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GSBN: Digest for 1/19/05



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-> Re: GSBN:Re: Leaving bales bare
     by Rene Dalmeijer rene.dalmeijer@...
-> Re: GSBN:Re: Leaving bales bare 
     by "Martin Oehlmann" martin.oehlmann@...
-> Re: GSBN:Leaving bales bare
     by "Habib John Gonzalez" habibg@...


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Date: 19 Jan 2005 06:20:08 -0600
From: Rene Dalmeijer rene.dalmeijer@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Re: Leaving bales bare

Derek and others,

I am very grateful for Derek's extensive reply as he crosses many T's I
failed to cross in my initial posting.

On Jan 19, 2005, at 01:26, Derek Roff wrote:

>> Fresh dry bales are basically relatively spore free.
>
> Relatively spore free, compared to ???

Bales that have been sitting around under usual not so carefully
controlled storage at least what is usual here in The Netherlands.
These bales seem to be well infected with spores just waiting to sprout
mushrooms under sufficiently moist circumstances. Being prudent when
sourcing bales is very important.

> Various decay-causing mold and
> fungus spores are endemic to the environment where the straw was grown
> and
> harvested.  Spores are present in small quantities throughout the
> field,
> the baling machinery and within the bale itself.  Spore distribution is
> determined by the environmental balance of the area.

And my I humbly add: under the specific weather conditions before and
when they were baled. Having the right 'vintage' bales besides
plastering might be a key element in the longevity of a SB house.
>
>> If these bales are rapidly encased in plaster there is very little
>> chance
>> that the straw will be infected with new fungus spores.

>
> I doubt the importance of this, although the local environment could
> make a
> difference.  There aren't many new spores in the air, if we are talking
> about an outdoor building site that isn't too close to a blooming mold
> or
> fungus colony.  In Rene's location, perhaps this is a big issue.
> However,
> if the bales are stacked in the same general environment where the
> straw
> grew, then the quantity and variety of the rot-inducing critters will
> not
> increase much with exposure to ambient air.  Dusting the exposed
> surface of
> a bale wall with a few dormant spores is not a good way to inoculate a
> bale.  Those spores will stay dormant on the outside surface of the
> bale,
> until the bale gets wet.
>
>
>> I think the main thing separating these cases is the presence
>> or lack of- spores in the bales.
>
> Granted, this is the cause of the difference.  But we need to
> understand
> the "cause of the cause."  I think picking up a few dormant spores on
> the
> bale surface is insignificant.  I believe that what makes the biggest
> difference is the presence of developed colonies (for some
> micro-organisms)
> and magnitude of the total number of decay-producing organisms.  This
> is
> more likely to be controlled by the number of times, and the length of
> each
> time, when the decay-causing spores/molds/fungi in a given bale have
> the
> conditions needed to move out of dormancy and into the growth and
> reproduction phases.
>
> Following on to my previous assertion, adding a few dormant spores to
> the
> surface of a bale increases the total spore count throughout the bale
> by a
> tiny fraction.  Giving all the micro-organisms in the bale a few hours
> of
> growth time can increase the total spore count of the bale by many
> thousands of times.  Giving some kinds of micro-organisms a chance to
> organize their colonies before returning to dormancy, allows them to
> reproduce much more rapidly and aggressively than a similar number of
> scattered individuals.  I think these latter differences cause the
> problems, and the diverse decay rates that we have seen in bales.
>
> I could be wrong.  It would be great to get some biologists involved in
> researching this question.  It will present a challenging research
> design.
> In the meantime, I endorse Rene's suggestion to always plaster the
> bales as
> quickly as possible, and add the suggestion that we do everything
> possible
> to keep all the micro-organisms in the bale dormant as completely and
> continuously as possible.
>
I agree wholeheartedly with Derek on this. The chances of serious new
inoculation of the bales with wind blown spores is insignificant
compared to the effects of blooming already existent spores due to even
superficial wetting given enough time and or suitable circumstances.
(>15C, 20% rel)

In most cases all that we can do besides carefully sourcing and
selecting bales is to rapidly and fully encase the bales with plaster
endeavouring to do what Derek suggests in his last sentence.

