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Faye Streiff

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since Oct 08, 2015
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Organic/biodynamic farmer, Naturopath, herbalist, writer. 
Appalachian Mountains
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Recent posts by Faye Streiff

We eat them as a side to breakfast and other meals.  Sauté slices in butter and sprinkle with ginger.   My best soup recipe had a sweet potato, an Irish potato, minced onion, garlic added.   Add, salt, ginger, cumin and cinnamon ad lib.  Just  throw the roasted pumpkin or butternut slices in the blender with peeled baked potatoes, add a little cream or whole milk, simmer half an hour until flavors blend.   More pumpkin or butternut than total of all other ingredients.  Add puréed garbanzo beans as an option, or not.  

My husband likes them roasted with just butter, ginger and/or cinnamon.  I like a little honey on top and a sprinkle of nuts.  Use in stir fry, in sweet bread as someone already mentioned, or made into pumpkin butter to use on toast or in cookies, etc.  I also use it in pancakes or waffles.  

Our pigs love them too, and keep breaking down the fence or lifting the big gate off the hinges and ravaging the patch. Oh well, as my great Grandmother used to say, “it all comes back to the table.”  We were growing most of them for winter feed for the pigs anyway, they just got a head start.  Makes them put on weight like crazy when they eat a lot of them.   Meanwhile we keep reinforcing the fence, but damage already done for this year.

The seeds are good roasted, and high in protein, zinc and other nutrients.  

Butternuts store better than regular pumpkin.  I still have one from last year, blemish free, but a little dehydrated.  Just keep in a room, off the floor where they get good ventilation and do not freeze.  I usually grow the long neck butternuts because they get up to 25 pounds and seem to be more productive, but a lot depends on how much compost is under them.  
1 week ago
I think a lot of people have heard of rocket mass heaters,  but too daunted by the task of building one to do it.  Not everyone is a McGyver.  I’d like to see ads for people who build them, and I think it is a very viable industry, especially for those who will travel and build on site.    

Often when I did not have much wood,  or so overworked I did not have time to gather it, I merely tried to keep the house warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing.  My house doesn’t usually freeze anyway, never had frozen pipes due to (1)house being on a slab. (2)earth bermed on one end and part of back. (3) sunroom on the front sequesters heat.  (4) plastic over all windows.  I leave the plastic up year around on most windows.  I like to use the window plastic with the double sided tape because it seals all leaks.  Made sure there were no air leaks around doors and windows, recaulking or sealing where necessary.  The plastic layer seems to insulate even better than double pane windows.  Then in winter, heavy drapes which can open during daytime to let sunlight (passive solar gain) in and close at night.  

Apartment dwellers are a different ballgame, but they have the benefit of being sandwiched between other units unless they are at the end, and even so, still have adjoining units which tend to be more efficient because it is not all an outside wall.  

If your house has walls which get very cold in winter, try putting decorative quilts over them.  It helps.   Run your hand over any electrical outlets and if cold air is coming thru cut up closed cell thin foam to put inside.  Check your ductwork too, with all registers coming in.  Just closing them doesn’t insulate much if cold air is getting around the ductwork because it was not properly insulated.  I put small sheets of the foam inside the registers too, to block that cold air coming in, as I no longer use the central system.  Made a huge difference.  

The trick to staying healthy and reasonably comfortable in a cold house is not only to layer and dress for it, but have a warm place to sleep at night or to crawl into to warm up if you get too cold.  Drape the bed with a makeshift tent covered with warm blankets, with a small opening to allow air circulation so you can breath.  It keeps the weight off your body and your own body heat will surprisingly heat the area to make the air you are breathing much warmer.  Keep any clean clothes you are going to change into in the morning, inside it with you so they are warmer.   Keep in mind a thin mattress will allow cold air to penetrate and keep you cold from the bottom.  If that’s all you have, put cardboard, newspaper or blankets underneath it, or a couple of extra blankets under you for an extra layer of insulation. A space blanket works really good on the bottom of the mattress.  Just be aware of getting too warm, and remove some top layers if you do.  Maybe a flannel sheet is enough over the tent part and jammies that are not quite so warm.   Also eat to stay warm in winter, more fats/oils in the diet, as that is your most efficient fuel.  Plenty of Vitamin C too, it keeps the immune system up and helps circulation.   Don’t stop preparing healthy meals just because you are cold and want to hibernate.  

Just a few short generations ago our ancestors were hardy and skilled at survival.  The present generations of kids scares me.  I worry for their survival,  because they have no basic skills or very few of them do as far as how to live off grid, and come up with food and fuel.  

