Saturday, February 13, 2010

winter sowing of seeds

Much  like the seed ball method of  planting, winter sowing   lets the seed germinate and begin growing on its own accord, when it is ready to begin growing. It is also a good method for those of us wanting to start seeds early yet  do not want to depends on  lights, seed mats, containers, soil mixes  and other store bought stuff or  for those of us that simply cant afford all that stuff.  We are somewhere in the middle  but  our ultimate goal is to not have to  depend on electricity of any sort for our food growing. People just 75 years ago could do it so why cant we? 

The idea of winter sowing is supposedly  the brain child  of Trudi Davidoff after she had too many seeds to start and not nearly enough space. I however have a very hard time thinking that the idea of winter sowing is something that was just  thought up in 1998. I am sure she was not the first to ever figure out that  a seed left in the ground over the winter often  germinates when the time is right for it to do so. Walk out to your compost pile sometime and see what all  volunteers or what grows back from year to year if you let  over ripe fruit stay where it falls. Again, this goes back to the seed ball or Fukuoka method and permaculture practices,  therefore, I am  perdy darn sure it goes back further. However, Ms Davidoff has been accredited with the invention of winter sowing and I am   fairly positive she has made herself  a good bit of money off the whole idea.

The beauty of winter sowing is that you can   use this method, be successful with it and yet it costs literally nothing. There are no kits( there are actually) to purchase, no special soils, no fertilizers or  other special needs. All  you  need to do is use your imagination and recycle  some of the trash generated from things  we have already purchased.

Some of the more common container for winter sowing are milk jugs, two-liter soda bottles, salad take-out containers, and big plastic jars (the kind pretzels,mayo or mustard come in). Truth be known , the only real  requirements are that it must be able to hold at least three inches of soil and  must have head room for the growing plants.

Cut container in half if using milk jug, soda bottles or plastic jars.

Cut air holes or transpiration slits into the top of the container.

Make several drainage holes in the bottom of your planter.

Fill the bottom of the container with at least three inches of whatever soil you like best, and moisten it well.

 Sow your seeds according to the package directions.

Cover your container, and set it in a spot outdoors. 

 Condensation is a good thing. If there is no condensation, it either means that you have too many transpiration holes (tape over some of them if this is the case) or your soil is drying out.

As spring arrives, and the air warms up, your transpiration holes should be made bigger and bigger, until you remove the top of your container entirely. This is the winter sowing way to harden off your plants.

 After they are hardened off, transplant out in the garden.

Many people like to start annual flowers and  baby trees  with this method, I prefer herbs and veggies. Here are some  that  do well with this method of  seed starting.  

Allium family (onions, shallots, garlic, chives)
Brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, kale, collards, etc)
Corn (select an "early" type as it can germinate at lower temps)
Curcubit family (cukes, squash, pumpkins, melons, gourds)
Herbs (edible and ornamental)
Leafy Greens
Nightshade family (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes - from real seeds, not seed potatoes)
Oriental veggies (any)

permaculture-seed balls

In the true laziness of hippies we have been trying to increase production from the land while reducing our work load. The only way we can possibly do this is through using more permaculture practices. M. Fukuoka is the person given credit to for this style of gardens or growing techniques. It is more often associated with large areas of barren lands in an attempt to get the land back in shape after logging or strip mining etc. We are using it to balance out our environment more than anything (bugs, insects, critters n birds), along with trying to see what will grow where as well as erosion control and true laziness.

We thought it would be a good way to use us some older seeds(veggies) and experiment with squash and herbs as well as a few grains, grasses, wildflowers and other flowers. All total we tossed in about 100 types of seeds. Unfortunately our experiment in this was a complete failure.We had fifteen inches of rain as the seeds were germinating  and we lost  most everything that we had in the ground at the time, seed balls  included.  Needless to say we will be trying this again in the near future  as we could tell if it hadn't have been for the deluge, it would have worked.

Here is a  good book on the subject, written by Masanobu Fukuoka.

Here is a good video on the subject however the quality is not very good. Its pretty old in the video world.

