Posts filed under Wildlands and Plants-- and Animals and Stuff

Super Close Footage of a Rattlesnake, 4 inches Away!

I found this little snake in the woodpile.  Judging from the size, it was probably born last year. There is a rattlesnake den very close by where they congregate in the winter. This one is probably working it's way toward hibernating there.  I found it the evening before and went back in the morning while it was cold to shoot some macro footage.  Not an opportunity that you get every day!  By the time I was finished, he was a lot warmer and more feisty.  I'm a lot more nervous thinking about it now than I was at the time, but I played it pretty safe.  At one point I was focusing the lens with a stick :)

Tripod: Vanguard 263 AGH.  Been through lots of dirt and moisture and still works perfectly.  The head is not a video head.  You can make pans with it if you shoot them multiple times until you get a good one.  I also make tilting moving shots which works if you get all the tensions just right and have a steady hand, but it's not made for any of that and no substitute for a good video head.  But I don't own a video head and I get by tolerably well with this.  The pistol grip is really great for setting up still shots quickly.

The lens is a Nikon 55mm 2.8 MIcro-Nikkor.  The very close ups also use an added extender tube to reach 1:1 magnification.  I love this lens.  It has great color and it's nice and sharp.  My favorite all around lens so far out of the ones I've owned.  Built like a tank.  The camera is a Sony NEX5T.  It has issues, but it's been pretty great really and will take any lens if you have an adapter.

Posted on September 13, 2016 and filed under animals, Wildlands and Plants-- and Animals and Stuff.

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!

Turkeysong, the Year in Pictures 2013, Summer, Fall and Early Winter.

solstice moon
solstice moon
 scallions for market, Scallions and carrots are my market mainstays.  They hold in the ground for a while, so I don’t miss the crop window if I can’t make it to the market.

scallions for market, Scallions and carrots are my market mainstays.  They hold in the ground for a while, so I don’t miss the crop window if I can’t make it to the market.

 They just kept hatching more all summer.  Probably just because they’re happy free range chickens driven to fulfill their biological purpose.  These two chicks made it.  Mom moved them into the coop after most of their siblings were killed in a raccoon attack one night.  The price of freedom

They just kept hatching more all summer.  Probably just because they’re happy free range chickens driven to fulfill their biological purpose.  These two chicks made it.  Mom moved them into the coop after most of their siblings were killed in a raccoon attack one night.  The price of freedom

 Alligator lizard foreplay.  They’d probably be less than thrilled to know they were modeling for exhibition on the web.  They’ll run around like this for a while before they can get it up (cold blooded low metabolism at work I guess :).  I’m sure it’s totally hot to be bitten on the head if you’re an alligator lizard chick.  She looks stoked.

Alligator lizard foreplay.  They’d probably be less than thrilled to know they were modeling for exhibition on the web.  They’ll run around like this for a while before they can get it up (cold blooded low metabolism at work I guess :).  I’m sure it’s totally hot to be bitten on the head if you’re an alligator lizard chick.  She looks stoked.

 William’s Pride, half polished.  This apple ripens in August and seems promising for an early apple, but it has stiff competition in chestnut crab ripening in the same season.

William’s Pride, half polished.  This apple ripens in August and seems promising for an early apple, but it has stiff competition in chestnut crab ripening in the same season.

 Tomatillos roasting for salsa.  Roasting really adds some great flavor!

Tomatillos roasting for salsa.  Roasting really adds some great flavor!

 Zapotec tomato is a good eating and salsa tomato.  It didn’t turn out to be the great canner I hoped it would though, so it’s back to blue beech to fill that niche for now.  Paul Robeson was a great slicer and is probably here to stay (thanks mom for introducing me to both of those varieties!).  I usually have free seeds of my favorite tomatoes and vegetables at the farmer’s market in Ukiah, and at the winter scion exchange in Boonville.  I have a huge basket full of folded seed pockets ready to go.  They are almost like business cards.

