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Edina, MN

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Frost Heave

Every year the garage floor slab migrates in a gravity defying arc toward the roof, and canyon like cracks open in the floor. The likely cause of this?

Frost heave. The garage floor slab concrete is prone to frost heave because of its fundamental construction- it's an unheated building over dirt.

The slight difference in temperature inside the building and the ground beneath it draws moisture by capillary action into the concrete, and ice masses form.

In northern climates where the frost line may be up to four feet beneath the surface, the ground underlying a slab foundation is typically prepared with drain pipe laid in trenches and topped with a four inch bed of gravel. This helps prevent water saturation of the dirt. Gutters on the building will also help prevent water pooling and soaking the foundation edges.

http://oikos.com/ has more information on foundations and frost heave.

Rose Hart's OutSide

Iceboating

T'is the season Midwestern lake sailors might call "drydock". However, there is a small group of winter hard-water sailors whose boats go fast enough to quintuple their windchill index, iceboat sailors. Last winter, during a quick mid-winter retreat to our lake home we watched these boats zip across the frozen surface at over forty miles an hour. Indeed, a well-designed, rigged and piloted iceboat can move faster than the actual wind speed, and the iceboat speed record is nearly 140 miles an hour, making this one of the more dangerous, thrilling winter sports.

Mercury, Madison, WI.Iceboats were first recorded in 18th century Holland, where they are called ice yachts. Although to us "yacht" has come to mean a large, pleasure sailing boat, it is more literally translated as hunting, pursuing or chasing.

In America, iceboat racing established itself on the Hudson River among the social elite in the 19th century. Iceboats came to the Midwest in the early 1900's, predominantly in Wisconsin, where it remains the dominant Midwestern location. The vintage gaff rig boat shown here is the "Mercury," from Madison, WI. http://www.iceboat.org/vintage/postcards/

There are several classes, or types, of ice boats. Fundamentally, it's a hull with a bladed spar across it to steer the craft, a mast and sail. Some have rudders, but not all; for example the South Bay Scooter, which originally was designed as a lifesaving craft on partially frozen water, is steered with the jib sail.

A person with above average carpentry skills can build their own ice boat at home, and in fact a majority of them are home-built. Plans for the Renegade class can be downloaded from: http://www.iceboat.org/renegade.htm.

If you and your drydocked crew are looking to do something entirely different to get frostbite this winter, there are a couple of local iceboat regattas:

Great Western Challenge Regatta: December 7, 8, 9. The site has not yet been chosen, as it all depends on the ice conditions of one of three lakes: Lake Christina, in Ashby MN; Dead Lake, in Maine, MN, or Buffalo Lake, in Buffalo, MN. Check www.iceboating.net for the exact location and schedule.

Inaugural North American Ice Opti Championship:
December 8-9, 2007 Probably on Lake Christina near Fergus Falls, MN.

2008 IDNIYRA Western Lakes Regional Championship Regatta
January 5th and 6th, 2008
Location: Best ice within the Western Region - Sailing site to be determined.

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Copyright, Rose Hart, 2007