We had our own photo tutorial  of us making our seed balls unfortunately we lost them when we had a computer crash.

How to Make Seed Balls

Seed balls are one-half inch diameter models of the living world containing all the seeds for a complete habitat, wild or domestic garden, or both in one. Hundreds of kinds of seeds, soil humus, dry soil from your landscape and sand form the solid components of seed balls. When mixed with water and rolled into balls, they become little adobe gardens. They are cost effective, hundreds of times faster to apply and can be made by anyone anywhere in the world where there is soil and seed.


Step 1: Gather your materials
  • 3 parts dry humus, from compost with live mycorrhizal fungi soil inoculates
  • 1 part dry mixed seeds, assortment of all desired native plants
  • 5 parts soil from your landscape, dried and sifted
  • 1 to 2 parts dry fine sand, cleaned and sifted (if clay does not have a little sand)
  • 1 to 2 parts water

Step 2:. Sift dry soil through a sifter to eliminate lumps.

Step 3: Measure out one part seeds to three parts of compost to five parts of soil. Thoroughly stir the seeds in a large container, cover with dry soil humus from compost, then add dry soil and mix well. If local soil does not have a little sand in it, you may want to add some aggregate strength sand. Add water gradually until a firm, suitable consistency is reached for rolling the soil into half-inch diameter balls.

Step 4: Pinch off wet soil from the main mass and roll between the palms of the hands until smooth and round. After a few seconds the soil can be felt to set up or organize, as the tiny clay platelets align themselves to each other and seeds as they enclose. It is important to roll the balls until this polymerization is felt, for then the ball will dry with structural integrity. Finished seed balls must dry undisturbed for approximately 24 hours.

Step 5: Once they are dry, seed balls may be stored in a cool, dry place or they may be broadcast immediately after drying and allowed to lay dormant in place until released by rain. SEED BALLS DO NOT NEED TO BE BURIED OR WATERED. Seed balls are perfectly content to simply lay about "sleeping" until the right amount of rain falls. When rains come, no matter where a seed ball has landed, something from the mix inside will be at home on the spot, so all possible habitat bases are covered in one broadcast application.

Step 6: Protected from predatory insects, rodents, birds and other animals, seed balls lie dormant until sufficient rains fall to start their germination. Then hundreds of sprouts explode from each ball as they eagerly reach for the sun. Enjoy your wildflower garden and use seed balls for future wildflower planting.

A minimum application seeks a scatter density of at least 10 seed balls per square meter. Adequate coverage requires at least .2 grams of seeds per seed ball, or 2 grams of seeds per square meter. Restoration requires at least 3 grams of seeds per square meter. Between 8 and 12 kilograms, or 20 to 30 pounds of mixed seeds are required per acre.

You roll all the forces of nature into seed balls when you make them, they have tremendous regenerative powers and they can be of great benefit. But used carelessly or wantonly, seed balls can cause irreparable biological disruption by effectively introducing alien species into a habitat with no means of coping with rampant invaders. The world is already host to numerous incidents of introduced exotic species that have radically altered native landscapes everywhere. Be careful of which seeds you choose and where you scatter them. We strongly recommend using only native species.
Photography by In Churl Yo. Text by Jessica Tipple and Andrea Delong-Amaya. This step-by-step was adapted from Wildflower magazine.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Finally the girls have started laying  eggs for us again!  There is always some sort of eggsitement  to each late winter or early spring when  the ladies begin to lay their first eggs of the season no matter how long you have had chickens. It's the same feeling you get when you  harvest your first veggies out of the garden or at least it is for me.

 With just the two of us here we don't use all that many eggs in an average week but it probably averages out to about 18 eggs per week. This leaves us with a spare dozen or so eggs a week to  put back or preserve for the  few months where the ladies either don't lay at all or lay sporadically. This year we have accomplished our goal of not having to buy any eggs what so ever in the winter months. In fact, I think I have a couple spare dozen put back in the freezer yet.

