heater and dryers shut off.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 01:49|