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

When I plant my tomatoes I toss a scant handful of epsum salts into the hole. (Noticed that carrots that got an accidental dose did exceptionally well.) Later, as plants are flourishing I crush Tums and add a tablespoonful around the stems for calcium to prevent blossom end rot. Of course they get deep watering a couple of days a week. So far so good.
Weather in northwest Montana was difficult, a late spring that carried through June, wet and cold. Very hot in July. And then a hard freeze September 8 and 9. I was admittedly late getting things started indoors. All in all the tomatoes, and I, not happy.

Stupice does come early and keeps bravely on all summer but I find the flavor uninspiring. I usually get good Mortgage Lifter, big, tasty, sometimes funny looking, but not this year, just a few. I tried Latah and it did pretty well when it finally got started. One survived a vicious ground squirrel attack. I just picked the green ones as we are having cold rain, probably another hard freeze in the morning. San Marzano did well. My grandson, who is a sushi chef, really liked it.

And of course, Sun Gold is great. One tomato that surprised me was Lemon Boy. It survived outside of the hoop house. And a couple large cherry plants that I got a deal on because they had already started to crawl, produced pretty well. The gardener who sold them to me couldn't remember what they were called.

Actually none of them did as well as I would like. I don't have the heart to stress them but I think that the weather did that for me.
An amazing accumulation of knowledge, and what a lot of work. My aspiring chef grandson needs this book.
1 month ago
Thanks, Mik. I do can cherries and raspberries, sometimes pears and apples, in light syrup. I will probably let it go at that.
1 month ago
I also like to can pie fillings, apple, blueberry lime, especially. My problem is that if they don't get eaten during the first year or two they separate and the thickening tends to gel. Should I be doing something differently when I construct them or should I just try to get them eaten more quickly? Maybe the thickening agent makes a difference? Thanks for any suggestions here.
1 month ago
One day I discovered a kitten in a stack of insulation in the basement. A feral mom had given birth to a litter there and this little black thing was first out, hissing at me and not giving ground. Her sisters and brothers all found homes, were easy to get along with and even affectionate. I didn't need another cat but "Speed bump" stayed, refusing to warm up to anyone.

She was quite reclusive and during a move I couldn't find her anywhere. I left my daughter with instructions to make sure that she had food and water until I could return and button up the house. Kids being kids she didn't do a very good job and when I got back I found Speedy not only approachable but personably begging me for food. I decided that we would have to fly to our new home together. I plied her with food and treats until I could get her into a travel carrier.

Off to the airport where, to my dismay, I was required to to remove her from the carrier for X-ray. Ha! The second I had her out she lept from my arms and was gone. I crawled under tables and behind couches trying to catch her but she streaked through TSA and I decided that she was probably going to have to become an airport cat, a black shadow haunting food courts after dark for unfortunate mice.

But by the time I finally got past the passport check, the baggage check, and the personal body scan, there she was. A couple of young and very fast agents had caught her! I yelled, "Put her in the carrier!" Whereupon the younger agent said, "She hasn't been through the X-ray". The older agent very cooley said, "It's a cat. Pat her down." And they did and she stayed in the carrier all the way to her new home.
1 month ago
I have to second the recommendation for Costco hearing aids. I'm on my second pair. While visiting my daughter her little dog found them where I had left them one night. She chewed them up. I cried and took them back to Costco. Guess what. They were one week short of the two year warranty and Costco repaired them at no cost to me. (The little dog will be visiting me next week and I will lock up my aids at night.)

In addition to the previously mentioned aging in place features of my "no stairs" earth sheltered house I have to say that I also love my door handles. We put them on almost all of our doors, instead of knobs, found them reasonably priced at Restore. There is something to be said for being able to open the door with your elbow when your arms are full.

Note: I am still in the market for a few of those mini dwarfs. Keebler be Damned.
1 month ago
Purity, per your discussion, above:

"concentrating on micro dwarfs. Much more fun to grow, nice to work inside when its 110 outside.....they aren't as stressed and we are all happy as clams with this arrangement. They are happier, they are easier to take care of....and like wise provide me with more than enough summer produce.  Because the (they?) are smaller, I have more variety."

I am fasinated by your having obtained "micro dwarfs" to help with your gardening. Wherever do you find these little beings? I could certainly use about a dozen of them to work in my gardens, indoors and outdoors as well. I assume that they don't eat much, can probably feed themselves. I could prepare a dormetory arrangement for them in my garage or perhaps they would prefer my Ferretear drop trailer? Please share your source so that I may engage a few, at whatever wage they require, before we have a hard freeze.
1 month ago
Beautiful pickles! Well done. This is pickle season.

Yesterday four pounds cucumbers made eight pints dill pickles. Today, whatever is in the garden (zucchini, carrots, green beans, peppers) plus onions and cucumbers from neighbors, and cauliflower from the store, made six pints of mixed pickles. Trying to remember how long they need to cure.