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Denise Kersting

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since Nov 24, 2014
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South Central PA
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Recent posts by Denise Kersting

I wonder if elderberries could be trained as a living fence, or if it would just be a pruning nightmare. They are so easy to sprout from cuttings, I've got a jar of them starting in my kitchen window for planting at my cabin.
3 months ago

John C Daley wrote:Instead of those T joints with compression fittings, you may be able to get push-in fitting that cost a lot less.

Absolutely, I got a big deal on a kit that came with the compression fittings/hoses/hose-bib connector/bleeder valves (used on last year's "capsule" project) and several other fittings. It was a previously returned warehouse deal from the big "A" retailer in a beat-up box. The float valves do use a push connection that we were worried the hose from the kit would be too flexible to seal, but everything is holding for now. If I were starting from scratch, I'd go with push-fit connections.
3 months ago
So in my urban garden, I've wanted to make better use of my rain barrels for watering...but I'm also a lazy gardener. And one who likes to leave my garden to its own devices for weeks at a time to go camping or see family. What I wanted, was a way for my rain barrels to water my plants automatically. Last year I tried making capsule-type ollas (glued 2 terracotta pots to each other) and plumbed them with drip irrigation lines to a barrel. Without pressure behind them, the capsules worked "ok." Once filled, the pressure from the barrel would cause them to leak badly and they would drain the 85-gallon barrel quickly. This year I reworked the original idea and used larger flower pots, metal "lids," and a micro float valve for each pot. Once the float is lifted, the barrel pressure is removed from the terracotta pot, and only the water inside the pot applies pressure. My micro tomato & pepper garden is a month and a half late going in this year, but I think I've finally gotten the watering system automated with no electricity and no oversight. Hopefully I'll get a few more plants in the space but I struggled just getting these in this year so if this is all I grow in this bed so be it Attached are pics of the garden plot, olla/pots, and float valves. The brick visible in 1 pic is holding a temp blocking plate since I have 1 more lid and float valve combo to make so it is just to keep debris out of the flower pot underneath.
3 months ago

Nancy Reading wrote:... when the Doctor's not available!

I hope you get into the doc or an ER soon Nancy! I am still (1 yr later) dealing with joint pain. Not horrible, but I still have to stay on a low dose of the basic herbs in Buhner's standard protocol or the pain comes back.
3 months ago
If you have an area with cell signal, you could try a setup like we use at our cabin by using a cellular hotspot. We have a WeBoost 4G home booster/antenna with a "replacement" power cord that lets it be powered off our charge controller off a small solar panel that puts out 12 vdc. We voided all warranties by powering with said cable, but it works. I just don't know that you'd get an entire workday out of the thing without substantial batteries to supply it.
4 months ago
Thought I'd share another angle for curbing food waste at least for store-bought food. There is a program/app available in some areas that you to purchase food that is nearing its "best-by date" at roughly 50% of the normal cost. The benefit to stores is they can claim waste offsets and consumers get (sometimes) a big discount. It can be hit or miss as to what is available but I've been able to get a few deals and help keep something that a store would have tossed out of the waste bin. For anyone interested the app is FlashFood (you buy in the app and pick it up at the store).  Anyone that has it in their area and wants to can mooseage me for a savings code which I can detail if anyone is interested (I don't want to be spammy). Sometimes I've found regular store clearance prices are better, and sometimes it is difficult to know if you are getting a good price if the weight of the item isn't listed.

The best way I ever found to minimize food waste I don't currently practice (shame on me). When I used to sit down and make meal plans for a week, I would factor for using all of an item (i.e., if one recipe used 1/2 a green bell pepper, I would need another to use up the remaining). As long as I followed my meal plan I'd get to the end of the week and have almost or no waste. Boy, we ate cheaply then, but it was very limiting.

I love to keep a bag of veggie scraps in the freezer. Onions, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, ect. Once I have a full bag I make veg stock out of it and then compost the filtered out remains. Better than any store-bought stock
4 months ago
My M-i-L sometimes finds bags of clothes for a quarter or so from thrift stores and then pulls apart the seams to get useable fabric. She would then use that fabric to make comfort quilts for people with serious illnesses. I think that was a great way to reuse old clothes and gave comfort to plenty of folks in need. I agree with May about getting an old machine, I found an old 1930s-40s Singer in a nice wood desk cabinet for $25 with a ton of feet and spare bobbins and it is a workhorse of a machine.
4 months ago

Misty May wrote:
That is magnificent.

Thank you, I'll tell my mom your comment. She was thrilled when I said it got thumbs-ups! She turned 75 this year and I think it was her best work. She likely won't quilt again, she lost all the feeling in her fingertips due to chemo-induced neuropathy.  But now she focuses on counted cross-stitch.
5 months ago
Sounds great! I know there is one Amish, farm market vendor here that smokes Cooper American cheese. The first time I had it, I thought it was actually a smoked white farmhouse cheddar. Nope, just an American cheese w/o the yellow coloring He told me there was only a small window that he could make it every year, he said it had to be really cold outside for it to smoke properly without melting to nothing. I have no idea if that is true but it was really good too! Good luck, smoked pepper jack sounds amazing!
5 months ago