Carla Burke

master gardener
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since Oct 29, 2013
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personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
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A Christian & devoted Patriot, wife, soap maker, herbalist, formerly a homeschooler, baker, truck driver, and more. I was born in the South, but actually grew up around the Great Lakes. Both of my families had big, lush gardens,& preserved everything they could for the winter. I carried that into my own life. But, change happens and for over a decade, it just wasn't an option. Now, retired in the Ozarks, on 29 heavily wooded acres of mostly ravines, our best crops are nearly inaccessible wild blackberries, rocks, wild herbs, and ticks. We're utilizing our burgeoning small-livestock collection, straw bales, raised beds, and containers to build soil, and a better, healthier life for ourselves and our beloved critters, who provide us with eggs, meat, milk, fiber, fertilizer, tick control, loads of entertainment, and even help turn the compost.
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Recent posts by Carla Burke

Jordan Holland wrote:Hypothetically, if you aren't already, maybe your legs would make some good practice to get a general feel for the basic process. Less contours, more area, softer hairs. Kind of learning to crawl before learning to walk.

It sounds like a wonderful bonding experience. I'm sure you will get the hang of it.

This is likely my best bet, for practice. But, wouldn't I be largely shaving against the direction of growth? Any idea how that might require a change in grip? Hmmmm... I'll work with this one and see how I might manage it. Thank you!

P.s. As far as a bonding experience, that will, eventually, be a lovely bonus, providing I can get past this learning curve, without both of us needing stitches. Thank you...
1 day ago

Jeremy VanGelder wrote:I don't use a straight blade razor either. But from my general sharpening knowledge, I would not expect a ceramic blade to respond to stropping. You are using a ceramic coated blade, but I don't know if that would be any different than a ceramic blade.

The blade isn't ceramic - just has a ceramic glaze covering all but the edge, so that he can handle it, without his hands blistering up, and the skin melting off (I can't even begin to express how much I *WISH* this was a gross exaggeration, but it's the stark reality!) Unfortunately, the edge still contacts his face, so it's causing an allergic response, there. It's relatively mild, barely more than what most would see as a pimple, because the blade is only in contact for a miniscule amount of time, but is there - and is where the blade came up with pink. But, it (theoretically) sharpens well. A carbon steel blade would be far and away the ideal - but those are crazy expensive.
1 day ago
Thanks, Marty. I really don't want it to be merely a gesture, though. He's been keeping it shaved, for a month or two, now, so the shears I use for the goats are just not gonna cut it. Ahem - pun intended.

I use a quick release on my helmet, but he hates them, because the beard gets in the way, and it pulls. Ugh...
2 days ago
John has kept a beard for years, largely because he's extremely allergic to chromium - a critical component (10% in regular stainless & 13% in surgical) in stainless steel. The fact that I love his beard (when it's neat) hasn't exactly hurt, either. But, last month, it just really got to him (particularly when trying to buckle his motorcycle helmet under his chin!) and he took it off. He's using a ceramic coated straight razor, but wears bifocal glasses, and it's often difficult for him to see what he's doing. I want to learn how to do it. He does so much for me, and if I can learn how to do this for him, and make it an enjoyable, relaxing ritual for him, that's what I want to do.

Unfortunately, it's not something that comes naturally, to me, and I'm REALLY struggling. I let him strop the blade, then I got the towel nice and hot, wet, but not dripping. I put it on his face & neck, while I trimmed his hair, and when he deemed the beard soft enough, I lathered up the brush and dabbed it thoroughly over his face. I was careful with the angle, and went in - cheek first, to get the feel for handling the blade and how it played against the whiskers. By the time I was halfway done with the first cheek, my frustration level was just crazy. It seemed like I was trying to cut the whiskers with a butter knife. Every stroke left more than it cut, and the whiskers were cooling off and firming up so fast, it felt like I was losing ground - then, the shaving cream and ridiculously few whiskers on a stroke came up pink. I know and understand that nicks happen, even when he's doing it, himself. I'm not generally bothered by blood - but, the fact that the whiskers were in full-on rebellion, refusing to leave their porous homes, the shaving soap was losing its foam, and now, I was already drawing blood... well. The next thing was just the icing on the cake - tears of frustration - and I couldn't see what I was doing. So, I handed him the razor, and let him finish it, before it would simply have to be restarted, from the beginning. He was very understanding, encouraging, and his usual sweet self. Dammit. It might actually have been easier, if he'd been a jerk about it.

