Josiah Miller

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since Mar 03, 2014
Willamette Valley-Marion County
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Recent posts by Josiah Miller

Sounds exciting!

I'm also in Marion county (Silverton) so it'll be interesting to hear what you do to the place.
4 years ago
I've had buckets like these (exact same brand actually) for over five thousand miles. At least two thousand were fully loaded. I keep them on for my commute. I opted for one U- Bolt and one J hook on each bucket, so that I can be totally sure they won't fly off if I do something crazy. They still come off pretty quickly with a couple nuts. The holes haven't been an issue. No visible integrity issues with the plastic, and no water leakage- even during a legendary thunderstorm in the Columbia river gorge.

I'm super happy with them. More waterproof than Ortliebs, and just as roomy/lightweight. Cost $3.67 each side for the hardware. Makes a nice platform along the back to carry my camp gear, and can double as a camp chair.

I spray painted mine to match my bike, the paint has worn considerably but I kind of like the look (plus when parked next to someone with their $4k Bike+ set up I consider it an added anti-theft device.)

I'm thinking about trying to make front panniers out of scraps of landscaping pond liner...
4 years ago

I posted a similar thread a year or so ago. original thread

There was alot of helpful replies, and links to other threads scythe related.

Benjamin Bouchard has some great videos and pdf files explaining american Scythe use and maintenance. Most of it's listed on his website It was really helpful when I was revamping a scythe for some homegrown barley harvest.

Hope that helps,
5 years ago
Hi Hal,

I've gotten a similar issue before when I was doing alot of post- hole digging by hand (using a rock bar more than post hole digger), and using pneumatic drills. I found a couple additional things also helpful.

1. acupuncture- it can be expensive if your insurance doesn't cover it but works amazingly well
2. B vitamins, for alot of nerve related pain this is very helpful, especially tendonitis and carpal tunnel
3. sleeping with a wrist brace brace: when I sleep I tend to curl my wrists in, which compounds the problem. alot of times people will wear a brace when working but actually while sleeping seems to be more important.

Hope this helps someone,
5 years ago
[quote=Alder Burns] I wonder how much worse it would have been if I didn't have a lot of facial hair or glasses! [/quote]

Moral of the story. Always have a beard.
6 years ago
Crab apples are great for making hard apple cider. I make alot of my own cider and wish I had access to more crabs.
according to Claude Joliceur in The New Cider Makers Handbook (a great book for getting into cider making, though kinda spendy) crabs have several things going for them:

1: Tannins, this is what makes them bitter/sour. Most table apples here in the states are very low in Tannins, which contribute to the mouthfeel and complexity of a Cider (or wine).
2: Sugar, Crab apples actually have higher percentages of sugar than normal apples (we just don't taste it because of the tannins), this leads to a stronger finished product both in terms of alcohol by volume and just overall flavor.

However, rarely can you make an excellent cider out of only one variety of apple and so, as mentioned by leila, I'd blend them with some other types.

Hard Cider is actually pretty easy to make, with endless nuances to make a better product.

I'm guessing that these are native or naturalized trees? If they are on your property, or a property that doesn't mind you tinkering, It's completely doable to cut back the tree and then graft a more desirable variety of apple onto them. This could help you get a better blend for even better cider (or less fun uses for apples like eating and the like).

Hope that's helpful.
6 years ago
I'm planning on adding acorns to a few batches of Cider to increase the tannin content (most common varieties of apples in the USA are very low in Tannins so lack the body/mouthfeel European variety ciders).
Ill roast the acorns afterwards and then see what they taste like after soaking in some apple/alcohol for a few weeks.

I've also heard of people putting acorns in with their batches of pickles to make them crispier (same idea as grape leaves).
6 years ago

fixing up some old Scythes from garage sales is much more sensible to me than paying bookoo big bucks for a european model, and the information you post is the best I've found for american style scythes. After my initial Barley harvest experiment I realize that I need to spend considerable more time sharpening beforehand for next harvest.

6 years ago
My Father in law and myself have both made a few batches of Dandelion wine. It looks like you've got alot of green in the kettle, I try to pop all the petals out of their heads. It's a bit of work but keeps it from getting bitter or off-tastes.

Brown sugar adds it's own flavor that can detract from the delicate floral flavor (true for most flower wines) and in this case I think that dextrose, white sugar, or turbinado works better than my usual plain dark brown.

If you want to make it sparkling/ carbonated then let it ferment to dry, then back-sugar before bottling. I like alot of fizz so I'd go for around 3.0 for your volume of C02, you can figure out how much sugar you need on an online priming calculator-

If you want a sweet wine you can just bottle it shortly after fermentaiton begins. just make sure to drink it fairly quick because it will continue to build up pressure. This is one instance where a plastic bottle is an ok idea because you can feel how much pressure is in it.

Hope some of that is helpful.
6 years ago

Got it all reaped, used an antique, slightly bent, not nearly sharp enough (even after much tender loving care) American/English style scythe borrowed from a family member. I created a "bow" out of a piece of scotch broom to help the grain fall in the correct direction. I wasn't very good at it. I ended up having to pick up alot of the heads by hand because my scythe was not cutting well. But it wasn't too bad.

I put all the cut stalks on a tarp and brought to the garage, where I threshed with a flail (I tied a piece of 2X4 to an old post hole digger handle). Took a little time and I didn't know what I was doing but it wasn't that difficult. I learned that threshing larger piles is much more efficient that threshing smaller piles because you end up knocking off more heads of grain per stroke.

I haven't winnowed yet so I don't know my yield, but I'm pretty happy so far. I'll post a couple pictures of my scythe and the process here soon, and then I'll probably post more detail of the harvest in the Growies section, since this threads mostly about the tool.
6 years ago