came across your blog maybe a month ago, random link on reddit, but I
was so intrigued by what you are doing that I have been nonstop reading
for about a month, until I made it through the whole archive from start to finish....
were a some loose ends that you haven't tied up yet, just a couple
stuck with me that I wanted to ask you about, so thought I would email.
What happened to your Osage oranges you planted a few years ago, did any germinate? Have you been cooking/eating the ducks or did I miss that? How were they?"
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I'm always impressed when
I get these emails that start "Just read your whole blog." Thanks for
diving in with two feet, Jeffry! I hope you don't mind that I excerpted
part of your email here --- I figure others may be wondering about those
loose threads too.
I'm afraid the
osage-orange experiment was a dismal failure. Our world is just so rich
and full of life here in southwest Virginia that the idea of planting
seeds in the wild and expecting any to
survive sounds much better on paper than it works out in reality.
Unfortunately, native plant life took over so quickly that any seeds
that did germinate didn't make it past the cotyledon stage. If I decide
to try the idea out again, I'll instead start seedlings in pots or in a
garden bed and then transplant into a well-mulched area once they're
large enough to compete.
The ducks were a slightly
more successful experiment. We have indeed been eating them and the
consensus is...they're okay. I suspect we'd be singing the praises of
duck meat from the rooftops if we'd gone for a meat-specific breed and
then taken the time to pluck rather than skin. As it is, I consider duck
to be a bit below the quality of an old hen --- with less impressive
pastured fat and requiring long, slow cooking
for ease of gnawing the meat off the bones. In other words, we won't be
raising ducks as a meat animal again in the near future.
I also appreciated all of
the comments I didn't include in this post. Specifically, I hope your
family's adventure is exciting and smooth when you move onto your
homestead in eighteen months. Good luck!