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Sepp Holzer's recipe to keep animals off of trees  RSS feed

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Monte,

Following along with excitement! Wish you all the luck. Keep us up to date on your progress and findings. It would be nice to keep this post thread alive with "Bone Sauce" chiefs failures and successes.

Warm Regards,

jay
 
Monte Cook
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Jay,

Great idea. Between the both of us, maybe we can generate some interest in this subject!

About 30 minutes from an additional 4 hours on the bone sauce cooking. What a great night to be cooking bone sauce - a damp May chill in the air, a hot fire and waiting for the planetary convergence to light up!
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A Bone Sauce Fire on a Great Night
 
Monte Cook
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Bone Sauce SOS - part deux!

OK - hate to reply to my own post, here goes! Uncovered the pot this AM and you see what I cooked up - just looks like brown (somewhat foul smelling) oil. The bones weren't charred after 6 hours of direct fire and and a few more in the coals.

To any experts out there, is this the desired result and consistency? Am I good to go painting trees? Does it need to age?

Just a quick field observation and this might be good news - the dogs seem to be giving the bones and sauce wide berth and they spent the better part of two days trying to get the bones. Here's to hoping!
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Finished Bone Sauce???
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hey Monte,

Thanks for being our "guinea pig," If you don't mind "cooking" I bet you can come up with a repeatable "bone sauce" recipe. Aging is the trick in making it an enduring recipe. I hypnotize you will find your current batch effective, as your "canine friends" have indicated, but perhaps not as enduring as "aged sauce." If you find otherwise let us know.

If you are up for more cooking, I can share the finer details of my sauce and give you some pointers on getting ingredients, though it is more work and more "hands on" in processing the ingredients.

Thanks for keeping us up to date.
 
Monte Cook
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Jay,

Thanks for all the encouragement and enthusiasm! Absolutely interested in your sauce recipe and techniques!

I am still hoping that some Holzerian or Wheatonian experts join us in this endeavor, or even anyone that's attempted this.

Monte
 
Andrew Schreiber
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Hi all, just put up an article on making bone sauce.

Seems to have already helped deter the deer that have been chronically nibbling our fruit trees. But it is hard to tell exactly how well it is working because the deer have already nibbled on most of the trees...

I plan to put loads of it on several hundred pioneering seedling trees I will be planting out in a pasture/hedgerow system (H. Locust, B. Locust, S. Buckthorn, S. Pea Shrub). The bone sauce is just one measure of a few I will be employing in this endeavour, I will report back on how well it works for the seedling trees.

http://windward.org/2.0/notes/2014/2014andrew01.htm
 
Frank Fernando
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I tried making some as well. I ended up in the soupy mess camp. I had a fire burn for about 3 hours but it should have been longer. The wood I used was really old and not burning well. I will give it another shot next time Im on my property. One thing that was holding me back was finding the right pots. I did find some roasting pans at walmart that are made to stack on each other as a base and lid. They where about $7 each.
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Andrew Schreiber
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Howdy all,

in re-reading what people have written I was pretty confused by others experiences with this process. I've not had trouble, so I thought it worth showing more of what I've done.

Monte wrote, "The bones weren't charred after 6 hours of direct fire and and a few more in the coals. "

That is surprising because mine are charred completely in just 1-2 hours.

this is what my fire looks like. It is exactly 1 arm-load of pine:


I end up burning twice the amount of pine than is shown. That is, I burn what you see, and then burn another set. I have not needed to bury the pots with the coals after the fire to get a good result.

Perhaps your fire might not be getting hot enough? the pine I use burns hot and fast. What is in the picture about burns in 30-45 minutes.

Also, how much water are you adding to the bottom catchment pot before hand? I hardly add any, since the bones I am using have already been boiled for bone-broth and are generally moist.

Here are the bones afterward:


What I am left with is a tar like substance. very thick. I then mixed 1 part "bone tar" with 2 parts (spoilt) sheep tallow and get what I consider a "sauce". something which at room temperature has the consistency of paint, but when cold is almost too thick to "paint" onto a tree.

More specifics about the process I have used is in the article I mentioned before:
Making Bone Sauce
 
George Collins
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Andrew, I too was able to manufacture Sepp's bone sauce. The bones I used were left overs from six pigs' feet that I boiled to get all the goodies out. I performed the same steps you did and my results appear consistent with yours.

I detailed the steps I followed Here.

My question for you (or anyone else that has reproduced Sepp's Sauce) is how has it worked for you?

I'm curious though, does applying a small amount to the trunk of the tree keep all herbivores from even attempting to nibble anywhere on the tree or, does the sauce only deter them from nibbling those parts of the tree where the sauce has been applied?

Also, if only a small amount on the trunk keeps herbivores from nibbling anywhere on a tree, would the sauce also work to keep deer out of a garden? If so, how would one go about using it to greatest advantage?

What about spraying it on? Wouldn't that be more effective for applying the sauce to the terminal shoots that are most likely to be predated upon?

Any other information that anyone might have about the actual use of bone sauce would be greatly appreciated.
 
Andrew Schreiber
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George Collins wrote:

My question for you (or anyone else that has reproduced Sepp's Sauce) is how has it worked for you?

I'm curious though, does applying a small amount to the trunk of the tree keep all herbivores from even attempting to nibble anywhere on the tree or, does the sauce only deter them from nibbling those parts of the tree where the sauce has been applied?

Also, if only a small amount on the trunk keeps herbivores from nibbling anywhere on a tree, would the sauce also work to keep deer out of a garden? If so, how would one go about using it to greatest advantage?

What about spraying it on? Wouldn't that be more effective for applying the sauce to the terminal shoots that are most likely to be predated upon?

Any other information that anyone might have about the actual use of bone sauce would be greatly appreciated.


Hi All,

In response to George:

The sauce is working great. I have seen absolutely no munching on any of the dozens of trees I've put it on. I have put it on all sorts of fruit and nut trees, honey and black locusts, elderberries and sea buckthorns, currants and mongolian cherries, raspberries and even strawberries. It works perfectly.

I put the bone sauce on every outer branch and trunk of the tree. My impression is that you need to put it on EVERYWHERE a deer (or elk, moose, goat, etc) could get their mouth on it. So that no matter where they put their mouth/nose, they get a ripe dose of the sauce. If rodents are a concern put the bone sauce all around the trunk all the way to the base.

I bet you could spray it on if you could get it to be the right consistency to spray. my guess is that the spray would be much thinner and may not last as long as the more "gob" type application with a brush.
 
George Collins
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Let me preface this post with these thoughts:

1. After having seen pigs interact with trees of all sizes, I've not yet seen the need to protect a tree from a pig other than when pigs are tightly confined around trees and damage them secondary to boredom.

2. IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY, I've read or heard that Sepp's bone sauce is supposed to keep any and all animals, including pigs, from damaging trees.

3. Having never seen it first hand, I AM ASSUMING I CORRECTLY MADE Sepp's bone sauce.

4. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANT Sepp's bone sauce to work as advertised.

All that said, check this out:



After the sow ate it without too much fuss, I became the only man I know of to actually taste Sepp's bone sauce.

In anticipation of our milk cow arriving in the near future and knowing that she will reside in the pasture where I've planted many fruit trees, I wasted no time in applying Sepp's bone sauce to every tree we've planted. While doing so, I inevitably got a several splatters on my hands. Having just seen a sow consume four pears maximally coated with bone sauce without too much hesitation, I just had to give it a try. I tasted it three separate times. The first time was a small spot, the second was a slightly bigger spot and the third was bigger still. The largest of the spots was about 1/4 the size of a dime.

Impressions:
1. It tastes terrible.
2. It has a burning effect kinda like eating something with too much black pepper on it but no where near the effect that something like Cheyenne pepper has.
3. It lingers. As I type this, it's been about 30 minutes since the taste test and I can still taste it albeit much more faintly.
4. If I were starving and someone gave me food covered in Sepp's bone sauce, I think I could choke it down.
5. I can't ever see myself using bone sauce as a condiment on a hamburger by choice.

I think that bone sauce works more as a moderate deterrent rather than an absolute barrier that makes anything unlucky enough to ingest it run for the hills screaming for relief.

All that said, just because a hog and I were able to voluntarily ingest it on multiple occasions, that's not to say that a deer and (hopefully) a cow won't run for the hills screaming for relief if they do.
 
