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Author Topic: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path  (Read 2669 times)

OrganicSu

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Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: December 11, 2016, 05:42:19 PM »
This thread is really for Bruce who is going to try to prove that zero-carbon farming and eating is possible for January. I'll let him expand on this. What he is proposing is an order of magnitude more difficult and more important, than my meagre efforts, given the enormous carbon footprint of farming today.

I am going to try to live off foraged foods, with >50% from acorns, in January. In addition I won't drive the car, purchase anything etc so trying for essentially zero carbon emissions on the personal level for 1 month.

I pick the acorns by hand, crack with a hammer, soak, use a hand-blender, change water daily to get rid of tannins (very important), then cook. Cooking will be on top of a small wood burning stove (wood from my own trees) and occasionally on an electric oven if solar system can harvest enough power. I have some things in the garden as a fallback - we are in drought so the winter wild greens are hard to find. I'll use spices which I already have. I will learn a huge amount. At the moment foraged food is only about 5 % of my diet.

How great would it be to lend support to these tests/endeavors if for each day a member of this fantastic forum was also going to eat 1 meal or even part of 1 meal from foraged food (Acorns in particular). What do you think? Just 31 members needed...

Neven

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2016, 06:55:09 PM »
I am going to try to live off foraged foods, with >50% from acorns, in January. In addition I won't drive the car, purchase anything etc so trying for essentially zero carbon emissions on the personal level for 1 month.

Awesome! Good luck, OrganicSu, Bruce and others!
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Bernard

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2016, 07:32:34 PM »
Impressive endeavour, folks, good luck but have you made an assessment of how it scales? For example how many oak trees (or area of oak forest) is needed to sustain one forager during one year? To which extent do you take into account the work of people (most of them certainly dead now) to maintain oak trees until the age of full acorn production (about half a century, in most places). Etc, etc.
Do you have pointers to scientific assessment of such scalability/productivity issues?

I stumbled on this article from 2014
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-reintroducing-acorns-into-the-human-diet-a-nutty-idea/
But it makes only qualitative analysis. And as we know well in this forum, devil is in the figures.

Martin Gisser

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2016, 08:15:08 PM »
Bravo!
I'll look for some acorns, too, but won't get that radical. For now... The frost here in Bavaria doesn't hurt, I guess?

Apropos, the first trees I would plant around my dream hut would be walnuts. But they seem a little sensitive to frost when young.
Neven, how are your walnut trees doing?

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Neven

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2016, 08:41:13 PM »
They took quite a hit during last year's frost, but recovered. The one that looks best, also had a lot of extra shoots at the bottom of the trunk, which I will probably have to remove at some point. But pruning is a science in itself, so I need to read up on that some more (my anthroposophic friend says one should never prune).

But yeah, walnuts, hazelnuts and eventually some almonds is what I hope to have around the house. There's not much to forage around here, I'm afraid, as there isn't a lot of wild nature.
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Martin Gisser

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2016, 09:06:05 PM »
I woldn't prune them either. Not only because I'm lazy, but 1) it's a nice experiment 2) there's the risk of doing more damage than good 3) the plants often know best.
Why is the earth silent at this destruction? (Martin Heidegger ca. 1937)

Bernard

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2016, 11:39:42 PM »
Neven

Whether trees are pruned or left unpruned, always remove suckers from the rootstock.
Training Young Walnut Trees: Minimum Pruning vs. No Pruning Compared
http://cesutter.ucanr.edu/files/185360.pdf

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 05:01:54 AM »
OrganicSU, thanks for starting the new tread. Trying to ramp up to eating more acorns every day and getting into a rhythm of processing them.. I sort out a few pounds of acorns and crack them each day with the Davebilt nutcracker.After running them through the blender with some water I put jars with the pulp into the fridge and leach with daily water changes. After about five days ( cork oak acorns ) I strain out the pulp and dry it in the window. So I have five rows of jars that fill the bottom of the refrigerator and I'm grinding about a pound of flour each day.
 Collecting has been yielding 100-250 pounds for a couple hours work. Some trees are very productive and can be returned to several times during mast. Because I will soon have a couple pigs on a straight acorn diet I have several hundred pounds in the drying shed.
 Several years ago I processed some yacon tubers into syrup . I also have apricots and persimmons canned from the summer so I have something to sweeten cakes, crepes, and cookies. Cooking without wheat flour is a challenge . Cakes turn out more like pudding.
 OrganicSU will undoubtably get closer to zero than I will but with solar power electric assist I can hopefully crank out enough acorn flour to feed my wife and I with plenty to spare. It is taking about an hour and a half work daily for the one to two pounds of flour I am producing. Sorting nuts and cracking them is a good excuse to get some time outdoors. I think the wood stove OrganicSU is using cuts back on carbon so I am going to set one up outside. Sorting and cracking nuts by the fire , good on the brain.
 I am hoping I can change my diet far beyond the one month I am committed to. The pigs are in for several months on panage. Maybe I'll gain some insight , maybe not, but i think it is  going to be a good story and some fun.
 I'll write up the rendering and biodiesel experience as I proceed. I have learned that the chickens like the cracklings left over from the rendering , they don't like the acorns even after I leach them. The chickens are also going on a farm sourced diet so I will have eggs without breaking the zerocarbon goals. Hard to make crepes or cake without eggs.

