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Saturday, May 26, 2007

New Listeroid veggie diesel being picked up today

It's a beautiful 53F sunny morning at 6am. The birds are chirping, the brain dead woodpecker is tapping away on the metal roof on schedule, and the dog (Rascal, part Border Collie) wants to play fetch with what I consider small logs. Today is the day that Jim Juczak ( and Dave Heap arrive for our trip to Belleghuan, to pick up the listeroid that DJ MacIntyre ( donated to us. This engine is the heart of our veggie oil powered generator, 2nd Edition, replacing the old Detroit Veggie Gen. While I was waiting for the troops to arrive with heavy truck, ramps, and rollers (the engine weighs 1000 lbs), I decided to do some more work in the garden. All 8 cedar raised beds are finished (Dan bolted the rest together last night before the whole family went out to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3), and filled with peat moss and horse/calf bedding (manure and hay), and the potatoes and tomatoes are planted. Next week the lettuce, beans, peas, carrots, and cucumbers get planted (I'm on vacation). The pigs and turkeys have not yet arrived, but we expect them soon. We plan to eat well this summer.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Square Foot Garden Built

Today, Dan (our summer intern), my sons and I cut up the cedar logs for the raised bed gardens. We cut the ends so the logs would overlap, and sunk a single lag bolt in each corner to hold them together. We have enough cut and notched logs for a total of eight 3' x 3' beds. We then mixed up the peat moss and the bedding from the horse and calf pens, which is half manure, half hay, and filled the beds. We had frost this morning, so planting will have to wait until next week.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The versatility of the Beech Tree

The other day when we were looking for a Beech Tree for our Shitake plugs, I did some research on the Beech Tree. I discovered that folks have been using the beechnut as a substitute for coffee, flour, and even pressed for oil. As our property is inundated with Beech Tree's, expect future articles from us as we grind our own flour, roast our own nuts for coffee, and try pressing the nut oil for fuel, and cooking.

One article shows us how to harvest the nuts.
Just spread the blanket/tarp on the forest floor under the tree. Scoop leaves onto the blanket, gather the four corners and shake the blanket well. This will allow the nuts to fall to the surface of the blanket. The leaves can then be removed and the nuts separated from the other chaff of the forest floor. The nuts may also be gleaned by sifting through leaves on the forest floor with the fingers.

Although it is easier to extract the tiny kernels before the nuts lose all of their moisture, the meats of well-dried nuts are more crisp (and perhaps more tasty). Roasting the nuts in an oven or on the top of a wood-burning stove also produces good results.

According to this article on making bread,
Beech nuts should be heated gently until they open, usually after just a few minutes, then the three nuts removed and taken out of the brown casing before being ready to eat.

This article explains,
Roasted then ground, beechnuts can be used as a coffee substitute. Or the roasted nut can be grated as a sprinkle over hot drinks or pies, making a good substitute for fresh-ground nutmeg.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tree Planting at Green Trust

We were given 250 white pine seedlings. My son Matt and I planted 30 of them yesterday, and gave the rest to Jim Juczak at Woodhenge. We may plant some more. We will see. Luke Martin gave us a bag of Shitake mushroom spore plugs, so this week I'll be drilling a log and inserting the plugs. We have a college student intern coming for the summer, to help out with the turkey's, the garden, and the methane digester project. This past weekend Jim and I gave seminars and workshops at the Renewable Energy Fair in Canton, NY. We built pedal powered generators, food dehydrators, and talked about the $20k home, off-grid living, and cabin sized solar power systems.

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