Andrew Schreiber
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Hey George,

I've never tried to deter pigs from getting at trees so I have no personal experience, but my impression is that a strict herbivore like a deer or cow is going to much more repelled by the odor of The Sauce than a generalist/omnivore such as a pig. Hence why your pigs were into eating it.
 
George Collins
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When researching Sepp's bone sauce, I found this:

Tail biting is a most serious welfare problem in pigs raised for slaughter. In instances of an outbreak of tail biting, scientists have recommended that farmers take measures such as removal of affected animals, provision of enrichment materials and application of repellents to the pigs' tails. However, no scientific study has ever confirmed the efficacy of any of these suggestions in counteracting an ongoing outbreak. Here, the efficacy of two repellent ointments, Dippel's oil and Stockholm tar, were examined in a tail-chew test. For this, a novel piece of nylon rope was used as a tail model to measure biting behaviour semi-automatically in 24 single-sex groups of growing pigs (total 264 pigs). Repeated measures analysis showed no effect of time, gender or unit (12 pens per unit), but a highly significant effect of treatment, in that both Stockholm tar and Dippel's oil significantly reduced rope manipulation compared to controls. These results suggest that Stockholm tar and Dippel's oil may be effective in reducing tail biting. The approach taken may be valuable in further testing of strategies to reduce tail biting and improving pig welfare.


Which can be found here.

So I started researching Stockholm tar (which is basically pine tar made in Sweden) and found that in addition to being an animal repellent, it has a host of other uses. Some of which are listed here.

Since the article quoted above reported that Stockholm tar was effective as an animal deterrent, I decided to make some using the exact same process used to make bone sauce but substituting fat pine for pig bones. My father, who has made tar before, saw the finished results and told me that I had indeed been successful in "runnin tar."

I tasted a small sample and it had a bone-sauce-mixed-with-turpentine taste. The major difference that I noted is that tar is really, really sticky just like pine sap.

I have a friend that has some goats and as quickly as practical, I plan to visit him, offer his goats some treats coated with either bone sauce or pine tar and video how they react to each. I hope both are equally effective at keeping all manner of herbivores from predating fruit trees. However, I will not be surprised to see the tar be more so based on the fact that in addition to tasting nasty, it has that sticky quality to it.

As soon as the video is done, I'll post the results.
 
George Collins
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I have recently read much about animal repellents. I would like to share some of what I have found.



Which can be found here. A product comparable to Sepp's bone sauce has been sold commercially as Magic Circle and, according to the article referenced above, was found to be "ineffective." (In this particular study, "bone tar oil" had its efficacy evaluated as an "area repellent" whereas Sepp recommends his bond sauce be used as a "contact repellent.")


That said, there does appear to be some repellents that might be efficacious. In no particular order:

After surveying 22 earlier studies of deer repellents and then conducting their own controlled study at two different locations, researchers at Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station concluded that egg-based repellents worked better than predator urines and blood-based products. Repellents applied more often were more effective than those applied less frequently.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/deer-repellent-zb0z1208zmat.aspx#ixzz32MgPNpwC


Mother Earth News has attempted to address this issue here.

Here is a study performed by Auburn University.

Overall treatment ranks are presented for all three crops and summarized in Table 2. All the products tested reduced feeding damage as compared to the nonsprayed control. Rotten eggs, followed by Thiram, had the highest efficacy in reducing deer feeding damage. Yet, only rotten eggs maintained feeding damage under 10% for all crops during these tests. Feeding damage to plants sprayed with Havahart and the nontreated control after five days were respectively 2% and 93% for hosta, and 8% and 45% for sweetpotato.


Here is a study that seems to establish the efficacy of pine tar to repel moose from browsing on tree crops.



One tar based repellent that I have personal experience with is Stanley's Crow Repellent. Our family used it with good effect until it was taken off the market in 1986. Notice the ingredients listed on the from of the can.



Based on this secondary research (and a minuscule amount of personal experience), it seems as if there are effective deer/herbivore repellents out there but perhaps Sepp's bone sauce isn't the most effective route to take.