Neven, Always cut shoots off if they are below the root graft. Your walnut will end up a black walnut otherwise.
Bernard, Collecting acorns and trying to prepare them as food has piked my interest in Oak Trees . I am always looking for new trees to harvest and I have dozens of two to three foot trees growing in pots ready for out planting.  Hope springs eternal and I will plant them out and get more started for next year. It might even rain this winter ! Last year was so dry I lost most of the young trees I tried to put in the ground. I think you can get plenty of acorns to keep a small family fed from less than a dozen good trees. They don't all produce every year so you have to look around a bit. We are in the  6th year of drought so I am sure this would be easier in normal rain seasons. At any rate I agree with you that thinking of how to scale a foraged diet is important. Collecting acorns however is much easier than drying and processing them.

 

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2016, 06:05:39 AM »
have you made an assessment of how it scales?
On the one hand - no need to. Seems like only Martin will pick some acorns from all of my family, locality and this forum.

On the other hand - Bruce foraged 2/3rds of an adults YEARLY calorific requirements in 4 hours. I never use cap locks, but, jesus, that's almost as insane as what's happening in the artic. Why are we still sending food around the world when so much is available on our doorsteps?
Why?
Some would say convenience. But surely it can't be. More convenient to work in the sun for 4 hours for such an enormous quantity of food rather than trekking to the shops and elbowing around aggravated shoppers. So why exactly? I don't know

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2016, 04:43:22 AM »
OrganicSU, I saw this article about a family that eats 200 lbs. of acorn meal per year. They use the same  Davebilt nutcracker I use.


http://www.mofga.org/Publications/MaineOrganicFarmerGardener/Fall2012/AcornBread/tabid/2280/Default.aspx

They seem to enjoy themselves , they also seem to have a lot of helping hands.
I was wondering if a weed called storksbill ( Erodium cicutarium ) was on your foraged greens list ?
It is native to the Mediterranean but common here in S.Cal. 

My wife is actually enjoying the acorn recipes for the most part. Failed recipes / meals just go to the pigs and there is plenty of acorns to experiment on.  Acorn crepes are breakfast and I have had good luck with an acorn / lobster bisque. These recipes use zero wheat flour. To bad the lobster won't be on my farm sourced menu for next month.
 
Maybe some of us like our little excuses to work outside. It all seems simplistic , maybe too simplistic. You can almost disappear while raking acorns in very public settings.
Try to enjoy your time collecting, processing and working on tasty recipes, good food will attract others   to try acorns  even if the carbon benefits are lost on  them. 
I have had several people intrigued with my little acorn challenge but the zero carbon goals are more difficult to convey than the self sufficiency bit.  We will see if more people show an interest after next month is over. 

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2016, 01:19:08 PM »
This morning's porridge included 30% foraged food (equal parts of acorn, fig and grape). Tomorrow will triple acorn content.

Erodium cicutarium isn't (yet) in my knowledge of wild greens. I'll be on the look out for it.

Have enough acorns to continue into February and beyond.

anotheramethyst

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2016, 09:01:30 AM »
Impressive endeavour, folks, good luck but have you made an assessment of how it scales? For example how many oak trees (or area of oak forest) is needed to sustain one forager during one year? To which extent do you take into account the work of people (most of them certainly dead now) to maintain oak trees until the age of full acorn production (about half a century, in most places). Etc, etc.
Do you have pointers to scientific assessment of such scalability/productivity issues?

I stumbled on this article from 2014
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-reintroducing-acorns-into-the-human-diet-a-nutty-idea/
But it makes only qualitative analysis. And as we know well in this forum, devil is in the figures.

I don't think foraging will ever scale to a high enough level to feed 7 billion people.  It's just not feasible.  However, it doesn't have to.  There's a growing group of people that believe we should eat the invasive species (the nontoxic ones, of course) and with the wealth of dandelions in suburban North America, I think we could all stand to supplement our diets with them.  If we transition to a healthy mix of foraging and gardening rather than relying entirely on fossil fuel-based agriculture, we can make a significant difference in the amount of CO2 we emit.  It's not a magic bullet, but honestly, I don't believe there is one.  The other advantage of foraging is that you increase your resilience to economic shocks like a job loss or recession.  It always surprises me when people include seafood as foraging, by that definition I have been living off of foraged food my whole life!  Incidentally, I've also been eating invasive species my whole life, I had the great good fortune of being born in a place where the nilgai is invasive, possibly one of the tastiest animals in existence.  It's native to India but it was introduced to ranches in south Texas.  It tastes like elk.  I find food from the garden is much tastier than store bought foods, as well.  I guess I'm trying to say you don't have to starve or suffer to improve your carbon footprint, some of these improvements are improvements in quality, taste, and nutrition, too.  However, you do have to do more work.  For me (and many other gardeners, foragers, hunters, and fishermen), it's a labor of love.  So far, foraged plants for me have been hit or miss.  The dandelions are OK, but I'm not the biggest fan of leafy greens.  The wild strawberries are very tasteless and tiny compared to the domestic ones, but I want to try to breed a hybrid variety and see what happens (since I already have both growing in the yard anyway).  I could eat mulberries for days though.  And I just planted some wild raspberries in the yard last summer, ALMOST as good as the mulberries.  Good thing mulberries grow on trees!  Haha