There are a few different methods  used in egg preservation  but first and foremost I would like to clear a few misconceptions about eggs up.  Fresh  eggs  from the farm need no refrigeration and have a decent shelf life  without it. Fresh,they  can sit on a counter in a cool  area for 2-3 weeks. Eggs kept in the fridge can  last 2-3 months with no problem.  The reason for this is that your eggs  purchased from a store "fresh" are in all actuality  over a month old before they are even shipped to a grocer.Unfortunately  keeping enough  fresh  eggs in the fridge to get us through the 2-3 months that the hens dont lay  would  use entirely too much space  so  other methods of preservation are  used to get us through.

The easiest and probably the best method of preservation is do nothing.  Simply collect the eggs. Do not  wash them. There is a coating on eggs that will keep them fresh. Then keep them in a basement or a dark, cool ,dry, well ventilated cellar. Do not let the eggs freeze. The eggs need to be turned once a week. Just keep them in an old egg carton and turn them over once a week. Mother Earth News did a test years ago and I believe they kept eggs for 6 months in a cellar just that way.

Another simple method of saving your eggs through the winter is by larding them. Simply take clean  lard and rub the egg filling all the pores so  as to exclude all the air.  Then store in a cool, dry area. Some other variations of larding include  adding salt to the lard or larding and then rolling in salt. I have never tried adding salt to the mix as I have read that it tends to make the eggs rubbery when opened.

Freezing  is another simple way to preserve your excess eggs. Simply take them out of the shell,  whip together  and throw them in  in the freezer in a container. I usually put them in  containers of a dozen  so that I can use them all   with in a few days once I take them out and put them in the fridge. Unfortunately using this method  dishes  that can be made from the eggs is limited. They work  great for scrambles or in baking etc but  there will be no sunny side up  or deviled eggs and of course it  only works if we have electricity. Unfortunately with  the economy  as it is  electricity is now considered a luxury in our home and it is not  a guarantee that we will have it forever more so   we  use other means to  preserve them as well.

 Yet another method of preserving eggs is through  dehydration. This is  a very good way  to preserve them for long term storage. For this only clean, uncracked, unbroken eggs are used. They are broken into a bowl, whipped, and put on a sheet.  Though most say 115 degrees is the right temp., I use 140 degrees because salmonella can't grow if 140 degrees is maintained for 3 1/2 minutes. (that means the product being 140, not the oven) but, I figure as long as it takes them to dehydrate, it's bound to be 140 for that long. And if you're still concerned, you could put the final product in the oven at 160 degrees. That should kill most any bacteria.
The eggs will crust over on the top when being dehydrated and moist underneath. Just break it up and turn it over. I dry mine til they will crumble. Then I put them in a blender and they turn into powder. You want to make sure they are totally dry with no moisture or they will  mold.Store in an airtight container Use  as you would any  powdered egg.  Using this method your eggs will keep  near indefinitely.

 There are several other methods of preserving eggs out there. Some involving the use of lime, some pickling  the eggs  and some using charcoal to preserve. There is even an old french  method that dips the eggs in to boiling water for a minute  in order to preserve. I have not  discussed any of them  here simply because I have never used any of those  methods. The ones I have covered I use and  well, they haven't killed any of us off yet  so feel safe in passing them on.

For safety sake please only use these preservation methods on farm fresh eggs.

The one neat thing about eggs is that it is a very simple procedure  that can be done to tell if  an egg is still good or not. The simple water  drop. Place an egg in  water, if it stays on the bottom or near the bottom it is good. To better describe the method  here is a poem I found on  the subject.

Can you eat that egg? 

If not sure you ought-ter,
then place it in water.
If it lies on its side,
then it's fresh; eat with pride.

After three or four days,
at an angle it lays.
But, it still is a treat,
so go on and eat.

Ten days, stands on end,
in your baking 'twill blend.
'Cause it's definitely edible,
in your baking, incredible.

