The Walden Effect: Homesteading Year 5. Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Homestead Blog


Homesteading Tags

Recent Comments

Blog Archive

User Pages


About Us

Submission guidelines


Homesteading and Simple Living Comments

Comments in the moderation queue: 12

View the most recent comments below. To join in the discussion (or see a comment thread in order), click on the title of a comment, then follow the directions on the subsequent page to add a comment of your own.

Sheesh.... people defend their diet du jour with religious furvor (and little tolerance i think also) you are not alone in feeling the sharp end of their pointed comments. So just enjoy your real honest to goodness food that you grew yourself and yes, you pretty much do live in paradise...😊 i am still eating the kale salad from Winter...

Comment by deb Fri May 22 18:33:00 2015

We planted 25 each of last year of Earliglow and Sparkle, both from Nourse. They did ok last year (only a couple flowers to pick off) but this year look incredibly robust and have set lots of fruit. We can't wait to eat our first fruits in a few weeks.

Last year we put in lots of other edible perennials, but nothing is going to give us as much in year 2 as strawberries!

Already starting to feel worried about where to rotate the strawberries to next in a couple years though, since we don't have a lot of space and apparently you don't want to put them after nightshade family plants.

Comment by Holly Gates Fri May 22 15:28:44 2015
Marion, I've just had what sounds like the same problem. A technician has stripped down the engine and shown me score marks on the piston and I can also see that the piston rings are stuck in their grooves - which therefore means they are not in contact with the cylinder walls. Consequence: loss of compression in the cylinder means that, although it will start, it has no power. Sadly, he tells me it is a sign of overheating on a hotspot in the cylindere! Cost of repair is almost the cost of a new chainsaw!!
Comment by Deadly Nightshade Fri May 22 15:22:50 2015
I had no idea that a buckling could do the job at so young an age. That would be a great asset if she could get pregnant soon. And an egg-laying snapping turtle - what an amazing sight! (As long as you're far enough away!) I can see how these little frustrations can build up - I'm glad you have Mark to find solutions and smooth the way. You're a great team!
Comment by Rhonda from Baddeck Fri May 22 10:14:12 2015
Sorry they haven't done well, which I find frankly surprising. Maybe if you found a way to link into the wealth of paleo websites? There is a HUGE & hungry community out there who loves to eat just like you do.
Comment by terry Fri May 22 09:40:57 2015

i live in KY anf have 144 better boy tomato plants in my garden. I have a plot in a community garden area. Yesterday as I was starting to tie up my plants I noticed some little black bugs on a couple Plants and some plants also have some black markings on the stems and leaves. I just stayed today with a mix of seven dust and water to get rid of the black bugs. I'm also wondering if the marks on the leaves and stems are from those as well or if it's the beginning stages of blight. Last year I struggled a lot with blight and I am trying to prevent it this year because my yield was low. Any ideas as to what is going on? I also have a couple of pics that I've when on my phone of both things if there is a way to load those to this blog any help is appreciated!

Comment by Scooter Thu May 21 18:45:15 2015

We purchased one of these in march after seeing your results. We are amazed has simple it is to start. This saw is perfect for us 60 something boomers. Thanks for your reviews on this. Rose

Comment by roseanell Thu May 21 16:53:22 2015

leos.mike and W. --- I should have mentioned that we renovate our strawberry beds every year and start with fresh runners in new beds every third year. That usually keeps the flavor up pretty well. But when the berries out of new beds taste sour, that's when I know that it's time to get new plants.

We have mineralized based on Solomon's book, but I actually didn't notice any results. (Except for the strawberry plants getting a bit burnt that winter from the excessive minerals around living plants.) However, micronutrients definitely have an effect on strawberry flavor because the berries in freshly planted beds nearly always taste the best their first year. Luckily, I have a lot of garden spaces I can rotate through.

Comment by anna Thu May 21 11:50:08 2015
Comment by Terry Thu May 21 11:42:22 2015

I'm just establishing strawberries this year. I couldn't wait a year though, and the strawberries came in 25 plant bundles. Each bundle ended up being more like 28 plants. so . . . I planted 10 (I bought two varieties - Hood and Benton for my PNW coastal location) in a 'sacrifice' bed to allow them to fruit this first year. They got lots of fertility and will be discarded after they produce whatever it is they decide to produce. I have berries forming and I even found the beginning of color yesterday! The rest got planted in place for next year's harvest and I've been diligently picking off the blossoms and runners. I've been trying to decide if I should let the sacrifice 10 plants produce runners and plant the daughter plants in strawberry pots in my greenhouse . . . I have lots of room indoors and wonder if I might get a few weeks start next spring that way. I'm not sure what the quality of the daughter plants would be this first year. I'm still deciding on that experiment. But happy to 'sacrifice' a few plants since 50 plants is ALOT.

Comment by Charity Thu May 21 11:42:10 2015

While I usually love getting bonus anything, I am allergic to ricotta cheese. Every time I eat it I throw up for 24 hours. I always feel like I've missed out on "real" Italian, and my husbands family never remembers, so when they have Lasagna, I get to bring Taco Bell.

Most manufacturers actually add other stuff to get the whey to curd up, and I've always wondered if that's what I'm allergic to, instead of the cheese. I wonder if I would be allergic to homemade ricotta? I would be afraid to find out!

Comment by Emily Thu May 21 09:49:20 2015
Is it possible that your berries have less flavor because of lacking nutrients? I found this book by Steve Soloman: an interesting read. He discusses how to create nutrient dense food by remineralizing the soil.
Comment by W. Thu May 21 09:33:39 2015
I made some lacto bacillus from milk and rice and added molasses so it would last a few years...simple to make and net on how to make it...will be spraying plants early in season to see how well it fights tomato is very useful for other tasks also, like cleaning out sewer tanks...adding to animal feed and killing unwanted scents...etc...very popular for farmers and gardeners
Comment by roy Thu May 21 09:11:32 2015

We found a place to order them much cheaper than that this year. Granted the 1500 plant minimum (of one variety) means you need to plant a lot but that box of 1500 ended up $0.11 per plant including freight from CA to NH.

Another thought I had is that when your season ends why not pull and prune all the crowns and runners (keeping only the plants, ready to replant) and refresh/rebuild the bed? Perfect time to rotate strawberry locations as well (if you wanted a truly fresh spot). I would mix younger clones among the older plants, you could if you kept track toss some of the very oldest crowns at the same time, and even the older crowns should act like new growth in the fresh bed after being so disturbed.

Comment by leos.mike Thu May 21 08:10:35 2015

I've just put Pennies on half (15 plants), my Mortgage Lifter tomato plants and wrapped copper speaker wire on the other 15 plants. I wrapped the copper speaker wire around the stalk of the plants. I'll post in 30 days and let ya'll know which method worked best! Craig

Comment by Craig Thu May 21 01:43:30 2015
Anna, its fun reading these posts on cheese making. i really did not know that Ricotta was made from the leftover whey. Interesting stuff!
Comment by deb Wed May 20 18:15:45 2015
I don't think I would have noticed the jack support if you hadn't mentioned it. Back to the tank, what are you using to collect the water? it looks like a clever idea that would save you money in terms of whatever you are using the water for. I live in area that does not have enough annual rain, so creating a contraption like that is out of the question.
Comment by Eric Blaise Wed May 20 17:25:38 2015
I'd agree with Jake. Bump your salt up a bit AFTER draining all the whey. The prolonged draining definitely makes a flavor difference. You might also let it culture longer before the actual cheese making. When I've made fromage blanc, I rigged up a hook over the sink (with a bowl underneath to catch yummy whey) and hung up my cheese tied into my butter muslin. I let it sit and drain/age until it tasted good. A really good resource for cultures and how-to/troubleshooting is Ricki the Cheese Queen. I think her website it New England Cheesemaking? She has a book, but I found that it was pretty redundant to the website info unless you're making something a bit more esoteric. Good luck!!
Comment by AmberC Wed May 20 15:34:48 2015
Take the ricotta you make, add a bit of hazelnut syrup (or almond) a bit of sugar, mix well and you have the makings of the stuffing for cannoli. Or, if you're like me and can't stand to wait, just eat the ricotta like it's pudding. Yummy!
Comment by NaYan Wed May 20 10:06:04 2015

I don't have a lot of experience making cheese, but I've noticed that the blandness can sometimes be counteracted by adding a little more salt.

I also wonder if squeezing the whey out quickly gives the bacteria less time to impart flavor to the cheese. Sort of like slow-rising breads. Or maybe if some of the whey liquid evaporates instead of draining, the flavorful whey solutes stay with the cheese? I'm definitely not up on my cheese-making theory, and where the majority of flavors are produced in non-aged cheeses.

Comment by Jake Wed May 20 02:14:32 2015
Justus --- You can see our thoughts on strawberry varieties here and here. That said, we don't select for shelf life --- if anything, we select against it since tastier berries tend to be softer and less prone to store well. I pick our berries at least once a day, often twice a day, so shelf life is irrelevant.
Comment by anna Tue May 19 15:22:20 2015
When I used to make kefir cheese or almond milk, I always squeezed the liquid out with my hands. Impatient, too. ;) I guess the reason not to do it is you might get the Bubonic plague bacteria on the cheese. (she said facetiously)
Comment by Emily Tue May 19 15:13:41 2015
National Geographic has an artical: Quest for a Superbee. It might prove interesting for you.
Comment by hilary Tue May 19 14:25:06 2015
What variety of strawberry do you grow. we have "all-stars" and their shelf life is very short. considering starting a couple new rows next year with a different variety. any suggestions?
Comment by Justus Mon May 18 22:31:25 2015

Anonymous --- I'll look forward to seeing how your results compare to mine!

Justus --- All of the creeping grasses are a tricky topic, and I haven't really figured out the solution yet. On the one hand, I'm not sure tilling helps that much since I've read it breaks the roots up into smaller pieces so you get a lot more grass. But on the other hand, the beds I have where those grasses are trying to invade are a pain in the butt to weed by hand and require twice the attention of the other beds. Kill mulches help (cardboard covered by straw), but they're not a cure-all.

Jonathan --- Yeah, I'm especially concerned about the methods that heat up the soil. I'll be growing veggies in all of these beds in June, so I'll report back if I notice that some result in healthier plants than others. Time will hopefully tell....

Comment by anna Mon May 18 18:16:35 2015
Do you have any concerns about the impact of a plastic mulch on the life within the soil? I have been concerned that worms, insects, and bacteria would be killed from the high temperatures, so have avoided plastic in my garden.
Comment by Jonathan Mon May 18 16:08:11 2015
Hey, do you have any links to no-till methods with monkey grass. My father is an old traditional farmer and has always tilled, fertilized with store bought fert, and done most things that go against no-til morals. Recently he is seeing the perks of pesticide free and more organic practices but still likes his tiller. Which i don't blame him with the plot he is working. 100'x50' on a monkey grass infested back yard. Do you have any suggestions, links or resources on dealing with monkey grass utilizing no-til principles? Thanks
Comment by Justus Sun May 17 13:42:38 2015
This is such a timely post, while I hate using plastic it really does work and warms the soil. I always appreciate you posting these trials and your comments. I don't post often.
Comment by Anonymous Sun May 17 13:23:04 2015
Alice --- The guy pictured is either a Rhode Island Red or a Buff Orpington. Not sure which....
Comment by anna Sun May 17 06:33:45 2015
Alice --- The guy pictured is either a Rhode Island Red or a Buff Orpington. Not sure which....
Comment by anna Sun May 17 06:33:02 2015
I have two mystery breed cockerels, 4 weeks old, that look just like that chick. Is it a New Hampshire Red?
Comment by Alice Sat May 16 19:52:08 2015
Oh no! ALL the apples and pears were lost? How terribly disappointing. we have had some recent freezes also, but I havent able to make it down to check the trees due to having to be on crutches from a knee injury. I think our blossoms have not set fruit yet, but i am sorry to hear most or all of yours were lost. It is a reminder for me that nothing is really guaranteed. But that is hopeful about the kiwi!
Comment by deb Sat May 16 05:57:05 2015
The Nearings - before moving to Maine - always planted an "insurance" garden up above the Spring frost line, down in the flats. So I think that's probably a good idea; although the min-max thermometer may confirm this! All the best, ldc
Comment by ldc Fri May 15 11:52:55 2015

I hope you get to taste some Hardy Kiwis this year. Ours were loaded this year and with the removal of some trees are growing very quickly.

Comment by Brian Fri May 15 11:28:43 2015
Several of you chimed in about whey, so I thought I should weigh in as well. :-) I ended up just bringing ours to the goats...and the first goat to get her head in the bowl (Artemesia, lowest goat on the totem pole) loved it so much that she refused to let anyone else near it. In 30 seconds, it was gone! So, if you don't have a use for it, sending it back into the goats is definitely very workable.
Comment by anna Thu May 14 09:01:41 2015

I have perused the web once or twice looking for different uses for the whey we get when we make occasional batches of homemade yogurt. Seems like the primary use is in bread, which i can do just fine (there's a raisin-cinnamon-english-muffin bread loaf that i fall to pieces for, and it has very little sugar). But uses other than in bread/grain products seem harder to find. I did read once that you can cook veggies in the whey, but I can't image that's a flavor profile I'm looking for when I eat my veggies. Otherwise, I don't know what to do with it. I do agree it lasts a long time in the fridge.

Comment by jen g Wed May 13 20:04:24 2015
Eric --- Thanks! I'd been pointed there before, but hadn't really looked around. I suspect their beginner series of cheese lessons might be better than a book. :-)
Comment by anna Wed May 13 18:43:39 2015
When I started making cheese I found this website pretty helpful.
Comment by Eric in Japan Wed May 13 17:21:52 2015
Whey will store for a long time in the fridge and has a lot of uses. We use it as a boost in lacto-fermenting, and also for soaking grains.
Comment by Daniel Wed May 13 14:58:52 2015
I use our leftover whey when making soap, smoothies, or pancakes.
Comment by Susan Wed May 13 11:24:48 2015