Questions and Answers Feb 2013

Today, I ‘m doing a Q&A session with some of the many questions I get. Today, I’m covering whittling, food, and rabbit questions. Feel free to drop me a line at:
db at
and I’ll answer your questions, and possibly include it in a future article.

Here we go!

Spoon Carving Questions:
Spoon Gouge

Tim – Do you use a curved knife for the bowl part or just your regular one?

db – Actually, I usually use a spoon gouge, like this:

Other times, I use my Flexcut Pocket Jack, since I can carry it easier than I can my spoon gouge. The Pocket Jack also has four different blades, so offers more versatility for carving and whittling. Carving a bowl with a straight blade it hard, if not impossible, if you want a nice finished product. A curved cutting edge is needed to simplify the process. Or use a hot coal to burn it out, but that is not whittling :)


Sherry – I read another blog about carving spoons sometime ago that I haven’t been able to get off my mind. Silly question… but where can I learn how to whittle? What kind of knife is best to use? Once you have the right knife and wood such as what you suggested, does a person just commence to whittle?

db – A SHARP knife is the best knife. Honestly, any knife will do, but smaller, shorter blades tend to allow more control and finer detail. For “time killing” whittling, I use whatever knife I have, even my Mora, but when I’m trying to make something useful or more intricate, like a spoon, wooden chain, or ball in a cage, I opt for something like the Pocket Jack mentioned above.  For a simple knife, any of the Stockman design, a three-bladed folding pocket knife, would work well, as long as it was good steel, and sharp. If you are looking for an inexpensive knife designed for whittling, a simple carving knife would also be a great start.

As to how you start, get a piece of wood, and push the blade away from you to cut the wood. A softwood like basswood or butternut is preferred. A hobby or craft store should carry basswood. White pine is another option, as wells poplar, though poplar is a bit harder. Both of these are available at Home Depot or Lowes. You can also pick up a randome piece from the woods, something I often do. Softer woods are more forgiving and easier to start with. Look for straight grain with no knots in it. Any wood will work, each has its pros and cons. Just be sure to stay away from any wood that you may be allergic to.

A good book I have for reference on some of the carved toys I mentioned above is “The Art of Whittling“, a book written back in the 1930’s when whittling was how you passed the time, instead of TV. From the Amazon description:

This manual is still sought after by whittlers because it explains how to carve many items popular in American tramp art and more complicated items that are not included in most whittling books, such as continuous wooden chairs, hand tools, puzzles, balls inside spirals, swivels, entwined hearts, and buildings inside bottles.

I own it, and I like it. Hope that helps!


Caleb – I wonder what would happen if you oiled the greenwood spoons as they dry.

db – That would probably work, as long as you prevented it from drying out too fast, you should be OK.


Food Questions:

Renold – You had a recipe for Candied Jalapeno Peppers that called for refined sugar. I can not figure out what ‘refined’ sugar is or where to find it. Is it just plain sugar?

db – White sugar, the stuff we all grew up on in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Sadly, I have changed my diet to no longer include any refined sugars, so I don’t often eat my own candied jalapenos. :(


JJ – That coconut curry chicken sounds delicious! Would she be willing to share the recipe? Now that we have the recipe for the curry powder

db – We make our curry from scratch, no recipe. Here is a rough draft on how we do it. And I realize some of you may not call it curry….but whatever the name, its tasty :)
The process:
Brown onions, add in the meat, browning it as well.
Add in the veggies you want to include.
Liberally coat the pan with the curry powder.
Add in a can of coconut milk.
Serve over coconut rice.

As much as it pains my wife to say it, I consider cooking to be a learning expirience every time you cook. If it ends up being edible, great! If you find you would eat the end result again, you win! Seldom do I have something I can’t or won’t eat. But there are times I won’t do seconds…luckily there are the chickens and the compost pile for that :)


Rabbit Questions:

Brian – How many rabbits DO you have?

I’ll need to wait until I move to my own place before I can raise them, but I do want to learn more about raising rabbits and chickens. (and growing fruit trees, planting a small garden for max results, etc.)

Chuck the Buckdb – Right now, I have one buck, and AlTex, and three breeding does, New Zealands. In my grow-out pen, I have 7 youngsters, though that changes often depending on sales, trades, and consumption.

I wish I had at least one more doe, and possibly another buck, but space is limited, and its hard to find the stock I want around here, at least close by.

Are you in town? Ever thought about quail? Quiet, take up little space, and grow and produce FAST! (And nobody would know you have them!)



That’s it for today. Thanks for the questions and comments. Keep them coming, and I’ll keep writing.


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  1. Regarding candied jalepeno peppers… my diet doesn’t allow for refined sugars either, but I use unrefined sugars all the time. I don’t know if those would work for you or not. Unrefined sugars like agave or coconut sugar lift my blood sugar similar to the way regular sugar would – but they lift it slowly, instead of causing a spike, which my body handles much better.

    Candied jalepenos taste *delicious* when made with agave nectar. Just use 2/3 the amount of agave as compared to sugar, because agave is sweeter. If I’m substituting agave into fussy recipes, I’ll adjust the other liquids by about 20% of the agave amount, because agave nectar is about 20% liquid. But for candied jalepenos the liquid works just fine without adjustment. (And you *don’t* want to adjust the acidity by lowering the vinegar. Might even consider raising it a little. So.)

    You could probably use coconut sugar as well, as a one-to-one substitution for the sugar. Or honey, similar to the way you would use agave. But coconut sugar or honey would affect the taste more than the agave would.

  2. Rabbit Question

    I think you might have covered this once before but what is the average cost per bunny from start to harvest? Do you think that the cost is justified by the amount of actual food product per rabbit? I’m trying to decide if I want to get started with rabbits or not.

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