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2016, 01:01:22 PM »
I guess I'm trying to say you don't have to starve or suffer to improve your carbon footprint, some of these improvements are improvements in quality, taste, and nutrition,
Totally agree.
Looking forward to January. More flavour, more nutrition. Have been building up and feeling better for it.
Don't forget to taste the acorns before including in cooking to ensure bitter tannins have been fully leached. I forgot to a few days ago and unfortunately breakfast went on the compost pile.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2016, 12:46:03 AM »
Barley      28g.                          Acorn 28g
Calories   102                           Cal.    140
Fat.          1.27 g                      Fat.     8.4 gu
Sodium.   6.35 mg                  Sodium  0 g
Potassium  68 mg            Potassium. 199 mg
Carbs.        23 g                        Carbs. 15.3 g
Protein      3.8 g.                      Protein    2.1 g
Iron.            5%.                             Iron   2%
                                             Omega 6.  1628 mg

I was trying to decide if the normal Barley ration ( weight )  would be O.K. for the pigs if I substituted acorns. About four pounds a day.  Looks good to me.
I am planning on consuming 3/4 cup of acorn meal a day during Jan. or about 600 calories and about half of daily calorie requirements.

Acorn pancakes
Combine 1/4 cup acorn flour
                1 beaten egg
                 1 Tablespoon  melted Butter or Lard
                  2 teaspoons Yacon syrup ( honey , molasses or sugar )
                  1/4 cup water
                 4 egg whites beaten to peak then folded in.
 Cook on hot greased no stick fry pan
Serve with homemade Jam
 
a recipe on ASIF is a first I believe.  :)

« Last Edit: December 31, 2016, 07:03:39 PM by Bruce Steele »

Aporia_filia

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2016, 02:27:24 PM »
Well done, Bruce and OrganicSu, I guess you already know these places, but just in case:
http://www.siouxme.com/acorn.html
http://www.yummly.co/recipes/cooking-with-acorns#!
Here in Spain there are a few traditional recipes for acorns, even an acorn spirit. the difference is that our trees are mostly quercus ilex a varietal with 'sweet' (not bitter) acorns. It was people's bread after the civil war.

It's different for each of us when facing our 'environments'. Where I live your not allowed to live in a mobile home, or even in a wood house. It must be stone or bricks. Anyway sharing knowledge is our better weapon.

I do recommend chickens as a  company animal!  ;D They prevent plagues, give a lot of great compost stuff, offer proteins and B vitamins without killing them, don't have to feed them unless is too cold (like now -8ºC). So yeah, I'm with Bruce.

Another very good idea for this walk, people living self-sufficiently, is building an sewage lagoon:
http://extension.missouri.edu/p/WQ402
This is the idea, but I made it not only with the purpose of cleaning the sewage but also to retain rain water, use it for watering in the dry months and to improve biodiversity. Mine is not regular with a total length of 32 meters and 12 meters wide, max. depth 1 meter. And now days  I'm building a bigger and deeper one.
The first week the lagoon got some rain there was a life explosion. After two years it was fool of frogs, carps, insects, snakes, bats, and all the birds in the area come to drink and a bath.
Another great thing is that there are different stadiums in the development of the biodiversity and usually algae have moments of very, very rapid growth which gives you marvellous compost stuff.
There're less mosquitoes now than before the lagoon.   

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2016, 07:32:41 PM »
Aporia-filia, Quercus ilex has been introduced here in S.Cal. and it is the acorn I am utilizing for most of the pig feed and my acorn flour supplies. Although it has less tannins than some other oaks it does require some leaching, about five days works pretty well. Unlike our native oaks Quercus ilex seems to like irrigation and does well planted in lawns . The mowed grass makes raking acorns easy work.
The Q. ilex acorns stay closed for drying so there isn,t as much trouble with acorns molding as acorns that crack or try to sprout.
 Part of my project is feeding out some mangalitzas for Jamon de Bellota , Pata Negra. Feeding the same acorns utilized in Spain should yield similar flavor profiles.
 If you find a recipe for how to make acorn spirits I would like to see how it is done. Where do you buy acorn spirits?
 