Zapotec tomato is a good eating and salsa tomato.  It didn’t turn out to be the great canner I hoped it would though, so it’s back to blue beech to fill that niche for now.  Paul Robeson was a great slicer and is probably here to stay (thanks mom for introducing me to both of those varieties!).  I usually have free seeds of my favorite tomatoes and vegetables at the farmer’s market in Ukiah, and at the winter scion exchange in Boonville.  I have a huge basket full of folded seed pockets ready to go.  They are almost like business cards.

 Where the magic happens?  Grapefruits gleaned from town with lots of sugar.  According to the owners of this grapefruit tree, it produces fruit for about 11 months of the year.  Yet there is really not that much citrus planted in Ukiah.  Citrus trees are ornamental, easy to care for (usually needing very little if any care), the flowers smell good and they produce food that most people like, but which is relatively expensive to buy and is currently shipped in, often from long distances.  WTF homeowners?

Where the magic happens?  Grapefruits gleaned from town with lots of sugar.  According to the owners of this grapefruit tree, it produces fruit for about 11 months of the year.  Yet there is really not that much citrus planted in Ukiah.  Citrus trees are ornamental, easy to care for (usually needing very little if any care), the flowers smell good and they produce food that most people like, but which is relatively expensive to buy and is currently shipped in, often from long distances.  WTF homeowners?

 Curing potato onions.  Selling  potato onion starts on ebay  has been a helpful income boost since fall.

Curing potato onions.  Selling potato onion starts on ebay has been a helpful income boost since fall.

 potato onion slice showing the "eyes" or growing points that become new bulbs

potato onion slice showing the "eyes" or growing points that become new bulbs

 Grinding charcoal sifted out of the wood stove and fire pit ashes.  Every time I start a fire, I shovel out the cold ashes and charcoal from the last fire.  As you can see, it adds up!  I’ve pretty much abandoned this grinder for now, until I can restore it and set it to finer grind setting than the one it’s stuck on now, which is pea sized and down.  Now I’m using a garbage disposal unit that was set up a few years ago for grinding apples for the juice press.  It is much faster and makes a finer grind, though I sort of miss the meditative spinning of the wheel and knowing I was doing it with my own motive power.

Grinding charcoal sifted out of the wood stove and fire pit ashes.  Every time I start a fire, I shovel out the cold ashes and charcoal from the last fire.  As you can see, it adds up!  I’ve pretty much abandoned this grinder for now, until I can restore it and set it to finer grind setting than the one it’s stuck on now, which is pea sized and down.  Now I’m using a garbage disposal unit that was set up a few years ago for grinding apples for the juice press.  It is much faster and makes a finer grind, though I sort of miss the meditative spinning of the wheel and knowing I was doing it with my own motive power.

 The  interstem trees  that I did not graft over have come into pretty decent bearing.  Being young, I had to thin them quite a bit this year to prevent limb breakage.  They are tending to be suckery, but otherwise, I’d say this system is a success.  They seem fairly self sufficient, grow fast and fruit early.  The fruit quality is high so far.

The interstem trees that I did not graft over have come into pretty decent bearing.  Being young, I had to thin them quite a bit this year to prevent limb breakage.  They are tending to be suckery, but otherwise, I’d say this system is a success.  They seem fairly self sufficient, grow fast and fruit early.  The fruit quality is high so far.

 Onion braids and chili ristras at turkeysong, the romantic version.  Yellow of Parma Onion seems to be holding up pretty well in storage, but I’m not sure it’s my favorite flavor wise.

Onion braids and chili ristras at turkeysong, the romantic version.  Yellow of Parma Onion seems to be holding up pretty well in storage, but I’m not sure it’s my favorite flavor wise.

 The  Hall apple  has an interesting story.  It was very highly respected at one time, but was nearly lost to cultivation because it was too small to compete in the markets as food shifted increasingly toward larger scale production and people purchased more and grew less.  It was rediscovered by apple hunter  Tom Brown  (no, not the survival guy) who deserves major props for sleuthing out many old apples that would otherwise be lost forever.  Go Tom!  Hall was also grown in California at one time, and was of commercial interest, though it probably fell out of favor here for the same reasons.  Being a southern apple, it was resistant to our hot summers.  My few specimens this year were badly watercored, but that is likely to clear up as the tree matures.  The flavor was intense, even early in the season, so I’m hopeful it will stand up to the benchmarks already set by other great apples grown here.  This specimen is larger than average since it was grown on a cordon.

