“Teaching is overemphasized in our society. Learning is the thing. Teaching doesn’t automatically result in learning. Learning requires love and desire, and when you have that, anything and everybody is a teacher.”
"As Harlan cranked away, grinding his breakfast wheat, I questioned him sharply about this. “Physical labor is not of itself repugnant,” he said. “Too much physical labor is repugnant. A moderate amount is fun. That’s why people who think they have escaped hard labor turn to jogging or some such waste of energy that is actually more tedious than farmwork. I think also that doing hard physical labor for someone else does become tedious. Doing the bidding of someone else is distasteful, whether the work is physically straining or not. The body wants to work but not as someone else’s slave. My work is pleasant and satisfying.”
"I try to conceive a life of more leisure, a condition which men have ever been trying to achieve by various means—by forcing slaves or captives in war to do their menial work, or by letting it devolve upon womenfolk, or by hiring servants and nowadays by innumerable machines and gadgets. This last solution allows everyone to play the master, but it is well known that machines are on the way to become masters of man."
From my understanding the varieties that will make good syrup are less suitable for seed production. Like others said, the syrup is a lot of work, much like maple syrup- has to be pressed, cooked, skimmed, etc. The mennonite communities here in KY use it a lot, they often have draft powered sorghum mills, and wood fired boilers. I'm not much of a fan of the syrup, and have little use for it with my cooking style. I have experimented with it as a chicken feed, and they do like it. It is easy to grow, and just cut and toss to the birds. Also I have cut just the tops, and it will produce a second smaller seed head in a single season. Much more successful than my corn through the last low rain summer.
I have seen cast iron crank style de-hullers but I haven't used one. I go for the stomping method, although its tedious I've found it works best for me. After that I put them in a bucket of water and use a long drill mounted paint mixer to clean them. This is quick and easy, and leaves you with squeaky clean walnuts.
Like Osker said, cleaning is a piece of cake compared to cracking...
I have never had any mixture or plain blended fruit that was to runny to make fruit leather, and I've never had a failed batch of any fruit. The last batch of blueberries/wild blackberry mix I did this summer I had a huge jug full of blended berries and by the time I was on the last few sheets I could hardly pour it out because it was already the consinstency of jam.
Most fruit has at least some pectin. Theoretically you could make some tasty fruit leather from grape juice if you could get it to stay put, which is probably where the applesauce theory comes from. It's more for making it less runny for pouring sheets than
consistancy of the finished leather. I've also heard of adding yogurt but I've never done it. I guess my advice would be to play it by ear, blend some stuff up and if it's too runny then add the applesauce. My experience with raw apples is that they quickly turn to apple crisp if you aren't careful, but its also tasty -
great addition to salads.
My favorite way to dry almost any fruit is as fruit leather. Blend it, pour it out, spread level, dry it. Dries quick this way, rolls up and keeps well. It also allows you to cram a huge amount of fruit into one load in the dryer, and try crazy fruit mixtures. I usually use parchment paper and since it's hard to find unbleached, I've found from experimenting that you can reuse your sheets many times without anything sticking to them.
I haven't tried the freezer method that she did, but I have had good success with cutting the berries in half. They dried in under 12 hours and kept well. Yes this method is tedious, but hey, you can't win em' all. When I'm less motivated the fruit leather is my choice.
Hmm that is interesting, I have the exact same situation. I have a mixed flock of about 5 different breeds, and I have a few Rhodies I adopted from someone who didn't want them anymore. They are 2-3 years old, just finished molting. They constantly have poopy butts and are the only birds in the flock that have it. But like you said they look shiny and healthy minus the skid marks. I'm waiting to see how these girls lay, but my advice is that if they don't meet your standards for whatever reason, the stock pot awaits. 9 months would have been plenty of time to transition to your different feed/schedule/conditions. Theres no reason to keep birds around that have problems that none of the others in the flock have.
This also happened to one of my drakes when coyotes got into my fence during an ice storm. They nabbed a few ducks and seriously injured two drakes. One didn't survive, but the second looked awful every time he got wet for the next bit. Eventually he got back to his shiny self though after a few weeks. One possibility is due to some severe stress like that, but more than likely Misty is right about the molting.
