Explosives are of most use to assist auger holes in hard ground, to make holes in otherwise unstable ground such as marshes, or to loosen rock in quarries. With the advent of the swamp tractor, marsh blasting is less common, but the basic ease and effectiveness of explosives should not be overlooked where they can solve some otherwise intractable problems.
Nitroglycerine (cellulose treated with acid, in glycerine, absorbed into wood dust or clay earths) as gelignite, dynamite, or plastique is an inexpensive way to solve some earth-moving problems. Even cheaper is the mix of ammonium nitrate fertiliser and dieseline known in the trade as "chickenshit" (nitrates have from ancient times been gathered from manures, around the soil of toilet pits, or extracted by washing and evaporation from guano).
Old "recipe" books give dozens of reliable recipes for cheap explosives, and even custard powder, flour, or face-powder will blow a room apart, as will the fumes from ether or domestic gases. I once worked as a scientific glassblower, and managed to remove all doors and windows from my room by allowing ether to evaporate from a bottle. Earlier, as a baker in my father's business, I created some spectacular flashes using plain flour near open flames.
Today, we must take a course to obtain a "powder monkey" certificate in order to set our own explosives, or we should hire skilled people. Yesterday (pre-terrorist), we simply made the stuff up and let it go, with unpredictable results and often too much effect.
(end quote) Yeah that's right, ol' Bill Mollisons likes to BLOW STUFF UP!! "The basic ease and effectiveness of explosives should not be overlooked where they can solve some otherwise intractable problems." LOL!!