But, if it floats on the surface,
that egg serves no purpose.
'Cause a floater's a stinker!
Out the back door best fling 'er

by Scott Matthews

Monday, February 8, 2010

to feed a bear is to kill a bear

As I was going through some pictures this morning  I came across my bear cub pictures from when I worked at an animal sanctuary.

It reminded me that soon  our "bear season" will be upon us. By bear season I do not mean  hunting them  but  rather the season that we are more likely to encounter  them both at our homes, especially those of us that are rural, as well as  while we are out and about enjoying mother nature. It  also reminded me that while they are wonderful creatures that there are a few things that we need to remember during bear season in order to  keep ourselves, our homes and homesteads , and our outdoor adventures safe from  the wild life while at the same time hopefully  giving the wildlife  a better chance at remaining wild life and not  just another casualty of  the "stupid humans." 

I use the saying "to feed a bear is to kill a bear" because  here in Ga atleast  any bear that becomes a nuisance bear is  killed if it is in a residential area or puts people at risk. The DNR used to  move them once from the area and  put a collar on them to monitor but in the last year or two it has been decided that our estimated  population of 2500 bears is plenty for the state thus they enacted the kill policies.This includes  cubs that are left motherless for whatever reason. 

problems that arise from  fed bears   
 A fed bear can become aggressive (bolder) in seeking more food and may injure the person hand-feeding it.   

Problems can arise when a person uses food to lure a very hungry half-tame bear closer than it feels comfortable.

Often, fearful people jerk their hand back each time a bear opens its mouth to take food from it,some bears just give up and leave, but very hungry bears will become aggressive and go after the food.   

Or, the bear might feed calmly from the person's hand until the food is gone then suddenly feel crowded and might be too fearful to turn its back and leave, and it might lash out defensively giving someone a slap with one of its paws.Those paws are very strong and have very sharp  claws in them by instinct  when a bear swipes it sticks its claws out and pulls inward with  a lot of strength. Ask me how I know.:)

Bears are naturally afraid of humans, but may become "habituated" or accustomed to people along popular hiking trails, camping areas, tourist towns in the mtns, subdivisions being built, etc. Keep the area safe for humans and bears by never feeding or approaching bears. Should a bear come near you he is most likely curious or smells something interesting. A bears nose is  over 7 times  stronger than that of a dog.  If he stands up, he is not going to attack but is trying to get a better look or smell. Bear attacks are extremely rare and by comparison a person is about 70 times more likely to be killed by a dog.

 Extra caution should be used around a mama bear and her young. Much like every other type of mother out there, when it comes to her babies she is very protective and will become aggressive when  she feels they are in danger.

   Bears are powerful and strong animals, they should always be treated with caution and respect

Bears that become comfortable near people and communities are also more likely to get involved in a traffic accident and this could possibly cause injury or death to both the people in the vehicle and the bear.

around the homestead

  The most common food attractants are bird feeders, garbage, and pet food, but grills, livestock food, compost, and beehives can also attract bears.
 Residential bear problems may occur at any time of year, but are more common when natural food supplies are limited, usually in spring or in years when nut and berry productions are low.

 Most common bear problems have simple solutions. The typical problems involve turned-over garbage containers,trash littered across the yard, bears entering dog pens or coming onto porches to eat pet foods, or damaged bird feeders. However, bears that learn to associate food with people can cause property damage in their search for food around houses. Again, ask me how  I know.

If addressed quickly, problems are often resolved immediately. After a few failed attempts to find food, bears will usually leave the area and return to more normal wild food items.

If problems are ignored, property damage can not only get worse, but bears may lose their fear of humans. Bears habituated to humans pose public safety concerns and end up dead.

Black bears have a natural fear of humans, are shy, and usually avoid people. However, bears may be attracted to food sources in residential areas.