Aporia_filia

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2016, 08:40:46 PM »
Well, that's great! I'm sure you'll be successful with your pigs, I knew about them. You're right about the tannins in the acorns from quercus ilex, but some of the trees give sweet acorns that can be eaten like chestnuts, they are very low in tannins.
About where to buy acorn spirit searching the web I found these:
https://regalosgourmetonline.com/es/41-licores
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/beso+extreme+liqueur+de+bellota+extremadura+spain
http://www.destileriasespronceda.com/licordebellotacon.html
http://gerrys.uk.com/shop/liqueurs/sabores-acorn-liqueur/

about how to make the spirit yourself:
http://www.innatia.com/s/c-licores-con-aguardiente/a-licor-de-bellotas.html

if you have any problems with the translation, please tell.

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2017, 07:41:23 AM »
Current acorn batch has had 2 weeks cold soaking, water changed daily, 2 warm soaks and 3 hot soaks before tannins eventually were gone. Unfortunately most of the acorn was also gone. Yesterday was maybe 5 to 10% acorn, the rest was foraged and from the garden.

After using acorns with very low tannins a week ago I was ecstatic. Tasty, nutritious, easy to use in any cooking, almost no water needed for soaking. I'm not feeling that anymore. Current acorn batch is very water intensive. Circa 10 liters just to leach tannins from what ended up being much less than 100g acorn meal. That water goes to plants in the garden, that do need it, that wouldn't have been watered otherwise, but still.

Yesterday's other food included:
Almonds, walnuts, terebinth berries, terebinth resin, pine resin, rosehips, structural leaves from cabbage, broccoli and Chinese cabbage, mandarins, dried pear and figs, daikon and daikon leaves.

JR-ice

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2017, 01:34:46 PM »
Has anyone in this discussion ever tried eating Japanese knotweed shoots?  I've read they are edible, but am a bit uneasy about eating them for some reason.    :-\

If Japanese knotweed is actually good, well, there's the thing that will feed 7 billion people!  It's a monster plant, no doubt.  I've only managed to partially subdue a patch I inherited in my garden after 10 years of chopping it off/digging it up/planting things on top of it!   The knotweed and I have come to an understanding.  I'll chop it off, and it won't grow more than a foot a day....

I'm thinking they might be good on a very limited basis..

SteveMDFP

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2017, 08:03:05 PM »
Has anyone in this discussion ever tried eating Japanese knotweed shoots?  I've read they are edible, but am a bit uneasy about eating them for some reason.    :-\

If Japanese knotweed is actually good, well, there's the thing that will feed 7 billion people!  It's a monster plant, no doubt.  I've only managed to partially subdue a patch I inherited in my garden after 10 years of chopping it off/digging it up/planting things on top of it!   The knotweed and I have come to an understanding.  I'll chop it off, and it won't grow more than a foot a day....

I'm thinking they might be good on a very limited basis..


This piqued my interest.  Apparently, the stuff tastes very much like rhubarb.  Can be used for wine/beer and tea.  High in oxalic acid, so if you've had oxalate kidney stones, stay away.  See:
http://www.selfsufficientish.com/main/2011/03/eating-and-drinking-japanese-knotweed-by-andy-hamilton/

Might be a good supplement for acorn in the diet.

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2017, 06:24:06 PM »
How are you doing Bruce and anyone else eating acorns?
Today is ok. The kermes oak need too much water and time on the stove. I feel there is no nutrition left by the time the tannins are gone. To think of using them when times are tough I need another leaching method. I'll put them in a salt water stream for a year (the only stream still running here) and see next year.
The gods are providing help. On the 2nd, I had spent the first 1/2 of the day thinking there was no way to make it. In desperation I went out specifically foraging holm oak acorns. They need way less water and stove time. A friend gave a Christmas bread she had baked for us and then I found a sheep, recently killed and half eaten by wild dogs. The cats and dog devoured what they got (cooked) and there's some in a pot for me.
The near forecast says 4 days of sub-zero temperatures (celcius) so I won't have water to leach acorns. I know I can't make acorn as 50% of my diet. However I'm still focused on a month essentially zero-carbon with foraged foods supplemented by home grown food.
Other foods over the past 2 days are grape jam, fig and orange jam, Christmas bread, pyracantha, persimmon, my honey, raisins, beetroot, beetroot leaves, radish, radish leaves, salted olives, fermented vine leaves, boiled lamb, rocket, leak, malva, calendula.
Unfortunately Japanese Knotweed isn't growing here. I would eat it. It is sold in Japan as a food. My honest advice would be try a small amount and the next day a larger amount and then listen to your body. It may include vitamins and other nutrients you are lacking.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2017, 10:10:24 PM »
OrganicSU, I am finding the flour from different types of oaks (acorns) has a lot of variability in flavor color and taste. I was using cork oak acorns with good flavor results in various recipes , crepes, pancakes, cakes , lobster bisque, a bacon cheese soufflé, and acorn tea. I tried a batch of valley oak flour in a soup recipe I had used before but the results ended up in the feed trough for the pigs.
Terrible.  The  "Chumash Ethnobotany "book says the Chumash didn't like  Valley Oaks much either. I have several batches of holm oak in different stages of processing and will try holm oak flour in several of the tested recipes.
 My wife is still happy with the meals I have been preparing although I struggled through a bowl of the failed soup and she went and found something better in the refrigerator. Making tasty meals is part of the challenge. I am happy I discovered that using beaten egg whites for pancakes, cakes and the soufflés delivered nice light textured results. Acorns as a staple is still working fine for me.
 Koreans make Acorn Jelly called Dotorimuk. It is made from starch that is easily separated in the leaching process. There is a while layer that floats above the meal in the leaching jars. When pouring off the water each day don't pour away the white layer. Just refill the jars with water and leave the white starch in the jars with the meal. When you finally pour the meal through a strainer to dry save the white starchy water,let it settle and pour off excess water before use. I have made Dotorimuk with some success. I have also learned that using the starch and a couple scoops of coco makes a very nice smooth textured chocolate pudding.
 The three pigs are on their strict acorn diet although I throw them winter squash .( gleaned / traded for labor) All the other pigs know that the sound of acorns hitting the ground means they can beg a scoop also but I don't have enough acorns to give all the pigs acorns every day.
I am trying to stick to the acorns as a staple but I don't know if I could pull this off without the eggs I get from the hens. The pork in the freezer makes this fairly easy as far as cooking meals but there are lots of things I would normally snack on that come from the store. Does make you think about food in a different way. Cooking good meals is about more that caloric / dietary requirement.
Still having fun. Pigs are O.K. too. Still a drought.

