Saturday, December 27, 2014


Here are legs for another rustic stool. Roughly squarish in cross section from splitting, now hewing off the corners to start getting it round...

Then the slabs and sticks

And what's left of the log still has some good wood

Friday, December 26, 2014


A few more hewn plank stools. One nice wide log yields enough for two stools. Planks from the center, legs around the outside

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cheese smoking operation

Having gotten cheese for less than three bucks a pound I figured I'd try and smoke some. It went in the smoker at 2 pm. They should be in for 12 hrs but they come off at 6pm

Homemade cold smoker from two BBQ grills. Smoke from applewood fire in bottom goes up the flex pipe to the old gas grill. The old grill was a gift from Lydia and its still serving!

Added bonus: it's not too cold while woodworking nearby.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dec 3. Pollard

On this day it was discovered that a beaver did attach the pollard tree. Though the damage did encircle the tree it doesn't appear to be deep enough to kill the tree. We put a wire cage around the tree to eliminate further damage and will have to see what spring brings...

Sunday, November 23, 2014


We at Erb's Garden have some small qty of seeds available.

Garlic chives; Coleworts; Radish, Spanish Black; Acorn Squash; Skirrets; Dill

Friday, November 21, 2014

Black walnut is my favorite wood

So said Matthew McCann. Well here is a big hunk of it, looking to be crossbows...

The froe helps the wedge go in, the wedge helps the froe come out

The split is perfect, the wood is beautiful

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Clay and fire

So I had a good wood fire going yesterday, and threw in 5 clay balls. They are still warm this morning (it didn't get above freezing). No idea what temp they got to. The balls are very light weight.

We also had success with kiln firing, to cone 016, which is about 1500. Thanks to Lisa Roll Pottery for the kiln time, and the 'after' picture. Https://

Note the color changes, the gray clay fires up red.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Woodcarving by the fire. Intending to make a mold for clay tiles. Some clay marbles are in the fire to see how that goes. They were a bit damp when I put them in so I'm expecting a few failures, but I've tried to ease them into it.

I've also enlisted a potter to do a firing for me, wont be able to get more than one before Saturday.

18nov2014 weather report

First day it did not get above freezing. Brr

Monday, November 17, 2014


In honey
In must
In brine
With limes
In oxymeli
In water

17 nov 2014 Clay usability testing

Pots made from clay
0- batch 1, pinchpot
1- batch 2, pinchpot
2- batch 2, coil pot
3- batch 3, pinchpot
4- batch 3, coil pot
5- batch 3, pinchpot
Batch 3 is from the green bag. All are cracking and fracturing when worked. Adding water helps this bit Simon said the stuff has too much silt and isn't plastic enough.

These pots will be left to dry, and some will be fired if I can get a kiln.


Achievement unlocked

14 nov first snow

We got a little snow last night. No accumulation to speak of but a frosting in the grill and the cold side of the compost heap

Monday, November 10, 2014


Here are three bags of clay. The settled water poured off the top, the blue and green were allowed to dry up a bit the black is pretty fresh, it's the dirt from the white bucket which (I'm pretty sure) is the dirt from the garden.


Though the first frost have come and gone
The garden chores are not yet done
The dead plants must be removed
The seeds for next season saved
The chard and coleworts still produce
And here a radish, Spanish black.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Olive update

The ones on brine have mold on top, others are oxidizing black where the touch the air.

The ones in must are fermenting rapidly.

The ones in honey are fermenting, the honey has separated, and though they are softening they are still very bitter...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Well I haven't fermented anything in a long time. But this cider, from apples plucked by hand, ground and pressed, are bubbling along nicely now..

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Olives - in oxymeli

The ones in oxymel I have developed these strange spots, perhaps where the salt was touching?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Clay process - site A

This has cleared nicely, though I think very little o this is actually usable

Friday, October 31, 2014


Below freezing last night, for a few hours.
Will check on the garden tomorrow

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Seed saving

An important autumnal task was collecting seeds so that there would be enough to plant the following spring. Here are garlic chives gone to seed, they are just beginning to open

So we collect these pods, and roll them to get the seeds out.

Clay progress

So some of the jugs had cleared so the clear water was poured off. Of the black, there is a very runny puddle of mud, and a ball.

Today I mined from three places. Site A was farthest upstream. The bank there had been eroded oddly, and while the stuff didn't feel very clay like it was holding up against the water so I grabbed some to try it. Mixed with water and pulverized it came off very sandy, but also made an orange mud, which will be left to settle.

Site B was above the waterline, and was that gray/black stuff that was a bit slippery. So that goes into the tub. Then a bunch of water is added and the whole thing mixed up good. You want to beeak up all the lumps. Then the slurry is poured through a screen into another container, and everything that doesn't get through the screen is discarded. The slurry is then left to settle out, the clear water can be poured off.

Site C was stumbled upon, quite literally. Climbing up out of the river I slipped on some slick earth. I shoved my fingers Ito it and it was slippery and smooth so I pulled up a bunch of it. It is full of organic matter, leaves and so forth.

In the time it took to process B and C, A has already begun to settle out...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Olives - and limes

An oiled jar, layers of olives limes and thyme. Then water to cover.


10 min from plant to pan. It can't get fresher without a stove in the garden!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Olives 5 cures

So I'm trying five different cures, in oxymel, in honey, in must, in brine, and with limes. Each jar is labelled and date on the lid and is accompanied by its recipe.

Olives- in honey

In putting the olives into the honey, I used a stray to let the air out, as the mass of honey formed a seal. Even so it took several pours with time for settling in between.

I did not cut them as I should have. It will probably take a lot longer for them to cure... Damn.


So the olive cures I have involve some ingredients that are recipes into themselves. One is grape must, and the other is oxymel. Grape must is the grapes as they are usually prepared for winemaking, that is, crushed. So I made two, with the two different grape varieties immediately available, red seedless and concord. Neither of these is really right, but it's close. These still have the skins and seeds all in them.

The oxymel is vinegar and honey. Dioscordes recommends 5 k vinegar, 1 k water, 1 lb salt and 10 lb honey. I wanted about enough for a qt so I divided that by 15. I used Braggs apple cider vinegar and raw honey from Dale B Hills Apiaries as they are both unfiltered.

So with my sub-recipes complete I'm getting ready to tackle the main...


The pumpkins have perished, and the basil mostly too, two plants have a leaf or two remaining. The transplanted chard is looking up, the volunteer tomato did well, whether covered by cloth sheet or plastic tarp. the deliberately planted ones survived as well.

I've built a small brick enclosure for the rosemary...