 Secure your garbage: Store garbage indoors,in a shed,in a garage, or in a bear-proof container.
  Put garbage out in the morning of pickup, not the night before.
   Take trash to the dump frequently.
    Pick up pet food: Feed pets only what they will eat in a single feeding or feed them indoors. Remove the food bowl soon after pets finish. Pick up uneaten food. Do not leave food out overnight.
  Remove the bird feeder! Bears consume seeds and nuts found in the wild, so bird feeders become a favored target for bears. Bears eat about an 85%  vegetarian diet. Use bird feeders that have special clips so that you can bring them in at night.
  Clean the outdoor grill often.
  Do not put meat scraps or any other strong-smelling food in the compost pile. Consider an enclosed compost bin.
   Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds.
  Install electric fencing to protect beehives, dumpsters, gardens, compost piles, or other potential food sources.
  Talk to your neighbors: Make sure your neighbors and community are aware of the ways to prevent nuisance bear problems. One person not following the simple preventive measures in a neighborhood can cause the entire area grief.

If a bear is on or near your property, do not escalate the situation by approaching,crowding around, or chasing the bear. This also applies to bears that have climbed up a tree. The best thing you can do is leave it alone. Because bears are naturally afraid of humans, a bear that feels cornered will be looking for an escape route. By keeping people and pets away from the bear, you give it the best chance to come down from the tree and leave your property on its own.

Camping and hiking  tips
  Familiarize yourself with bear behavior and signs.

If camping, learn various ways of hanging food out of bears' reach, including counter-balances.

 Be sure tent, sleeping bags, and your skin are free of any lingering food odors.

 Avoid packing odorous food and nonfood (fragrant cosmetic, toiletries, etc.)items. Use bear-proof containers, doubled plastic bags or airtight canisters to seal in odors.
 Bring extra bags for leftovers and for packing out garbage, if necessary.

 Avoid taking a dog or keep it leashed

Remain on trail and never hike at night.

 Always stay alert.

 Discard garbage in bear-proof trash containers or pack out in sealed plastic bags. Leave no trace.

 Don't surprise a bear, especially a mama with cubs! Use caution when traveling in windy weather,down-wind, approaching blind curves, dense vegetation, and noisy streams, where a bear may not see, smell or hear you coming.

 Circling birds and/or offensive odors may indicate an animal carcass - avoid this area or use extreme caution.

 Never leave any food or backpack unattended.Hang all food stuff and toiletries etc atleast 10 foot in the air between two trees  12 foot apart.

Choose an open site away from dense vegetation, natural food areas, forest cover, or natural pathways Avoid messy sites and areas with bear sign: torn apart logs, tracks, trampled brush, scat, claw marks on trees.

Wash dishes and utensils immediately. Dispose of waste water downwind,100 feet from sleeping area or use a grey water pit and cover your thrown out water with soil.

If you  encounter a bear
     If a bear approaches you, stay calm.
 ABSOLUTELY DO NOT RUN (running may elicit a chase response in the bear).
 Pick up small children so they don't run, scream or panic.
 Gather the group together and restrain your dog.

 Let the bear know you are human; talk in a soothing voice. Lift arms overhead to look bigger.

 Slowly back away and avoid direct eye contact with the bear.

 If the bear lunges, snaps his jaws, slaps ground or brush with paw, he feels threatened. You are too close.

 The bear may also suddenly rush forward and stop as a "bluffing" tactic to intimidate you to leave; momentarily hold your ground, then keep backing away and talking softly.

 Don't crowd the bear; leave him a clear escape route.

 Retreat from the area or make a very wide detour around the bear.

  If he continues to follow you, stand your ground and yell, clap your hands, wave your arms, or throw something toward him. Repeat until he leaves.

 As a last resort - drop something like a hat to distract him but avoid tossing him food or your backpack as he will quickly learn to confront other humans for food rewards.
Remember enjoy the wild life but remember they are still wild. Lets keep them that way!

for more info check out

monday's mountain musings

Mid winter sunsets here on the homestead  are absolutely gorgeous. The sun goes down  just off our horizon and settles between the mountains and scenes like this are quite common place.

Baby Gumbalina (our newest grand baby) is due any day now. Over the last couple weeks  momma has been  having a few issues with heart rate of baby  and lack of movement so she has been in and out of the hospital and doctors four days a week. We have come to the conclusion after several ultrasounds and other assorted tests that there is nothing wrong with  Gumbalina other than she is sick of hanging out in  the baby cave and she has to pee. Any who, glad to report that  all seems well at present  and    she should be making her grand debut before  this coming Sunday.

