beautiful solutions to an almost obsolete orchard problem

natural brace

“The ideal treatment is to prevent the crotch from splitting. This can be done by not having a crotch, or by bracing it before it shows signs of weakness. [A] bolt may be used for this purpose. [or] A living brace may be grown over the crotch, as shown in Figs. 109 and 110 [omitted, similar to 109]. Two small limbs, preferably not larger than the little finger, arising from opposite branches, are twisted tightly together, the free ends being allowed to project as they may beyond the opposite branch.

In a year or so the bark of the two will begin to knit together, at which time the free tips—and many shoots which have arisen from lateral buds—are headed-back or removed. As the branches continue to unite, the leafy parts are curtailed, and in a few years a perfectly solid and continuous living brace will be formed from limb to limb. […]

Fig. 110 was made in a different way. The brace is a single branch arising at the right. When as large as one’s finger, it was thrust through a slit made through the branch at the left, allowing it to project two or three feet beyond the wound. It soon grew fast, and the free part was then removed; the result is a perfect union and a strong living brace.”

—L. H. Bailey, “The Pruning Book: A Monograph of the Pruning and Training of Plants as Applied to American Conditions.” (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1914.)

yogurt is warm milk held overnight

A tablespoon of yogurt in a quart of milk, at about a hundred degrees, in a thermos overnight = yogurt.

Failing a thermos, a pot with a glass lid on a sunny day—that’ll do it, too. The bugs are called something thermophilus, apparently, which means they like heat. How’s that for scholarship?

There are niceties, but I haven’t figured them all out yet. The longer you maintain the heat, the more acidic it will be. For instance. I’ve had the texture turn out a little ropey once or twice, but I can’t say why quite yet. The fact is, I only know as much as I’ve told you here, and we’ve stopped buying yogurt.

Save dollars! I am keen on that. Also, I am now only a source of milk and a few winter vegetables away from being able to quit regular trips to the super market. Which is a deeply satisfying proposition.

Hey, maybe I’ll get some pictures up on this blog sometime again!