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Merry Teesdale

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since Mar 04, 2013
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Recent posts by Merry Teesdale

Here's a prize winning crust recipe that you make RIGHT IN THE PIE PAN.   Seriously, try this.  Also there is no mess!  You don't get a top crust, but instead you get to see and smell the wonderful fruit.
For a large pie pan crust, put 1 1/2 C plus 3 Tablespoons of regular white flour and 3/4 tsp salt in the pie pan.  Mix well with a fork.     In a separate measuring cup, emulsify (mix well) exactly 1/2 C Safflower Oil and 3 Tablespoons of water.    Here's the tricky part.  The secret of this crust is to barely moisten the flour and to work it as little as possible for maximum flakiness.    In the center of the pie pan, make a dip and dribble a small bit of oil/water mixture in - while at the same time, stirring with the fork.  Working outward in a spiral, continue dribbling and stirring, always on the dry flour.   Move the barely moistened flour to the center.   When the dough is all moistened, form the crust.  With clean fingers, starting in the middle, push the dough down and towards the edges, leaving the crust about 1/8 inch thick on the bottom of the pan.  Make it slightly thicker at the bend for strength.  Form the sides with your thumbs and flute the top edge.  Voila!     Remember, touch the dough as little as possible because warming and kneading releases gluten which is the opposite of flaky.     Enjoy your pie and compliments.    
4 months ago
Here are three more methods to manage deer.    The land around our gardens is managed as a wildlife refuge.  We have deer, (but not a lot of them) and rabbits - quite a few.
METHOD 1.  I manage all the animals by PLANTING THINGS THEY ESPECIALLY LOVE TO EAT.  Thus they concentrate on those plants as they move through the yard and leave my plants alone for the most part.  I have to fence in small areas planted with their other favorites, strawberries, beans and raspberries.  Rabbits love clover so I have encouraged big patches of clover in all the grassy areas. Now the rabbits come out to eat the clover at dusk - and they do not eat my veggies.   Deer particularly love FIREWEED AND NORTHERN WILLOWHERB so I let these plants to grow along the path edges.  The deer take a mouthful as they walk on by.     This protects my other plants and the results are bushy plants and a great show when they finally flower.   I do use some of your other fencing techniques.  It absolutely necessary to encircle young fruit trees with fence until they are about 6 years old. I encourage them to grow above the browse line asap by fertilizing and pruning to one leader for upward growth. Once above the browse line, the trees can grow freely and be pruned into fruit tree shapes.   It must be said that sometimes it is wise and necessary to harvest a female deer to plan for the future and keep their population in check.  Knowing how many deer groups are in an area is important to figure out which one.  Like coyotes, we want to keep the ones who know how to co-exist with people in an area because they will teach the next generations.  

METHOD 2.  Newly planted seeds and tender seedlings are much relished by wildlife.  They are at the most risk until they are a few inches tall. I lay PIECES OF WIRE FENCING flat on the ground over the newly planted areas and leave them until the plants are about 4 inches tall. This deters everything, birds, deer and expecially CATS.  CAVEAT - the area MUST be kept weeded and the fence removed before the plants get too big or it will have to be left in place until the end of the crop.   FLAT FENCING is a great system when used for planting in succession - ex, lettuces every 3 or 4 weeks - just move the fence pieces from one bed to the next.  Old junk pieces of fence are an indispensable part of my gardening system.  Light weight fence pieces can be tented, or bent in an arc to protect taller young plants, or kept flat on the ground.  2X4 hole fencing is my favorite - but anything heavier than chicken wire is fine.  An ideal size is 3' x 5', but I use what I have, which is a hodge-podge of different sizes and shapes, like my garden beds.   Nipping off the edge prongs prevents snagging, (bending them doesn't work), and using manageable sizes to protect the delicate plants is the best way to work this Flat Fence system.    This is a good way to use those short pieces of fence that are laying around!  

METHOD 3.  I talk kindly to the animals and tell them what they can and cannot do and eat in my space.

I am deeply aware that I share this land with animals and they are an integral and important part of this ecological system.  Since their presence benefits both the land and me, I must leave space and native food for them to live.    Keeping the system balanced benefits all of us so we can thrive and flourish.  
7 months ago
After tasting hundreds of apple varieties for several years at the Cloud Mountain Fruit Festival in Whatcom County, Wa.,  I repeatedly settled on Elstar Apples as the best.  They are crunchy, juicy, sweet, tart, complicated flavor and medium sized.  Elstars, besides being heavenly eating, make prize winning pies, apple sauce with no sugar or spices needed, and are amazing dried.  Four years ago I got to taste an even better apple, Esopus spitzenburg which was Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple.  I had one grafted and am growing it up now.  
2 years ago
We make spanakopita out of kale, chard, spinach and/or orache leaves and freeze them. Later, pop them in the oven for 30 min. for a wonderful lunch.
5 years ago
Hi Dave,

It's so good that you are doing this for us. Thank you.
I started a food forest last fall and am having great fun accumulating plants, creating the design and watching things leaf out this spring. I'm looking forward to reading your books, seeing the questions and your answers and getting lots of new ideas.

My first question is, How do YOU deal with grass initially?

Here's what I'm trying in some areas right now. I've been sheet mulching with cardboard and woodchips around new trees and their shrubs. When the grass is gone, I was going to seed it with various nitrogen fixing things. Second question: Do you think I could spread the seed on the woodchips NOW and let it root down through the cardboard? Would it be better to wait until the cardboard has done its job?

Thanks, Merry Teesdale, Bellingham, Washington
7 years ago