Tuesday, January 18, 2022



Oddly enough, I pay 6% sales tax when I buy the card at a store but pay no sales tax when I purchase the SERVICE over the internet.

Michigan Democrats

Apparently they didn't learn anything from the shellacking the Democrats endured in Virginia. One of the hot-button issues was over-reach in terms of what schools taught students and accountability to parents.

Michigan Democrats seem to believe that parents should be taxed to pay for public education but have no say in what is taught. That is, no representation.

We know how this should end.

Cutting firewood

I spent part of the morning cutting fire-wood with Sprite. We share a fence-line and the trees I want to cull were more easily accessed from her side of the fence.

She likes to stay busy and to have reasons to be outside. The gray, cloudy, Michigan winter is hard on her. I cut and she de-whiskered and tossed the whiskers back over the fence.

I am more interested in fence posts than in firewood. We were cutting 4" diameter, Black Locust stems today. Only four of them were straight enough and had enough heartwood to satisfy me with regard to fence post material. The rest of them I chain-sawed into 16" stove-wood.

Sprite heats with wood and is grateful for the wood. I am grateful for having a second person as Mrs ERJ does not want me chainsawing alone.


I moved a bale of hay from Sprite's over to my pasture. The calves don't seem very interested in it. It is the first round-bale of hay they have seen in their lives.


I finished slapping the drywall up on the bathroom ceiling. The door is back on its hinges. The sliding doors on the shower will soon be reinstalled.

Mailing out scion wood

I mailed out the first scion wood of the season. I sent some Trailman apple-crab to a friend in Idaho.

In very rough terms, crabapples are Malus genus and have fruit less than an 1-1/4. Apple-crabs are between 1-1/4" and 2". "Apples" are over 2" in diameter.

Trailman is an apple-crab that reputedly survived -65F in the flats near Fairbanks, Alaska. It is not a heavy producer and the fruit is prone to water-core (usually fixable with a calcium spray) but it does have a good flavor.

I need to put word out to my other friends to ensure I have their most recent addresses.

Food preservation

A recent article at The Conservative Treehouse regarding empty shelves at the grocery store at has been getting attention.

I do not think the toxic effects of regulation have gotten enough attention.

Suppose I had an orchard with 24 apple and pear trees. Many hobby-farmers have an orchard of that size.

Furthermore, suppose I don't do much with that orchard. Most of the fruit falls to the ground and is eaten by deer, rabbits and birds. I am willing to bet that most fruit grown on these hobby-farms goes to waste.

Now, suppose the shelves in the grocery stores empty. Suppose that the supply-chain coughs up a hair-ball and you heroically step unto the breach.

The food that you were growing and want to feed people with becomes a "Problem".

Health departments want to inspect your processing equipment. They want to measure the temperature of your refrigerator and stove (hint, boiling water depends on atmospheric pressure which is related to altitude. No need to measure the temperature of boiling water).

Incredibly, the regulators become interested in what you do with the peels and cores and stems. It is no longer possible to toss them back into the orchard without documenting (filing a plan). Note, that is exactly the same orchard that the entire crop fell to the ground in every previous year.

The regulator might throw a hissy-fit if your orchard is within 500 yards of a clump of cattails. Cattails are a wetland obligate. A clump of cattails is evidence of a sensitive, vulnerable wetland. Not only can they stop you from canning food but they can fine you if you return organic waste to the orchard from which it originated if that orchard is within 500 yards of a clump of cattails. They have that power.

The regulators want to inspect and approve of the light levels in your kitchen and test the soap concentration in your mop bucket. They can fine you if you do not have a 100W incandescent bulb above your wash basin. They can fine you for using an incandescent bulb instead of an LED bulb.

In my mind, the most potent thing Trump did to reinvigorate the economy was to sign an Executive Order that required that two regulations be rescinded for every new one that was implemented. There are tens-of-thousands of regulations that can be construed as applying to a simple canning or tomato-drying operation. 

The economy is in the septic-tank. People are going to be hungry before this is over and it will be because the Statist want to control every detail and "handicap" every productive enterprise.