If I could only keep one tool, it would be a good axe. I do a lot of woodwork, almost entirely with hand tools. I buy most of my tools at antique stores, flea markets, consignment etc. If you are going to use an axe only a few times a year, I would go with a cheaper brand or the flea market find. It is hard to test the steel in a flea market, so I have found that you just have to go with your gut and not buy anything completely pitted out and you can have a serviceable tool with a little bit of work on the blade and a new handle. However for axes that will see constant use I have found that spending that extra cash is well worth the investment. Gransfors Bruks has my business for life, (though they won't get much, their axes will last forever with good care). Everything I have/ have seen from them is well worth the price.
One in-disposable axe I use all the time is the Granfors Bruks Small Forest Axe. My GB axes have arrived with a great edge, and that edge requires little work to bring back to a good working razor sharp. The handles are also well hung, which in my experience is critical for longevity and ease of use. The grain on the handle is aligned correctly, and wedged accordingly. The handle also has a good shape, a good comfortable grip at any point. The head is well balanced with a well weighted poll for a good swing. The Small forest axe is very lightweight for its size, allowing for choking up on the handle when needed, and extended use without tiring out, but heavy enough to deliver a good blow. Well worth the 100 or so $$, and then some. This thing will last a lifetime. It is an ideal axe especially for limbing downed trees, felling very small trees, and it is light enough that I actually use it for various carving jobs when I need to remove lots of material.
Another expensive axe brand I have tried is the Biber Classic line, made by Mueller in Austria. After some research I bought the smaller hand broad axe. For such an expensive axe I was really disappointed with the edge. I was expecting a chisel edged tool (a broad axe should have a flat back), but it has a secondary bevel (a poorly ground, uneven one), and it just doesn't perform like it should. It will take quite a bit of grinding/filing to get it to the right, and didn't have near the razor edge a GB axe arrived in the box with. Also, this thing is heavy. For a small axe it is just to heavy to use efficiently, or for any amount of time. I would rather put a long handle on it and get a lighter broad hatchet which would suit my needs better. This hatchet is to small for timber work, but to large for carving work. And also too much work to get it into working order (for the price anyway). The steel is top quality, but I won't buy anything from them again.
I will stop being an axe nerd now, hope this helped someone....
I work for a vet, and supposedly this was a true story... You be the judge.
In a vet school Professor Brown is giving an important lecture to a room full of students on the high glucose content of semen.
About half way through the lecture a young woman raises her hand and says:
"Professor Brown, if semen has so much glucose, why does it taste so salty?"
A great place to start although not really specifically permaculture oriented is pretty much any Wendell Berry, I would start with "The Unsettling of America". A great book with lots of political, ecological, and emotional wisdom.
If you're looking for attack points on industrial ag, Joel Salatin's books are spot on for that, though not specifically permaculture either.
I also have to recommend Aldo Leopold "A Sand County Almanac". A great book.
Like Tom I have found arguing to be pretty much futile. There are very few whose point of view can be changed by words alone. But I could never downplay the importance of knowledge and understanding of agriculture of any kind. Although it may take more than words, I think more and more people are following what they feel to be right, rather than what they have been told. The more people who soak up whatever knowledge they can the more we can change our practices as a whole.
I'm curious to find out what all you duck people out there are selecting for when culling drakes. I have been looking for aggression mostly, as well as size, personality, nervousness, and friendliness towards humans. My small flock is such a cohesive little unit that none really seem to stand out in any way, except one who appears to be the lowest of the order and often gets shunned by the group. What are you looking for in your drakes?
"The Hand Sculpted House" - Ianto Evans. It's been awhile since I've read it, but I remember there being a good section on earthen floors. It's also just a fantastic book all around, great and thorough info and philosophy on all things natural building.
1000 year old tobacco. Supposedly preserved in an urn for a thousand plus years and germinated on planting when the site was excavated. I haven't grown any but might this year just to see it, supposedly the plant is very unique for tobacco.
"Coaxing food from land is a timeless activity. To tend a patch of land, putting hands in soil, planting, harvesting food and flowers, is to join an enduring human tradition and to carry forward common skills about how to live on Earth that precedes everything we label 'the economy'.
On hands and knees, digging in the dirt, a gardener leaves the frenzied pace of modern life behind. A different rhythm of sun, soil, water, and growth asserts itself, a seasonal pace indifferent to the frantic demands of the clock. Our society is gripped by an obsessive awareness of 'now' that reinforces a stunning amnesia for what happened last week, last year, or in the previous periods of history (let alone in other parts of the world). Gardening changes that relationship to time by slowing down the gardener, making her pay attention to natural cycles that only make sense in the full unfolding of seasons and years."