ShopTalk Sunday: Logging with Drones (2)

This week a further discussion of using drones around our tree farm.

You will remember last week; I was having an issue with a tree that got in the way of my (out of practice) drone flying skills.  So, I dropped the tree, right between a power pole and the greenhouse at the dirt garden.

What I didn’t get into was the whole adventure (once the drone was retrieved) which followed getting it to calibrate and get on to using it as an operating “power tool” around the farm.

Today, we’ll go through a little “amateur logging” to give you a better idea of what goes into being a “landsman” when you have a big property (in land area) here in Texas.  Before play, let’s get the tree cleaned up.

Falling a Tree is Easy. Ask about Clean-up!

Even using a couple of battery powered 4-inch chainsaws, it was still two charger visits to get through the job. This is the Before.

The process is you start from the bottom of the tree (the fat part, there Slicker).  Then you walk towards the top of the tree.  As you go, you will be cutting everything off next to the trunk.  The limbs are the next smaller size and then down to branches from there.  Following?


As you do this, you will be throwing the cuttings as shown in our (cleverly?) color-coded Junior Drone Logger Planning Diagram.  (Which assumes you cut down the tree without smashing the greenhouse, amazing the wife with your skill, frankly.)

As you can see, the uphill side of the tree was thrown into a pile in the garden. And the lower side was simply thrown over an existing fence.

The Big Change is when you get all the limbs off and cut down to 4-6 foot branches, they all pile and draw pretty good with the tractor bucket down and the bucket forks barely touching ground. That gets the garden clean.

You then do a back-draw down out of the garden (close quarters in the fence opening) and keep pulling the pile down in one smooth pull until it’s even with the low wooden fence.

Then the tractor bucket is used to push a single combined pile down to a burn site.

Big Burn Piles

30 Acres is about 12 hectares.  And to keep property like this really clean, you need 3-5 burn piles around the property.

Here is the one closest to the house (300 feet?) away.

I know it doesn’t look too impressive from the air, but to put things in perspective let’s go higher.

You can begin to see how big it is from up here.  Which is interesting from a land management standpoint because when we go much higher, we will get into high canopy areas:

When I tell you trees down here typically run 100-130 feet, it’s no joke.  Logging is still a very big deal in this part of the South.

Oh, and sometimes you will catch a local red tail hawk crossing below the drone (with no encoder on, for shame!):

As you can see, I was maybe 150 feet up (AGL) for this.  That tower-looking track is our wooden fence with a 440 V power line up to a pole in our yard.  Which will be where the fiber optics will be going (on poles). One of these days…

Drone and Saw Talk

The Potensic Atom SE has been doing fine.  They’re running $249 at Amazon when a $40 coupon is applied.  Once we got past an initial calibration error.  Which Potensic customer support solved. It may have something to do with the cheap $90 class 10-inch Android 13, which was replaced with a 7-inch 400 nit (brightness) phone.  Works way better and is fine around sunrise, sunset and cloudy days.  But if you plan on sunny day drone flying much, get a high nit phone along the way 800 nits would be peachy.

The Samsung micro SD card was a bust. A smaller 128 GB SanDisk works dandy.

On the saws, the 2 little green 4-inch battery saws did this whole job.  But since there is a lot more work coming up this winter, we opted to try one of the slightly longer 6-inch battery saws (same basic concept) but these have added a chain oiler which makes a lot of sense. Just found them this week.

As you can see, it looks like a tiny tank and one of those gas engine primer pumps.  Fill with chain oil and pump once in a while. With 30 percent off it was right around $60 with the tax.  I don’t see too much difference between these saws, but the interesting part will be seeing if the oiler keeps oiling (when the saw is put away!).  Had that problem on an old HF electric.

Measure your saw, too.  Very good to know when you are cutting wood for a small stove. Hard to bluff sheet steel sides!

Figure the saw is 13-inches overall and that’s about all the smallest of the wood stoves eats, so a useful number to keep in mind.

We have a larger (electric) Oregon 18-inch electric, but it’s corded.  Not a huge fan of corded saws, but they’re going for $101 on sale and we like them for trimming larger trees.  The extension cord to use (and via a GFI Outdoor outlet if you can manage it) would be a #12 gauge.  Something like the ClearPower cord with adapter here for $80.

Another option is to pick up the generator and use a shorter cord. But then you have issues with power, noise, and in summer risk of sparks.  There’s a reason woods get shut down sometimes in late summer.

