Turkeysong, The Year in Pictures and Video, 2014

The short version of this year:  Felt like crap most of the year, didn't get a lot done, stopped growing stuff intentionaly for the farmer's market due to unreliable health and too many wasted crops, switched most of my energy and time over to trying to figure out health issues which occupies about 2 to 4 hours or more of research on most days and much of my thoughts.  But, even though I sat on my ass for about 80% or more of the great majority of my days, the pictures I took this year do show that I did get out a little bit. I'm in a full on war to regain my health.  It takes a lot of thought and time, so I haven't done as much cool stuff as usual.  Once I figure that out, I hope to be a fountain of useful output, but until then I'm running on fumes.  This year, I was really just getting by most of the time with little spurts of energy here and there which I generally use to do something interesting so I don't go completely crazy, often with piles of dishes and laundry as a result.  Give me a choice between a pile of dirty laundry with a pile of charcoal and, well... I'll just be adding some charcoal stained clothes to that dirty laundry pile son!  Let me tell you, a life of leisure is just not for me!

The spring ran on through the worst drought anyone can remember.  It was pretty slow, but there was still more water than I ended up using.  The spring really does make it all possible.  I feel like I should build a shrine or something.  Seriously amazing.

I actually got around to filling my deer tag this year!  Skippy the deer is mostly eaten up now, and good riddance.  He was busting down fences, messing up fruit trees and generally being a juvenile delinquent.  I was half expecting to find graffiti somewhere... DEERZ RULEZ! on the water tank or something.  The plan was to do a year long educational video series following the processing of Skippy into all kinds of cool stuff, but it proved too large of a challenge to pull off on my own and just getting him cleaned and in the freezer was enough at the time.  Maybe next year.

My ex partner and currently business and land partner Tamara Wilder has been back more this winter bringing some help in the form of work traders and such.  It's a bit of a challenge to have people here after living in solitude for a year and a half or more and I'm generally not up for managing anyone, but maybe some stuff will get done.

I've been a little more focused this year on video and hope to continue that trend. I still want a better camera, but I have an okay consumer camcorder I can use for now.  I am pretty excited about the great potential of video and the opportunity to reach a lot of people around the world with it.  You can visit my fledgling youtube channel here.  It's always helpful to get comments, likes and subscriptions, hint hint!  So this year it's two for one, The Year in Video and The Year in Pictures.  Or more like two for none, what a deal!

I'll let the images and captions tell the rest.

Watch in HD if your rural connection is fast enough.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6Vfg3EHQMk

_______________________________________________________________________

Edward's Winter apple re-grafted to a better (better here anyway) variety by frameworking.  Frameworking is generally superior to topworking, a more usual method, and I will be pushing this idea more in the future.  The Amaryllis flower bulbs growing beneath the tree are part of my tree understory experiments.

Edward's Winter apple re-grafted to a better (better here anyway) variety by frameworking.  Frameworking is generally superior to topworking, a more usual method, and I will be pushing this idea more in the future.  The Amaryllis flower bulbs growing beneath the tree are part of my tree understory experiments.

The same tree in August, harvesting amaryllis flowers for sale at the farmer's market.  You can see the growth is pretty good on the new grafts.  It almost just looks like a normal tree.  The few fruits are from a few remaining branches of the old variety.

The same tree in August, harvesting amaryllis flowers for sale at the farmer's market.  You can see the growth is pretty good on the new grafts.  It almost just looks like a normal tree.  The few fruits are from a few remaining branches of the old variety.

More fruit tree understory experiments with amaryllis belladona.  This tree literally had only 2 or 3 weeds under it this year. (edit, the following year it had 3 weeds,  so the weed suppression part is definitely working!)

More fruit tree understory experiments with amaryllis belladona.  This tree literally had only 2 or 3 weeds under it this year. (edit, the following year it had 3 weeds,  so the weed suppression part is definitely working!)

The same tree as above in the summer time showing dense mat of dead leaves protecting the soil.

