G Freden

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since Jul 27, 2012
West Yorkshire, UK
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Recent posts by G Freden

I make calendula salve with just calendula and rendered beef tallow.  I use Sepp Holzer's guidance in his permaculture book and use the whole plant:  leaves, roots, flowers.  It's very easy to make and works wonderfully on minor wounds.  Plus for me it's free (I get the beef fat free and I grow my own calendula).
1 month ago
My condolences for your loss.  I think scattering your mother in law's ashes around your flowers is a wonderful idea, and since the amount from a cremation is so small I can't imagine any issue.  
2 months ago
Hi Debbie, here's my suggestion.  

The eroding hill seems like a big deal to me.  If you can, putting swales on contour would help slow and catch the water when it comes, hopefully reducing erosion.  If digging swales isn't feasible, I've also read about rock swales (I'm not entirely sure if they're called that);  these are lines of rocks piled up on contour on the side of the hill, like a swale.  The piles don't even have to be very high--a single layer would be better than nothing.  I would suggest plenty of swales (traditional or rock) and spacing them pretty close together, because a monsoon rain event would probably overwhelm a solitary swale.

If you can't do anything like this to the hillside, maybe you can do it to the hot spot itself.  You have a pile of rocks at the bottom of it which you say doesn't do enough.  Several swales across it, probably rock swales, might mitigate the rain and help catch some soil coming through.

It's not a quick fix, but if you could catch some of that sediment and rain, I would think some natives would seed themselves there eventually.

This is not something I've done, only read about.  I have been to Sedona though:  lovely place!
2 months ago
I wore one as a teenager, which I sewed myself from green velvet--it was my pride and joy for several years until I got tired of being stared at by strangers all the time.  I gave it away to a male friend who started his own cloak journey :)

I have a wool coat now which is somewhat like a cloak.  It has that full drape but also has sleeves and buttons up the front.  I got it for £20 at a charity shop;  the label says Givenchy!  I don't have a photo of the front but here's the back.

For me, a cloak is more about style;  it's not very practical.  That's not a bad thing--I like to be stylish sometimes.  Who says I always have to be practical?
2 months ago

Myron Platte wrote:Thanks, guys! That’s what I wanted to know. Although I’m hoping I can find out what breed of ducks that is, G Fredan.

I have two Pekins, a Khaki Campbell, and a big mongrel drake.  The drake we got at about 8 weeks old, but the other three ducks are ex-factory farm birds, and never saw the great outdoors till we adopted them at 2 years old.  They took to foraging very happily regardless.
2 months ago
My ducks slurp down slugs big and small;  they even swallow big snails whole.  I definitely recommend ducks for slugs and any other bugs--when I was a kid in the southwest of the US we had a grasshopper plague and our ducks cleaned them out completely from our garden, so much that we kids would go out every night catching jarfuls from other neighbors' gardens to keep them fed.

My chickens on the other hand, are not particularly interested in slugs though they will eat snails if I crack the shells first.  I believe geese are herbivores, though I have no experience with them.
2 months ago
Rebecca, I really like tarragon vinegar for salad dressing.  Mint too, which we also serve on lamb.  I use fresh leaves and blitz in the blender then refrigerate after.

My preferred salad dressing for 1-2 people:

1 tsp herb vinegar
1T heavy cream
A very small garlic clove, crushed (optional;  my kids find it too strong)
pinch of salt

Stir and taste;  too creamy:  add a tiny drop more vinegar.  Too tart:  it won't taste so tart after dressing a salad, but can add a little more cream.
3 months ago
If it's flexible and somewhat long, you can probably weave with it.  Might as well just try some stuff out.  I made a couple ribbed baskets (search for images if unsure what they look like) with some sycamore maple shoots as the ribs, and dried yucca leaves for the weavers.  Both I just collected from my small suburban garden--the yucca leaves just shed off the plant and I collected the least dusty ones from the ground underneath (and split them into narrower lengths to make weaving easier).  I use them both as harvest baskets, and it doesn't matter how long they hold up because I can make another just as quickly and easily.

I have also woven with willow but it's more of a plan-ahead project.  I'm sure you, like me, have a lot of flexible plant material that could be woven with right now.  Vines, suckers from trees/shrubs, daffodil leaves, rushes or sedges, lots of things.  Try bending the material and if it doesn't snap, cut a handful and make a little basket with it.  Take 20 minutes over it.  It's fun!

Not the best basketry photo, but here's one of my yucca baskets in use last spring.
Edited:  found the better photo!
3 months ago
Hi Debbie, you could weave some willow wands in situ to make them into wicker chairs--it's not too hard to do;  other trees/shrubs with long flexible branches could work too.  Or use some heavy canvas material and sew a new seat and back--it could be as simple as a long piece of material with opposite edges sewn together into a rectangular tube, then slotted onto the frame.  I'm sure there are lots of other ways to make them useable again.
3 months ago
Here's one I appliqued and quilted by hand (I sewed the large blocks together by machine, but everything else was by hand).  The applique was fairly quick considering, but the quilting took me ages.  I actually prefer to hand quilt instead of machine quilt because it is precise and neat.  I have machine quilted on my regular sewing machine, and I always seem to end up with tucks and puckers, and it's hard work heaving the quilt in and out of the machine to get all the stitches in;  last time I machine quilted, it took several hours and I spread it over two days.  Last time I hand quilted (a scrappy log cabin quilt, not pictured), it took me several months.  I didn't quilt daily, or sometimes even weekly;  I even made larger spaces in between the quilting lines compared to the appliqued quilt--but it was still a long time before it was ready for my bed.  

I do not use a frame or hoop.  I baste the quilt layers together first, mark my quilting lines with chalk, then just hold it on my lap to quilt.  I use a short quilting needle and short lengths of thread, plus a thimble;  these make it easier on my hand and arm.

For me, hand quilting is worth the time and effort it takes to get a superior result.  It is not worth it for many people and that is absolutely fine.  
4 months ago