Lisa Brunette wrote:
Cloudpiler Hatfield wrote:Our Eastern Red Cedar (Missouri) is just about hated by everybody in my neighborhood because of the Cedar/Apple Fungus. If you grow apple trees in the conventional way (factory orchard) you cannot have cedars around because of this fungus. If, however, you grow with a diversity of species (food forest) intermediary trees buffer the apples and the fungus doesn't affect them so much. The spore zone is important and buffer trees like cherry and mulberry really help.
I have also found that if I attach a piece of plumber's tape (about four inches worth) to the top of the tree, the tree does not develop the fungus. Plumber's tape is made primarily of lead, zinc and aluminum. The rain causes the tape to slowly, ever so slowly, rust and the oxidized compound is slowly distributed over the central trunk and the top branches. Because of the nature and shape of the tree, this same "rust" gets dusted all over the rest of the tree. Result - just enough anti-fungal action to stop the Cedar/Apple fungus.
By the way, this also accounts for why this particular fungus is never found infesting cedar house siding, even though it ought to be a suitable substrate. I have put this to the test. I've made thin sheets of cedar siding with our local red cedar and inoculated it with the fungus. It grew very vigorously on the siding. Then I added a window frame (aluminum, zinc, titanium, trace lead) and voila! The fungus died and I could not get it to come back with further inoculation. Just enough of the element rust finds its way into the wood to prevent fungal growth.
I have not been able to detect any heavy metal depositing in the soil around the trees (or the house for that matter). This is a good thing, because I don't want to contaminate my soil.
The visual break that our young cedars provide is truly beautiful. Our oaks and hickories all lose their leaves in the fall and the scene become somewhat gloomy. We really don't see much by way of greeting card snow here and the landscape can look pretty gray. The cedars a bushy and green until they get about thirty feet tall. Then they thin out at the bottom branches and become a little more open. Before that time, however, if you trim and shear, an almost Christmas tree shape can be maintained for many years. Our zone 1 is bordered in lovely trees and that's a good thing here where evergreens are rare.
Also, and this is important to me also, the cedar is the center of several guilds I have set up involving vibrunum and vaccinium species. My blueberries languish everywhere else on the place except as part of a cedar guild. The same goes for my huckleberries, lingonberries and serviceberries. They'll all grow in other guilds, but not like they do in the cedar guilds.
I'm also in Missouri and read this post with great interest. We put in 9 juniper Taylors and 2 true native red cedars for the winter evergreen screen, color, and food for birds. We also have fruit trees. Our AK black apple is rust-resistant, but the Rome beauty is not, of course. I didn't realize rust could attack serviceberries, but apparently it can. I'm trying out your plumbing tape fix. So far it appears to be working! I think it even stopped the rust in its tracks, as it had already started in on the Rome beauty, but this year's new growth does not have rust, and the first fruit does not, either. I'll report back next year to see if the fix really fixed it. If the original poster quoted here is still around, I'd be interested to know if you ever have to update with new plumbing tape. Also, what is the quality of the soil where you have the cedar/blueberry guild? My cedars are in an old rock driveway, where they are doing great, but I'm not sure that will work for blueberries since they often edge wet areas in the wild.
Gray Henon wrote:We've rendered the lard off of our home grown hogs for years. We run it through the grinder before rendering. Makes for a quick and complete process!
Chicken fat absolutely disgusts me, so I have never dreamed of rendering it. One thing the article doesn't mention is cleaning the fat, probably because beef isn't normally strong enough to need it. Simply take a large pot of water, put the rendered fat in it, and boil it. The roiling of the water causes it to disolve the nasty salts and whatnot in the fat. Let the fat solidify into a cake (may require cold), and remove. You would be surprised at how disgusting the water can become afterwards. You may even want to repeat the process if the fat needs it. This step is important not just to make it palatable, but it also helps prevent it from going rancid over time, and also to prevent it from being corrosive to metals if used on them.
It also makes a difference where the fat comes from on the animal. The caul fat, or most fat inside the body cavity around the kidney area can be good enough to use straight most of the time (on deer), but the fat under the skin is utterly disgusting, as in "don't render it in the house" disgusting. The lower legs contain the neatsfoot type oils, which do not solidify at cold temperatures. So you might try cleaning the chicken fat if you have a good supply of it. It may make it good enough to use.