The same tree as above in the summer time showing dense mat of dead leaves protecting the soil.

My neighbors hired me to turn this apple into a frankentree for them.  I think we put on about 30 varieties, all tested by me for this area.  It was dubbed !Bride of frankentree!

My neighbors hired me to turn this apple into a frankentree for them.  I think we put on about 30 varieties, all tested by me for this area.  It was dubbed !Bride of frankentree!

The tree prepared and ready to graft.  One section on the left was retained as the original variety.

The tree prepared and ready to graft.  One section on the left was retained as the original variety.

All the grafts finished and labeled

All the grafts finished and labeled

Some regrowth

Some regrowth

I carved some spoons and spatulas this year from maple and madrone. When I come across some nice wood, I blank out billets with my hatchet and store them for later use. The rough shape is made with the hatchet and finished with a knife, rasp and sandpaper. They sold pretty well, but I don't really do it for the money, because it doesn't pay that well when using hand tools. A bandsaw would speed it up, but where's the fun in that?
I carved some spoons and spatulas this year from maple and madrone. When I come across some nice wood, I blank out billets with my hatchet and store them for later use. The rough shape is made with the hatchet and finished with a knife, rasp and sandpaper. They sold pretty well, but I don't really do it for the money, because it doesn't pay that well when using hand tools. A bandsaw would speed it up, but where's the fun in that?
this year I got it together to print all my seed pockets and post a how to video on Youtube. I may redo the video at some point, as the quality is not so great, but it works.
this year I got it together to print all my seed pockets and post a how to video on Youtube. I may redo the video at some point, as the quality is not so great, but it works.
Seeds of Ruby Streaks, a red Mizuna type mustard green. This hasn't turned out to be a very good market item, but I eat quite a bit of it sauteed in butter.
Seeds of Ruby Streaks, a red Mizuna type mustard green. This hasn't turned out to be a very good market item, but I eat quite a bit of it sauteed in butter.
Bulgarian Giant Leek seeds.
Bulgarian Giant Leek seeds.
A nice batch of leeks on the way to market.
A nice batch of leeks on the way to market.
One of my best customers hamming it up.
One of my best customers hamming it up.
I continue to be amused by frequent hits on my How to Grow Huge Ass Leeks post from people searching for huge ass porn, or how to grow a huge ass. Hopefully some of those people have been edified somehow by running across this blog.
I continue to be amused by frequent hits on my How to Grow Huge Ass Leeks post from people searching for huge ass porn, or how to grow a huge ass. Hopefully some of those people have been edified somehow by running across this blog.
Possibly the funniest thing I've seen all year.
Possibly the funniest thing I've seen all year.
Newly dug bed for trialing red fleshed apple seedlings. The white color is from ashes and oyster shell.

Newly dug bed for trialing red fleshed apple seedlings. The white color is from ashes and oyster shell.

Beautiful healthy apple seedling from my red fleshed apple breeding experiments headed for the trial rows.

Beautiful healthy apple seedling from my red fleshed apple breeding experiments headed for the trial rows.

Planting the seedlings. I went for a very close 12 inches apart.
Planting the seedlings. I went for a very close 12 inches apart.
the new crop of apple seedlings overgrown in the flats as usual. These will be grafted onto dwarfing stock this year. I just planted the seeds from last year's pollinating. I'm not sure how many more batches I'll do. I may just do one more year and call it good. I've only got so much room and resources to grow out apple seedlings, but there are a few more crosses I'd like to make.
the new crop of apple seedlings overgrown in the flats as usual. These will be grafted onto dwarfing stock this year. I just planted the seeds from last year's pollinating. I'm not sure how many more batches I'll do. I may just do one more year and call it good. I've only got so much room and resources to grow out apple seedlings, but there are a few more crosses I'd like to make.
this was a tree planting site on which I did a charcoal burn. I dug a large pit, burned the charcoal in the pit, crushed it and re-buried it in the pit as it was refilled.

this was a tree planting site on which I did a charcoal burn. I dug a large pit, burned the charcoal in the pit, crushed it and re-buried it in the pit as it was refilled.

