Jan White

pollinator
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since Dec 17, 2015
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forest garden tiny house books
BC Interior, Zone 6-7
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Recent posts by Jan White

Thanks for your advice, everyone.

I was convinced to try starting them this fall, but when I went to buy the spawn I found everyone was out until spring anyway. That's what I get for dithering.

So, I'll try to make it work in the spring and report back.
1 week ago
All the different baking dishes reminds me of my grandma's Schlemmertopf. It's an oblong, unglazed clay vessel.

You're supposed to soak it in water before using it to keep the food inside moist while cooking. I don't know how long my grandma had hers before she died and my dad took it over, but it's now so seasoned it no longer absorbs water. Almost black.

Roast dinners at my grandma's when I was a kid were always made in this, and that's what my dad uses it for. My mum will sometimes bake no knead bread in it.

I know they were sold in North America, but no one I knew had ever seen one. I saw one in a thrift store one time, but it looked newer than my grandma's.
1 week ago
TJ, in your experience how important is moisture right away? Fresh, unwatered wood chips okay for a week or three?
1 week ago
Around here it's husk fly. The maggots go into the soil to pupate, so if you put tarps down just before the nuts fall and make sure you don't leave any lying around you can keep the population down for next year.

The maggots make it harder to get the husk off, since it's black and slimy rather than green and solid, but that's it.

You don't want to leave the nuts in the slimey husks too long either. The tannins from the husk can leach through the shell and make your nuts more bitter.
1 week ago
Trying to upload the picture again. If it's not here, it's not that important
1 week ago
Hmmm. One vote for each option.

Eric, I'd much prefer to get the spawn put down in the fall cause spring is absolutely nuts for me between work and garden. If I'm putting spawn into fresh woodchips, can't water them initially, and then it doesn't rain or snow for three weeks, isn't that bad? And if it's too cold for the spawn to get established at all before spring anyway, is there really any point?

While it can get quite cold in the winter here, it doesn't always. I wouldn't say our winters are arid. This is a La Niña year so it will likely be colder than average with lots of snow. As long as we have good snow cover, things like peas can overwinter here, so I think mushroom spawn would be okay. I'm mostly worried about it drying out right after I put it down if I do it in November. You can see we get plenty of precipitation, but sometimes it all comes in one weekend or something stupid.
1 week ago
I haven't had success with mushrooms yet, but hoping winecaps will cope with my neglect.

I've got two options for starting my mushroom bed.

First option is to get fresh woodchips in the next month or so and innoculate them right away. The spawn will sit under snow most of the winter and hopefully start doing its thing next year.

Second option is to get the wood chips in the next month or so, have them sit over winter, and innoculate them in the spring.

My preference is the second option because the wood chips will be nice and hydrated from snow and rain by the time I get the spawn into them. If I innoculate in the fall, I can't put much water on the bed and will be relying on unpredictable rainfall. It's possible the spawn would dry out.

Will my second option result in growing every mushroom other than winecaps? I know winecaps are more aggressive, so I'm hoping it'll be okay. What do you guys think?
2 weeks ago
I've become quite enamored with thermos cooking. I use mine for cooking beans, soup, and porridge. For everything other than porridge, you just get all the ingredients into a pot and boil for ten minutes or so. Then you dump them in the thermos and it's ready later in the day.

I have a 710mL thermos for soup and a smaller one, maybe 400ish mL, for porridge. The smaller one is rated for 12 hour heat retention, and it works great for quick cooking things. I've cooked chickpeas in it a few times, but you need to boil the chickpeas a little longer initially for it to work. It's a little finicky, where as my bigger, 24 hour thermos is foolproof.

Thermos porridge is amazing. Before bed I put whatever grain I want into the little thermos and fill it up with boiling water. In the morning I have hot, perfectly creamy porridge.  Tiny grains like amaranth, teff, kaniwa need to be mixed with bigger ones or they cook into a solid lump.  I cook 100g of dry grain at a time and found 15g of that can be one of the tiny ones I mentioned.

