Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How to Process Hickory Nuts

With the help of my little tree identification book, I misidentified our local hickories as Pignuts - until I ate one. I read that pignuts are usually pretty awful, so I tried one of ours to see if it was a less awful variety, but they were delicious. I did some more research and found that my ID book was not very thorough, and that what we have here are black hickories.

The sap from hickories can be processed the same as maple, but the sap is less sweet. I was considering doing this when I thought we had pignuts, but tasty varieties of hickory nuts sell for $5 a pound (unshelled!,) so there is no way I'm going to steal sap from these valuable nut trees.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Plant Survey Results for 2013

A view of trees near the pond.

Living on the property this year has allowed ongoing plant surveys to determine existing field and woodland flora. This list will become more complete as the year progresses. As the 40-acres are, without seeding or planting, the following plants have been identified:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Eating Milkweed and Nopales

Thistles, Green Milkweeds, Horse Nettles, and Johnson Grass have had us out mowing with the scythe this week. On the second day of selective mowing, I looked up these plants and found that thistles and green milkweeds are edible. Allegedly.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oklahoma Wildlife for 2013

I've decided to list animals I see on the property as a future reference. I wish I had thought to do it sooner, as some things have already gone for the season.

May 30, 2013:

Namely, turkeys. I can't say for sure that they've moved off for the year, but I'd say it's been at least a week since I heard a gobble. I'll report when I start hearing them again, but it seems like they came around last winter or fall, maybe November or December, and I've been surprised by how long they stayed. They hang out on the dirt road, in the pastures, our yard, out by the big pond, and then in the trees at night. We hear them at all hours. I haven't seen more than one or two at a time this year - though I saw the whole pack last year, and I remember two toms and maybe eight females. My neighbors said they saw the whole pack this year and they counted 14 including juveniles.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Best Cleaning Supplies - Old School

Modern Americans really are pretty obsessed with cleaning. People don't want things clean - they want them sterile. I do not think most people are interested in relaxing their standards, but for those who are, I have created this post.

Most people would be appalled by my cleaning standards, because I suspect that the human immune system probably functions better when presented with a broad spectrum of mild challenges. I'm not saying that I let the dogs lick my dishes clean or I wipe my counters with raw chicken, but
(for example) I no longer have a dishwasher to heat-sterilize my dishes - in fact, I often have to use cold water to wash my dishes, as the water heater is only on a few hours a day. I also only use Ivory or handmade soap - no modern detergents. This means I have to wash my dishes very carefully, and it takes longer, but they are old-school clean. I don't clean any part of my kitchen or bathroom with any chemical other than soap or pine cleaner water, though the toilet gets a bit of a scrub with a pumice stone from time to time.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Baking Day

I know this post isn't going to be relevant to too many people, but I'm putting it out there because I couldn't find much of anything about it when I Googled "How to Plan a Baking Day."
My kitchen on Baking Day.

I was a professional cook for a number of years, though my only baking job was making bagels, and that doesn't provide a skill set relevant to home baking. So, though I cook all of our meals at home, I only started making all of our baked goods at home this year. Doing all of the baking in one day assures that it gets done - trying to make these things over the course of a week requires doing set-up, warm-up, and clean-up every time, and that is a sure recipe for failure. Baking Day is not flexible. Things can't "come up." So best to reserve a day solely for the job (and it's a job) of baking.

Here are the steps and tips that get me through a Baking Day: