Heather, I feel for you! Being sensitive to the sun is no fun at all.
Loads of great suggestions and discussions in this thread and I have just some minor thoughts or tweaks to add.
Magnesium or other minerals / electrolytes - your body could be dumping it out due to "dirty genes." The book by the same name, Dirty Genes by Ben Lynch is awesome at explaining the how's and why's and what to do to help.
Food sensitivities - as a kid I would get a rash from the sun. And while I know your reaction is different, I eventually somehow figured out my reaction was worse if I ate citrus. It was a painful, red, burning/itchy rash. To this day I still do not like citrus fruit much, but I did grow out of that reaction. What can really help to identify food reactions is to do an elimination challenge. I think I wrote about steps to do that elsewhere in the forums, but it's can be super super helpful and only takes time (no expensive doctor visits or lab tests!).
Herbs / medications / supplements - lots of good thoughts on this already (who knew about Vitamin D?!). The most common one I've heard of being a problem is St. John's Wort which can make folks, especially the fair skinned ones, sensitive to the sun. I wonder how many other herbs that we consider "mild" or completely safe might cause us issues. For me, even slightly estrogenic herbs like lavender and red clover would increase my hot flashes when I was peri-menopausal, so it's always a good idea to do elimination challenges with some things we might not usually consider.
When you wash the slug slime off your kitchen shears (because you must do the ducks' work!) before using the shears on a lock of your own hair. And it's likely too gross to post about on other social media, but not here!
The mulberry in the open in a chicken paddock, has had occasional chickens around it in the two years I've been here, but not often. They were mostly kept out do to holes in the fencing here and there and no time to mend them. There has been no other care in that paddock.
The mulberry in the goat pasture has not had goats (or chickens) in the two years that I've been here. *BUT* I have been spreading my wood stove ashes in the pasture and around the tree a bit. Not much. Haven't wanted to over alkalinize.
Plus, I have put old goat manure and kitchen scraps along the NW part of the mulberry tree's drip line. Additionally, for a year and a half, I've mowed under the tree, leaving all clippings to fall where they may to improve the soil and pasture grasses.
So there is another difference with the two trees I suppose. Who knew there were so many differences? Ha.
Oh crap. When I posted above, bragging about how well the huge neglected mulberry has done, I hadn't even glanced at the small mulberry in a chicken paddock adjacent to the goat pasture.
This smaller mulberry, only 8 feet tall or so, is in the center of a chicken paddock, with comfrey growing at its base. It also has not been pruned, but looks like it had some serious die back on almost half of its branches.
Even though it is a small paddock, being in the center of it means the mulberry tree does not have shelter on any side.
The huge, massive mulberry nearest my living space is right up against a thick evergreen wooded area - which protects it from the *north* side. Said evergreen wooded area is full of mature, 80+foot tall evergreens such as cedar (Thuya plicata, not really a true cedar) and fir trees. Also, the building I live in is on the east side of the tree, which, while not directly adjacent, likely offers some protection as well. There is just one small, lower branch on the big mulberry - the most SW of all the branches, which happens to be the farthest out from the protected sides - that does look like minor die off on the end of the branch.
So I'd guess the northern evergreen wooded area protected the mulberry more than anything, and possibly its size/maturity, too; and to a lesser extent the building to the east--and not the lack of pruning.
(Edited to add the building to the east as another potential protection for the large mulberry.)
Steve Thorn wrote:My Pakistan and another less cold hardy mulberry have died back previously.
Pruning them seems to increase their cold susceptibility. Since I stopped pruning them they barely have any dieback now.
I wonder if this might be the ticket.
I'm not sure what variety is outside the goat barn where I live - it was here when my landlady bought the property 10-12 years ago. This 40-foot tree has not been pruned except for a huge chunk that split off and fell on the barn roof before I moved in, and then a large split branch that fell off the year I moved here (2020). There is even a second split branch that really needs to be removed (for 2 years now), but hasn't been touched.
It's loaded with berries. Haven't noticed any die off (besides the splits).
I'm outside of Carnation, though higher up in the forested hills surrounding the valley, not the valley floor or in town. We are 30+ miles east of Seattle, and just 40-some miles from the nearest pass over the Cascade mountains, so we are typically colder, and wetter than Seattle is. So not too dissimilar to your climate, I would think r.
The attached pic are the mulberries on this giant tree as they looked 3 days ago. Little babies!
Actually, I think I want my screwdriver storage to look like this.
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Wouldn't that make putting away screwdrivers (or other tools) more fun?
It would take some welding engineering (perhaps) to figure out the best rings or receptacles for the screwdrivers though. And the ones on the bottom half of the flower might need to be permanent and not removable.
When, on your smartphone, you try to tap the apple 🍎 to give to someone on permies, but your thumb still has cobwebs on it from rummaging through saved/to-be-reused/gardening/tool items in the barn closet.
S. Bard wrote:Boiling indeed helps with the chlorine. I usually just fill a big pot of water and leave it uncovered overnight though (maybe a cheesecloth on top if you have flies in the house). The chlorine evaporates overnight.
