Mistreating household appliances in the name of science

Setting up an experiment today using soil (remember the recent lesson?) and plant samples collected last fall.  The plant samples are to provide a bit of chopped vegetation, litter, to the top of the soil.  So there is a paper bag of big bluestem, a 2 meter tall prairie grass and not a bison in sight. So if you want more or less uniformly small pieces, you put your dry grass into - well, let's see what's on hand?  There are quite a number of household-kitchen appliances that are designed for chopping plant material so this shouldn't be a problem!  Ah, a blender!  Wonder why it's getting hot and smelling a bit like toasty insulation and ozone?  Let TPP be the first to report that blenders do a very poor job of chopping a big, dried grass.  Something closer to a bison is required, and happily a paper cutter chopped this grass up rather nicely, and proudly he still has all 10 fingers. Where do you get paper cutters sharpened?  It's something to think about.  Maybe next time we'll have to try a food processor.  Fortunately the other litter had much less fibrous leaves and the blender performed much better at chopping them into satisfactory sized pieces.  If any manufacturers what to see what their products are capable of withstanding, we'd be happy to put them to misuse in the name of science.  If they survive, we give them our seal of approval - safe for botanical research.  What a selling point!

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