That said, I have Sepp's bone sauce smeared on a whole bunch of trees and I hope that it turns out to he the most effective thing one can use. One caveat to using Sepp's bone sauce, and a lesson i learned the hard way, is that it will burn leaves. If it does prove to be efficacious, application during the dormant season might be a better protocol than during times when a tree is putting on new growth. Perhaps, better results might be achieved with an application of bone sauce (or maybe pine tar) during the dormant season and periodic spraying with an egg-based repellent during the growing season.
 
Andrew Schreiber
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Howdy,

I can second the experience that The Sauce burns leaves. I've only put it on during winter dormancy.

We get a lot of bud and bark eating from deer in the depth of winter.

However, throughout this spring, I have seen deer activity all around the trees I have put The Sauce on.

No herbivory to the things I put the sauce on (including herbacious strawberries, which did get a little burned by the sauce but that is better than being eaten by deer). But lots of intense grazing to the understory herbs and grass.

I am very pleased with how The Sauce is working. I have not encountered anything that works this well. Literally 100% success at this point. As I wrote above, I slathered it all over everywhere on the tree. What a partner felt was excessive application....but it is working so I feel that it needs to be laid on thick all over the plant.

FYI, also I made the bone sauce and then mixed it with equal parts sheep tallow. It extends The Sauce, and still works fine.
 
paul wheaton
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Some people plant raspberries in their gardens, but if they forget to water them, the raspberries die. And then a few feet away there are wild raspberries growing all summer without any irrigation.

So we seem to have some reports that bone sauce works, and now this is the first i've heard that it works poorly.

As for a pig eating something with bone sauce, I think that if the big were surround by great food and you offered something smelly, then it would refuse. But if the pig had not eaten in a day and was penned into a space that was nothing but dirt, I could understand a pig choosing to eat the foul smelling thing.

Further, I think it is possible that ten different people can make bone sauce and you get ten slightly different results. So maybe we need to compare notes to figure out what makes for a better bone sauce.

I know that the official word is that your are supposed to apply the bone sauce with some weird stuff mixed in it (quartz sand comes to mind). And sepp talks about watching a deer eat some of the bone sauce and it ends up shaking its head and running off.

So! I think the pig test is a good test. It would be good to come up with a bone sauce that even the hungriest pig would turn down.

My impression is at this point is to try and figure out why some people are having good success and some people are not.
 
Sue Rine
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Does anyone have experience of the effectiveness of bone sauce at repelling possums? They're a big problem here in NZ and I'm contemplating ring fencing about half an acre with chicken netting and an electric wire around the top in order that we can actually eat some of the fruit we grow! I know I could experiment but it's winter here and I was planning for the fence to go up before active growth next season.
 
George Collins
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If you are plagued by pests of the furry kind, try these deterrents. For possums, mulch your garden with sheep dags - possums are said to be none to partial to the smell of lanoline. Or spray your garden with neem oil or pongy fish fertiliser to repel them. Though keep fish fertiliser off young plants as it can burn the leaves. Stockholm Tar, available from farm and equestrian suppliers, can be sprayed onto fence posts and tree trunks to deter possums.


The full article can be found here.

That said, from the reading that I've done about different types of tar, it SEEMS that there may be a good bit of overlap in their chemical properties and thus application. I would not be surprised to find bone sauce and pine tar (Stockholm tar) equally efficacious in repelling possums.
 
Sue Rine
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Thank you, much appreciated.
 
Pearl Bigelow
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"If you are plagued by pests of the furry kind, try these deterrents. For possums, mulch your garden with sheep dags....."

My old eyes are really getting bad.....at first I read that as "mulch your garden with sheep DOGS" and my first thought was "Where would you ever get that many sheep dogs?"
 
Andrew Schreiber
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FWIW

I've been working under the assumption what is going on is basically destructive distillation (or "Calcination") of the bones. Separating the volatile Organic components (the sauce, AKA Dippels oil from the Inorganic components (calcium carbonate, calcium tri-phosphate AKA Bone Char).
 
mary yett
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Wen I was at a workshop with Sepp, he set up a demonstration of bone sauce making. He had a great deal of fun after it was made and cooled showing it to the crowd by dipping a stick into it and holding it up to folks' noses for them to smell.

