Experimental Homestead

Taste Testing Seven Summer Apples, Head to Head

Untold hours of research into apple geekery has, Among other things, resulted in a fair collection of early apples with high reputations. Although many have not lived up their reputations, At least not in my climate, my last taste test of two early crab apples, TRAILMAN and CENTENNIAL was very encouraging  This week I got to taste 7 early apples that are in eating around early to mid August.  The results didn’t surprise me. I’ve tasted most of these apples before. Still, it was very revealing to taste all of them at the same time and compare directly.  What did surprise me was significant red staining in the flesh of William’s pride, making it a good candidate for my red fleshed apple breeding efforts, along with it’s other merits.

For anyone searching for good early apples,the winners in this tasting are good at any season and very exceptional for early apples. There are other apples which I grow that ripen in the same season, but for various reasons, like birds, Drought, and alternate bearing, I didn’t have any specimens to add. So, they will have to wait for another year.  Most promising among those so far are probably St. Edmunds russet, Irish peach and golden nugget.  I also just today discovered an entire cordon Mother apples (Mother is the variety name) that I hadn’t noticed. I’ve had them before, but I just ate one that was by far the best I’ve ever had, and it may have been a contender up against the winners of this taste test.  Extremely sweet with lots of rich flavor.  This one may have been an early drop.  It takes a while to learn when to pick and eat each variety.

Although there are quite a few things left to finish up, the basic architecture of my new website is up and running.  In addition to whatever new stuff I come up with, it will house all of the old turkeysong posts, As well as those from the Paleotechnics blog. As a project, it is much more in line with my General thinking and philosophy regarding knowledge in practical arts, in that the scope is much broader. I’ll explain that more in a future post, but I’m going to keep this short because I am using speech to text software.  I have tendonitis from working on the computer too much in designing and executing the website for the past two weeks!
For now, all content will be posted to both blogs for a couple/few weeks until everything is moved over and running smoothly at which time comments on this blog will be disabled and I’ll stop posting here.  it will be kept as an archive though. I’ll miss the old turkeysong blog, but I’m very excited about the new site, the YouTube channel, and the entire project which includes turkeysong, All the experiments going on here and writing projects, all of which my life is completely integrated into.  I’m entirely focused on this project and this idea.  Check out the new site. It has all the content from this site, with all of the old comments, but is designed for  easy navigation by visual categories. I hope most of you Will make the move with me.  I got the blog subscription forms working last night.   More on all that soon!

August 23, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

How to remove back strap sinew without wasting any meat

Whether or not you want to use the sinew, this is a great way to remove it from the back strap meat.

We’ll be moving soon!  I’m working on the new website now!


August 8, 2015 Posted by | animal parts | , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Skinning Deer and Goats for Perfect Hides and Carcasses

I slaughtered a goat a couple of days ago for meat and used the opportunity to make this video on proper skinning.  I’ve skinned hundreds of animals to develop this simple strategy, which works well for me.  It could be streamlined by anyone with enough practice and experience, but I think the approach is pretty solid.  Yes, some of you aren’t as big or strong as I am and may think this method is not possible for you.  It may take quite a bit longer and you may have to do a little more cutting, but don’t give up too easy!  You may have to use the knife a little more, but use it only where you really actually have to and do your best to muscle and technique your way through the rest of it.  Get all up in that carcass and use your bodyweight, and you may be surprised at what you can do!  No need to be a purist.  If you have to use a knife, then so be it, but it seriously takes FOREVER to skin an animal carefully with a knife and you will still slip up and cut the skin sometimes.

Countless hides are ruined every day due to poor skinning which is by far and away the norm, even when people are well intentioned.  Share this video with those hunters and animal raisers you know to help change that!  Hides are a valuable resource and tanning is an accessible skill for homesteaders and small farmers.  I’m still working on that tanning book, which is going to make it more accessible than it has every been, but this goat was a bit of a distraction among others.  It’s almost processed and put away now, just have to render the fat and salt the skin (which may also be videos) and wrap some stuff for the freezer, then I won’t have to worry about meat… at least until buck season opens in a couple of weeks.

This approach is somewhat applicable to lambs and sheep as well, and some parts to skinning almost any animal.

August 1, 2015 Posted by | animal parts, skins, tanning | , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Peeling Oak Bark for Tanning Leather and Apple Breeding Update

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.

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


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