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Another Bone Salve/Sauce Thread

 
Jim Tuttle
Posts: 42
Location: Southern Oregon
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Hello All. I've read as many of the bone salve threads as I could find, looked at people's photos, and read Sepp's book. Our new garden area has quite the deer population, many well-worn trails through the area. I've talked to neighbors that are using Liquid Scents, and they say it works well, but you need to re-apply after it rains. Well, we're planting trees and berry bushes in a few weeks, and it's raining every day. So...

I am going to try my hand at making bone salve. After reading up on both Sepp's method and bone pyrolysis (thank you NCBI), here's how this first attempt will go down:

I'll take pics of everything. Learn from my mistakes, right? Or hopefully success!

I'm using two stainless steel pots with the steamer basket as a screen, I bought two for $30.

I'll have to BUY bones, as I need this stuff soon, and can't wait for my hunter friends. Ugh...

I will smoke these at the tail-end of one of our BBQs, so this will be using coastal live oak.

After smoking, they will go into the SS contraption which will get buried per protocol (water in the bottom, sealed, etc.)

A couple of issues: I cannot get cast iron, hence the SS option. Cast iron melts at a lower temp than SS, so no worries there. The recipe calls for a cup of water in the bottom, and for the pots to be sealed. If that water is heating to 212F, no clay seal will keep the steam in. I suspect the seal doesn't actually do much other than impede free air exchange, since even heated air will cause a pressure rise in the container too great to contain with clay. In any case, I'll be burying the pots to just over the second rim, to reduce the O2 as much as possible.

The fire will be a top-lit pyramid, once it gets down to coals I'll keep it going for a few more hours, then let it go out overnight. I'll be using an IR gun to get an idea of the temps involved. I'll try to find linseed oil to use to cut the salve with, as this oil makes polymer bonds (should last longer?)

If it works, hey, great. If it doesn't work, I've got more grafting to do in February, and I've got more berries to transplant too. If anyone with experience cares to chime in, please do!
 
Leora Laforge
Posts: 36
Location: Canadian Prairies
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I haven't used this technique yet but I plan to be trying it next summer.

The family farm has a huge deer population, including a doe that has raised her fawn right in the yard every year for the past ten years. We have been using solar electric fences to keep them out of the garden.

I hope to be planting some more fruit trees this summer and they will not fit in the fenced area. Bone salve seems like the perfect deterrent until the trees can get established.

I have found instructions on how to make it. I have found many people talking about it, but not very many people saying that "yes, I did this and it worked exactly as it is supposed to". Maybe I am just not looking hard enough?

I do believe it does works but I am not sure how long it will work for so, I would like to hear how it works for you.

Thank you

Leora
 
Jim Tuttle
Posts: 42
Location: Southern Oregon
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Leora, this is exactly why I'm going this route; lots of talk, not much actual data, beyond sepp holzer and a few others. I have no reason to think it doesn't work, the question is, can I replicate it using commonly available materials, and will it work in MY situation?

The salve will be made this weekend, and applied the next. I will update with photos if I can figure out how to post them. I plan on applying it two ways: the sprinkled/painted method, and applied as you would a dormant oil. Dormant oil spraying would make a lot more uniform application, reducing the chances of injury from the oil and herbivory of untreated tips/buds. We're going to install cameras to watch the effects on local deer.
 
Jim Tuttle
Posts: 42
Location: Southern Oregon
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I bought two 8 qt stainless steel stock pots for $34.12 from Walmart. Both came with steamer inserts. I bought 10 lbs. of raw beef bones for $30 from the cheapest place I could find. Obviously, if you were going to make this on a regular basis, you'd need to source your bones for free.

I put all but three pieces in a stock pot, then put the shallow steamer insert in. This was all that would fit. I added 1 cup of water, then put the second stock pot on top. I secured the pots with aluminum tape, the kind sold for duct work. I anticipate this will burn off, but it sure made handling the pots easier. It also formed a pretty good seal around the rims.

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Jim Tuttle
Posts: 42
Location: Southern Oregon
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I dug a hole in our hard clay soil, deep enough to come up the the pot interface. I flipped the pots so the bones were on top, then packed the loose clay around the rims, and compacted with my feet. Considering the depth of the insert, I figure the bones are all above the soil line.