Reburying the pit with charcoal mixed in. The tree has done very well in spite of a serious drought. It was plump and flushed deep green all year. I did mix in some urine as I went to charge up the charcoal. otherwise, it will soak up all the nitrogen during the first year leaving none for the tree.
Reburying the pit with charcoal mixed in. The tree has done very well in spite of a serious drought. It was plump and flushed deep green all year. I did mix in some urine as I went to charge up the charcoal. otherwise, it will soak up all the nitrogen during the first year leaving none for the tree.
More trench burning of charcoal from the youtube video I posted on the method. I'm stoked about it. It seems to work very well, and it's fun.

More trench burning of charcoal from the youtube video I posted on the method. I'm stoked about it. It seems to work very well, and it's fun.

People are often skeptical about the alleged durability of charcoal. I've found charcoal buried deep in the ground and probably associated with artifacts thousands of years old. Anyway, this seems to prove the point pretty well. It's a fossil that my friend found with both petrified wood and pieces of charcoal embedded in a stone matrix.
People are often skeptical about the alleged durability of charcoal. I've found charcoal buried deep in the ground and probably associated with artifacts thousands of years old. Anyway, this seems to prove the point pretty well. It's a fossil that my friend found with both petrified wood and pieces of charcoal embedded in a stone matrix.
Digging biochar into a bed. This bed performed very well compared to most of the rest of the garden. In fact, my other biochar amended bed and this one were the best performing beds. This one was done as an experiment. Half is 10% charcoal to 20 inches deep and the other half is 20%, but only dug in 10 inches. In otherwords, same amount of charcoal in each end of the bed just mixed shallower or deeper. No observable differences so far. I have quite a bit of charcoal stockpiled and hope to get a couple more beds prepared this spring. I'm planning more char to greater depth on the next bed and it will be prepared all at once by digging everything out to at least two feet and re-assembling it in layers. That may seem like a lot of work, but given that it should result in a permanent improvement it doesn't seem so bad. Especially given the large amounts of organic matter that people dig into their beds yearly and which disappears yearly. Not that charcoal is a total replacement for organic matter, but it does have some important functional similarities and will probably ultimately either reduce needed inputs, or result in better use of them.

Digging biochar into a bed. This bed performed very well compared to most of the rest of the garden. In fact, my other biochar amended bed and this one were the best performing beds. This one was done as an experiment. Half is 10% charcoal to 20 inches deep and the other half is 20%, but only dug in 10 inches. In otherwords, same amount of charcoal in each end of the bed just mixed shallower or deeper. No observable differences so far. I have quite a bit of charcoal stockpiled and hope to get a couple more beds prepared this spring. I'm planning more char to greater depth on the next bed and it will be prepared all at once by digging everything out to at least two feet and re-assembling it in layers. That may seem like a lot of work, but given that it should result in a permanent improvement it doesn't seem so bad. Especially given the large amounts of organic matter that people dig into their beds yearly and which disappears yearly. Not that charcoal is a total replacement for organic matter, but it does have some important functional similarities and will probably ultimately either reduce needed inputs, or result in better use of them.

Carrots at the Farmer's Market
Carrots at the Farmer's Market
One year of growth on an apple tree after dis-budding and notching to select branches. This method appears so superior to what is commonly recommended that I am anxious to do an article or video on it. It may be a little hard to visualize in 3 dimensions from a 2 dimensional picture, but this tree gave me 4 branches in four different directions in just one year. I haven't taken a current picture, but the tree will be grafted over since the scion wood was mislabeled. It was supposed to be Golden Harvey, a super sweet long keeping cider/eating apple that I was all stoked up to find. It turned out to be some bitter foamy cider apple of no account.