Home Surveillance

By the way, the other reason for the drone is for being able to track suspicious vehicles.  We will only get the odd car – one every week, or two.  The Potensic is fast enough in “sport mode” to keep up for a while.  It will do 36 miles per hour.

Adrenaline, anyone?  See where the limbs and branches are on the road?  And see the two power lines?

The video is 4K-30 FPS so freeze-framed in VLC Media Player and bumped up, it can catch a lot of detail.

Which I’m putting 0ut there because it’s one of the tools we will be going after local poachers with this winter.

Let me think, anything else?  Unless you want me to brag about how good the tractor work was with just one pass along that low wooden fence?

Yes sir, it’s ALL about having the right tools.

Elaine and I miss our bigger (sit in and go places airplane).  Every once in a while I’ll sneak over onto YouTube and play an old flying video, or into the raw footage of our many flights around the country. Never tire of watching my own landings…

But that was then, and this is now.  With the drone, the cost of flying (and you do get some first person views that are better than sit-in flying because you’re not having to manage so many things, is really quite enjoyable.

Next weekend, our ham radio Big Secret Project begins. Using the drone to hang antennas on the beam on the tower and then the new antenna design the week after.

Which, Elaine says, ought to be followed by building a winter shelter for the feral cats in from the woods.

OMG, almost forgot this:  Universe seems bound and determined to keep us supplied with black cats!  This is one of the feral cats who has been named Zeus2. He wants to be family!

Not a while hair on him.  Probably related.  The feral Puddy tats seems to only come in 3 varieties here:  Pure black, black and white (Sylvester style), and Siamese.  Good cat stock here-abouts.

Write when you get rich,

41 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Logging with Drones (2)”

  1. “Never tire of watching my own landings…”

    Ever been to a balloon busting competition at a fly-in? I handed the video camera to my wife to record my assault on a helium-filled balloon on a hot summer day. She tracked the balloon just fine until it lunged upward just before impact, resulting in the airplane lunging upward to catch it. Her “OH S#!T!” was loud enough to record over the engine noise.

  2. Really like the looks of your place from the air, you’ve taken good care of it. I almost picked up a DJI Mini 2 for $389 smackers during our recent Costco shopping trip but I had already dropped $2K on new ears and Diana was still prowling the aisles with a fully loaded shopping cart so my checkbook was screaming get the hell out of there.
    My biggest interest in the drone is the camera and how difficult or spendy upgrading the out of the box camera equipment. I am down to my original 170 acres with 40 leased so I am not sure if the smaller drones are the right choice. Something a little less than the price of a new truck.
    I have a buddy from the PD days who during the last few years before he retired flew the department drones. He likes to remind me he is a fully licensed pilot and I should call him Captain. Sure thing Captain A$$hole.
    Stay safe. 73

    • lol – well, I am getting A RELIABLE 1.5.2 miles with excellent video – and that ought to be a big enough footprint for otu… it does well in modest winds and when needed hit sport mode and so 35 mph – so for me, it was a good $250 answer to a much more pricey dji option…

      • Copy that. I would mainly use it to count heads, bovine and bipedal, and such. No Predator level combat abilities. But a couple Helfires on hand would be kinda neat. Besides, that last shopping trip and preps topping off left a big dent in my wallet but there may be a little sub $300 wiggle room.

      • Copy that. My uses would mainly be counting heads and checking to see gates are closed. Although I don’t need anything with Predator level combat capabilities but something with a couple Hellfire’s would be neat.

        • Get one of those high power burning blue lasers if you want to zap some thing/one. I just got a 5 watt (NOT milliwatt… a full 5000 mw) class four light saber that will burn dry leaves and paper at close range. Still useless from orbital altitudes, though. I’m investigating where the retro-reflectors are located on the moon. Maybe I can do some EME work on the 450 nanometer band.

        • Yep. Haven’t found a 1.5kw laser yet. But it would be damn cool to record a flashing blue light on the moon, tapping out my callsign. Is it legit of me to confirm my own contact for EME?

    • “I almost picked up a DJI Mini 2 for $389 smackers during our recent Costco shopping trip”

      I sure know how that is..drop in Costco for some if that $250.00 rotisserie chicken …lol lol lol lol
      I am headed there to get tires tomorrow … hate it I have to get cream to lol lol lol which means I have to walk all the way across the store lol lol lol..