The Hall apple has an interesting story.  It was very highly respected at one time, but was nearly lost to cultivation because it was too small to compete in the markets as food shifted increasingly toward larger scale production and people purchased more and grew less.  It was rediscovered by apple hunter Tom Brown (no, not the survival guy) who deserves major props for sleuthing out many old apples that would otherwise be lost forever.  Go Tom!  Hall was also grown in California at one time, and was of commercial interest, though it probably fell out of favor here for the same reasons.  Being a southern apple, it was resistant to our hot summers.  My few specimens this year were badly watercored, but that is likely to clear up as the tree matures.  The flavor was intense, even early in the season, so I’m hopeful it will stand up to the benchmarks already set by other great apples grown here.  This specimen is larger than average since it was grown on a cordon.

 It was a good year for apples!  Some gigantic and some tiny.  Some delicious and some spitters.  The cordon trees have really started to produce.  They grow enormous apples.  My only complaint is that the apples seem somewhat watered down compared to those off of my other apple trees, no doubt because of watering.  I have to water them since they have small root systems and are crowded together, but I may cut back a little to see if I can get closer to the dry farmed taste intensity and sweetness of my other apples.  I got to taste a lot of new apples this year and have lost count of how many are fruiting.  I sold apples at the market and did a lot of impromptu tastings with people.  I’ve gotten some good input and insights now and feel confident to move forward with planting a few more trees for market.  I won’t be going large scale or anything.  I like keeping a diversified farm economy, it’s safe and resilient, and way more fun!  But I would like to be able to take more than a couple of boxes to market.  I’m consistently impressed by my apples and disappointed in everyone else’s.  I simply don’t take lame apples to market.  Those are for the chickens or the juice press.  All these years of research and trial testing varieties is paying off.  I’m not sure if I’ll do an apple variety blog report this year, but you’ll certainly be hearing more about worthy and unworthy apple varieties sometime in the future.  I’ve occasionally had my doubts about sinking so much time, thought and energy into the whole apple project, but tasting some great apples this year, and seeing people’s faces when trying them was very gratifying and has confirmed what my enthusiasm already knew.  That should be no surprise since it was all done out of passion and usually the thing you are most compelled to do will bear fruit in some way eventually.  That at least is how I’ve always lived.

It was a good year for apples!  Some gigantic and some tiny.  Some delicious and some spitters.  The cordon trees have really started to produce.  They grow enormous apples.  My only complaint is that the apples seem somewhat watered down compared to those off of my other apple trees, no doubt because of watering.  I have to water them since they have small root systems and are crowded together, but I may cut back a little to see if I can get closer to the dry farmed taste intensity and sweetness of my other apples.  I got to taste a lot of new apples this year and have lost count of how many are fruiting.  I sold apples at the market and did a lot of impromptu tastings with people.  I’ve gotten some good input and insights now and feel confident to move forward with planting a few more trees for market.  I won’t be going large scale or anything.  I like keeping a diversified farm economy, it’s safe and resilient, and way more fun!  But I would like to be able to take more than a couple of boxes to market.  I’m consistently impressed by my apples and disappointed in everyone else’s.  I simply don’t take lame apples to market.  Those are for the chickens or the juice press.  All these years of research and trial testing varieties is paying off.  I’m not sure if I’ll do an apple variety blog report this year, but you’ll certainly be hearing more about worthy and unworthy apple varieties sometime in the future.  I’ve occasionally had my doubts about sinking so much time, thought and energy into the whole apple project, but tasting some great apples this year, and seeing people’s faces when trying them was very gratifying and has confirmed what my enthusiasm already knew.  That should be no surprise since it was all done out of passion and usually the thing you are most compelled to do will bear fruit in some way eventually.  That at least is how I’ve always lived.

 Drying strawberries.  This was in the spring.  I just forgot to put it in the last post.  Dried strawberries are intensely flavored, but I can’t say they are super fun to just eat.  I haven’t really figured out what to do with them yet.  I’ll be sure to let you know if I break the dried strawberry code, and let us know if you already have.