One year of growth on an apple tree after dis-budding and notching to select branches. This method appears so superior to what is commonly recommended that I am anxious to do an article or video on it. It may be a little hard to visualize in 3 dimensions from a 2 dimensional picture, but this tree gave me 4 branches in four different directions in just one year. I haven't taken a current picture, but the tree will be grafted over since the scion wood was mislabeled. It was supposed to be Golden Harvey, a super sweet long keeping cider/eating apple that I was all stoked up to find. It turned out to be some bitter foamy cider apple of no account.

This picture shows the more rapid progress of a bud which has been notched. note that it is further along than the other buds. Supposedly that is because the notch disrupts signals from the top of the tree which otherwise would inhibit it's growth, but also possibly because it directs nutrients into the bud instead of letting them pass up the tree. Whatever the physiological mechanism, it works. After taking this, I removed the buds I didn't want as scaffold branches. This is a sour cherry. Sweet cherry has not responded at all well to notching and dis-budding.
This picture shows the more rapid progress of a bud which has been notched. note that it is further along than the other buds. Supposedly that is because the notch disrupts signals from the top of the tree which otherwise would inhibit it's growth, but also possibly because it directs nutrients into the bud instead of letting them pass up the tree. Whatever the physiological mechanism, it works. After taking this, I removed the buds I didn't want as scaffold branches. This is a sour cherry. Sweet cherry has not responded at all well to notching and dis-budding.
This jar of olives was about 4 years old when I opened it and took the olives to the Olive Odyssey festival. They were very good. This is one great advantage to fermenting and then storing in the fermenting jars.
This jar of olives was about 4 years old when I opened it and took the olives to the Olive Odyssey festival. They were very good. This is one great advantage to fermenting and then storing in the fermenting jars.
Said olives looking tasty.
Said olives looking tasty.
Chicken broken down into potentially edible parts. I was experimenting for a minute with eating as much of a chicken as possible. Those two things on the table to the left of the chicken that look like dead salamanders taste awful. Don't eat those. I don't know what they are, but they taste like chicken poop smells. I also made several attempts to process and eat the intestines , but they also taste like chicken poo. I gave up on them. The actual sphincter is quite tasty though. Ultimately, that still leave the great majority of the chicken imminently edible. A lot of chickens have been on death row for a while as they have grown beyond the carrying capacity of the land. Lucky for them I haven't had enough energy to get around to slaughtering very many of them. I accidentally shot one of the hens though, because a bout of uveitis had affected my vision to the point that I thought it was a similar looking rooster. A tragedy maybe, but a tasty one!
Chicken broken down into potentially edible parts. I was experimenting for a minute with eating as much of a chicken as possible. Those two things on the table to the left of the chicken that look like dead salamanders taste awful. Don't eat those. I don't know what they are, but they taste like chicken poop smells. I also made several attempts to process and eat the intestines , but they also taste like chicken poo. I gave up on them. The actual sphincter is quite tasty though. Ultimately, that still leave the great majority of the chicken imminently edible. A lot of chickens have been on death row for a while as they have grown beyond the carrying capacity of the land. Lucky for them I haven't had enough energy to get around to slaughtering very many of them. I accidentally shot one of the hens though, because a bout of uveitis had affected my vision to the point that I thought it was a similar looking rooster. A tragedy maybe, but a tasty one!
Have to have at least one picture of cute baby chicks.
Have to have at least one picture of cute baby chicks.
Finishing some oak tanned leather that was started in 2013. Here I'm scraping over the flesh side one last time to remove bits of tissue and oak bark.
Finishing some oak tanned leather that was started in 2013. Here I'm scraping over the flesh side one last time to remove bits of tissue and oak bark.
My friend Talcon oiling the flesh side of the leather with tallow before we paste it down to a piece of plywood for finishing and drying.
My friend Talcon oiling the flesh side of the leather with tallow before we paste it down to a piece of plywood for finishing and drying.
In this step, the leather is smoothed out with a rounded polished slate. This removes wrinkles and dents. It also sticks the hide to the board because of the tallow pasted over the flesh side.
In this step, the leather is smoothed out with a rounded polished slate. This removes wrinkles and dents. It also sticks the hide to the board because of the tallow pasted over the flesh side.
