Jennifer Paulson

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since Nov 13, 2016
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foraging food preservation ungarbage
I love getting my hands dirty, breaking a sweat and "earning" my next meal. Currently living in the (Pacific Northwest)urban environment makes this tricky. I'm actively looking for acreage to develop and build our forever home on. In the mean time I am skill building to better equip myself for the life I want to live. Recently I've spent a summer propagating for an organic farm, built a strawbale home with another planned in June 2018, starting plant guilds along the lines of baby food forests, apprenticed for local plant medicine, canning and other methods of preserving, vermiculture, sewing, seed saving, huglekultur, helping other raise chickens & basically whatever random thing I can manage to get involved in.
Paul's Kickstarter for the 2017 PDC was my gateway into the Permies community. I've been quietly getting to know my way around and will hopefully feel confident to make worthy posts soon.
I'm looking forward to meeting more of you.
Bellingham, WA. United States
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Recent posts by Jennifer Paulson

Nicole Alderman wrote:

Thank you for this! I see this plant when I walk with my kids down our private road, and I've been wondering what it was!

I think P. frigidus has the coolest flower. It looks alien. It's become a real treat to see bloom near the end of winter (coastal WA). It puts up it's flowering stalk first, then works on leaf and seed production. I haven't harvested the leaves, but they are used for an antispasmatic once dinner plate sized (smaller is mildly toxic if I'm remembering correctly). It's been awhile, but I used to harvest the root as part of my popular pain salve formula.

Jeremy Baker wrote:I’m 90% convinced it is a massive patch of P. Waterleaf. This range map I found shows it as absent from my county, Skagit, and Snohomish, but I found it in Whatcom County. Thanks for turning me onto it. It’s not flowering yet.

Hi Jeremy, I'm in Whatcom County! We do have a lot of waterleaf ground cover here (I am very excited to learn that it is edible). At least in the lowlands, coltsfoot has already flowered so if you didn't see seedheads, it likely wasn't coltsfoot. I've noticed waterleaf often grows with coltsfoot but coltsfoot doesn't always grow with waterleaf.  I've also noticed waterleaf and Vanilla Leaf (Achlys triphylla) growing together. It took be a couple outings of really paying attention to it to finally be able to comfortably identify it.  


Happy to see someone from my area on the forums, so I wanted to say hi.
I see this plant everywhere and taught myself it's name and identification a few years ago. I like to wild harvest food and medicine but had no idea this was edible. Thanks so much for opening a rather large door for me!

Kate Downham wrote:The recent coronavirus outbreak has me wondering about ways to not catch contagious things. Do you have any ideas of herbs that would help? And the best way to use them for this purpose?

Some ideas of mine:

  • Car diffuser with a ‘thieves’ blend of essential oils
  • Making some kind of stuff to put on hands after touching things in shops and public places - would a tea made from a particular herb be good for this? Or a kind of salve made with herbs and/or essential oils? Do you have any recipes for something like this to share?
  • Maybe a salve with thieves essential oils in it to rub on the wrists and smell often?
  • Would putting a salve made with smelly herbs or very diluted essential oils below the nose help?
  • Boosting immunity with lots of vitamin C (I started a separate thread about this here)

  • Do you have any ideas?

    I made a hand sanitizer with wild harvested usnea (wind blown/from the ground), douglas fir, Western red cedar, oregon grape extracted in isoproply alcohol with aloe vera and sweet orange essential oil. I can't really say how well it works or how it would work against something like this - but I keep it in my car and home and use it occasionally when I feel it's necessary which is only a few to several times a year. I've stayed healthy and if nothing else, it at least made me *feel* better to have it in certain situations.
    2 months ago

    Mark Brunnr wrote:Yeah I've found that I strike a balance between lowest price and let's call it "collateral damage" where getting the cheapest price has other costs you may want to consider. For example I like buying certain foods like beans, lentils, oats, and rice in bulk, and I bring back the bags I used last time, or reuse other plastic bags. Once home I refill the 1 gallon glass jars and put the bags back in the big cloth bag for the next trip. If a loss leader might save me a few bucks for a purchase that lasts a few months, but I end up with additional trash I can't reuse, then I have to decide if it's worth it in that case.

    I've been testing myself as far as minimizing trash, even recycling, as I will eventually be on a property where there is no trash pickup and the recycling center is 20 miles away for me to take a load in there. Since some paper waste can be reused my goal has been minimizing the rest, and I'm down to 1 can of recycling per month, and outside of my dog's waste I haven't had to put out the regular trash can in the last 6 months.

    Hi Mark, I can completely relate. Grocery shopping is such a dilemma for me as there are so many decisions to be made with each item. I thought you might be interested in the company Azure Standard, based out of California, if you aren't already familiar. I like to order bulk from them and split with my friends and neighbors.

    Congratulations on your lack of taking the trash out! My husband and I have been weighing our garbage for the past couple of years (2018= under 13lbs and 2019 = under 3lbs!), I volunteer for the chore as a joke because it's so rare that we empty it. Now we're trying to do better with our recyclables too which had been getting taken out every week or two (our container is a home sized paper shredder bin). One big change/success so far this year is making our own english muffins. We haven't had a goal other than to do "better," but I like your goal post of 1 can a month, so I think I'll try for that.

    I plan to have a dog(s) in the future once we get into our own home. I've always planned to have a dedicated worm compost for their waste. I'm not sure if this is a thing, but I think it should be! Maybe that's a suggestion you can work into your set up.