Drying strawberries.  This was in the spring.  I just forgot to put it in the last post.  Dried strawberries are intensely flavored, but I can’t say they are super fun to just eat.  I haven’t really figured out what to do with them yet.  I’ll be sure to let you know if I break the dried strawberry code, and let us know if you already have.

 Red fleshed apples for making jelly

Red fleshed apples for making jelly

 jelly making and madrone berries for stringing

jelly making and madrone berries for stringing

 Red fleshed apple jelly with saffron.  I grow the saffron too.  Why yes, that is bad ass of me :)

Red fleshed apple jelly with saffron.  I grow the saffron too.  Why yes, that is bad ass of me :)

 Leek seed heads.  These represent the third or fourth generation of seed selected from Bulgarian Giant for height, girth, uprightness, cold hardiness and long smooth stalks.  The gene pool is somewhat limited as I usually only save 8 plants or so, but I’m hoping to trade for some seed from Bulgaria this year to freshen up the gene pool!  Lot’s of seed to give away this year.  You might be surprised how much seed is produced by 8 leek seed heads!  If you have been thinking about saving seed, but haven’t done it yet, my advice is to just start.  Tomatoes are easy and don’t inter-cross.  Lettuce is easy and also doesn’t cross out, so you can just let your best one or two plants go to seed.  It gets more complicated from there, but you can worry about that later!  Find the easy stuff and just start.  Our seed supply and genetic diversity are seriously threatened by current trends.  This is a real problem that we can all solve by taking control of our own seed supplies.  We don’t have to save everything either.  We can divide always trade too.

Leek seed heads.  These represent the third or fourth generation of seed selected from Bulgarian Giant for height, girth, uprightness, cold hardiness and long smooth stalks.  The gene pool is somewhat limited as I usually only save 8 plants or so, but I’m hoping to trade for some seed from Bulgaria this year to freshen up the gene pool!  Lot’s of seed to give away this year.  You might be surprised how much seed is produced by 8 leek seed heads!  If you have been thinking about saving seed, but haven’t done it yet, my advice is to just start.  Tomatoes are easy and don’t inter-cross.  Lettuce is easy and also doesn’t cross out, so you can just let your best one or two plants go to seed.  It gets more complicated from there, but you can worry about that later!  Find the easy stuff and just start.  Our seed supply and genetic diversity are seriously threatened by current trends.  This is a real problem that we can all solve by taking control of our own seed supplies.  We don’t have to save everything either.  We can divide always trade too.

 A few potato onion seedlings showing some diversity of color and size.  Maybe one of these will be the next best potato onion ever.

A few potato onion seedlings showing some diversity of color and size.  Maybe one of these will be the next best potato onion ever.

 Fall colors in red fleshed apple seedlings.  Some clearly show much more red than others.

Fall colors in red fleshed apple seedlings.  Some clearly show much more red than others.

 Red fleshed apple seedling in fall.

Red fleshed apple seedling in fall.

 This apple, labeled Vin de St Maurice, is huge.  More huger than it actually looks in this picture.  It wasn’t super exciting to eat, but maybe it will improve.

This apple, labeled Vin de St Maurice, is huge.  More huger than it actually looks in this picture.  It wasn’t super exciting to eat, but maybe it will improve.

 Winterstein.  Allegedly the only apple bred by famous plant breeder Luther Burbank

Winterstein.  Allegedly the only apple bred by famous plant breeder Luther Burbank

 Saffron bulbs begining to sprout in fall.  Each of those little shoots coming out the side will become a new bulb.  I had them multiplied up to probably 800 to 1000 bulbs after starting with just 35 or so.  Then a gopher discovered my nursery bed and kicked by butt.  I lost about 2/3 of them, which at around 50 cents piece to replace them is a pretty big loss.  The remaining were replanted in a new bed which was also discovered and the plants started disappearing underground one by one.  I dug up all the plants, lined the bed with wire, and replanted.  Take that suckas!  I’m on a mission to grow saffron here.  Obviously gophers and voles are going to be a major issue, but my gears have been spinning for several years to come up with possible solutions.  Like so many things, there should be a local saffron industry in California, at least to cover local use.  It is very easy to grow aside from the rodent issue.

