A buck, or a half-dollar? It don’t matter much to me because it’s food on the table.

More and more, I find myself digging in deep to things that are long forgotten. My wife calls them ‘hobbies.’ She may be right, but I feel it’s more. Maybe it’s because I feel I have to live up to my ancestors past, or maybe, the things I watched my dad do when I was a boy really did rub off on me. I often ask myself, what do my kids watch me spend my time on? I want to make that answer meaningful... and intentional. I also like to have something tangible to show for my time. Maybe it’s a deer steak, maybe it’s a stained-glass window, a bottle of wine, a jar of honey, a carving of wood. I threw myself in trying my hand at these various "hobbies" years ago when it became clear to me that life is short and not guaranteed. I hope the entries here inspire you to turn off the TV and go outside. Talk back here, or on the Morgan Ranch Facebook group page

Venison Neck Ham or Pepper Loaf

I tried a new variation on the neck roast from a deer I took this year. I always make it a point to harvest the neck roast from any deer I take and I take the time to get all of it and keep it as the biggest piece I can. If it comes out […] Read More

Quest for the best Goetta

This is an ongoing post… You can find the recipe below, but the recipe is not where good goetta is at. It’s the process employed to make it. Read on to learn more. It took growing up to realize that growing up in Cincinnati was cool. As a boy, I didn’t know or appreciate its history or wonder. […] Read More

OA and Glycerin Shop Towels for Varroa

I got together with a beekeeping mentor to make up some OA shop towels for combating varroa this season. The following is based off the research Randy Oliver is doing using OA, glycerin and water mixed up to a certain volume and absorbed into rolls of Scott Shop Towels. While this method of OA application is […] Read More

Broody hen adopts 8 baby chicks

Here’s a story of adoption on the Morgan Ranch. In this quick article, I’ll describe the steps I took to introduce 8 baby chicks to a broody hen. My Buff Orpington’s have been the broodiest hens ever since I dispatched Mr. Rooster. I honestly can’t be for sure that it’s been the same hen… but it’s […] Read More

Evolving the maple syrup operation

My first trials into maple sugaring started started in 2014. So start there if you want to see the first version of the maple arch. Sugaring was something I always wanted to do since watching my dad do it as a boy. I made it happen last year by grabbing some spiles and buckets over the […] Read More

Setting up an Observation Hive

I’ve been wanting to set up a very portable observation hive for a few years. To date, I have borrowed them from fellow beekeepers to do bee education presentations for various groups. Since I didn’t want to wear out my welcome with the generous people who have loaned them to me, I finally have one ready […] Read More

Build your own tub-style chicken plucker

This post is not really how to build your own plucker at home… there are plans for that out there everywhere. Just google “whiz-bang chicken plucker” and you’ll find all the info you need. This is just the story of how I built mine. The fact is, I didn’t use any plans other than finding […] Read More

My first trials into maple sugaring

See part two to this series here. I remember my dad tapping maple trees as a kid. He told all the neighbors that if they let him tap their trees, they’d be invited to the “big pancake breakfast” that he’d throw at the end. Today, someone might look at you like you had two heads. […] Read More

Drying peppers and making hot pepper powder

I love peppers! All kinds, many kinds. I bring many pepper plants inside to overwinter. Some, I cut down for bonchi (making small pepper trees like bonsai) and others just to have ready to go back out the following year. For all my hotter varieties, I make hot sauce, or dehydrate and grind them down […] Read More

Processing meat chickens at home

More and more, I try to find ways to produce my own food. We have a ways to go before we’re completely self-sustaining, but through each experience, I feel more informed, more prepared… and just more satisfied. For me, meat from the store has been just plain disappointing. I question everything from how commercial animals are […] Read More