roberta mccanse

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since Apr 19, 2015
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Near Libby, MT
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Recent posts by roberta mccanse

I make a salad with pickled onions, and some of the juice, mandarin oranges, and black olives on lettuce from the garden.

I do reuse pickling liquid, as you suggest. Pickle beets first then use that lovely red liquid to pickle hard boiled eggs. They are so pretty when sliced in half.
1 month ago
Garden with a view (of weeds and the Cabinet Mountains.
1 month ago
Hoop house tomatoes in stacks of tires.
1 month ago
Here a few photos of my bath tub garden with a view. Weeds weeds weeds! Lots of spring rain made them hard to keep up with.
1 month ago
I know that I have attached these pictures to previous discussions but here they are again, hoping to be helpful. I have collected the bath tubs from various places, Restore, etc. We have added one or two a year. My initial problem was ground squirrels that ate everything they could reach. Bathtubs on cement blocks solved that problem.

It does mean less planting area and because I garden on the roof of my earth sheltered home, everything gets more sun, more wind, more weather in general. I put brush and small sticks in the bottom of the latest four tubs, lots of dirt around  wood, straw and chicken straw layered with compost and then (shamefully purchased) good garden dirt. (Note Costco’s huge bags of potting soil for about $7 each. I bought three, had to pull the dirt out of the bags, in the back of the Subaru, in smaller buckets full until I had emptied each enough to lift out.)

The tubs are at waist level, drain holes are adequate for drainage, and weeding is easy. I need more trellising for squash to climb but these are difficult to anchor in our rock heavy dirt. The hoop house is for tomatoes growing in stacks of tires. Cattle panels bent over a frame made of two by six boards is easy to cover and partially uncover as weather demands. The metal collars around the tires are probably less necessary now as I think the ground squirrels have thrown up their hands and left town. And sheet metal collars aren’t going to stop the pack rats that once hauled off an entire plant.

I had a lot of help getting the tubs up to the garden and lifted onto the blocks but now it’s a permanent installation and, at eighty, my gardening life is easier.

Whoops, apologies, I have lost the old photos, will get some more to sends today.
1 month ago
My somewhat distant neighbor, she’s about four miles through the woods, has for many years grown a really large garden called “Joanne’s Garden of Eatin”. People were welcome to come, pick from a list of what as ripe, and leave a little money in a jar. She has a wealth of gardening knowledge so visiting her was always a reward, produce not withstanding.

But this year when I ran into her at a farmer’s market, she said that she was going to close the garden. I think that she is pushing ninety and she can’t find help. Most of us have gardens of our own and can’t lend much of a hand. Of course she’s still growing things, she may feel that some people were taking advantage. But she said that if I came by, and the gate was locked, to just come up to the house for a key.
(Nobody is going over the fence which is electrified to keep the deer out.)

She’s been a treasure for so long. I will visit, knock on the door and hope that she can come out to her garden gazebo for a chat. She needs to know that she’s missed.
1 month ago
The soup from scraps thing is a great idea. When I clean out the refrigerator I usually make soup with “whatever “. An alternative, depending on what is leftover, is meatloaf made with “whatever “ that gets ground up and stuck together with egg.

I shred and freeze cheese that has been in there a while. And I save celery tops and broccoli stems etc. in freezer baggies for soup stock. The chickens get wilted greens and, as a side note, when it’s available I get a “chicken box” at the grocery store for $.50 full of almost old or unattractive greens and other stuff. A lot of it is washable and edible and the chickens do get a lot of it.

One thing that I may not do again is to save root vegetables from the end of season garden by packing them in sand or sawdust. They tend to lose flavor over time. And I prefer canning to freezing as it is more efficient in the long run and things keep longer.  Herbs get hung upside down in paper bags in the very cool garage. I freeze bread crumbs from stale bread. And these days I bake bread, refusing to pay grocery store prices. I keep a couple of loaves each of while, half wheat, and oatmeal bread (the favorite) and a few dinner rolls in the freezer.  

My mother was a Depression survivor do I grew up believing that it wa a sin to waste anything, especially food. And if something ends up at n the compost I don’t feel that is waste.
2 months ago
Driving through Iowa we sometimes came upon an Amish buggy and mule set up to sell hand woven baskets, sometimes produce as well. These were usually tended by older children. I remember one in particular where a young girl in full Amish garb sat near the buggy reading a “bodice ripper “ novel. Ha. Sorry no picture.
4 months ago
The only water catchment system I have is a gutter at the bottom of an overhang I put outside my garage doors. The gutter directs water, snow melt, etc. to a rock lined ditch that waters a maple tree planted at the bottom. I considered gutters, and a rain barrel, on a narrow overhang that is over my directly south facing windows but I'm not sure how much water I would collect. In any case it hasn't happened yet. Ha.
4 months ago
Several years ago someone recommended something called a Korean Spice Bush. I bought it and planted it and it bloomed fragrantly for years until I sold the house. I am sure that it has another name or two but I don't know what it was called elsewhere.
4 months ago