April 20, 2004

New Photographs

I have uploaded some new photographs.

There is a new album with photos of Tree Planting
I added a photo of one of our streams under The Farm
Trip photos from Jennifer's family Easter Picnic are in Jen's Family Photos

So check out the Photo Gallery

Posted by DaveH at 09:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A busy few weeks...

As I had mentioned earlier, we ordered almost 200 trees from several different vendors. Well, they all came in within a few days of each other…

Jen spent a week getting them planted - pre-drilling the holes for them helped a lot but there was still a lot of spade-work that needed to be done because you do not want to crowd the young roots and some of the trees had a well-developed root system. I was up last weekend and helped a bit - the trees need to be supported so I bought a bunch of 20' pieces of 1/2” rebar and used an abrasive wheel on my chopsaw to cut them into 5' lengths. Drove Buttercup around the field delivering them.

Next project for me is finishing off the Electric Fence - we have a sizable deer population and this will be needed to prevent predation.

Jen's next project is getting the irrigation system installed. We have water rights for one of the streams that flows through the property - we will be using that plus our own well water for the irrigation. The land upstream from us is all Department of Natural Resources land so with the exception of occasional logging, there is nothing upstream that could cause problems.

Posted by DaveH at 08:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 08, 2004

Interesting Apple Technology

The USDA and Minnesota State University are working on a way to automatically measure sugar content and texture of an apple as it passes on a conveyor line.

The story is here

Lu has developed a prototype machine that uses a multispectral imaging system to zap apples with four lasers as they file down a conveyor belt. Computers equipped with artificial neural networks are trained to recognize the absorption and reflection patterns created by the near-infrared rays. Depending on how much light is reflected or absorbed, scientists can determine each apple's sugar content and firmness.

Researchers hope to expand the machine's capabilities to detect acidity and structural defects. Eventually, the same laser technology used on apples will be applied to peaches, pears and other fruits.

“One beauty of using light is that it allows us to measure multiple quality traits at one time,” Lu said.

The prototype machine can analyze one apple every two seconds. Lu said machines capable of handling 10 apples per second on multiple conveyors might be in packing plants within three years.

Very cool stuff. This does not have any application to what we are doing since we are not growing apples for a commercial retail market. Still, the idea of being able to measure sugar content with a hand-held device is a good one and a project like this will certainly have spinoffs that trickle down.

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