His inner 8 year old couldn't help himself and very often when the person was sniffing the bone sauce, he tipped the stick up and got a bit of it on their nose. And then laughed hysterically. I few wise souls insisted on holding the stick themselves, if they could get Sepp to give it up, which wasn't easy- he was having too much fun. I think he had played this game before.

He also gathered a few people around to demonstrate offering some bone sauce on a stick to one of the farm dogs- which licked it off the stick!
I'm thinking that carnivores and omnivores are not all that repelled by bone sauce. Hopefully herbivores are.
 
Zach Weiss
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I just made Bone Sauce for the 3rd time. The first two times were with Sepp, this time he had already left when we made it. Each of the first two times he said that we overcooked it and it would be even stronger if we hadn't cooked it for so long. This time I realize what he was getting at. The first two times it smelled really bad, but nothing like this. This definitely classifies as the pyrrol death smell that I saw mentioned earlier in this thread. What I gather from Sepp is that it's very important for there to be lots of marrow in the bones, the more marrow you have the more sauce you will get. When we had whole bones one time he had me break them all up with a hammer beforehand so that the marrow would be exposed. The time that Paul brought marrow bones they didn't need any smashing.

A note on application, the Austrians tell me that it should be applied very lightly, just a flick not painting it on. It will certainly burn your leaves and if you paint too much on it can even kill your tree. All I applied was just a little Jackson Pollock esque flick, one flick on each tree and bush. From my experience this has been EXTREMELY effective. The deer had started browsing really heavily, but once we applied the sauce all of that stopped immediately. I have watched them walk by the garden a number of times but they never even go down into it. Even now there are tasty sprouts and vegetables coming up everywhere but that haven't set foot in it since the sauce has been applied.

George, I think your first problem might be that your using bones that have been boiled. My understanding is that you want all of the fats and juices in the marrow for the sauce. I don't think using boiled bones will deliver the desired result.

I can very confidently say that if I tried a little bit of this sauce I would absolutely be vomiting, maybe for quite some time. I was really close to vomiting just applying it, even dry heaving a couple of times. Here is what my bones looked like at the end:



The sauce that I got is a lighter color than the previous two batches, and is very solid at anything but warm temperatures. You can see that almost all of the bones are chard except for the ones that were in the bottom (on top in photo) as they were the farthest from the fire.
 
mary yett
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Chad is right about Sepp saying the batch of bone sauce I saw prepared (by Chad) was cooked too long. The smell of the finished sauce was bad , but not vomit-inducing bad. It sounds like no dog or other living creature would have wanted to taste Chad's third batch.

Who says Chad can't cook?
 
Kate Alvo
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Thanks to everyone who has posted in this very interesting discussion. I am going to make my first attempt at making Sepp's bone sauce this week and I had four quick questions:

1. are the cast iron pots actually sacrificial (in the sense of being too stinky to use again for cooking)? I was under the impression that cast iron pots were pretty much indestructible - couldn't you just strip them down with soap and re-season them afterwards?

2. My pots have the same diameter, but the one I will be using on the bottom is a deep pan, not a pot, so it's less deep. I am guessing this doesn't matter?

3. For diluting the sauce afterwards, what is the ratio of oil to sauce (also, is it oil or water? Sepp says to use oil in the video, but I saw someone here mention diluting with water).

4. Do the bones have to be dry, sun-bleached bones (I guess in order to avoid adding meat and fat remnants to the mix)?

Thanks!
 
Greg Burns
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Anyone had the bone sauce burn leaves and have the trees recover ok? Was super excited to make the sauce and painted it on the leaves , branches, and trunks of about 60 young bareroot fruit, nuts and grapes. About 2 weeks have passed. Not a single deer track to be found but the plants don't look happy at all. All the leaves that were sauced are greasy, brown and wilting. Terrified I may lose them all. Anyone had this happen and had trees bounce back?
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Kate Alvo
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Hi Greg,


I have yet to make the sauce, but from what I could glean from the bone sauce threads, you are only supposed to put it on the bark of the tree, and NOT on the leaves, as it can burn them. Also, did you dilute it? Last observation from your pics - it looks like you used pretty new bones with meat on them - is that right? I was under the impression the bones had to be kind of old - found, sun-bleached bones - but I am not sure about that.

