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

Simple, Efficient, Cheap, Flexible Biochar Trench Video, and Frankentree Trailer

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

Coming next weekend!  I guarantee the actual video is less exciting than the trailer, but it is much more edifying!  This video will just be an introduction to the idea, and the benefits of frankentreeing.  I hope to put together a much more technical video in the future.

Below is my second fast motion video on the two simple biochar methods I’ve been experimenting with.  A few notes…

Fuels:  I suspect that pieces larger than about 3 inches are better either split down or charred by another method, and chips might be better done in a TLUD or some such device.  I haven’t tried either in the trench though, so that’s just speculation.  I doubt that large wood will char well in the trench because it takes so long to char all the way through, but chips might be just fine if fed pretty constantly in thin layers.  As long as everything you’re putting in turns to charcoal and you’re not getting a lot of ashes or a lot of smoke with it, you’re doing well.  I’ve done green and dry wood.  Dry is better of course.  I think the jury is still out on green wood.  The one I did mostly with pretty green wood was a very hot, large pit and the wood was brushy allowing for the ingress for large amounts of air.  It was still pretty sluggish and I’d certainly tend to let the stuff dry for a summer first if possible. Continue reading

October 4, 2014 Posted by | BioChar, Forestry, Garden Stuff | , , , , | 1 Comment

Simple Biochar Production, and Grape Reviews, a Few Videos

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

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

Yay, burn season is here!  Just uploaded a few videos.  A couple of short grape variety reviews, The pretty darn good Glenora and the excellent Reliance (of which I’m eating some right now, and they’re super tasty!).  And a somewhat long winded, but cool, video of burning a top lit open burn brush pile to make biochar (Which Kelpie of Backyardbiochar calls TLOB).  This is one of the two charring methods I’ve been messing with, the slope sided pit (or container), and the open top lit piles.  I think each has it’s merits, but probably more importantly, each might be better suited to certain materials that people commonly have.  Both can be scaled up and down in size and neither should produce a ton of smoke if the wood isn’t either soaking wet or green.  A pit burn video should be forthcoming.  Hopefully I’ll get better at shooting and editing video, learn to talk faster and develop a video personality at some point.  In the meantime, pop some popcorn and check it out.

No Guinea Pigs were harmed during the making of these videos, although some chickens were verbally assaulted.

September 23, 2014 Posted by | BioChar, Food Trees Fruits and Nuts, Garden Stuff | , , , , , | 12 Comments

Sloping Pit Charcoal Kiln and Agave Roasting

charcoal cone pit header

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In the comments on the biochar experiment post, Lars mentioned Japanese cone kilns.  I checked them out on Kelpie’s cool blog, Green Your Head and they do indeed look way cool.  Although slapping a crude one together out of sheet metal would probably be pretty easy, Lars had just simply dug a pit in the same shape.  I tried Lar’s pit idea the other day, burned some charcoal in it, and learned a few things that I want to pass on.  This is slightly premature compared to most of my post, which are typically backed by a bit more experience and contemplation, but I’d like to get this idea out there more.  There is very little posted about it anywhere on the net, but it seems very promising, accessible and meets a lot of criteria for a good charcoal production system with very little effort.

Commercially available cone kiln from Amazon Japan

Commercially available cone kiln by Moki, from Amazon Japan

Part one.  Sage, Agave and fishes (which have little to do with charcoal production.)  If you are interested in burning charcoal and have a short attention span from internet overstimulation, skip ahead! Continue reading

December 22, 2013 Posted by | BioChar, Forestry, Garden Stuff | , , , , | 7 Comments