Our  baby blizzard that was forecast last week was a complete bomb. We had a total of 51 ice pellets, 49 snow flakes, some really BIG winds and many, many inches of rain. Aint nothing like getting the damned yankee all excited  over winter weather  and then get nothing. We have a "special weather statement" up again for tomorrow tonight and some very cold temps rolling in though, so I can hope for an accidental blizzard to  roll in.

The world lost  a very dear man  Friday  night and  any one that reads this I am asking to  please send your good energies, vibes and prayers if you do such a thing to  his family. Although  the manthing and I had never met  him in real life we had known him for many  years on the internet and spent many hours on the phone with him. He always told me "I  aint been the best person, too many drugs n too much alcohol in and out of jail and trouble my whole life  but now that I am able to  help others I am  doing my best to make up for what I screwed up."

Blu Raven, my brother, you touched more hearts and lives and did more good than you  ever knew. I won't miss the 2 am  ramblin  drunken  phone calls asking for prayers but you will be missed my friend and you touched  us here if no others. May  you cross over  to the other side and find the peace and love you couldn't find  here in this realm . We LUVVVV YOU!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

nuts- more specifically acorns

One of our past times here on the homestead is foraging wild edibles and one of our favorites  is the lowly acorn. In the fall when we begin hearing them hit the tin roof we know it is time to dig the bags out  and go  to scooping them up.

Way back when, the Native Americans used acorns as a main staple food in their diet ( upwards of 50% of the food) and during the great depression they  had a resurgence in popularity, unfortunately in modern times we have again left them by the wayside.   A good stand of oaks can  produce upwards of 6000 pounds of nuts per acre. Rivaling any modern day  farming crop per acreage they can also  be used as fodder for domesticated animals as well as wild life and as a viable food crop  for us humans.

All Acorns are edible, but some are larger than others and contain less tannic acid so are much easier to process.  Oaks are divided into two main families; red oaks and white oaks.  Red oaks have pointed tips and white oaks have more rounded lobes on their leaves.  It’s the white oaks that have the biggest and the best Acorns with the least amount of tannin.

Acorns have  a high content of fats and carbohydrates, undesirable traits in today’s culture, but of paramount importance in primitive societies for sustenance.  100 grams of acorn flour (roughly one cup) contains  500 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 54 grams of carbohydrate.  They also rate pretty high for vitamins and minerals in a nutritional profile, truly a survival food of high degree. Acorns make a fine flour  for breads and other dishes or  they can be used as whole nuts. They can also be used in place of any nut in  recipes.  

The gathering of acorns here usually begins in  mid to late September. We normally will go out and pick  up the fresh fallen ones each day over the course of a week or so. Once collected I  throw them all in  a bucket of water and floaters are tossed to  the critters. If the acorns float  it means the shell has been  drilled into  by moth larva and are no longer good. I then drain them  and set  them out in trays in the sun to dry for several days and then store them until I need to use them. 

One processes acorns depending on the end use. If cold processed the starch is not cooked (why the recommendation to keep all temps under 150F) and the resulting meal or flour will bind, can be used for making bread and as a thickener in soups and stews. If they are heat processed, boiling for example, they then make a poor flour because the starch is precooked so it will make crumbly bread that will not stick together, and one has also boiled off the fat, which is an important nutrition and flavor element. However, after leach boiling, while acorns roast well and candy well.
Sun Drying: Place the tray of acorns in direct sunlight for two to five consecutive days, depending on how "green" your acorns are when you collect them. Bring all your acorns inside each night. Drying in the sun is the traditional method. If the sky is partly cloudy or overcast, then you may need to dry your acorns for more than five days in the sun. (Note: If your acorns are not completely dry, they will soon be covered with mold and you will have to throw them away. Any acorns that are still partially green after a few days of drying should be separated from the rest of the acorns. Continue drying any partially green acorns until they turn completely brown.)
The advantages of sun drying are:
1. It helps to kill insect larva, and
2. It helps to reduce future mold problems.