After setting the skin to dry up on saw horses, the chickens walked all over it, so I had to re-slick it with the slate to smooth it back out. otherwise it would dry with these permanent marks, just like when leather is tooled to form patterns.
After setting the skin to dry up on saw horses, the chickens walked all over it, so I had to re-slick it with the slate to smooth it back out. otherwise it would dry with these permanent marks, just like when leather is tooled to form patterns.
The finished leather drying slowly in the winter sun.
The finished leather drying slowly in the winter sun.
I'itoi onions (pronounced E E toy) which I started selling on ebay this year. They are exceedingly rare at this point, but the many packages I sent out this year should help change that. It is a very small onion that was grown by the O'odam in the southwest. Thought to be brought by the Spanish invaders, it is well adapted to the droughty South West. It quickly forms large clusters of very small shallot like onions which can grow perennially as chives or be harvested and replanted to make small onions. They are awful small, but they're pretty cool and very tasty.
I'itoi onions (pronounced E E toy) which I started selling on ebay this year. They are exceedingly rare at this point, but the many packages I sent out this year should help change that. It is a very small onion that was grown by the O'odam in the southwest. Thought to be brought by the Spanish invaders, it is well adapted to the droughty South West. It quickly forms large clusters of very small shallot like onions which can grow perennially as chives or be harvested and replanted to make small onions. They are awful small, but they're pretty cool and very tasty.
I made quite a few batches of bay nut toffee this year. about 50/50 pasture fed butter and sugar, a little salt and vanilla, and bay nuts. I'm still refining recipes, but it has been declared very good by all tasters.
I made quite a few batches of bay nut toffee this year. about 50/50 pasture fed butter and sugar, a little salt and vanilla, and bay nuts. I'm still refining recipes, but it has been declared very good by all tasters.
Bay nut toffee
Bay nut toffee
These are not chocolate, they are ground roasted bay nuts with sugar and orange peel. They look like chocolate and melt like chocolate. They also taste more like chocolate than anything I've ever tried, but they are still very different. These turned out great, but they undergo a process of degredation and separation the same as chocolate will when not subjected to certain processes of tempering, and usually with the addition of lecithin as an emulsifier. Eventually most of the fat coalesced together leaving the dry powder separate. I hope to work on experimenting with tempering it like chocolate, but I need access to a muller and hopefully a tempering machine, though I could do that by hand with enough patience.
These are not chocolate, they are ground roasted bay nuts with sugar and orange peel. They look like chocolate and melt like chocolate. They also taste more like chocolate than anything I've ever tried, but they are still very different. These turned out great, but they undergo a process of degredation and separation the same as chocolate will when not subjected to certain processes of tempering, and usually with the addition of lecithin as an emulsifier. Eventually most of the fat coalesced together leaving the dry powder separate. I hope to work on experimenting with tempering it like chocolate, but I need access to a muller and hopefully a tempering machine, though I could do that by hand with enough patience.
Bean trellis in the morning.
Bean trellis in the morning.
Netted bed of lettuce and scallions going to seed. I have to net most of the greens here. This is mosquito netting, which is pretty cheap, but it hasn't held up that well in the sun. Otherwise, I like it.
Netted bed of lettuce and scallions going to seed. I have to net most of the greens here. This is mosquito netting, which is pretty cheap, but it hasn't held up that well in the sun. Otherwise, I like it.
Montevideo Iris. I thought these would do better at the market, but they were not that popular.
Montevideo Iris. I thought these would do better at the market, but they were not that popular.
Titan's Glory iris. This iris does everything big. It has large rhizomes that spread quickly and large flowers that bloom profusely. All around an excellent variety.
Titan's Glory iris. This iris does everything big. It has large rhizomes that spread quickly and large flowers that bloom profusely. All around an excellent variety.
I don't recall the name of this iris, but it's awesome. I wasn't too keen on it at first, but now it's become my favorite.
I don't recall the name of this iris, but it's awesome. I wasn't too keen on it at first, but now it's become my favorite.
Oriental Poppy. I planted 3 varieties of these as experiments in tree understories. They haven't performed that well in that capacity, but they are still very cool and extremely rugged. I tried to kill some and the just keep coming back.