Hope your trees recover!!!

Kate
 
Andrew Schreiber
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Gregg, sorry to hear about your trees. I hate to see my youngling die from something I directly did.

Earlier in this thread I posted my experience with making bone sauce, and zach weiss wrote about his direct experience with Sepp. I encourage you look through those posts again, since it seems like you made some fatal errors for you trees.

A few big things to keep in mind:

1.) If you are going to apply it as thick as you did (which seems a bit overkill), do so when the tree is dormant. this stuff is acidic! and it can definitely harm trees by burning, killing buds, and potentially suffocating the tree. One that note, Zach wrote "the Austrians tell me that it should be applied very lightly, just a flick not painting it on. It will certainly burn your leaves and if you paint too much on it can even kill your tree. All I applied was just a little Jackson Pollock esque flick, one flick on each tree and bush"

Next round of trees I will be propagating are a few hundred willows. Since I am not super concerned if they get a little nibbled, I am going to try to heat my sauce up to the point where I can flick it.
Right now I am applying the sauce in the cold months, and I have diluted the already solid-at-cold-temps sauce with Sheep tallow. Making it impossible to flick at ambient temps.

I think I remember saying that Sepp dilutes with oil (something liquid at room temp), as opposed to fat (solid at room temp) like I did. Oils also go rancid which may help with the gnarly smell.

2.) Bones used should be fresh, still will marrow in them. It is mostly the fatty marrow melting and charring that you want. On this note, Zach wrote "What I gather from Sepp is that it's very important for there to be lots of marrow in the bones, the more marrow you have the more sauce you will get. "

Hope that helps! Cheers, Andrew
 
mary yett
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Sepp told me that his family and other traditional Austrian farmers always used smoked bones with lots of marrow in them. I think they usually smoked their own home grown meat in large pieces (legs, sides, etc), ate the meat off of it and then had smoked bones w/ lots of marrow left over to use for bone sauce, soup, etc.

He also said if smoked bones were not available to us in North America, he thought fresh bones with lots of marrow should work ok, but he didn't have experience with that.
 
Greg Burns
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. What an awesome resource permies is!!!
I bought 10lbs of soup bones from a local butcher, cut into fist size hunks, brought them home and smoked them in my electric smoker(apple wood, doesn't matter) for 4 hours until the marrow started to soften. I followed the instruction outoif Sepps Permaculture from there. In the book he does say to used smoked bones.
Sepps book says he simply paints it on or sprinkles over the tree with a brush or broom. He also mentions the salve can be mixed with linseed oil, fresh cow dung, slaked lime, very fine quartz sand.
I mixed mine with a half quart of olive oil to thin it out until it was a paintable consistency and just used a stick with a rag tied to it. I brushed the branches and let the salve drip on the leaves.
Many of the trees and plants have a few green leaves but the rest are soggy/greasy. Does anyone have any tips to help keep the trees and plants alive? The sit back and observe element will likely be my approach but was thinking about stripping all the leaves and hope for new chutes as sepp talked about in his book. Maybe next time I'll mix with lime to balance out the acid of the salve and only apply to the trunk.
 
Roger Taylor
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Greg Burns wrote:In the book he does say to used smoked bones.

He says he used smoked bones because that's what they had. Not that they need to be smoked. While I think it is worth hedging bets and smoking them, I'd be surprised if it made a difference.
 
Greg Burns
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Hey guys,
Well after I applied Sepp sauce to my trees they all looked like they were dying fast. I gave it 4 weeks with no signs of life. I mulched each tree with composted horse manure and BAM!!! Every single tree put up new leaves!! Lesson learned: Keep the magical, glorious, gunkified sauce OFF your leaves when you apply the sauce. This sauce works GREAT!! I've had no deer browsing in a very heavy deer pressured area.
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Sepp sauce recovery
 
Nicole Alderman
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Since we have now entered the rainy seasons here in the Pacific Northwest, I was wondering if there would be a way to make this in the oven, or perhaps my woodstove. How hot do the bones have to become? Is it just the cooking, or do they need to char, too?

Thanks!
 