Saffron bulbs begining to sprout in fall.  Each of those little shoots coming out the side will become a new bulb.  I had them multiplied up to probably 800 to 1000 bulbs after starting with just 35 or so.  Then a gopher discovered my nursery bed and kicked by butt.  I lost about 2/3 of them, which at around 50 cents piece to replace them is a pretty big loss.  The remaining were replanted in a new bed which was also discovered and the plants started disappearing underground one by one.  I dug up all the plants, lined the bed with wire, and replanted.  Take that suckas!  I’m on a mission to grow saffron here.  Obviously gophers and voles are going to be a major issue, but my gears have been spinning for several years to come up with possible solutions.  Like so many things, there should be a local saffron industry in California, at least to cover local use.  It is very easy to grow aside from the rodent issue.

 Saffron root growing through a piece of  “the pet” , a clay charcoal kiln that was pulverized and used to amend the saffron crocus bed.  Burnt clay is supposed to be a good soil amendment.  did this root find that hole in the fired clay and dive in?  Or did it just bump into it and end up in there?

Saffron root growing through a piece of “the pet”, a clay charcoal kiln that was pulverized and used to amend the saffron crocus bed.  Burnt clay is supposed to be a good soil amendment.  did this root find that hole in the fired clay and dive in?  Or did it just bump into it and end up in there?

 Dressing a piece of lat year’s bull hide.  This piece of leather went to shoe maker  Holly Embree  and was used to make a pair of shoes for the  fiber shed fashion gala .  She was able  to work with the chicken tracks that I couldn’t manage to dress out :/

Dressing a piece of lat year’s bull hide.  This piece of leather went to shoe maker Holly Embree and was used to make a pair of shoes for the fiber shed fashion gala.  She was able  to work with the chicken tracks that I couldn’t manage to dress out :/

 Bay nuts galore this year!  This picture shows the genetic diversity of the bay nut.  I suspect that indicates a high potential for breeding for improvements in size, form, oil content, etc… After all, it’s relative the avocado was bred from a small, barely edible fruit.  Look for a book from paleotechnics on bay trees and bay nuts this fall (you might not find it, but look anyway:)

Bay nuts galore this year!  This picture shows the genetic diversity of the bay nut.  I suspect that indicates a high potential for breeding for improvements in size, form, oil content, etc… After all, it’s relative the avocado was bred from a small, barely edible fruit.  Look for a book from paleotechnics on bay trees and bay nuts this fall (you might not find it, but look anyway:)

 The best drier.  The car dashboards are in constant use every fall and much of the summer for drying stuff.   There are more trays and boxes in the background.  They haven’t all been weighed yet, but probably around 150 pounds total this year.  I’ll be  selling them  on ebay and elsewhere.

The best drier.  The car dashboards are in constant use every fall and much of the summer for drying stuff.   There are more trays and boxes in the background.  They haven’t all been weighed yet, but probably around 150 pounds total this year.  I’ll be selling them on ebay and elsewhere.

 Bay nuts in a mesh bag.  Just a cool picture.

Bay nuts in a mesh bag.  Just a cool picture.

  Roating bay nuts in a popcorn popper , my new preferred method until I invent and build a better roaster.

Roating bay nuts in a popcorn popper, my new preferred method until I invent and build a better roaster.

 Cracking bay nuts in the  Davebilt  nutcracker.  This machine is manufactured and sold by a very nice old couple in Lake County.  It can be set for any size of nut.  It sure beats tapping each one with a rock!  An investment, but a solid one if you crack nuts every year.  It’s built like a tank.

Cracking bay nuts in the Davebilt nutcracker.  This machine is manufactured and sold by a very nice old couple in Lake County.  It can be set for any size of nut.  It sure beats tapping each one with a rock!  An investment, but a solid one if you crack nuts every year.  It’s built like a tank.

 Roasted bay nuts, mmmmm….

Roasted bay nuts, mmmmm….

 bagged and ready for market

bagged and ready for market

 Bay nut candy ingredients- chili powders, hand gathered sea salt and maple sugar

Bay nut candy ingredients- chili powders, hand gathered sea salt and maple sugar

 Bay nut paste ground find for making candy.  Bay nuts contain 60% of almost entirely saturated oils, much like coconut and chocolate do.  When ground, the oils melt and the paste can be shaped to cool into chocolate like confections.  Isn’t that cool?!