Ironically, one of the back-doors out of this mess is to loan your "facility" to your trusted friends and family. Help them pick the cherry-tomatoes and show them how to split them and put them into the dehydrator. Show them how to can applesauce and pears. Then get out of their way and let them process their own food.

Karma: I not only believe in it, I bank on it.

Tomatoes to dehydrate

Do any of my readers have any opinions regarding tomato varieties that respond well to dehydrating?

Sweet Apertif, Fantastico and Apero look promising based on Brix levels and size (halving and drying with skin-side down) but it would be nice to have recommendations from folks who have actually made "sun"-dried tomatoes.


  1. Mrs ERJ does not want me chainsawing alone.

    This is a good thing. My experience with a chainsaw, like sex,I was alone. Took about two weeks to cut the path up through the woods to where I wanted to build the Forever house and get out of the one that came with the property. I got some radios and went to the neighbor and told her I was alone and running a saw with Zero experience. She agreed to pay attention to it and get help if I called. I watched videos and stuff and had a backhoe,but it's still treacherous.

    1. Can I be your friend?

      I always wanted a friend who owns a backhoe. A lot of S-S-S problems can be handled with a backhoe and a dead steer on top of the problem.

    2. Consider it done.. I let some people try their hand at running it.

  2. I've made plenty of fiery dried tomatoes using the oven at low temp and halved fruits face up on parchment paper.

    Of the several home grown varities ive used, the large cherry tom (the size of a ping pong ball and slightly larger] is most favored for full flavor and texture. I forget the genus but it is an heirloom.

    For storage I put them in glass jars submerged in olive oil.

  3. Working alone is not the problem. Being distracted, losing focus is the problem. I have a good deal of experience with chainsaws small and large. The one and only error which nearly cost me a foot was when cutting along with another fellow. His constant bellowing eventually became such a distraction that I lost my rhythm.

    1. Having the wit to knock off for a coffee break BEFORE you are whipped is also important.

      And if the coffee and a snack did not pep you up, having the wit to knock it off for the day.

  4. I've heard said a man needs to know his limitations. I think he needs to realize they tighten up a tish as you age too.

  5. https://www.rareseeds.com/store/vegetables/cherry/principe-borghese-tomato
    Used to order from Pinetree but they no longer have them. When we had the blight about 10 years ago this was the only tomato in our 80 plot community garden that produced.

  6. Chainsaw chaps (kevlar?) come highly recommended. My bride is much happier when I wear them. Got them from Lowe's. Husqvarna brand, I think. About $85. Available in gray or orange...

  7. This is a great posting. Especially the Food Preservation part. I'm going to pass it on. Thanks--ken

  8. Some times having a second person around makes no difference running a chain saw. I has an acquaintance who was dropping wild cherry trees while his grown son skidded the logs. The bow came back for the next load and found his dad with his head caved in by a widow maker that broke loose when the tree started to fall. I run a saw by my self without fear but I pay attention and take breaks as you suggest. I agree with teaching people to do their own canning, I will loan tools and I keep an extra copy of Ball Blue Book to loan!

  9. ERJ - Dehydrating: Roma tomatoes are what I have done with satisfactory results.

    Food preservation: Over the years I have come up with various and sundry ideas for ways to make The Ranch more sustainable cash-wise. They always break on the barrier you mentioned: anything involving food preparation involves the government and there is no way on God's green earth I am inviting them in. One potential solution I have read of (but not experience) is a form of community garden (or orchard or cattle), where people buy a share of the harvest - thus, you are not handling their product, they are handling the product (with perhaps some oversight from you).

  10. Always cut with someone nearby. A split second is all it takes for a fatal accident. The spotter must have a phone, cell signal, keys to the truck and the ability to render emergency first aid. That is all...
    And get a pair of chainsaw chaps. Very valuable PPE.
    Ditch the gloves while you're using the chainsaw. Warm your hands frequently but don't degrade your tactile senses with anything thicker than very snug grippy cloth gloves. Snug to the point that you have to take them off to adjust them. Nothing scarier than gripping the saw as tight as you can but loose gloves letting it twist towards you ...

  11. Cut side up on your food dryer screen.