 

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2017, 01:41:23 PM »
Making tasty meals is another level up on the challenge. Today's soup is tasty. My wife had no problem having seconds.
I've just cracked 2 days worth of Holm oaks. They are so much easier to leach. The taste for me is much better than Kermes Oak as there's nothing really left in Kermes' by the end of the leaching.

Thank you re the white starch film on top. Some batches have so much. Some none. I had been throwing it away. Next year I must take a note of which acorns come from which tree. Not all acorns are created equal.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2017, 05:15:25 AM »
OrganicSU,  I have been rendering lard for awhile and there is about 100 gallons in five gallon buckets awaiting convertion into biodiesel. I used my old recipe that I used in converting waste oil from restaurants to try a test batch today. The one pint test batch went well. I have a mason jar on the counter that has a nice separation of bio-diesel and glycerine. I can now ramp up to full 25 gallon batches in my old bio-diesel plant. I have lots of confidence in my ability to produce a couple hundred gallons of bio-diesel from pig lard that is currently left over after the other more desirable cuts of meat are sold. The difference with restaurant grease and lard bio-diesel is I am no longer dependent on someone else's waste stream. The bio-diesel has zero salt unlike kitchen grease and the glycerine is pure enough to make a good soft soap.
 Anyway I am happy that the bio-diesel project looks on target.
 The pigs are fine , we have gotten 2.5 inches of rain and the acorns are holding up in the drying shed.
Hog heaven
Bruce

ghoti

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2017, 05:47:39 PM »
I saw recently that the Formula E car racing group uses generators that run on glycerine. I had never heard of using the glycerine to run engines before. I don't know how differently the engines have to be set up to use it.

sidd

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2017, 08:55:15 PM »
A very good link on the agricultural (and cultural) practices of the First Nations is at

http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/buffalo/garden/garden.html

I love this book. I should have posted this earlier in this thread.

sidd

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2017, 05:39:52 PM »
Almost 1/2 way through and going strong'ish.
Learnings so far - Holm oaks acorns need way less water, time and energy to prepare in comparison to Kermes Oak acorns and can be a % of my diet going forward.
Dotorimuk (acorn starch) is the business.

The sun is rising in the sky and in a few weeks I'll have enough solar power to bake acorn bread.

Hoping Bruce you and your piggies are healthy and happy...

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2017, 09:06:54 PM »
Organic SU, I think acorns are a good ingredient in lots of recipes that can supplant flour , or vastly reduce dependence upon grains . I have found that grinding corn and using a combination of acorn and corn flour improves flavor variety but somehow also feels more filling. Something about acorns as a majority component of meals leaves me feeling kinda hungry. I have noticed from the beginning I have been craving sweets,starches, and realizing alcohol is probably part of the same group. So although I haven't been to the store or eaten or used store bought foodstuffs ( mostly + )in three weeks I have had a 5 or 6 beers and some wine. Other things like baking powder , spices and coco are ingredients I am consuming because bland food gets boring pretty damn quick.
 My wife is still happy with most of the recent meals , maybe I am getting better at cooking with acorns ? I actually made a fake hamburger with porcini, bacon, acorn flour, ranch eggs, Fillery ( storksbill )corn flour and cheddar cheese? I tried it with homemade goat cheese but it wasn't as good a facsimile.
 The Pig lard bio-diesel I made is quite a bit different than the vegetable oil biodiesel I used to make. Sidd suggested I needed to be careful with cold conditions and he is completely correct. At room temperatures the bio is a clear liquid but at lower temperatures < 45 degrees it begins to solidify. At 32 degrees it is solid. So I either need to restrict it's use to summer conditions or I will need to incorporate fuel line and fuel tank heaters.  These heating components are easily obtained because some straight vegy grease cars use them to thin the viscosity of vegy oil.
 We are getting some rain and this might turn out to be a normal rain year. Everything is green. At this point we are still in extreme drought and it will take something more than a normal rain year to break the drought around here. Other parts of California have
managed to get their  reservoirs full and gotten out of trouble but we are still in bad shape.
   
