[Sca-cooks] pennsci hay

Tara Sersen Boroson tara at kolaviv.com
Tue Aug 1 09:55:22 PDT 2006

sca-cooks-request at lists.ansteorra.org wrote:

>	Yes, similar concerns apply, though wet straw is nowhere near as likely 
>to reach combustion temperature internally, since it is more completely 
>dry. There will be fewer weed seeds since most straw comes from cereal 
>crops that are intensively farmed and often treated with selective 
>herbicide. However, that does not stop there from being weed seeds.

(Call this a disclaimer, or call it a plug ;) but, my husband and I are 
in the process of starting a business building straw bale houses...)

A straw bale is highly unlikely to ever reach combustion temperature at 
Pennsic.  The reason why this can be a concern inside a wall is that the 
enclosed wall will contain the heat, and there are many straw bales 
stacked together which would be equally damp and fermenting all 
together, allowing it to reach a much greater temperature than would 
happen within a single wet strawbale that's dissipating it's heat to the 
atmosphere.  Plus, it takes some time to initiate fermentation within 
that bale - not very likely to happen within the two week span of Pennsic.

Straw is actually pretty resistant to burning.  If you've got your straw 
bale wall adequately protected from dampness, so that fermentation 
cannot set in, it's very hard to start a fire in a straw bale house.  
I've seen some impressive pictures of burnt straw bale houses, where the 
interior - or even a vestibule built into the wall - burnt, but the 
walls were unscathed.  The picture of the vestibule was especially 
amazing.  It was a little altar built into the wall, kind of like a 
window.  It was framed out in wood, with the frame bearing right against 
the straw bales.  Someone left a candle burning in the altar and it 
ignited.  The altar items and the wood frame burnt to ashes.  The straw, 
exposed by the burning of the wood frame, was slightly scorched.

Back to your regularly scheduled food talk ;)


Tara Sersen Boroson

'Normal' is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car you are still paying for, in order to get to the job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car, and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it. -Ellen Goodman

[T]o admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. -Virginia Woolf

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