Rebecca Norman

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since Aug 28, 2012
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Rebecca has lived in Ladakh in the Himalayas since 1992. She's a bit of a crabby, grumpy character but is trying to Be Nice on Permies.
Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Recent posts by Rebecca Norman

William Bronson wrote:Rebecca, will your coop be in your attached greenhouse?

No, it will be a separate structure. I've gotten several promising ideas from this thread, thanks!
23 hours ago
The Tibetan and Ladakhi ones could certainly be separate sub-species or varieties. The climate described in the article above is obviously very different from (much moister than) the climate here in Ladakh.

Eino Kenttä wrote:Found this article ( where there is a picture of a Tibetan dish made from silverweed. The tubers look rather small, but still, if one found a good patch on soil that was easy to dig, it might make a good addition to the diet. Sadly, around here I've mostly seen it on quite compacted soil by roadsides and such, and on rocky seashores. Not very digging-friendly.

Great link, thanks! Very interesting for me. The photo on p10, labelled "Potentilla anserina tubers," does not look like the ones I've seen, which are paler and long and skinny. I googled "potentilla anserina tubers images" and found several that looked like what I've seen though I've seen them bigger than the first few images that come up.
I am totally going to try this, as commercial potting soils or amendments are not available where I am, and I need or want to start lots of plants in 2021. Thanks!
4 days ago

Eino Kenttä wrote:Does anyone have experience with silverweed? Tried to dig up a couple of plants a few years ago, but found no tubers, only mm-thick roots. How big do they get? Are they tasty? How deep do you have to dig?

Silverweed (Potentilla anserina) roots are a traditional wild food here in the Himalayas. Here in Ladakh they are small, but tasty, so more like something that kids collect, roast and snack on when they get dug up during ploughing. In Tibet they are much bigger and are an important thing to have at Tibetan New Year's time. I wonder if Tibetans cultivate them, to get them so big. Anyway, they are tasty, a nice little treat, kind of nutty and sweet, but here in Ladakh I've never seen them bigger than my little finger.
Wow, this is so inspiring! both the OP and some of the other comments! I've got peach trees started from seed so I'm all set for that, but I'd like to get some local mulberries started from cuttings. (I have one mulberry from seed but I guess a cutting from a tree with known good fruit would be better)

In the northern hemisphere, is Jan-Feb a good time to take mulberry cuttings and try starting them?
5 days ago
I've been making garlic confit the past couple of autumns. It lasts for ages, as long as you keep it well submerged in the oil. Takes only an hour, on low heat on the stove in the kitchen.

It makes the garlic very mild, sweet and spreadable, much like roasted garlic. I don't make confit of all the garlic I want to keep for the winter, but it is lovely. I like to make a kilo (two pounds) of garlic into confit every fall, but if I were using the confit more often I'd happily make much more.

Epicurious on garlic confit:

First step: Get yourself a lot of garlic. Then peel the cloves, submerge them in olive oil, and cook over very, very low heat. Within an hour, the garlic will be soft, rich, and spreadable.

By the way, I also made a batch of salted Moroccan lemons, which is another easy, yummy, umami, preservation method. (In this picture it's the Indian "lemons" that are lime sized. Lemons with thicker skin would probably be tastier because the skin turns out the best. And I cut them in quarters instead of keeping the quarters attached in the round. Google it if you're interested.)
5 days ago
So interesting, thank you! Is it possible that the amount used in Swedish bitters is really really tiny? Like a drop in a barrel sized batch of bitters? I don't know, that would seem like a possible way that both could be true
1 week ago
Very helpful info, thanks
1 week ago
I am hoping to start keeping chickens this year, and will build a coop. What I've read is that having an earthen floor with deep litter instead of a concrete floor supposedly makes a healthy ecosystem (microbiome?) and does not need to be sterilised. Does anyone here have experience of that? I could lay hardware cloth below a couple of inches of earth in the floor.

The only waste product biomass materials that I can get here are wood shavings/sawdust from the lumberyards, and autumn leaves (obviously once a year). Straw is rather expensive. Wood chips are not a "thing" here. Sand and dry soil are in unlimited supply. Precipitation is rare, so moisture is unlikely to be a problem.

What is your experience of pro's and cons of wood shavings, sawdust, or autumn leaves?
1 week ago