Bay nut paste ground find for making candy.  Bay nuts contain 60% of almost entirely saturated oils, much like coconut and chocolate do.  When ground, the oils melt and the paste can be shaped to cool into chocolate like confections.  Isn’t that cool?!

 Paleotechnics cofounder and Turkeysong partner and veteran bay nut pusher Tamara Wilder rolling out bay nut paste.

Paleotechnics cofounder and Turkeysong partner and veteran bay nut pusher Tamara Wilder rolling out bay nut paste.

 Cuttting

Cuttting

 Cooling bay nut candies to harden.  They are hard at room temperature and melt in your mouth or hand just like chocolate.  You know you want one, but so far they are only for sale sporadically at random paleotechnics events.

Cooling bay nut candies to harden.  They are hard at room temperature and melt in your mouth or hand just like chocolate.  You know you want one, but so far they are only for sale sporadically at random paleotechnics events.

 Happiness is a full woodshed, but this shed is less than full.  At least it’s half full and not half empty this year!  It does have a nice stack of fat slabs of fir bark for lime burning projects!  This bark is from 60 year old stumps, still solid and dense with a high fuel value.  I like the florist sighn with half the F eaten off by a horse.  That’s going to market this year.  Very country chic.

Happiness is a full woodshed, but this shed is less than full.  At least it’s half full and not half empty this year!  It does have a nice stack of fat slabs of fir bark for lime burning projects!  This bark is from 60 year old stumps, still solid and dense with a high fuel value.  I like the florist sighn with half the F eaten off by a horse.  That’s going to market this year.  Very country chic.

 Persimmons peeled for drying.

Persimmons peeled for drying.

 Drying persimmons hung from the building eaves.  This is how they do it in Japan.

Drying persimmons hung from the building eaves.  This is how they do it in Japan.

 Drying hachiya persimmons.  These are so good!  Persimmons are dried and eaten all over temperate asia, but are just being discovered by other-than-Asian Americans.  I’m planning to plant more, but still deciding what varieties.  The plants are productive, disease resistant, almost pest free and require little pruning.  My neighbors let me pick about 150 fruits off of their 30 year old tree after they had already picked 550 large fruits!  I never knew what to do with that many persimmons until I found out about drying them whole a few years ago.  Early experiments went okay, but when tonia brought some back from chinatown, I realized the true potential and I’m all over it now.  They’re like a giant natural gummy bear that’s been deboned, had it’s limbs and head removed and was given a hat and squished flat.. sort of.  Persimmons are a great example of the latent resource potential concept I’m so into since moving here.  After establishment, the long lived trees will produce persimmons whether they get used or not.  They could be eaten, sold fresh, dried and sold, traded, gifted (part of any truly stable economy), fed to animals or just left to look pretty on the tree.  Awesome.  I’ll be learning more about persimmons and figuring out how to graft them.  There is a great persimmon collection at Winters here in California with varieties from all over the world.

Drying hachiya persimmons.  These are so good!  Persimmons are dried and eaten all over temperate asia, but are just being discovered by other-than-Asian Americans.  I’m planning to plant more, but still deciding what varieties.  The plants are productive, disease resistant, almost pest free and require little pruning.  My neighbors let me pick about 150 fruits off of their 30 year old tree after they had already picked 550 large fruits!  I never knew what to do with that many persimmons until I found out about drying them whole a few years ago.  Early experiments went okay, but when tonia brought some back from chinatown, I realized the true potential and I’m all over it now.  They’re like a giant natural gummy bear that’s been deboned, had it’s limbs and head removed and was given a hat and squished flat.. sort of.  Persimmons are a great example of the latent resource potential concept I’m so into since moving here.  After establishment, the long lived trees will produce persimmons whether they get used or not.  They could be eaten, sold fresh, dried and sold, traded, gifted (part of any truly stable economy), fed to animals or just left to look pretty on the tree.  Awesome.  I’ll be learning more about persimmons and figuring out how to graft them.  There is a great persimmon collection at Winters here in California with varieties from all over the world.