Rebecca Norman
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I followed the instructions on this website and made it once. My impression was that it needs to be hotter than you would get in an oven, and it would be hard to seal pots together safely in an indoor situation. Sealing the pots together with earth and then building a fire on top made a lot of sense. It's not cooking at all. It's more like it heats the bones till they incinerate anaerobically, and the smoke is stuck inside the two pots and gets trapped by the water. The bone tar at the end seems much more like smoke trapped by the water than like broth.
 
Candy Mills
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paul wheaton wrote:This thread is to discuss a bit of the Sepp Holzer's Permaculture article.

On the first full day class we toured a farm where the animals had wiped out nearly all growth. The land owner's intent was to get a fresh start. So, first run too many animals in there to eliminate all of the weeds and ... well .... everything. Then come in and plant the stuff you want to keep. Sepp was very direct and did not mince words: He did not approve.

Sepp pointed out how only the trees were left, but since animals had nibbled at the bark so much, he called these trees "standing dead."

Sepp then told us about how he makes a sort of bone sauce that he puts on trees and will keep the animals from nibbling the trees forever. ("What? Forever?" "decades." "It can't possibly last that long" "What can I say, it lasts that long." - and this same discussion was rehashed a few times and Sepp stuck to his guns. Decades.)

I first wrote this section from memory and it turns out I made lots of mistakes. Fortunately, somebody else that was there helped me to remember details and she has the book that mentions this (which is all in german, but she speaks german!)

First you start with a cast iron kettle and bury it a bit and put a cup of water in the bottom. The fill another kettle with bones, put a screen over it and then plop the bone kettle upside down on the other kettle. Then pack clay around the edges to make a good seal. Then Pile up some dirt and build a big fire over the whole thing.

Here is my lame attempt at drawing Sepp Holzer's bone sauce contraption


Keep the fire going for an hour or two and then let it sit for a day. Then collect the nasty gunk from the bottom. Apparently this smells awful. Smear a little of this around the trunk of any tree and animals won't ever touch that tree.




I had a question. Does it matter if the fire is above the bones or can the heat source come from below the kettle that has the water. I think it can't, but my friend doesn't see why it would matter. Could you please clarify. Thanks, Paul.

Candy
 
paul wheaton
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I think that if it came from below, it would be far easier to do. Because you would then do it a lot like you cook lots of things. Therefore, I think that this much more complicated technique is required.

Heavy emphasis on the "I think". I did not press this question to Sepp - although I would be interested to hear what he says.
 
Candy Mills
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paul wheaton wrote:I think that if it came from below, it would be far easier to do. Because you would then do it a lot like you cook lots of things. Therefore, I think that this much more complicated technique is required.

Heavy emphasis on the "I think". I did not press this question to Sepp - although I would be interested to hear what he says.


We will probably experiment with it, but I would be interested what Sepp has to say if you get a chance to ask.
 
Brett Andrzejewski
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Hello bone sauce experts,

I recently moved from the desert with no deer to the northeast. The snow here covered everything on the ground that was green and the deer have browsed most of the evergreens to sticks and eaten most of the buds off the trees. I made a batch of bone sauce and am testing it on some trees now.

My question is can I compost the charred bones? If not, what do you do with the charred bones?

[edit] corrected spelling mistakes
 
mike mclellan
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I tried to follow Sepp's recipe as closely as possible and found the results matching what he claimed. The sauce was a very thick black gummy tar. It is solid at cooler temperatures and I leave it in the sun if I'm going to use it so it will liquefy. the only thing I did differently was to let the whole system of covered pots sit for two days instead of one. I applied to shrubs and trees. I had a couple of cherries nibbled last year after being treated the Year previously (2013) but the damage was superficial. I noticed a bit of rodent gnawing on some Aronia after this winter but again not anything close fatal. I have hundreds of trees unprotected by fencing of any kind. Not one was nibbled by rodents or browsed this past winter. My sauce is unpleasant smelling, kind of like uncleaned barbecue grill. the pyrolized bones look like charred wood and were crumbly. I scattered the chunks and powder on my garden bed. They were originally fresh beef soup bones I bought at the grocery store. I sure agree with using bones with lots of marrow. I wonder how many negative Nancies still haven't tried making this stuff. It works if you follow Sepp's advice/recipe.
 
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