Straw and bales exhibiting grey flecks should be avoided this indicates
fungus growth and most probably blooming with high spore inoculation.
The old and very true advice is that bales should be bright yellow.

Rene



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 19 Jan 2005 07:30:51 -0600
From: "Martin Oehlmann" martin.oehlmann@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Re: Leaving bales bare 

Hello,

...  I would encourage to ask the supplier for proper "golden" bales, with
no rain after harvesting and less possible humidity on the ground....

Something similar: we once had a discussion on small beetle creatures. They
don't seem to survive much in conventional straw, but rather in organic
straw.

If properly plastered on both sides, there seem to be no a problem, thus
"best experience"...

Using straw-bales for roof insulation, I thought of placing dipped (lime)
strawbales and spraying one layer on top. There will be ventilation for the
bales.

Preventive question: did anyone with roofinsulation discovered beetle
problems or has some additional insights?

Best wishes, Martin





- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Rene Dalmeijer" rene.dalmeijer@...
To: "GSBN" GSBN@...
Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 12:56 PM
Subject: Re: GSBN:Re: Leaving bales bare


> Derek and others,
>
> I am very grateful for Derek's extensive reply as he crosses many T's I
> failed to cross in my initial posting.
>
> On Jan 19, 2005, at 01:26, Derek Roff wrote:
>
> >> Fresh dry bales are basically relatively spore free.
> >
> > Relatively spore free, compared to ???
>
> Bales that have been sitting around under usual not so carefully
> controlled storage at least what is usual here in The Netherlands.
> These bales seem to be well infected with spores just waiting to sprout
> mushrooms under sufficiently moist circumstances. Being prudent when
> sourcing bales is very important.
>
> > Various decay-causing mold and
> > fungus spores are endemic to the environment where the straw was grown
> > and
> > harvested.  Spores are present in small quantities throughout the
> > field,
> > the baling machinery and within the bale itself.  Spore distribution is
> > determined by the environmental balance of the area.
>
> And my I humbly add: under the specific weather conditions before and
> when they were baled. Having the right 'vintage' bales besides
> plastering might be a key element in the longevity of a SB house.
> >
> >> If these bales are rapidly encased in plaster there is very little
> >> chance
> >> that the straw will be infected with new fungus spores.
>
> >
> > I doubt the importance of this, although the local environment could
> > make a
> > difference.  There aren't many new spores in the air, if we are talking
> > about an outdoor building site that isn't too close to a blooming mold
> > or
> > fungus colony.  In Rene's location, perhaps this is a big issue.
> > However,
> > if the bales are stacked in the same general environment where the
> > straw
> > grew, then the quantity and variety of the rot-inducing critters will
> > not
> > increase much with exposure to ambient air.  Dusting the exposed
> > surface of
> > a bale wall with a few dormant spores is not a good way to inoculate a
> > bale.  Those spores will stay dormant on the outside surface of the
> > bale,
> > until the bale gets wet.
> >
> >
> >> I think the main thing separating these cases is the presence
> >> or lack of- spores in the bales.
> >
> > Granted, this is the cause of the difference.  But we need to
> > understand
> > the "cause of the cause."  I think picking up a few dormant spores on
> > the
> > bale surface is insignificant.  I believe that what makes the biggest
> > difference is the presence of developed colonies (for some
> > micro-organisms)
> > and magnitude of the total number of decay-producing organisms.  This
> > is
> > more likely to be controlled by the number of times, and the length of
> > each
> > time, when the decay-causing spores/molds/fungi in a given bale have
> > the
> > conditions needed to move out of dormancy and into the growth and
> > reproduction phases.
> >
> > Following on to my previous assertion, adding a few dormant spores to
> > the
> > surface of a bale increases the total spore count throughout the bale
> > by a
> > tiny fraction.  Giving all the micro-organisms in the bale a few hours
> > of
> > growth time can increase the total spore count of the bale by many
> > thousands of times.  Giving some kinds of micro-organisms a chance to
> > organize their colonies before returning to dormancy, allows them to
> > reproduce much more rapidly and aggressively than a similar number of
> > scattered individuals.  I think these latter differences cause the
> > problems, and the diverse decay rates that we have seen in bales.
> >
> > I could be wrong.  It would be great to get some biologists involved in
> > researching this question.  It will present a challenging research
> > design.
> > In the meantime, I endorse Rene's suggestion to always plaster the
> > bales as
> > quickly as possible, and add the suggestion that we do everything
> > possible
> > to keep all the micro-organisms in the bale dormant as completely and
> > continuously as possible.
> >
> I agree wholeheartedly with Derek on this. The chances of serious new
> inoculation of the bales with wind blown spores is insignificant
> compared to the effects of blooming already existent spores due to even
> superficial wetting given enough time and or suitable circumstances.
> (>15C, 20% rel)
>
> In most cases all that we can do besides carefully sourcing and
> selecting bales is to rapidly and fully encase the bales with plaster
> endeavouring to do what Derek suggests in his last sentence.
>
> Straw and bales exhibiting grey flecks should be avoided this indicates
> fungus growth and most probably blooming with high spore inoculation.
> The old and very true advice is that bales should be bright yellow.
>
> Rene
>
> ----
> GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this list
are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as an advisory board and technical editing arm.
>
> For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
send email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
> ----
>



