Experimental Homestead

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 | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 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

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

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

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


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