 Happy birthday to you!  The daughters of  young love  on their second birthday.  Yay!  Coming out party in a few years!  And many mooore…

Happy birthday to you!  The daughters of young love on their second birthday.  Yay!  Coming out party in a few years!  And many mooore…

 Hopefully the last smokey lime burn ever here at turkeysong.  I only did it for pictures to finish off the lime  burning in drums  era with a blog post.  All kinda plans for lime burning experimentation rattling around in here.

Hopefully the last smokey lime burn ever here at turkeysong.  I only did it for pictures to finish off the lime burning in drums era with a blog post.  All kinda plans for lime burning experimentation rattling around in here.

 Slaking shell lime boiling like crazy.  Still exciting every time!

Slaking shell lime boiling like crazy.  Still exciting every time!

 Lots of charcoal making experiments brewing in my head.  The  cone kiln concept using a pit  is especially exciting.   This guy  is doing something similar in hawaii, though his burn strategy is a little different.  I think there is huge potential here and will be experimenting if it ever rains around here.  Thanks to reader Lars for pointing me in this direction.

Lots of charcoal making experiments brewing in my head.  The cone kiln concept using a pit is especially exciting.  This guy is doing something similar in hawaii, though his burn strategy is a little different.  I think there is huge potential here and will be experimenting if it ever rains around here.  Thanks to reader Lars for pointing me in this direction.

 A 60 year old lump of ossified douglas fir pitch.  What could that possibly be used for?  All kinds of stuff!  In this case, making soot for use in manufacturing ink.  I hope to illustrate all publications from here out with home made artist materials, the mainstay of which will be Asian style lampblack ink and turkey quill pens.

A 60 year old lump of ossified douglas fir pitch.  What could that possibly be used for?  All kinds of stuff!  In this case, making soot for use in manufacturing ink.  I hope to illustrate all publications from here out with home made artist materials, the mainstay of which will be Asian style lampblack ink and turkey quill pens.

 Collecting fir pitch soot (aka  lampblack ) off of a flat rock for use in ink making.

Collecting fir pitch soot (aka lampblack) off of a flat rock for use in ink making.

 Hybrid amaryllis   coming up under the interstem trees.  I’ve got quite a few trees planted to these bulb as an understory, now and will start seeing some results (or lack of) soon.  Unfortunately, these ones go beat pretty hard in an extended freeze just after this was taken.  Most of them seem like they’re recovering.  I’m probably right about at the limit of what they’ll tolerate weather wise.

Hybrid amaryllis coming up under the interstem trees.  I’ve got quite a few trees planted to these bulb as an understory, now and will start seeing some results (or lack of) soon.  Unfortunately, these ones go beat pretty hard in an extended freeze just after this was taken.  Most of them seem like they’re recovering.  I’m probably right about at the limit of what they’ll tolerate weather wise.

 Black Sage bundles tied with agave fiber.

Black Sage bundles tied with agave fiber.

 This is the apple that Greenmantle nursery trademarked under the name Pink Parfait™.  My apple guru says it’s the best of the Etter blood apples, and I’m becoming inclined to agree.  It is not as red or as intensely flavored, but it does have some of the same fruit punch/berry aromatics and it is a very pleasant eating experience with an outstanding juicy open texture.  The flesh seems to disappear as you chew it.  It also ripened very late for me (later than anything but lady williams!), hung very tight to the tree and survived an extended hard freeze in stellar condition.  But wait, there’s more!  It’s quite beautiful and sweeter than many of them as well.  All in all an excellent apple (at least this year here in California.  Our mileage will probably vary).  Now if we can only get this kind of quality with more pigmentation and more red flavor.  Thanks Albert! I wish you could have lived long enough to see your work really appreciated.