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 19 Jan 2005 12:09:37 -0600
From: "Habib John Gonzalez" habibg@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Leaving bales bare

Greetings all:

There is a beginning of a bale producer network throughout the provinces of
British Columbia and Alberta and Washington state producing high quality
building grade bales. The bales are made from wheat, barley, Timothy, oats
and flax. Our two primary producers sell bales with a density of 9 lbs/cuft,
well above the Pima County/Tucson code. All are aware for the need to keep
their fibre dry at all stages of production but we still find the odd mouldy
bale during construction.

When ordering bales our clients are encouraged to ask how the bales are
stored and the weather conditions at the time of harvest. They also know to
take care when storing their bales over winter for an early start to their
building project in the spring.

Having taken these precautions, everyone at the wall raisings is advised to
check the bales they are stacking or customizing for visible mould and
moisture. An digital moisture probe is in constant use randomly checking the
bale stack and the walls until all the walls are built.

This November a BC native women's organization sponsored a wall raising
class for local members. The daily temperatures were too cold for plastering
so the students hung tarps from the fascia of the studio leaving a generous
air space between the walls and the tarps. The client explained the project
had to proceed at this time due the need to use the training budget before
the end of the year.

Five years ago, a family built a three story bed and breakfast on a well
known ski hill in eastern BC in the late fall. They wanted to get their
business running as soon as possible. We stacked the walls as the first
snows fell and they plastered the interior walls over the winter. The
following spring we had another workparty to spray stucco the exterior
walls. The outside walls were also protected by tarps hung from the eaves
which allowed for the movement of air between the bales and the tarps. No
apparent mold or moisture problems were found the following spring.

Not far from my home, friends built a two story 4,000 sqft post and beam
home and only managed to plaster an exterior scratch coat before winter. The
family moved in and finished the interior plaster over the next two years.
The owners carefully observed their bales during that time and checked the
walls regularly with one of my probes. The bales remained dry and no
indications of mold were detected, either visually or by smell.

To make a long story longer, it is safest to assume that bales can easily
contain potentially damaging moulds despite our best efforts to keep them
safe and circumstances may dictate that bale walls be all or partially
unplastered for any given length of time. Our clients' experiences show this
is not automatically a disastrous situation.


all the best,

Habib


*******************************************************************
Sustainable Works
Habib John Gonzalez
615 Cedar Street, Nelson, B.C.
Canada V1L 2C4
tel/fax 250.352.3731
****************************************************************************
********
"Better the kindness of imperfection than perfection without kindness."


 ----



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