Oriental Poppy. I planted 3 varieties of these as experiments in tree understories. They haven't performed that well in that capacity, but they are still very cool and extremely rugged. I tried to kill some and the just keep coming back.
getting OCD with some artichokes. These were made into canned artichoke hearts.
getting OCD with some artichokes. These were made into canned artichoke hearts.
William's Pride. This is a very promising early apple. Here photographed in July it is in eating late July and early august here. It is surprisingly good for that early of an apple competing with chestnut crab for best early apple, though that isn't really a fair comparison since they are so different. It is quite large, very crunchy and crisp, has a surprising amount of tannin and pretty complex flavor. As you can see, it takes a high polish too.
William's Pride. This is a very promising early apple. Here photographed in July it is in eating late July and early august here. It is surprisingly good for that early of an apple competing with chestnut crab for best early apple, though that isn't really a fair comparison since they are so different. It is quite large, very crunchy and crisp, has a surprising amount of tannin and pretty complex flavor. As you can see, it takes a high polish too.
Madrone billets for making stuff on the lathe. I got my lathe up and running and managed to make a few awls and willow cleaves before the space it was in got repurposed as living space. These madrone billets were split out of a neighbors fallen tree, hewn into a rough shape with a hatchet, rough turned on the lathe and then oiled with tallow for seasoning. I stock up on wood like this when it's available.
Madrone billets for making stuff on the lathe. I got my lathe up and running and managed to make a few awls and willow cleaves before the space it was in got repurposed as living space. These madrone billets were split out of a neighbors fallen tree, hewn into a rough shape with a hatchet, rough turned on the lathe and then oiled with tallow for seasoning. I stock up on wood like this when it's available.
This is a willow cleave made from the above madrone. It is for splitting willow into 3 strands used in certain types of basketry. Not a tool that many people need. I wouldn't be surprised if I'm the only person making them in the states. They are for sale on Etsy.
This is a willow cleave made from the above madrone. It is for splitting willow into 3 strands used in certain types of basketry. Not a tool that many people need. I wouldn't be surprised if I'm the only person making them in the states. They are for sale on Etsy.
Madrone awl. I started an Etsy account for Paleotechnics and listed my awls, willow cleaves and some jewelry type stuff. These are ideal for buckskin and a lot of the type of leather work I do.
Madrone awl. I started an Etsy account for Paleotechnics and listed my awls, willow cleaves and some jewelry type stuff. These are ideal for buckskin and a lot of the type of leather work I do.
Strange moth in the garden taking flight from an artichoke leaf.
Strange moth in the garden taking flight from an artichoke leaf.
A bedragled dandelion.
A bedragled dandelion.
Black Sage flower spike. I like these, they have a cool architecture. Bugs love them too. The latin is Salvia mellifera, thousand flowers, and it lives up to the name.
Black Sage flower spike. I like these, they have a cool architecture. Bugs love them too. The latin is Salvia mellifera, thousand flowers, and it lives up to the name.
Diabrotica, or Cucumber Beetle, on Artichoke flower.
Diabrotica, or Cucumber Beetle, on Artichoke flower.
guess what? Bee butt!
guess what? Bee butt!
Leezard.
Leezard.
chillin' in an apple tree
chillin' in an apple tree
Baby fence lizard. They start coming out in July. They are born with large heads so they can start eating right away.
Baby fence lizard. They start coming out in July. They are born with large heads so they can start eating right away.
The ever productive and healthy English Morello cherry tree.
The ever productive and healthy English Morello cherry tree.
a miniature drum necklace, a little bigger than a quarter. goat rawhide, elderberry wood and brain tanned buckskin. More Etsy product
a miniature drum necklace, a little bigger than a quarter. goat rawhide, elderberry wood and brain tanned buckskin. More Etsy product
Reliance grape, which I'm increasingly impressed with. Short video review HERE.
Reliance grape, which I'm increasingly impressed with. Short video review HERE.
large store egg v.s. small turkeysong egg. I'm always shocked when I see how sallow and pathetic store eggs are. Organic and "free range" account for very little in store eggs. The yolks are undersized, pale and contain more inflammatory fatty acids DHA, Arachidonic acid and omega 6 fats from a steady diet of grain. They probably aren't capable of supporting life, a chick's or ours. I was running low on eggs, so I bought a dozen, but I ended up just eating the whites and tossing the yolks. I set up a light on a timer to trick the hens into starting to lay again and got three eggs today and yesterday...whew!