If you got the timing figured out, you could probably cook rice so it came out firm and fluffy rather than porridgey. I've not tried it yet as I already do mine very successfully in a pot that I take off the burner and wrap up in towels to finish cooking.
2 weeks ago
Around 7 or 8pm my body starts shutting down for the night and by the time I go to bed I'm usually freezing.  I can't stand wearing pyjamas when I sleep.  Socks are borderline.  A duvet or super thick mattress topper under the bottom sheet helps a lot in keeping things warmer.  Fuzzy sheets so they don't feel so cold when you first get in are good.  

If the room is quite cold, but under the blankets is warm, I find I sometimes have trouble regulating my body temperature.  In those instances, a toque with ear flaps fixes the problem.

Hot water bottles are great.  I didn't know there were metal ones!  I'd recommend going with one of those if you decide to try it.  The last hot water bottle I bought smelled so strongly of rubber that I had to hang it in a drafty porch for a couple YEARS before I didn't get a raging headache from the fumes.

I agree that another living body is the best bed warmer.  Luckily, my husband's body does the exact opposite of mine - by bedtime, he's burning off all his extra energy from the day and is way too hot.  I get to put my cold toes on him to cool him down.  So maybe you guys just need another partner - must be a hot sleeper
4 weeks ago
The powerhungry website has a few sandwich bread recipes.  I think they're all grain free, so maybe not what you had in mind, though.  I haven't actually tried any of her sandwich breads, but I've had good results from other recipes on her site and the sandwich breads have good comments from other people.  She often uses chickpea flour in them.  I don't have an oven, so my "bread" is pancakes and crepes, usually made with chickpea flour.  From how it behaves in pancakes, I could see it doing really well in bread.

This is her kinda white bread recipe:

Ingredients

   1 and 1/2 cups (180 g) chickpea flour, sifted if lumpy
   1 and 1/4 cups (140 g) blanched almond flour
   1 tablespoon baking powder
   (optional/variable) 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
   1 and 3/4 cups (425 mL) water

Instructions

   Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Spray or grease a 9×5-inch (22.5×12.5 cm) loaf pan.
   In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, chickpea flour, baking powder, and (optional) salt.
   Add the water, whisking until completley combined.  Immediately pour into prepared pan.
   Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown and risen and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only moist crumbs attached.
   Transfer pan to a cooling rack and cool bread in pan for 20 minutes. Run a butter knife around edge of pan to loosen; remove bread and cool completely before slicing.



Her whole wheat type bread is lentils, tapioca starch, and psyllium.

Ingredients

   1 and 1/2 cups (300 g) uncooked brown lentils
   water to cover lentils
   1/2 cup water
   1 tablespoon olive oil (or oil of choice)
   3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
   1/2 cup (60 g) tapioca starch
   1 tablespoon psyllium husk
   2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Instructions

   Rinse the lentils to remove any debris and then place in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the lentils by at least 1 inch (2.5 cm). Soak for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain the lentils and transfer to a blender.
   Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Line a 9×5-inch (22.5 x 12.5 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper (leaving an overhang). Grease or spray exposed interior sides of pan.
   Add the 1/2 cup water, oil and salt to the blender with the lentils. Process, stopping several times to scrape sides and bottom of blender, until completley smooth.
   Scoop the lentil mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the tapioca starch, psyllium husk and baking powder until completely blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top. Give the loaf pan a bang on countertop to release any large bubbles. Re-smooth the top, if needed.
   Bake in the preheated oven for 48 to 53 minutes until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped.
   Remove bread from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Slice and eat as desired!



One of the things I love about her site is that when people ask about substitutions in the comments below the recipe, she's got all kind of helpful tips.  Most bloggers just answer with the standard, "Sorry, I haven't tried that, but let us know how it goes."
1 month ago