 
 

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2017, 01:16:29 PM »
Dear Bruce and all,
My wife remarked that the veg and fruit outside of the mini-market doesn't call to her anymore - seems lacking in energy. I have also noticed the same. When preparing foraged and garden foods I see that my body prefers them, even the sound of the knife cutting them is different.

I have been nowhere near 50% acorn. Every day yes. It fills in soups. An interesting pan-fried burger on our side was with 1/3 each of acorn, almond, 100% fig jam(no sugar) and some dotorimuk when it's a paste and just before it becomes solid.

Re cravings - I'm having less and less. There is nothing I will rush out to buy/consume on Feb 1. However, re alcohol, I'm drinking a glace of my own wine a day. In all of 2016 I opened maybe 2 bottles. I know - how mad is it to make wine and not normally drink any.

Dried figs and roasted almonds, eaten together, are what is really getting me through this month. Soon it will be February. This "experiment" will continue. I'll use up what beans and rice are still in the cupboard. There will be a lot more wild greens. We've also had rain. Glorious rain that falls slowly and soaks in. Precious.

Wishing you continued health and strength and fun...

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2017, 07:20:12 PM »
My process for Dotorimuk (acorn starch):
Crack acorns with a hammer to peel outer shell. Soak 1 day to soften a bit.
Use a hand blender to grind. Keep water. Put bits through an auger type juicer so acorn bits are ground very fine.
Squeeze acorn flour through a fine cloth and put the resulting liquid and previous liquid together in a tall container.
From this liquid we get a sediment of white acorn starch. Pour off upper layer of tannin water. Add fresh water, mix, settle and pour off again.
Put what's left (starch and some water) into a wide pan. Heat slowly, mixing constantly. When it gets like a thick liquid, turn off heat and leave to solidify. It's ready to use.
To keep, cut up into bits that fit in a tupperware, add water and refrigerate.
For taste, make a sauce with at least sesame oil, chilli powder/oil, diced spring onion.

My process for adding Acorn to cooking:
Follow the above and when you have squeezed the acorn powder put it into a container with water and refrigerate. Change water daily until water stays clear and acorn does not taste bitter.
Bring to a simmer slowly. If the water turns bitter, change the water and start again. Once the acorn has simmered for 5 minutes without the water turning bitter refrigerate it, covered by water. In everything: soup, bread, porridge, lasagne... add as much as you desire. I use a strainer to take the required amount out of the main batch in the fridge.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2017, 05:01:51 AM »
 Tomorrow morning will begin with a couple cups of acorn tea ( coffee )  and acorn pancakes. I have the next batch of acorns leaching for next weeks efforts. That is my acorn challenge is morphing into a diet transformation that I plan on continuing as a regular part of my daily diet. I have plenty of acorns dried to get me through next years acorn mast.
 I put an old double bottom plow on the tractor and began plowing next years garden.
I will finish the heavy plowing and add compost tomorrow. It is time to get potatoes , onions ,shallots and leeks ready for planting. My plans are to produce crops to carry my attempts at hyper-local agriculture through the entire calendar year. I was hoping to have enough pork biodiesel to do the heavy work with the tractor but without fuel line and tank heaters on the tractor ,pork bio is problematic below 45 degrees (it begins to solidify) I need to modify my plans. So instead I will use the pork bio in a diesel truck with two fuel tanks. One will be full of pork bio and the other tank filled with standard diesel. I can start the truck on diesel, switch to bio and then run diesel to clean out lines and filters before turning the truck off. That way I can utilize pork bio when it is +50 degrees and standard diesel under cold conditions. No problem. I will need some time to modify my tractor.
 Collecting enough acorns, growing enough potatoes or squash, or providing enough feed for a few pigs is a much bigger task than foraging and gardening for a small family but the pigs provide the fat to power heavy equipment. Powering heavy equipment like tractors or diesel trucks is paramount in producing food crops for a larger group of people like a small village. I think I am still on target to prove up on my premise that acorns, pigs and biodiesel can produce enough calories to feed a larger group of humans.
 I am happy that my project is an impetus to put in a garden this year. I didn't have a garden last year. Growing crops that can be dried or stored in cold storage for next winter is different than growing high valued crops for the farm stand and sales to the public. I will be growing rather low valued crops but crops that will provide calories. Whether I can provide enough summer feed for a few pigs is still an open question. Acorns ,I hope ,will provide pig feed to compliment year round calories but no single crop can keep both the pigs and my family well fed. I still think winter is a larger challenge than summer but I have to grow a substantial garden to keep the project rolling. Starting the acorn challenge in winter without advanced planning is different than trying to plan a year in advance. I think next winter will be easier than this year if I do my planning and summer gardening successfully. I will have enough pork biodiesel to collect many many tons of foraged and gleaned crops next fall. I will have food crops in storage in preparation for next winter and I will have this years experiences to aid in next years efforts . Anyhow this should get easier and I hope I will get closer and closer to zero fossil fuels .
 I would like to include a quote from this weeks Archdruid report. Greer seems to believe scientists need to better walk the walk. Cassandras Legacy is pushing similar concerns. Maybe it is up to those of us who support science to take up the challenge and prove up on how we can live something close to zero fossil fuels. Science can at some point document the effectiveness of various attempts but hanging everything on science and scientists is chicken s..t IMO. This is everyone's challenge and pointing fingers is less than beneficial .