I have not verified this, but someone said that some water municipalities use a more pervasive type of chlorine these days that doesn't evaporate off easily. I don't know the specifics, but if someone else does, please chime in.
Paul Houtz wrote:I do a lot of lacto fermenting, mainly cucumbers but also veggies. I just want to remind folks that it is critical to add sufficient salt to your recipe. Don't attempt to reduce salt for dietary reasons. My minimum is 4 tablespoons of salt in 4 cups of distilled water, but lately I have been upping the salt a bit to 4.5 tablespoons. The symptoms of too little salt are: 1. Lots of white mold; 2) slimy cucumbers and other veggies; and 3) somewhat peculiar odor or flavor.
Welcome to permies, Paul!
And yes, lots of salt is important. I served some Giadiniera to a workshop group as just a side to a meal and one woman was surprised at how salty it was. I think she was expecting a salad, not a pickle or condiment. Plus, a lot of what people are used to for pickled veg are the canned vinegar type that usually include a lot of sugar. Like sweet pickles. Personally, yuck! Without that sugar, which is of course another type of preservative, it is a more salty product, but I prefer salty over sweet myself.
As I wrote above, I have had ferments go moldy, even when using lots of salt. For onions, for example, since they do not always naturally have the right bacteria, adding a "starter" to get the right bacteria going made a big difference in my experience.
Yes, Azure wrote their members about the fire. The fire has been deemed an accident, somehow a tote of corn ignited and started the fire, and even at the initial loss, Azure wrote:
The loss of the facility and the impact on company-wide operations is being assessed and expected to be limited and temporary. No other Azure Standard facilities were affected.
Which means most of their warehouses and growing operations were not affected. Only some liquid manufacturing/bottling and carob candy manufacturing will need to be relocated per the attached press release.
Dave Boehnlein is one of the founders of RootedNW and a very cool guy. I've met him and even worked with him from coordinating some events where he taught or spoke on permaculture topics. He was/is the education director at Bulloch Brothers Permaculture Homestead (there's a thread about that here somewhere...) on Orcas Island in Puget Sound outside of Seattle.
Dave used to be active on the forums, might still occasionally pop in, and there might be a RootedNW thread here, too, but I couldn't find it when I replied.
This property and developing community, https://www.rootednw.org/, doesn't have living spaces built there yet, but I wonder if the community members might know of a place in that Edmonds to Mount Vernon corridor for you.
Ryan Carson wrote:One of the main drivers of bitterness is oxalic acid. There are wild plants that are extremely dangerously high, and one can actually consume if unaware, a deadly level. Rhubarb leaves are the commonly known one to avoid, but many others if consumed, say daily, in a tea would not be good. So for those that live with gout, arthritis, kidney stones, or any of the other high oxalate symptoms please be sure to question your daily tea, weed consumption, or regular foods in general. Finding this out changed the health of my wife and I in a big way. And neither of us had the more common symptoms. One can have their levels tested using an Organic Acids Test.
That is a fascinating point to consider. Though I have heard that cooking destroys oxalates, and a quickie search confirms that might be true. But certainly, any good thing can be over done, so it's certainly important to keep in mind.
I second the recommendation of dandelions - but the roasted root, not the leaves - for that tea-like astringent flavor. Some folks like roasted chicory root for a similar bitterness. And while these are often touted as coffee substitutes, in my mind they are more similar to tea, than coffee.
As an aside, I was buying a "caramel" tea of roasted dandelion roots, stevia, and caramel flavor, but found I could make the same with less packaging with my own homemade or bulk purchased dandelion root and some toffee or caramel flavored liquid stevia. Yum!
I've been wanting to try blackberry leaves myself. What Nicole described about raspberries leaves I've found to be very true as well, though in people who are prone to constipation (which can be common in pregnant women!) raspberry leaves are not always great because then can cause or exacerbate constipation.
Another leaf I want to learn more about is mulberry leaf. I saw some in a store that was touted as a weight loss tea, but I don't know much about it. If it's drying or astringent, or has that tea-like taste, that would work for me, too! I have a glorious mulberry tree just outside my door, so I think *this* spring/summer is when I'll harvest some leaves to dry. (I've lived here less than two years and haven't tried everything this property has to offer yet!)
The other herb that might not have been mentioned is rosemary. I love the flavor and the mental clarity boosting effect of just the scent, so I'm thinking that could be a happy thing in a tea blend - maybe rosemary, tulsi (aka holy basil), and nettle. Might add blackberry leaf, and/or mulberry leaf and see what works for my taste.
Oh, right - tulsi! Have you tried that one? Currently I prefer its flavor in a blend with other herbs, not all on its own.
My experience with Oregon grape root is that I must not like bitter as much as Thekla does! :-D When I've used it in an immune enhancing tea blend, I've had to add a lot of rose hips, mint, lemon, cinnamon, etc. and maybe even add honey (for extra picky tea drinkers!) to help the bitter go down from that root!
Would love to hear what you gravitate towards, Dan.
Learn the basics of farm recordkeeping, taking sales online, and paying employees from experts and experienced farmers. Registration is through Eventbrite at FarmingByTheNumbers.eventbrite.com.