This is the apple that Greenmantle nursery trademarked under the name Pink Parfait™.  My apple guru says it’s the best of the Etter blood apples, and I’m becoming inclined to agree.  It is not as red or as intensely flavored, but it does have some of the same fruit punch/berry aromatics and it is a very pleasant eating experience with an outstanding juicy open texture.  The flesh seems to disappear as you chew it.  It also ripened very late for me (later than anything but lady williams!), hung very tight to the tree and survived an extended hard freeze in stellar condition.  But wait, there’s more!  It’s quite beautiful and sweeter than many of them as well.  All in all an excellent apple (at least this year here in California.  Our mileage will probably vary).  Now if we can only get this kind of quality with more pigmentation and more red flavor.  Thanks Albert! I wish you could have lived long enough to see your work really appreciated.

Thanks for tuning in this year!  The Turkeysong blog had 24,000 views in 2013, many of them from people searching the web for relevant information of some kind, which I hope they found (although searches for "How to grow a big ass" and "leek in ass" continue to trickle in as well and I hope those people weren't too disappointed).  Subscriptions continue to grow and I've got plenty more to say!

I'm hoping, if I can, to start an income stream from writing and blogging, so that I can keep doing this.  That will mean more books published and probably affiliate links to amazon on the blogs (Don't worry, I'm not going to try to sell you anything you don't need.  I'm all about people buying less physical stuff and doing things for themselves.  That's practically a mission for me.  Most of them will be to books I write and maybe other books or products that I review, like the gophinator trap.)  I'll probably stay away from advertising altogether, because it's just so annoying, and again, I don't want to sell people anything they don't need, because that's half of the worlds problems in a nutshell.  Or if so, they will be extremely select.  I should be moving to a domain too so I can get rid of the ads that come up on these free wordpress domains.

I really like blogging.  Exploring new and old ideas and techniques, and sharing relevant information, are at the core of my being and always have been.  I'm at something of a cross roads with the blogs and plans for other projects.  I have some other blog ideas, but don't want to get spread too far out, or over-complicate things.  When I started this blog, I thought it would cover all of my interests and ideas, representing the diverse enigma that I am.  Since I was so immersed in homestead stuff at the time, and realized that I had built a small audience around that interest, I decided to branch off and put primitive tech stuff on the Paleotechnics site.  I feel a little disjointed though, because I'm all about the integration of ideas, old and new.  Being intensely immersed in paleotechnology stuff for a long time in my 20's gave me a valuable insight into environments and of the potential for all kinds of materials to be turned to use.  That has been invaluable in helping me see the land, and basically everything, as a resource-scape full of potential, as well as being a sort of organism that I play a part in.  Part of my philosophy is that we should aim not to reject ideas and practices categorically, but rather that it behooves us to view things for what they are and what they do and don't have to offer in the view of a larger context, and integrate or reject them accordingly.  Sounds reasonable I know, but we have a strong tendency to think in black and white categories and build identities around what we are and aren't, what we do and don't do and what is and isn't too new, too old, too whatever.  I'm sorely tempted to throw all my ideas and projects, new and old, together in one place and let everyone sort it out.  While I don't want to alienate a specific audience either, it occurs to me sometimes that I should just write for an audience of diverse interests.  On the other hand, I respect that everyone doesn't want to hear what I think about The politics and social ills of the marijuana black market economy in Northern California, or Rife machines, or how to make a stone bowl using just rocks, or a pimped out chicken powered composting system.

I also can't always find my voice when writing for different audiences.  In some ways, I can best reach my generation and younger people, because we've lived in the same times and speak, to some extent, the same language.  My generation is coming into positions of power and greater influence now and could use a little shaking up. (If you were to ask me, which apparently you don't have to :D.

One thought is to have a central blog that covers everything I do and will serve as a sort of news feed.  That site could have just links to my other blogs and projects, or entire posts replicated.  Also, anything that didn't really fit in on a another blog would go there.   That is appealing in some ways, and may be the best solution, but also sounds complicated and will increase computing time and thereby decrease working time.

I'd appreciate anyone's input on these ideas and thoughts and perspectives on this blog and/or the paleotechnics blog.  What you do and don't want to hear about, what you appreciate or could do without and ideas about structuring content in one place or across multiple sites, or just whatever.

Oh yeah, and once I scrounge up enough money to get a decent video camera, I'm hoping to start a TOTALLY BAD ASS YOU TUBE CHANNEL.  Or is it two channels?  or three?  See, more spreading out :/