Mind you Greer hasn't given up travel... From the Archdruid.

"The only way to stop anthropogenic climate change in its tracks is to stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and doing that would require the world to ground its airlines, turn its highways over to bicycles and oxcarts, and shut down every other technology that won’t be economically viable if it has to depend on the diffuse intermittent energy available from renewable sources. Does the political will to embrace such changes exist? Since I know of precisely three climate change scientists, out of thousands, who take their own data seriously enough to cut their carbon footprint by giving up air travel, it’s safe to say that the answer is “no.”
 

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2017, 08:02:32 PM »
Dearest Bruce and all,
January is over. I've had many great experiences and wish you profound thanks for initiating it. I completely agree with you "my acorn challenge is morphing into a diet transformation that I plan on continuing", "no single crop can keep both the pigs and my family well fed", "next winter will be easier than this year", "The only way to stop anthropogenic climate change in its tracks is to stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere". In addition I think winter will eventually be easier than summer as water is so crucial and so lacking in summer. Most importantly living close to Zero-carbon is not self restrictive, it opens so many doors.

On the 31st December, my wife and I ate at a favourite local taverna serving meze, 5 small dishes for a set price. I've always enjoyed the food - simple, wholesome, balanced. This evening we went again. My stomach was in disarray and I could eat only a small amount. Probably, mostly due to the speed of eating so my stomach had to do the work rather than my teeth. However, I also found it both very salty and lacking other taste. Their food was normal, but it is I who changed.

I went to the Hotspring today also. In a full lenght mirror I saw I had lost a lot of weight. During the month I didn't feel unfulfilled food wise. I know I ate less and noticed some days breakfast and dinner were sufficient but was shocked by the change. I've never been this lean, even when I was swimming competitively and training daily. Yet hunger was not a part of this month.

I have grown an enormous appreciation for foraged and homegrown food. As a way to say thanks to nature my wife and I completely fasted yesterday and made a 25 km pilgrimage. I've never been able to go without food but on this occasion it was surprising how easy it was. I don't know why and only hazard a guess that foraged food gives a better energy reserve than industrial food.

A few weeks ago I had expected to rush out and buy yogurt, bread, cheese. We are blessed by this farming community, everything is produced locally. There's even 3 yogurt makers and a population of about 1,500. However I didn't buy any food today (except the taverna) and probably won't tomorrow. The 51 various plants, nuts, fruits etc have been plenty of variety.

 I'm almost out of dried figs but the wild greens are really starting now. I don't want to go back. I need this food. It is so much better. I NEED, THIS, food.

I did drive 12km and bought a loaf of bread. Other than that it was essentially zero-carbon. I feel more secure in case of societal collapse as I've reduced my reliance on society. There is still so much to learn. It is clear to me now that the path to this knowledge is not self restricting. Very much the opposite. It has been a very spiritual month and this has been the greatest gift I received.

wehappyfew

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2017, 08:38:14 PM »
What a great experiment... well done you two!

I've read a bit about gut biomes, and I wonder if the change in appetite and desire for natural vs commercial foods is due to your gut biome having changed, and it is now responding with bacterial "distaste" to the now unfamiliar foods.

They send a chemical signal to your brain saying "we don't appreciate that strange stuff".

Those of us still addicted to simple carbs get the opposite signal from our gut biome... "don't stop eating those carbs... or else we will flood your system with nasty chemical signals... and go eat some corn chips and sugary drinks, pronto!"


Neven

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #33 on: February 01, 2017, 10:29:15 PM »
Setting a great example there, Bruce and OSU!

Last week I had to go into a McDonald's restaurant to use the bathroom. I swear, the bathroom smelt better than the restaurant. I just couldn't get over it and asked my wife if maybe a sewer pipe had broken or some such, and she said: What you're smelling, is probably the rancid oil they use to fry and bake everything.

And people were sitting there, eating, with that horrible smell all around them. It was a surreal experience. I hadn't been in a McDonald's for 20 years.

I occasionally eat chocolate when I'm weak and tired, but I can no longer eat the regular stuff (has to be organic) as it's too overwhelming and leaves a grey aftertaste in my mouth.

