Turkeysong

Experimental Homestead

Peeling Oak Bark for Tanning Leather and Apple Breeding Update

THIS BLOG IS RETIRED, I’VE MOVED TO SKILLCULT.COM   

ALL THE OLD TURKEYSONG POSTS ARE THERE AND MORE, CHECK IT OUT!

Here are a couple of recent videos I did on the stuff I do around here.  One is a short update on labeling and protecting fruit that was pollinated earlier this year as part of my apple breeding project.  I talk a little about the breeding parents and related stuff, but it’s pretty straightforward and short, with a quick visit to my new pig.

The second is a follow along while I cut down, cut up, and peel the bark off of a tan oak tree that is infected with the organism involved in sudden oak death.  I use the bark for tanning skins.  I’m working on a book right now on tanning with plant materials like bark, various leaves and pods and stuff like that.  Writing, research and experiments around that project now consume most of  my time, energy and thought.  In the video I show a few pieces of leather tanned with oak bark, peel the bark, split the wood and clean it all up.  There are few things I’d rather do with my time than that type of forestry work.  Splitting wood, playing with wood, using my axe, burning brush to make charcoal, etc..   is all my idea of a good time!  woo hoo!  It’s really hard for me to cut these videos down and focus them in.  There are so many satellite topics I want to talk about!   Definitely some stuff coming on axe use, wood splitting tutorials, forestry and forest ecology, and lots of tanning and skin working stuff.

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July 25, 2015 Posted by | animal parts, Apples, BioChar, Food Trees Fruits and Nuts, Forestry, plant breeding | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Two Sweet Crabs That Don’t Pinch! Trailman and Centennial, Delicious Super Early Crab Apples,

THIS BLOG IS RETIRED, I’VE MOVED TO SKILLCULT.COM   

ALL THE OLD TURKEYSONG POSTS ARE THERE AND MORE, CHECK IT OUT!

Here is my review of two crabs that fruited here on Frankentree for the first time ever. Centennial and trailman are very similar and seem to ripen at the same time.  Both have good flavor and very good to excellent texture, even after a recent heat wave with consecutive days over 100 degrees, 101, 103, 103 in the shade.

I have a particular interest in crab apples that are edible out of hand, with good dessert quality and these two really fit that description.   They are not only very good to excellent in eating quality, but they are also the second apples to ripen here, this year in the first two weeks of July.  “First early” apples are usually low in sugar, grainy or mealy and just not that great for eating.  Time will tell more, but I can already tell from just a few samples that these apples are a great find.  I’ll probably be breeding with these in the future as I think excellent dessert crabs are something that needs work and has great potential.  These are super easy to eat, since you can eat the entire fruit with the core, seeds and all.  The seeds only add to the flavor, like an almond flavor filled center.

July 11, 2015 Posted by | Apples, Food and Drink Making, Food Trees Fruits and Nuts | , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A Video Tour of my Amateur Apple Breeding Project

THIS BLOG IS RETIRED, I’VE MOVED TO SKILLCULT.COM   

ALL THE OLD TURKEYSONG POSTS ARE THERE AND MORE, CHECK IT OUT!

A walk around looking at various parts of my apple breeding project.  It doesn’t look like much, but I think it’s getting the job done.  I spotted my first blossom while filming this.  Way cool, that means I’ll probably have some bloom next year, hopefully followed by fruit!

July 5, 2015 Posted by | Apples, Food Trees Fruits and Nuts, grafting, plant breeding | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Why I’m Not Selling at the Farmer’s Market Anymore

farmers-market

THIS BLOG IS RETIRED, I’VE MOVED TO SKILLCULT.COM   

ALL THE OLD TURKEYSONG POSTS ARE THERE AND MORE, CHECK IT OUT!

“It’s not just the work, which is an inconvenience that can be scaled, it’s the feeling of doing something utterly useless that involves other people doing the same, stretching in a line back to some place totally disconnected from the reality of the ground war of farming and direct marketing.  A burden of useless labor for all involved, all victims of the same stupid system, with a life of it’s own, and hardly anyone to really blame.”

This post is part rant, part politic, part personal, part declaration.  My farmer’s market career has always been spotty.  I have had long standing plans to eventually sell at the market, and have planted trees and flower bulbs here with that goal in mind for many years, but I wasn’t really ready when I started going.  I was under a lot of pressure at the time to start going though, and finally decided to go with it since I probably wasn’t going to be much more ready anytime in the near future and I wanted to accommodate my partner at the time.  I’m glad I did, because I learned a lot and it was good for me to get out in public with my stuff.  Iit has rarely been easy to pull off though for all the reasons I knew I wasn’t ready in the first place.  I had big plans for the market that I was not able to materialize to any extent.  I still hold those plans in my head and in notes scattered around clipboards and computer files for some future time when I am functioning at a higher level.  At least I was doing something though, and big plans could wait.  So, I’ve basically limped along, making it to the market now and again.  It has been rewarding, I met some great people, and that little bit of income was very significant in my universe.

At some point last year, I just decided not to grow any vegetable crops specifically for the market.  Many of the crops I grew last summer went completely to waste because I wasn’t able to make it to the market due to chronic health issues.  That just is what it is.  I can adapt to that.  But I still had other things that grow here perennially, and sort of grow themselves, which I could take to market if health and crop timing coincided.  I have daffodils from about January through April and they sell pretty well.  In May and June I have lots of artichokes.  In late summer I have amaryllis flowers, which are also pretty popular and from late summer on, my many varieties of apples start coming on.  And then there might be a few other odds and ends through the season, vegetables that I may have extra of on a day I might be going to the market, like a few tomatoes or something.  Growing things specifically for the market just was not working out though, and I had to throw in the towel on that or keep wasting my limited energy producing crops for the chickens and the compost pile.

RED, RED TAPE

Even selling those perennial crops I just listed is not that straight forward though.  The process starts in the spring, when I have to tell the county agricultural department everything I’m going to grow.  Now don’t laugh, but they actually want to know everything I’m going to grow for the season, down to the specific variety, how many plants/acres, and how many pounds or units or bunches.  It’s so ridiculous that everyone just sort of throws out some numbers and calls it good.  This is farming, not accounting.  Everyone knows it’s silly, but the laws come from on high where I imagine someone that knows fuck-all about growing anything is probably paid rather well to make our lives more complicated.  I’m sure the intent is all good and well, to make sure people are selling stuff they grew themselves, but geez…

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July 1, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 22 Comments