'Hail cannon' has neighbors ready to explode

'Hail cannon' has neighbors ready to explode

This is a discussion on 'Hail cannon' has neighbors ready to explode within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I know it's a stretch, but it's somewhat gun related 'Hail cannon' has neighbors ready to explode - CNN.com BENNINGTON, Vermont (AP) -- Things have ...

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Thread: 'Hail cannon' has neighbors ready to explode

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    'Hail cannon' has neighbors ready to explode

    I know it's a stretch, but it's somewhat gun related

    'Hail cannon' has neighbors ready to explode - CNN.com

    BENNINGTON, Vermont (AP) -- Things have really been booming at Southern Vermont Orchards. And it's been keeping people up at night.

    After a series of hailstorms devastated the orchard's apple crop in 2007, the owner resorted this summer to using a hail cannon, a noisemaking machine whose sound waves supposedly disrupt the formation of hailstones.

    Scientists snicker at such devices. But farmers swear by them. As for the neighbors, they just swear.

    "It sounds like artillery fire," said Gregory Connors, a 38-year-old software designer whose children have been woken up by the booms. "I'm up for everybody's right to farm. We support local farmers. But the technology and the way it's being utilized is not acceptable." Hear the cannon's blast »

    Hail can scar or ruin fruit and damage trees. Anti-hail efforts date back centuries, and have included the use of cannons, rockets, religious rites and bell ringing.

    The effectiveness of hail cannons has been disputed for decades. But the devices have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, with farmers in California, Colorado, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio and Texas employing more modern ones.

    "There is no science behind it," said hail expert Griffith Morgan Jr., a retired meteorologist from Westminster, Colorado. "The science that is presented is absolutely bogus. I have no reason to believe this can work."

    Southern Vermont Orchards owner Harold Albinder shelled out about $40,000 for his cannon after hail ruined $600,000 worth of his crop in four storms in 2007. The device, which is about 16 feet tall, is solar-powered and uses acetylene gas ignited by a spark plug.

    The orchard's manager activates it by cell phone when radar shows a hailstorm approaching. It fires a blast every six seconds, for up to 30 minutes at a time.

    "It worked 100 percent," Albinder said.

    This summer, hail damaged crops in part of his 230-acre hillside orchard but left the apples within 1,200 feet of the device untouched, he said.

    But oh, the noise.

    The booms reverberated through the Bennington valley, mystifying locals. Some people in this town of 15,700 thought the noise was from construction work or from history buffs.

    "When my wife and I first heard it, we thought it was a battle re-enactment," said Town Manager Stuart Hurd.

    Soon, townspeople were complaining to Bennington officials and employees at the Apple Barn, a roadside store and gift shop where the orchard's apples are sold.

    "I had a woman come in here and yell at my employees," said Lia Diamond, Albinder's daughter, who runs the store. "There were phone calls. Very unkind."

    Connors erected a hand-lettered "No hail cannon" sign on the road leading to the orchard and lobbied town officials to silence it.

    "It comes off of the mountain, and we even hear aftershocks from the blast," he said. "I'm from Brooklyn originally, and I have a pretty good sound filter. But I moved to Vermont for a different life, and here it is, more sound pollution following me up here."

    Three times, police cited orchard manager Lee Herring, who erected an L-shaped barrier out of 800 hay bales to try to muffle the noise. It wasn't enough. The booms still exceeded the 45-decibel nighttime limit of Bennington's noise ordinance, and Albinder agreed in the middle of the summer to stop using the cannon for now, in exchange for dismissal of the citations.

    Albinder argues his cannon is protected under Vermont's right-to-farm law, which exempts certain agricultural practices from local ordinances. But whether that argument would succeed in court is unclear.

    In 2003, the Vermont Supreme Court said the right-to-farm law didn't protect an orchard from a neighbor's lawsuit over noise from its pallet-manufacturing operation because the orchard wasn't making the equipment before homes began springing up nearby.

    "If a farm changes its practices to create a nuisance, the right-to-farm law does not necessarily protect that new farm practice," said Phil Benedict, a state agriculture official.

    Albinder said he will ask the Legislature to override the town ordinance.

    "This is my livelihood," he said.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Sheldon J's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
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    Boy that is similar to my tiger repellent, and have not seen one the the backyard yet... but the cannon would be more fun.... hay it could work, stranger things have been proven.
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century

  3. #3
    eww is offline
    Member Array eww's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    My wife has a garden in the backyard. Maybe I need a cannon?

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Maybe the town folks could sneak up there and fill it full of apples without the farmer knowing. Now that would be fun to watch. Instant apple sauce.

    Wonder if the barrel would hold up?
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
    Texas CHL Instructor
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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Yoda's Avatar
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    East Texas
    It works to keep the birds off the crops but how can anyone say that it has worked 100% because they don't know if hail was going to hit their crops in the first place! Has their ever been hail during mortar fire on 4th of July?
    Yoda, I am, yes.

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