    Good luck to you and your future property.
    2 months ago

    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

    (Additionally, I once attempted to put castor oil on a pimple near my eye, and got castor oil in my eye. So NOT fun!! Isn't it nice when we can learn from others' mistakes? )

    Fun fact - I once got a large grain of sand/ small rock in my eye when plastering a strawbale house. Flushing with water and my other attempts didn't help, but a couple drops of caster oil did the trick!
    4 months ago

    Nicole Alderman wrote:I am very excited to announce the FOUR WINNERS of this awesome book. Drum roll please....

    Congratulations to:

    Timothy Markus
    Jennifer Paulson
    Debi Baker
    Ricky Chilcott

    I'll be sending each of you a PM--please respond by Monday to claim your book!

    Thank you so much, Jim Reiland and Bob Theis, for answering so many questions. You have really gifted all of us with your knowledge. Thank you again!!!

    I dare say I am more excited! Thank you so much. I can't wait for this happy mail to arrive!
    1 year ago

    Mariah Wallener wrote:We're planning to build a home on our property (we're in an ancient mobile right now) and originally I was going to go with Cob, but I'm concerned about it's low insulative properties. I didn't think strawbale was an option since our climate is quite wet (i.e. high humidity in winter). Then I read a blog for strawbale building that claims it's not an issue. There are many cob houses around here but I don't know of any completely strawbale ones offhand (I heard of one person who put strawbale on the north wall, see below).

    Here's my technical question: strawbale (and cob) allow water vapour to pass through the walls. The idea is that in winter, when people tend to be staying indoors alot and interior moisture content is high, the water vapour migrates outside through the walls because it's presumed that when it's cold outside it is not also humid. However, in our region we have mild wet winters and humidity can be high, so what happens when you have high humidity on both sides of the wall? Not a problem with cob, but with strawbale if the moisture doesn't migrate through the wall (because it's roughly equal on both sides) then it can sit in the wall and that is not a Good Thing when you have straw in there.

    One person I spoke to last year (local) said they used strawbale on their north facing walls but put 4 inches of cob on either side (interior wall and exterior wall) to address this concern. I'm trying to figure out the mechanism by which this helps reduce the problem I mentioned above.

    Hi Mariah, I'm passionate about strawbale construction and am very curious as to how your project turned out and which direction you decided to go.  I'm in WA state just south of Vancouver, BC.  A few years ago I helped bale and plaster (scratch and brown coats) a strawbale house on Whidbey Island (~800 sq ft). Last summer I helped with another between Grand Forks, BC and Spokane, WA that was twice the size.  The method used here is to have a stem wall to catch the splash back and a good sized overhang on the roof. There is a strawbale community on Lopez Island that had no roof overhang and had 30% moisture in their bales from a leak.  It was fixed, but best to do it right the first time! Just like anyone in this area, with a good hat and set of sturdy boots you're off to a great start.

    For moisture concern in the bales we used lime plaster inside and out (less maintenance then earthen plaster) for it's hydrophobic properties. It is flexible, strong and breathable. It even hardens under water! It is a bit less breathable however then earthen plastic, and in some circumstances an earthen wall might be a better choice in a kitchen so long as it has proper venting, heat exchange condenser, drain out etc.  The place to source it on the West Coast of the US is I hope that is helpful!
    The website is a great resource.  I helped build these homes as part of a week long workshop with Andrew of another great site for more information. I cannot recommend it high enough. I plan to build myself a strawbale home in the future and would love to know if you ended up building one yourself. - Jen
    1 year ago

    Tom Haile wrote:For making coffee. I put medium ground coffee in a big mason jar filled with water and put it in the frig for a day. Then I strain out a cup. Cold brew coffee eliminates the need for a heat source.

    Has anyone tried sun brewed coffee?

    Yes! I just wanted to echo Tom's tip... I was a barista and coffee shop owner in past lives. Toddy was all the craze and now it is called cold brew, but they are one and the same.  There are specific plastic brewers (they are just pitchers with a hole and filter in the bottom) to buy for this process with micro filters and rubber stoppers to replace. I had two set ups (because I was a sucker), I believe they ran about $30-40USD each.  Many years later, wanting a cold and less acidic "filling" coffee for a hot day in the garden I brewed my own toddy in a half gallon jar to use in iced lattes.  

    First off why it's nice, then how to make it --
    toddy/cold brew is straight espresso, essentially, shot per shot, it is 67% less acidic (that's what the packaging boasted on the name brand plastic pitcher) then the hot water extracted espresso, it has more caffeine due to the long brew time and a very smooth taste. It can be served cold or hot.  I portion 2 cups of medium coarse ground coffee, something similar to french press, and pour filtered water over them in a slow steady circular motion. After the grounds are moisten I wait a minute to let it bloom which just means that you're letting the trapped gases escape which improved flavor. I then top the jar, put a lid on it and store it out of direct sunlight.   After several hours I'll give it a shake but I wait 18-24hrs to strain it.  I strain it through one of those netted produce/nut milk bags and store the filtered coffee in the fridge for up to 10 days.  I like toddy for iced lattes with whole milk and maple syrup. It becomes a snack! Otherwise, I'm a black drip/pour over sort of person. My worms love the spent grounds!

    *pro tip* freeze toddy in ice cube trays to chill cold coffee drinks so they don't taste watered down.
    1 year ago
    Welcome to the forms Thomas, thank you for sharing your knowledge.  I'm in the process of purchasing land and deciding what to do with it.  Food forests have always been something I have wanted to do. I have helped to start  small sections of them but don't have any experience with them long term.  I can't wait to read your responses to questions and get a hold of your book.
    1 year ago