      • That is why I try to avoid going into stores that sells anything more the eggs /milk /bread type products anymore.

        I go into one of those other stores for a dozen eggs and walk out with a full shopping cart of stuff in addition to that dozen eggs. As I walk out I scratch my head at how in the world did the store know I NEEDED that item, and this other item, and OH MY GOD that obviously needed item that I forgot about, and how did they know to put them right where I would see them? Amazing how those store owners have near psychic powers.

        Well I am going to try to avoid even driving by Costco, Sams, Wal-Mart, Meijers, and ANY hardware store for the next few months. Those stores have a strange magnetic attraction to my steering wheel when I drive by them and without me doing anything it turns on it’s own and the car just darts right into their parking lots. Afterwards somehow I get Zombie-fied and like a good zombie just walk right into the store. Then they have me.

        Maybe I need an Exorcism? (and one for my car too?)

        • OTFLMAO..
          they are sneaky to.. they send me money…lol lol so they send me ten dollars in store credit and a whopping ten percent off…lol lol lol I go into a big box store and dam if I don’t come out with treasures galore…
          it’s placement to.. they put that delicious rotisserie chicken way in the backside of the store.. retail outlets re arrange regularly. so you can’t just tun in grab and have yo look for it lol..
          there are a few places the wife cringes on when I go in..I am suppose to have a chaperone..
          I took my mini me into a hardware store ..his eyes glowed he was in tool slut heaven the clerk laughed and said..he’s just like lol

  3. Those are farm cats, not feral cats. They need a shed with some bedding, and supplementary food, and in return, they will keep the snakes, rats and mice cleaned out. Bunnies and squirrels are collateral damage.

    • I’d think that the bunnies(of the hopping kind) and squirrel removal would be collateral benefits! Bunnies draw coyotes, and squirrels infest roofs and chew their way in. If you want to watch them, you can always go elsewhere.

      • There are different kinds of coyotes. The small ones that livestock ignore help keep the fields clean of the mice and rats. My rule is if they are in groups of three or less, and show no mange symptoms, or aggression toward livestock, then ignore them. There or one or two that stop by to hunt periodically.
        The squirrels and bunnies can be pests, but they are also a potential source of game. Some of my neighbors made the mistake of giving local poachers permission to hunt squirrels, and they turned the neighborhood into a 365.25 shooting gallery, until someone reminded their sponsors that maybe the residents might need the small game some day. Once a poacher gets permission to shoot from anyone or their subcontractor, they will keep trespassing on all the neighboring properties until they are forcibly evicted from the neighborhood. And since they are already probably under scrutiny from various authorities, they may panic and shoot if cornered.
        Last, seen housecats take on small copperheads and win.

    • That’s ^ so funny. We used to have gobs of chipmunks (ground squirrels) and bunnies. The aged TomCat cleaned them all out. Sidebar: he’s also very interested in snakes. I let him play with Garter Snakes but not the (probably poisonous) Water Snakes here abouts. If/when our hybrid housecat leaves us I am in favor of adopting a cat for the polebarn. Low maintenance high kill rate in and around the barn. TBD.

      Write when …

      ps – ATL: final stages of a weekend spent fabricating (welding, clamping, bolting, added new shoes) a trailer for my E Scow. Still need to rust-primer rusted steel then add wood / carpeted bunks. Tic Tock

  4. Hey Gpops,
    I have an extremely interesting video of a Women explaining how “they” are tapping into Us Humans, matrix like.
    The information she presents is solid, first hand/hands on type of data. Problem is everything she is talking about is highly suppressed information.
    Please – some of the Radio Guys out there have a look see. I am really interested in hearing Radio “heads” thoughts and ideas from reviewing.
    Pay special attention to Bio-fields – Ure not supposed believe IT exists. She does a simple exercise to Show you Her bio field – Can you produce visual PROOF like she shows how ?

    Moar rabbit holes than any one around has seen in years -

    Write when you start collecting Qi
    ..says hear it is the only “coin” the Ferryman” accepts, if you be thinking about “portaling” Ure ass off this accursed rock.

      • It’s youtube, so you can slow it down with the custom settings. A bigger problem is her emotionality! It seems like she’s spitting out each word and her voice is harsh. I’ve no doubt that she has useful info, along with her rather random “organization” of it.

        Here’s her website:

        She has an index of files if you click “raw_data”.