So, here I am - still determined to figure this out. A couple of possibilities come to mind as things that might help: 1 - more initial stropping; 2 - a longer hot/wet towel phase; 3 - me giving myself a bit more grace; 4 - practice, practice, practice! And 5 - tips, thoughts, ideas, from y'all - my awesome permies peeps. Help? Please?
2 days ago
Personally, I see it as something with a 'crust'. On top, on bottom, both, or even a hand-held one - hand-pies, turnovers, Scottish & English meat pies, Stromboli,  calzones, etc. Pizza, pot pie, and quiche also qualify, in my personal 'pie lexicon'. This might seem a bit... odd? But, even with a classic dessert pie, I'll often eat them in hand, if they're firm enough. I struggle with thinking of shepard's pie and cottage pie as a 'pie', for their lack of crust, of some type, and see them as a casserole.

BUT!! My definition of a 'crust' has changed dramatically, since I began this wheat-intolerance-paired-with-keto odyssey, too! I've used  many crisply-cooked things as a crust: meat (including bacon), cheese, potatoes (not keto, but tasty, when I want a carb-up) a few specific veggies, nuts, seeds, and... I feel like I'm leaving out a couple things... And, I still love a crust I can eat in hand, though a softer crust is not necessarily a deal breaker.
2 days ago

Greg Martin wrote:I picked up a berry picker this year and love it!!!  Can't believe I didn't get one sooner.

THAT is what I need! We have acres of wild blackberries, and I just can't stand in the heat(seems like it's always 100°F+, when they ripen), in my thorn-protective clothes, long enough to hand pick enough for more than one dessert.
2 days ago
Some things are constant - a good, sharp knife, gloves, essential oil insect repellent, and protective shoes, for example. Other things are dependent on what & when I'm foraging, like: containers - i.e. an appropriately sized basket (berries, leaves, whole plants, blossoms...), bag (mainly mushies), or bucket (roots, tubers, other messy things); shoes (hot dry weather, primarily low-risk areas) or boots (cool/wet weather, brambles, venomous snake hazards, etc); sequiturs (for anything too sturdy to cut with merely a knife, like branches for bark tinctures); a small shovel &/or gardening claw (roots, tubers, whole plants).

Also good to have - a broad-brimmed hat, water or herbal tea, a pad or something to sit on (for resting my achy joints, recovering from whichever chronic ailment decides to attack me, etc), and my phone, because if my hypermobility issues cause me yet another fall, I may need emergency assistance to get back in, from whichever part of our acreage I'm foraging, at the moment, as well as for taking pictures of the abundant flow & fauna, here.

It sounds like a lot to carry, but it all either fits into my pockets, clips to belt loops, has a holster, has a carrying strap to be slung over a shoulder, or is just worn. So, my hands are, with the exception of the basket, essentially empty. Even the bags roll or fold up into themselves, and only need to be carried in hand, if they get filled - if they're not tied to my belt.
3 days ago
"My inclination is to, at the very least, cut away the side that isn't producing fruit and see how the rest goes next year."

This would be my inclination, as well - if I didn't just leave it be. Over the time that is been downed, I'm sure there has developed an amazing symbiotic ecosystem within its branches, and in its specific shade. There is something to be said for lovely fruit within easy reach, shelter from the dangers above, for small critters, and support for other lovely fruits in easy reach. Maybe on the shady side, I'd add some perennial culinary &/or medicinal shade loving, flowing herbs, and on the sunny side, some sun loving ones, and possibly put a beehive nearby, as well. But... I think your photos show it as a thing of beauty and productivity, so...
3 days ago
Usually he here, too. Though one year ago I had was an old flannel shirt, so I ripped it into strips, and used that. It made it through the growing season - just barely.
5 days ago