You are what you eat, they say, so changing your diet will definitely change you.
Il faut cultiver notre jardin

TerryM

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2017, 04:42:28 PM »
Bruce & OSU - mainly


I wonder if anyone has thought about the Tide going out. ie when the local grocery store no longer has supplies of soap.


There are lots of DIY soap making pages on the internet, but if the store can't re-order their stocks, the web may have crashed as well. Has anyone any experience in making soap from scratch? Oak wood ash & lard might do the trick, but I wonder if any of the byproduct from making acorn flour might take the place of the lard.


I'm sure there are many other needed items that could be produced in a cottage industry setting that might have value after the lights go out.


Terry

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2017, 07:00:54 PM »
My wife makes all our soap, washing machine 'detergent' shampoo from olive oil and caustic soda. When the lights go out we won't have olive oil or caustic soda, and so making new batches won't be possible as far as I can see. I'm also expecting to be focusing on my next meal rather than the smell from my armpits.
Our last tube of toothpaste ran out a few days ago and our new toothpaste is made with baking soda (in stock and out of date since years). When baking soda is no longer available, Catnip (leaves from the plant) will suffice...

OrganicSu

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2017, 07:50:20 PM »
your gut biome having changed, and it is now responding with bacterial "distaste" to the now unfamiliar foods.

They send a chemical signal to your brain saying "we don't appreciate that strange stuff

Instinctive reaction was "definitely, yes". But to what degree? Over the past week I've thought a lot about it and I'm putting this at 60% reason and eating too fast at 40% for not being able to eat good food at a taverna. I dropped the reason of 'smaller stomach' from the previous day's fast as I was able to eat breakfast and lunch no problem.

You are what you eat, they say, so changing your diet will definitely change you.
Totally agree. The physical is a reflection of what and how we eat and drink.
The spirit is also a reflection of the mind's thoughts IMHO.
Therefore, for me, it is worth trying to have the best food and best thoughts running through me...

Fear has been in my background mental state since a year and a half ago (when I became convinced that societal collapse is in my lifetime). January removed the fear. Yeah, I'm still so very much in the deep poo poo when it happens, but something about the actual wholesomeness of the food itself, (not just that I could eat from foraging and the garden) helped cleanse the thoughts running in the mind which in turn led to 'the fear' abating.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 07:10:01 AM by OrganicSu »

Martin Gisser

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2017, 10:54:36 PM »
Re soap:
It is wasteful luxury stuff. Except you have a potash mine or a forest to burn down. It is also not hygienic if used too often, as it harms the skin's bacterial ecosystem and makes you stink sooner again. I call that the cosmetic vicious circle.

I guess our soap fetishism is a relic of the decadence of the Roman empire.

When camping I use wood ashes directly to clean dishes. Nothing makes my steel pots as shiny. (But it ruins plastic.) Washing clothes needs a bit more ashes. First boil ashes in water and let cool down over night. Then you got a clean clear lye solution with the char remains and other stuff sunk down to the bottom.
Why is the earth silent at this destruction? (Martin Heidegger ca. 1937)

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #38 on: February 10, 2017, 02:22:05 AM »
Terry, Sidd has said he makes large batches of soap using the glycerin byproduct of his biodiesel production.  I plan on doing the same but I haven't yet started. Making lye and methanol from scratch is also something I would like to accomplish. Curious how independent I can actually be .
I suppose my drive to make fuel from locally available ingredients is like I said drivin by curiousity as much as anything else but proving what is possible on a very local scale is also driven by a desire to eliminate my carbon footprint.  To the degree you can eliminate all or most of your energy needs you can obviate the complications of recreating fuel sources to run tractors , trucks and heavy equipment . I happen to think larger groups of humans like villages or guilds demand scalable food resource equipment.
Soap is just a byproduct of my fuel making adventure . I do consider it both a potential commodity and for me a necessary part of daily hygiene . Without soap I am afraid I might just as well move off into a cave somewhere because that is as close as I could get to any other humans.
 I have been wondering if I can think of retirement as an energy challenge. My month on foraged and farm grown foods did save trips to the grocery store and quite a bit of money. Soap is of course a very small expense but piece by piece , food, fuel ,soap , solar energy, and water,  all chip away at expenses . You mentioned that soap might also be a sellable commodity but I would prefer to think of it as a trade item. I would love to think at some point what you produce or what you provide in services might be more valuable than a pocket of cash.
I will consider your query about lye and soap production as a challenge. OrganicSU and I have been pushing each other to turn some our our personal musings into physical challenges and get on with getting some of them accomplished.

TerryM

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #39 on: February 10, 2017, 08:12:57 AM »
Thanks so much for the replies


I follow your real life experiments closely & delight in the details you provide. My health however prevents me from participating on anything but a vicarious level.
When I wrote sell, I was thinking trade/swap as money will certainly be useless almost immediately after TSHTF. Sorry for the miscommunication.


Once locally available items run low replacements will be needed. I'm not sure that armpits will be a concern, but clean bandages and fresh diapers require soap.


Terry