large store egg v.s. small turkeysong egg. I'm always shocked when I see how sallow and pathetic store eggs are. Organic and "free range" account for very little in store eggs. The yolks are undersized, pale and contain more inflammatory fatty acids DHA, Arachidonic acid and omega 6 fats from a steady diet of grain. They probably aren't capable of supporting life, a chick's or ours. I was running low on eggs, so I bought a dozen, but I ended up just eating the whites and tossing the yolks. I set up a light on a timer to trick the hens into starting to lay again and got three eggs today and yesterday...whew!
Finally getting some pears. The big red one is Souvenir Du Congres. it was very good. The others are bartletts grafted from an old homestead tree at the top of the driveway. I'm getting some asian pears too and a few winter pears the name of which escapes me just now.
Finally getting some pears. The big red one is Souvenir Du Congres. it was very good. The others are bartletts grafted from an old homestead tree at the top of the driveway. I'm getting some asian pears too and a few winter pears the name of which escapes me just now.
The first soil enrichment, biochar, latrine, experimental pit/trench/hole is finally dug and slowly accumulating otherwise unused organic matter. Yay, progress! I had some help digging, thanks to Will and Gretchen.
The first soil enrichment, biochar, latrine, experimental pit/trench/hole is finally dug and slowly accumulating otherwise unused organic matter. Yay, progress! I had some help digging, thanks to Will and Gretchen.
Vulture hangin' around the compost pile on a convenient roost.
Vulture hangin' around the compost pile on a convenient roost.
Another vulture taking flight. He was sunning himself on the garden gate. They scrounge through the food waste after the chickens are done.
Another vulture taking flight. He was sunning himself on the garden gate. They scrounge through the food waste after the chickens are done.
View from up the drive a bit, showing the type of country here, which is pretty diverse.
View from up the drive a bit, showing the type of country here, which is pretty diverse.
Dusk view toward the coast on the other side of the ridge about 300 feet out the back door.
Dusk view toward the coast on the other side of the ridge about 300 feet out the back door.
Venison sushi, my new favorite way to eat venison. The meat is previously frozen, which should take care of parasites. I'll be cleaning my deer more carefully next year to maximize sashimi potential. I'm making some for lunch in a few minutes, yum.
Venison sushi, my new favorite way to eat venison. The meat is previously frozen, which should take care of parasites. I'll be cleaning my deer more carefully next year to maximize sashimi potential. I'm making some for lunch in a few minutes, yum.
Honey mushroom detail.
Honey mushroom detail.
Honey Mushrooms at a great stage for eating, which I of course did!
Honey Mushrooms at a great stage for eating, which I of course did!
I scored some incredibly cheap saffron bulbs this year. I sold some on ebay to pay for the order, planted some in random field plantings as an experiment to see how long it takes the gophers to eat them all, and put some in a garden bed to multiply for later. As you can see, I was a little tardy in planting them.
I scored some incredibly cheap saffron bulbs this year. I sold some on ebay to pay for the order, planted some in random field plantings as an experiment to see how long it takes the gophers to eat them all, and put some in a garden bed to multiply for later. As you can see, I was a little tardy in planting them.
This is a knife that an intern/helper gave me. I was already considering buying this exact knife for carving the flutes in my willow cleaves. I've been geeking out on knife handles and had this idea for carving the handle for increased grip texture.
This is a knife that an intern/helper gave me. I was already considering buying this exact knife for carving the flutes in my willow cleaves. I've been geeking out on knife handles and had this idea for carving the handle for increased grip texture.
Detail of above
Detail of above
My friend brought over this knife to make a sheath. I've got an outline made for a video on knife handle design and had to entirely reshape the handle first, which turned into a video segment. The sheath is made from 4 different leathers, stiff bark tanned wild boar on the inside, soft goat on the outside, a horse hide welt to protect the stitching and braintanned buckskin sewing thong. It turned out pretty sweet. I'm not a big fan of this mora style of blade for general purpose knives, but that puts me in a minority among the primitive skills crowd.
My friend brought over this knife to make a sheath. I've got an outline made for a video on knife handle design and had to entirely reshape the handle first, which turned into a video segment. The sheath is made from 4 different leathers, stiff bark tanned wild boar on the inside, soft goat on the outside, a horse hide welt to protect the stitching and braintanned buckskin sewing thong. It turned out pretty sweet. I'm not a big fan of this mora style of blade for general purpose knives, but that puts me in a minority among the primitive skills crowd.
Barktanned bracelet, more Esty product
Barktanned bracelet, more Esty product