The disadvantages of sun drying are:
1. Flying insects will lay eggs in some of the acorns and they will have to be thrown away.
2. The inner nutmeat looses some of its moisture and flavor.
3. The shelf life of the nutmeat is between four to six months.

If you have windows facing the sun, then you can place your tray of acorns in the sun inside your house and eliminate the flying insect problem above.

Oven Drying: Place the tray of acorns in a warm oven (150ºF) for about 30 minutes with the oven door slightly cracked to let the moisture escape.
If acorns  are heated above 165F by any means before leaching, the tannin binds to now-cooked starch and cannot be leached out.

The advantages of oven drying are:
1. Drying can be done very quickly.
2. It effectively kills all insect larva.
3. It eliminates future mold problems.

The disadvantages of oven drying are:
1. The inner nutmeat looses most of its moisture and flavor and it becomes very hard to chew.
2. The shelf life of the nutmeat is only two or three months.

House Drying at Normal Room Temperatures: Allow the acorns to dry gradually inside your home at normal room temperatures. The acorns should only be one layer thick on the drying trays. If the acorns are relatively green, this drying method normally takes between two to four weeks.

The advantages of room temperature drying are:
1. The inner acorn nutmeat retains most of its original moisture which adds to its flavor and chewability.
2. If your home is free of flying insects, then you will not loose any more acorns to insect larva.

The disadvantages of room temperature drying are:
1. It can take as long as four weeks to properly dry the acorns.
2. Each day you will need MORE house space to dry additional acorns.
3. Periodically you will have to inspect your acorns for tiny worms.
4. Future acorn nutmeat mold problems are more likely to occur. 

Do NOT remove your acorn nutmeats from their protective outer shell until you are ready to process and eat them.

About a week before  I want to use the acorns I begin shelling them. The best way to do this is with a plain old nut cracker or if they are larger nuts a lobster cracker will work. Then I break the nut meats up into smaller bits so that leaching does not take as long They will next need to be leached of the tannins. There are several ways of doing this and depending on the type of acorn the length of time for leaching varies. Some of the white varieties need little or even no leaching while red may require several  hours or even days.

The manner in which you leach  your nuts is entirely up to you and dependent upon  how  soon you need them..  The Native Americans would put them in a sacks tie it closed and toss the sack into a flowing stream or river  and allow the water flow to leach them  over the course of several days. I tried this at our spring head and after two weeks the nuts were still bitter. I have read some folks tie them in a bag and stick them in a toilet tank and let the water in there leach them. Since we use an out house that  is impossible for us.

I have also  tried the crock or pail method and changing the water out a couple times a day until the water runs clear. If you do not need your acorns for quite some time this is  a good method to use as you can save the tannic water from the acorns and use it in many different ways. The tannins can be used to tan  hides, as a hair rinse, as an additive to your laundry water (non whites), or even as an astringent as well as a few other medicinal uses.

The method I have found that works best is by using hot water after  doing  the  crock or bucket method. I  put my acorns in  a bowl or pot and heat water to steaming hot, but  not boiling. Then I pour the  water over the acorns, stir and sit for 5 -10minutes and then drain.  I  repeat this process until the nuts are no longer bitter  and the water runs clear.

Once this is done you    again let the nuts air dry, sun dry or oven dry  for storage. I generally store mine in the  larger pieces of nuts in a container in the freezer and then   use as needed from there. They will stay fine in the freezer for a couple of years with no trouble. I grind  the nuts into a flour as needed for recipes. For a decent coffee like substitute you can roast the  nuts or parch them  and  brew a coffee.

My favorite acorn dishes are any of those made with  winter squash. Acorn  acorn patties  are one of my favorite dishes. Breads and muffins using either nut meats or flour are very yummy.  Here are a few more that  I have found  over the last few years. Some I have tried and some I  have not.

Here are a few more recipes