        She also has an Odysee page:

        I’m still not sure what to make of this rather intriguing mashup. Perhaps others will.

  5. I always like black cats…. except at night and when they love to curl through the legs.. LOL LOL for an old man with limited vision that could be an accident waiting to happen..

    • I love black cats! I’ve had a few, and my daughter’s just died of old age. They apparently survive better at night when owls are hunting if they’re out and about. Depending on neighbors and their maturity or lack thereof, it might be best to keep them inside as Halloween approaches.

  6. Dam..I forgot a great cup of coffee or cocoa.. goes with he wonderful music of Clair De-lune.

  7. Here is one of my favorite artists besides Clair de-lune.. miss Lindsey stirling..
    when no one thought I’d survive..pain mottled had the look.. I couldn’t get out of a chair.. totally dependent on every one for my basic needs.. I discovered !indsey.. just starting out..everybody thought she would fail.. and I discovered urban survival.. A good friend suggested this site to me..
    the two sites gave me hope during a time when things looked hopeless..
    enjoy some of lindsey..I have to finish that violin..

  8. OK Mr. Bunyan, you obviously have more logging to do. What are those ‘shade trees’ doing, blocking sun from your solar panels. Losses!

    “…and you do get some first person views that are better than sit-in flying because you’re not having to manage so many things, is really quite enjoyable.”

    I remember learning to fly Cessnas back in the 70s, thinking it would be fun. It wasn’t. Too busy managing the cockpit, and the only views out the window were to check for a place to set it down if the motor were to quit right NOW.

    • I learned on Pipers, and IMHO, the view is better with a low wing. At least you can see the runway when turning base!

      While training, it’s always busy. After more time in the cockpit alone, there are times to enjoy the view, if there is one.

  9. re: raising the bar
    feat. directive 4 drone bees


    Go forth armed with knowledge that days ahead comprise the 30th anniversary edition of National Character Counts Week. Apparently the celebratory week was initiated during the Clinton Administration at the behest of Prof. M. Josephson who later authored the tome “Making Ethical Decisions”. Here is the 2023 proclamation from the White House. Have a great week!

    • ROFL! A proclamation on ‘Character Counts’… from the pedo who raised a Hunter to be a bag man.

  10. Some few years ago — like maybe somewhat over ten, “IT” was a topic of giggles, derision, and accusations of religious-mad-paranoia. Not a fit or sane topic. Nut-case stuff. Easily dismissed as silly foolishness for the stupid, overly credulous.

    Now? Seems different to me. People are discusing the unspeakable and thinking the unthinkable. –And not being laughed at — at least not as much. Solid, serious TeeVee talking heads (and ink-stained wretches) are talking what was once crazzy talk like it was not so crazzy now.

    It’s a subltle sea-change. A bit less subtle each day.

    …and it’s like we all always knew “it” all was distantly possible, but too much “normalcy evidence” was still around to moderate the chain reaction. …and now the rods are drawn out of The Pile under the bleaches, and she’s-a-heating up. The Geiger is madly a-tickin’, jumpin’ off the table… Positive feedback makes the speakers shriek, and here we are — coasting downhill uncontrollably unto… what?

    Can anybody stop this ride before the extra-sharp downhill curve just (seemingly) ahead?

    • seriously.. we were in the reach of the death spiral economically before . Trump gave me the feeling that with what he was doing all while under 24 hour attack that we had some hope if flipping this.. then Biden that doesn’t have a foggy clue at what real wage earners deal with. printing up trillions and not doing a thing at all with compound it he openened the borders to those that openly said they would defeat us by doing just that..all for money..
      I have been through the economic death spiral its scary.. mine was caused by medical expenses and being thrown under the wheels of the bus by a boss playing stocks..I can’t see how we can pull out of this one..a year ago interest on our debt was what 700 billion a day now it’s 1.5 next spring it will be over 3.. and now we are committed to wars that we cannot win.. I get it though historically war is a money making venture .but we shipped our industry outside the usa.USA.. the wars are basically to benefit the puppeteers that have an estimated 400 trillion already..if t g ey want to destroy another country for their gain then they should pay for their own army.. the only reason they don’t is there’s just a few hundred of them and it’s better to have the hatred focused on someone else then themselves..Kim in NK is the only one that told them he knew who they were.. they use their power and influence to buy the compliance of politicians world wide.. either way they win.. the good people of the planet lose..
      we cannot in my opinion pull out of this the dollar is broken..

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