Some stuff I think is cool this year:

Gokhale method of posture.  This is different that any other kind of exercise, stretching, yoga etc... It is based on the idea that there is a basic correct type of posture for humans (which is probably a little different than what you've been told), and it really more to do with how you sit, lie, walk, live and move your body than exercises, though there are exercises.  It also requires an attitude adjustment.  Everyone I've turned on to it has been very enthusiastic and it has helped me a lot.  This is really for almost everyone, but certainly people with any kind of posture/pain/joint issues should check it out. Classes aren't cheap, but the book is excellent and a great place to start.

Ray Peat.  Ray peat might best be described as a renegade biologist and science historian.  He has his mind in all kinds of things, but with a focus on nutrition and hormones, with metabolism being at the center of the picture.  Peat is one smart cookie and possesses a vast store of knowledge that he can pull out on demand.  It he always right?  I doubt it, and I'm very unsure you should eat like him, but prepare to have a lot of things you assume to be given truths called into serious question by someone with a rare mind that thinks way outside the box.  Try on for size: CO2 is much more than a waste gas of metabolism and you should make and retain as much as possible, serotonin and estrogen are primarily destructive substances in the body and there is no such thing as estrogen deficiency, and essential fatty acids are not only not essential, but essentially toxic and more of an unfortunate natural occurrence that we have to adapt to.  Often includes the history of where science/medicine went wrong in adopting a certain dogma, and the influence of industry in corrupting scientific research and medical practice.  This is not light reading and listening, but he dumbs it down for us as much as possible.  Warning, Ray Peat can be a deep rabbit hole and lead to food neurosis and extreme self experimentation in a certain type of personality.

Michael Mews.  This stuff is absolutely fascinating.  There are several dominant theories on the prevalence of modern facial malformation and poor dental development, which has become nearly universal these days.  How many kids do you know that are not getting braces around age 13?  I can't think of any.  The genetic explanation is pretty much bullshit, but convenient to point to for medical professionals who don't know the answer.  Michael Mew's point of view deals with oral habits and environment.  The third common view is diet via Weston Price, which probably has considerable substance, but is clearly not the total answer.  Michael Mews is really putting out some amazing stuff about an issue that now affects nearly all modern people.  If you have kids under 18, this is a must watch before subjecting them to the mutilation and idiocy that is standard practice orthodontics.  It's also just plain interesting.

See you around homies!  Have a great and productive year!