I built a pyro-mid (that's what I call it) on top with an old pallet and some leftovers from my last char run. I then put a little pile of charcoal on top to ensure enough heat, it rained hard last night, so all my materials were wet.

If you've never made a top-lit pyramid-style fire, here's how it goes: it starts very slowly, then builds speed and heat until all the wood is coals. If you want ZERO visible smoke at 4 feet off the ground, don't touch it, but if you need to keep it going a while, gradually add wood once it is a bed of coals. This will make a bit of smoke, but less than when I BBQ. A top-lit pyramid fire will consume green and wet wood alike, with no smoke.
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Jim Tuttle
Posts: 42
Location: Southern Oregon
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Once the fire was low enough to start heating the pots, I tried to take a temp reading with my Raynger ST, which maxed out, so it's hotter than 750 F. The stainless turned a golden brown, so that means the temperature of the pot got to at least 730 F or so, probably higher but I won't know till it cools enough to get a better look. In any case, it's not blue, so it did not get over 1000 F.

I added wood as needed to keep the fire going around the pot, I used a total of 4 pallets and some random wood to keep the fire going actively for about 4 hours, at which point I ran out of fire material. I piled the coals on the pot and waited. Within a few more hours the temp was down to about 250 F on the pot itself. I'll dig it up tomorrow after a long slow cool down.

Doing some reading on bone oil and bone char, it sounds like the standard method is to char the bones at 900-1100 F for 9 hours or so. I didn't hit those temps nor did I heat for that long, so it will be interesting to see what the bones look like tomorrow.

If I have oil tomorrow, I'll get a rough volume, then add an equal part of raw linseed oil. Linseed (or flaxseed) oil is unique in that it forms polymers, which would certainly help explain why this repellent might last so long. It's also a bit pricey, I got 1 qt delivered for about $20, which was half the price of flaxseed oil from the health food store. There's plenty of stories of people killing their trees with BOILED linseed oil, which is cheap and readily available, so don't make that mistake.

Despite getting the fire as hot as I could, the pots did not explode. I did build a shield around it to help keep it hot and contain any hazmat, burning bones of death explosion I might create. Those TechShield OSB boards didn't even get hot, the reflective surface works extremely well.
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Jim Tuttle
Posts: 42
Location: Southern Oregon
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The next morning I dug up the pot. The tape was mostly intact, but the smell as soon as I broke the crust of clay told me the seal had not held completely. It smelled a lot like propane at first, then when i got the tape off and opened it it was more like a cigar ashtray. Not yummy, certainly not BBQ flavor! We have bears where this will be deployed, I seriously doubt they will be coming in for it.

The “oil” is a bluish-black, and the bones are completely charred, many of them shattered during the process. Also, this stuff doesn’t come off your hands easily, and even after you can’t see it, they still stink a bit. Next time I’ll use latex gloves to disassemble the pot.
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Jim Tuttle
Posts: 42
Location: Southern Oregon
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The oil had coagulated then I went to pour it into a bottle, and changed color, too. Not sure how I’ll strain this stuff before putting it in the sprayer, maybe I’ll add all the ingredients in a plastic jug, then filter into the sprayer.

This stuff stinks bad. The pot was 40 feet away from the house, and I could smell it as soon I opened the door. I think the fears of attracting carnivores are only possible for someone who has not experienced the aroma.

Next week I’ll be filtering and spraying on apple, peach, apricot and berries before transplanting. Field test a’comin’…
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James Colbert
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Awesome. Great step by step experiment thank you for sharing.
 
Jim Tuttle
Posts: 42
Location: Southern Oregon
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Bone Salve Update:

This past weekend the berries and trees went in the ground. Before I started digging, I noticed our local troupe of 5 deer had picked clean some Madrone branches I dropped overnight.

I first sprayed the trees with a mixture of 1 oz bone salve, 1 oz liquid soap, and 1 gallon of water. The next day, there was a faint smell, but the trees had no oily residue. The day after that, I re-mixed the spray at 2 oz bone salve, 1 oz raw linseed oil, and 1 oz soap. That left a stink you could still smell when I left, and left a sheen on the trees.

We set up Arlo cameras pointed at the row of berries and trees, so we'll get a text message when the deer motion sets them off. I suspect we'll get noo real action till they start to leaf out, but I'll update with any deer interaction we get on camera.
 
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