We all need to start networking with neighbors, checking on each other and helping each other any way we can.  We’ll make it thru this also.  
2 weeks ago
I had a Border Collie, Aussie mix and he once tackled a raccoon because  it was stalking our cat.  The dog loved the cat, they were best buds.  Took him 45 minutes with another dog tag teaming from behind and nipping the raccoon before they could dispatch it.  Tough fight and he ended up with a long gash across the snout and a permanent scar.   But dogs are definitely a deterrent.  

I live near heavy forest and the wood rats raid my garden.  The cats don’t seem to do anything about it.  I hope someone has a solution.  

The deer problem is pretty much resolved since we put wood lathing strips in the fence to raise it 8 feet high.  So far, so good.  Previously they were wiping out everything.  
1 month ago
I remember Grandmother saying that when Grandfather made cane syrup it would be 3 days and 3 nights of slow simmering over the fire.  There was a long shallow  metal container with low fire built under it,  shaped like a big “U”, with a roof over it.  His friends would all come over and bring moonshine, of course.  Grandfather had to be careful and not drink too much, else everyone would fall asleep and the valuable syrup burn and be worthless.   Always had to be a designated syrup watcher/stirrer.  He had quite the reputation as the  best syrup maker  in the county.  

Once, after Grandmother had taken the Switchel out to the men, she and my Mother, still a young child at the time, went berry picking.  Grandmother unknowingly stepped into a rattlesnake nest and as they started their ominous whirring to warn before striking, she paused with one foot in the air.  Mother had to run back a long ways to get the men to come and rescue her.   She had to maintain that raised foot position until then, or else get bitten multiple times.   Grandfather always tanned the hides and sold them.  Helped buy the staples they needed, namely salt and tea.  Successful rescue.  
1 month ago
It is one of the more nutritious, high protein forage crops for ruminants.  Also feed to the pigs.  
1 month ago
When I was very young, maybe 5 years old, I vaguely remember my Grandmother soaking corn in a barrel with wood ash added.   Was this taking the place of the pickling lime perhaps?   I remember it swelled up and the husks easily slipped off, but don’t remember what she did with it after that.  
1 month ago
  Welcome and please tell us a little about what you are doing.  
1 month ago
My rabbits always loved the ragweed, including greater ragweed, which is pretty high in protein.  Keep in mind that mulberry is a complete protein and has high digestibility compared to most other forages.  
1 month ago
I started growing in pots due to the voles, wood rats and rabbit problem.   The rats still jump up into the strawberry beds, 18 inches off the ground, and raid the fruit.
Those black pots get hot quickly, drying out and overheating the roots.  Some like it hot, especially the hot peppers.  Rest, I put a suspended cover cloth over, like broccoli, so they can survive.  
Never was able to grow eggplant here before, with the cool nights.  Pots worked great for that, but I put plenty of compost (we make our own), trace minerals plus extra cal/Phos, and humate and worm castings.  That makes a super potting mix, mixed into native soil.  For our compost we use goat manure, poplar and oak leaves, grass clippings, weeds and turn it often so it doesn’t become anerobic.  Guess those eggplants like warm roots too.  I buried bottoms of some of the larger pots into the soil about 4 inches, for the pole beans, to keep them cool.  Getting 3 # a day sometimes, off about 12 plants.   They are growing over a cattle panel trellis bent to make a tunnel.  Deer proof and has chicken wire on all sides and front door to keep out critters.  Easy to pick and it provides partial shade for lettuce in pots below.  It can’t take the summer heat without shade.  

Sweet potatoes are in totes up on a slatted table with pvc hoops and row cover.  Look like little covered wagons.  This is to keep them warmer at night which they need to produce tubers.  Also we wrapped rough edges on the cattle panel wire ties so we can throw greenhouse plastic over for winter and extend the season another month or so.   Still experimenting.  Getting older makes for bending and planting/weeding/harvesting very difficult if not impossible.  

Constant rain has made fungal spots develop tissue necrosis on the eggplant, so I’ll go out and spray diluted whole milk when the rain stops and reapply every time it rains, to protect them from further damage.  We had 3 months of almost no rain, now it is every day, lots getting waterlogged.  Pots drain better if a little sand is put in the mix.  

We cut thin lathing strips and wove through the cattle panel perimeter fencing around the garden to (finally) keep deer out.  So far, so good.  
2 months ago
Everything I would have said has already been covered.  Good job folks!  We all need to be seriously thinking about these things.  Our lives may depend on it this winter.  
2 months ago