Farming by the Numbers Series Starts Feb 3! Learn the basics of farm recordkeeping, taking sales online, and paying employees from experts and experienced farmers.
Accurate and up-to-date financial records are essential to any growing business, but are especially important to farms and agricultural businesses. Without a good recordkeeping system in place, decisions will be made based on hunches, not reality. Successful farm-centric grant applications must start with a solid set of numbers that can be at your fingertips…if you start now!
Join us online (via Zoom) on Thursday evenings in February 2022 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm to learn the ins and outs of setting up a solid recordkeeping system as well as other farm number-crunching topics. Can’t make a session? No problem! All sessions are being recorded and made available for later viewing to everyone registered.
February 3 – Farm Bookkeeping Basics Starting or expanding a farm business doesn't need to be complicated or intimidating. Learn the basics of setting up an accounting system that works for you. Covered topics include choosing a legal entity, paper or e-books, basic profit and loss statements, and developing a recordkeeping system.
February 10 – Online Sales For many small farms, e-commerce has become an excellent way to connect with customers and sell product. With so many e-store choices already available, and new ones coming out all the time, it can seem overwhelming to find one that suits your farm best. Learn a bit about what's out there and the possibilities for integration with financial software. In addition, you'll hear from farms that use different platforms and methods to e-connect with customers including via food hubs.
February 17 – Paying Employees Adding employees to your farm means it's growing. But it also means adding a lot of paperwork as well. Learn what is involved with managing payroll records and all the federal, state, and local filing requirements. Should you do it yourself or pay a service? In addition, you'll hear from local farmers how they find and retain good employees.
February 24 – Financial Statements, Cash Flow, & Loan Readiness What is a balance sheet? Owner's equity? Where does cash flow and why should you care? For long term success and survival, every farm business needs to understand these concepts and more. The more you know and understand about basic number crunching, the more likely you'll be able to see when a change is necessary, before it's too late. Gain the knowledge needed to talk with loan officers and put your farm in the best position possible to secure additional funding.
Series educators include Jocelyn Campbell, a Puget Sound-based farm bookkeeping professional; Neil Subhash, farmer and Farm Business Support Specialist at Business Impact NW along with other experts in the field of farm number-crunching and farmer-led panel discussions.
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I think roasted chicory root or roasted dandelion root come the closest in flavor, but they are admittedly a far cry from coffee.. The chaga suggestion or addition sounds like it would make it better.
There are a bunch of commercially available mushroom beverages these days as coffee substitutes (Mudwater is one) but I haven't tried them. They could become a big(ger) thing with supply disruptions. Does anyone like those?
John F Dean wrote:I did not read this entire thread. The posts I did read did not mention the most basic step, talk with the people you are shopping for. If they are not good communicators, try to talk with people who know them better than you do.
It is much too common for a helper to buy what the helper likes and not what the people being shopped for likes.
As the OP, the point is that if the people (senior citizens) are left to buy what they like, the concern (or history) is that they will buy inflammatory, unhealthy foods.
Finding tasty alternatives, is half the battle. Talking about how to incorporate them, or simply cooking the alternatives for them, is the next step. But it's rather complicated.
I described Ritz crackers in meatloaf and Monique suggested substituting oatmeal here. Perfect! But, since the crackers are so salty and fatty, I'd probably up the salt and the good fats in the meatloaf to compensate and make a meatloaf for them. I wouldn't necessarily expect them to make that switch unless they asked or wanted to.
About salt: unlike some, I learned that if you have adequate potassium consumption (erm, vegetables!), then sodium consumption is not as much of an issue for most people. So I would be fine with upping the salt in a meatloaf for seniors.
My mom used to rave about how good my food was. Actually, It think it was mostly that I used high quality, organic ingredients which have been shown in studies to taste better. Some of that example started to rub off in that I was finding more organic ingredients in her pantry, etc. before she passed away.
But when seniors are sick, or just tired and low energy due to age, those comfort and convenience foods--plus cheap foods for their fixed incomes!--start to take over. I wouldn't want to suggest to a sick person or a person with memory issues that they do more with their food. So the conversation and talking to someone isn't necessarily the best tactic. Then, if others who are gifting foods compound their poor food choices by gifting even more unhealthy food...well, that upward battle becomes even more daunting!
In the end, it's setting an example, doing a lot of cooking for them, perhaps having conversations with other family members or friends who are providing food, continuing to educate the public at large about what IS healthy food, finding or asking services (nursing homes or other support services) to provide anti-inflammatory food...
In most cases, I don't think it's a straightforward conversation.
Tereza Okava wrote:I've tried a number of them when I get up north, and they all seem to be passable EXCEPT for the ones that include flaxseed oil (I had one when I was up there in July that was just terrible, don't remember what brand it was); while I love the nutritional benefits of flax, I'd rather eat it separately-- the taste to me is just so overwhelming that I can't eat or cook with these products.
Yeah, some times flax seeds or oil tastes incredibly FISHY. I would have a hard time with that, too.