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Cedar Whistle

Handmade because you're worth it.

Month

September 2017

Be “Knice” to Your Cutting Board

thGODP5T14The simple kitchen implement known as the cutting board has probably been around in man’s kitchen for millennia.  Cavemen cut hunks of meat on a stump to cook over their newly discovered fire.  More modern people used simple slabs of wood to prepare their meals that were to be cooked in a wood fire oven or over a hearth in a fireplace.  Todays modern man uses boards made from wood and a plethora of other space age materials to get his delicacies into the convection oven or on the infrared grill to cook.  This blog post will deal with the care of wood cutting boards simply because they require TLC to keep them clean, flat and disinfected.

The board above in the picture is an end grain cutting board.  It’s essentially a bunch of pieces of hardwood all glued together so the end grain of the boards form the cutting surface.  This is done because obviously it looks amazing but it also is easier on the cutting edge of your knife.  The one pictured below is a board I recently made from barn wood.  It is just a slab of rock hard oak cut into the shape of a pig.  While a good end grain board can cost hundreds of dollars and a slab cutting board can be thirty dollars the care for the two boards is exactly the same.

20170928_201906Basic care should begin from the very beginning of life for a wood cutting board.  The maker should have applied a food safe finish on it to make it usable as soon as you get it home.  Any number of natural waxes like bees-wax or carnauba wax are excellent choices.  Maybe they used a natural oil to seal the wood such as mineral oil, coconut oil or raw linseed oil.  These are the only oils I recommend because they will not turn rancid over time or impart a taste or smell on to the food you cut on the board.

When preparing food on a wood board never let blood sit on the board for very long as it may soak in and stain the wood.  Strong smelling foods should be cut and removed from the board as soon as possible.  Onions, garlic or fish are examples of this.  If you do not have time right away to wash your cutting board at least wipe it dry and remove excess residue from it but you must wash it before its next use.

Washing a wood cutting board is a simple straight forward process.  Warm water with a small amount of soap and a little elbow grease will do the job.  Never soak your cutting board in water.  Especially the end grain variety.  The wood fiber soak up the water and swell causing the board to warp and it will not lay flat anymore.

After you have properly washed it now its time to disinfect.  This can be done with pure white vinegar or a well diluted bleach (two tablespoons to a gallon of water) solution.  It’s best to pour either of these solutions onto a wash cloth and wiping the surface as opposed to pouring the solution on the board and wiping it off.  If you prefer a completely natural disinfectant you can cut a lemon in half and use the juice to disinfect the cutting board.

The last and possibly most important step is to dry your board with a soft lint free towel.  Do a good job drying it and inspect it before you store it away.

Pay close attention to gouges or deep knife marks in your board.  These are the places food particles can lodge and remain to cause problems down the road.  Clean and disinfect any of these areas thoroughly.

If you notice any spot on your board beginning to appear dry it is a good idea to clean, dry, disinfect and apply a light coat of mineral oil to your board.   Allow a couple of days for the oil to penetrate into the wood then wipe off any excess left on the surface.

If you want to revive an old cutting board that is in rough shape you can sand its surface smooth, apply a good food safe finish and it will be as good as new.

Again with proper care a well made cutting board should last many years if not many decades.  Pay close attention to its condition and care for it properly so it can continue to be a joy to prepare your family meals on.

Thanks for reading.  Be good.  God bless.

Steve

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The Day That I Nearly Died

Before I get to the story that backs up the title let me say this.  Although this post doesn’t directly involve wood working it does involve a tree and some cussing.  So in that sense it is a little like wood working.  Enjoy.

The rain drizzled onto the windshield the entire hour-long drive to the farm we hunted on a regular basis.  By “we” I mean my cousin and I.  This wasn’t our first hunt in the rain and every time before went off without a hitch.

Headlights bounced off trees as we made our way along the winding back roads that lead to our destination.  We parked beside the nearly hundred year old barn like we had a thousand times before.  We collected our archery equipment, rain gear and tree stands and started the nearly half mile walk to where we wanted to hunt that dreary morning.

With hurried efficiency I secured my climbing tree stand to the tree I wanted to hunt from that morning.  Now mind you it is still nearly half an hour before daylight so I was ahead of schedule a little bit.  Right here is where my luck takes a turn for the worst.

I reach the height I wanted to be at on the tree and secured myself with my safety straps and turned around in the stand to hoist by bow from the ground by the rope attached to it.  As I started pulling the rope it loosened its grip on the limb of my bow and there I was nearly twenty feet off the ground in a tree with no bow to hunt with.

What to do?

The thought of just packing up my stuff and going back to the truck crossed my mind.  I wish I had done that.  Instead I removed my safety straps and climbed down and reattached my bow so I could hunt.  By this time day is just breaking so I worked as fast as possible to get back to my safety straps and back to hunting.  It’s this climb back up that changed a day of hunting into the day I nearly died.

I was only a couple of feet from where my straps were when my climber slipped on the wet bark of the tree.  I fell straight back from the tree and fell about sixteen or eighteen feet to the ground.  I don’t remember the fall.  The last thing I remember is the tree getting farther away as I fell away from it.  I hit the ground back first.  I’m not sure how long I lay there for.

I came too myself and found my glasses and put them on.  I looked up at my stand and realized what had happened.  I was cussing because how in the hell was I going to get back up there now.  It was during this tirade that I felt something warm running down my chin.  I pulled off my glove to wipe it away and discovered it was the most rich red blood I had ever seen.  I thought, “Shit”, I was seriously hurt and had to get to an ER as soon as possible.  The nearest one was about 25 miles away and that was after the hike out to the truck.

With labored breathing I walked toward the logging road that led to the truck.  It was also fortunate that my cousin had set up his stand closer to truck than me so he was on the way.  He seen me coming and said, “What’s wrong?”

I told him “I fell, we gotta go!”

I think he broke some kind of world record for climbing out of a tree that morning.  Within a couple of minutes we were making our way to the truck and hence the ER.  There were a couple of points along that walk that I don’t remember but I do remember him asking me if I wanted him to call 911 and have a helicopter come to pick me up. “No just get me to Corydon,” I remember thinking.  Not sure I even answered his inquiry.

We made it to the truck and he helped put my seatbelt on and we took off towards help.  Now under normal circumstances the drive is about 30 or 35 minutes.  He made it in about 15 or 20.  I don’t remember very much of that drive.  Only a couple of snippets of being on the interstate and driving through downtown Corydon.

The staff at the ER could not have been better.  After a bunch of X-rays and blood work they determined I had four broken ribs to go along with a punctured and collapsed left lung.  They said in another 10 minutes the other lung would have collapsed as well.  Extremely lucky I made it in time.  They inserted a chest tube and got me patched up enough to send to my hometown hospital to recover.  I spent a week in there and another five weeks after that recovering before returning to normal activities like work or golf.

I can’t stress enough if you hunt from any elevated platform to use the utmost caution while doing so.  If possible always hunt with someone.  If you can’t hunt with anyone at least let someone know where you are hunting.  I’m convinced that if I had been alone that morning I wouldn’t be alive and typing this right now.  Everything happens for a reason.  And I’m telling this now to maybe convince just one person to take greater precautions and possibly save their life.

Thanks for reading.  Be good.  God bless.

20170203_165838

Steve

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