Thursday, February 13, 2014

Online Mapping

I was playing around with ArcGIS Online this morning and wanted to try embedding a map into a blog post.

View Larger Map

Friday, October 4, 2013

Deboning a Chicken at CulinAerie

Many local businesses are being awesome and supporting those of us who are furloughed and offering free food and activities for those of us who are temporarily out of work. CulinAerie is one of those businesses. A coworker of mine took their knife skills class a while back and loved it. I have wanted to take it since then but havent taken the opportunity because of the cost. However I think that anyone who is about to spend several hundred dollars on kitchen stuff should definitely take a cooking class even if they can make tasty things. You will learn more about the tools and will be able to make more informed decisions about what you really want.

I realize that the following may not make a lot of sense without photos but it is more for me than anything else. I would suggest youtube if you want to see how to debone a chicken.

First with the chicken on its back. Cut the wings off at the first two joints. Second cut the extra skin on the front of the legs. Next make an incision close to the torso on the top of the leg. Flip the bird over. Continue to cut the leg off going up and around the medallion as far as possible. Flip the bird back over. Dislocate the leg at the hip and cut the leg off. With the meat side down separate the thigh from the leg. To debone place the thigh meat side down and slice lengthwise down the bone. Cut under the bone and then scrape the meat off downwards while holding the bone vertically. Repeat with the leg with first choping off the ankle with the heel of a chefs knife. Third slice the chest along the sternum and then make repeated shallow cuts to separate the breast from the carcass. Separate the last part of the wing from the breast.

I learned that I definitely need a fillet knife and steel. And probably a serrated knife and maybe a slicing knife. I definitely want a stainless steel pan or two (and I am still thinking bout cast iron). I have lots of non-stick, but after being taught how to use stainless I can see that it is much better for cooking. It is easy to clean as long as you deglaze, and does such a better job at browning food up.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Rotisserie Pig

So yesterday I feel that I finally justified my existence as an omnivore. In our modern society we have a huge disconnect from our food. When I showed this picture to my class of 10 and 11 year olds most of them were grossed out that that my meat came from something that still looked like the original animal. 
When did animals become a gross place to get our meat. Styrofoam and plastic is fine, but the pig itself is bad. 

So I got up early, went over to the farm and helped kill, clean, and cook our dinner. I think more people should need to experience the act of preparing their own food from start to end. And if you cannot respect the process of killing an animal for food then you should probably skip the clean and sterile packages at the grocery store. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


When I graduated I was pretty sure that I had no intention of going back to school, especially this soon after graduating. School really taught me to hate learning. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot and it got me a good job. But the last thing I wanted to do on the weekend was learn more. I then fell back in love with learning with the library. Now I realize that libraries are the gateway drug to learning. I am now seven weeks into a sustainable agriculture class with University of Florida.

Coursera is an organization that works with universities around the world to provide free online classes in a vast array of topics. A majority of classes are from US universities taught in English, but there are an increasing number are taught in other languages. The classes are either automatically graded like some of the math and science classes. Written assignments are graded by classmates. You grade three papers and three people grade yours and the scores are averaged. It is not a perfect system and I have heard some complaints but it is a work in progress.

Check it out. Find a course that interests you and learn something new.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


For a while now I have been looking for a way to organize thoughts other than through a blog. Blogs are great for sharing something specific. Sometime I just want somewhere to write a list and have the ability to update it whenever without having to rewrite the list and put out a new blog post. So I was sort of looking for something like a blog but with a little more flexibility. Or something like Pinterest but with a little more permanence. But completely different from both at the same time.

This is where comes into play. The best way I would describe it is that it is a mind mapping application. It gives you a digital board where you can post notes, pictures, documents, or to do list. My first board is very drab so far and will probably stay that way for usability's sake, but I have seen a couple really cool examples that mix lists and images together. It also seems like a great place to work together with a group on a project or digital poster.

Check it out

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Create a Collar Stay

It is always annoying when your washing machine eats one or more collar stays and your collars get all floppy or start to curl. Well I found a simple fix to this. Grab a pair of pliers, a file if you have one, and a few paper clips or wire with a similar gauge. Straighten out the paper clip or cut a 3-4" piece of wire. Round the ends so that they do not damage your shirt. Fold in half to have a V-shape with the distance between ends be about .25-.5". Insert into collar stay slot and enjoy. It will often get bent while in the washer but can easily be straightened out.

Monday, October 29, 2012

1st year homestead

Tami and I want to have a house with enough land for a small homestead (not too small though). I am not sure exactly where or when this will happen but I am starting to figure out a plan on the key things that I want to start with. As long as we plan on being at the same house for  at least 5-10 years then one of the first things that I want to do is put in a couple trees. Apple, pecan, definitely a sugar maple, and maybe a couple others. I will definitely have to balance the cost of getting an older tree with the benefit of getting fruit from the trees earlier.

At the same time I would be looking at what animals to start with. A couple mature egg laying chickens would probably be my first choice. It would be a quick start with immediate results. Goats and bees are pretty high on the list too. Bees would be nice because they are not too high maintenance and I love honey. Goats on the other hand would be nice for milk. However that is a whole other level or work and overhead.

Decisions, decisions.