Lindsey Jane

pollinator
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since Jun 16, 2016
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duck books chicken food preservation cooking wood heat
Kitsap Penninsula, WA
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Recent posts by Lindsey Jane

I wear a necklace every day that has my daughter's birth constellation engraved on it in a little disc (She is a pisces). If I forget to put it on, I feel horribly disconnected from her. I know it's all in my head, but there you go. What can I say. Put it on when she was 3 months old and every day thereafter. When I die, after my body is composted, I told my Husband to throw the remains in a hole, put the necklace in there with them and plant a blueberry on top of me.
4 weeks ago
Yes! We got one of these this year, too. I had an old honeywell swamp cooler that was my mother's and it worked...okay. We got this and plugged it in and the first thing I said after it was running for about an hour was "this thing is a BEAST."
We love it.
I like what you said about using it in low humidity areas - that seems to be the trick. We positioned it in front of an open window and opened windows on the other side of the room and it creates this draft effect.
Our house is 1700 sf and our great room (kitchen, dining, living) is about 800 sq with 12 foot ceilings. This thing cools the great room really well. I can feel it in the kitchen, sitting at the dinner table and at the couch.
Best thing we have bought in the last 6 months, hands down.
1 month ago
What is this?

It is growing lustrously in morning sun, afternoon shade, in a gravelly, dirty area that once had a shed on top of it. I whacked it back 2 times this year before I forgot about it and then when it started growing again, I just fell in love with it. Plant ID app has been no help. It tells me it's clover. But it's almost 6 feet tall now and 4 feet across and is growing little nubbins on the end that will be....flowers? Nothing? I'm stumped.

Maritime northwest, close to the salish sea, cool and cloudy and rainy for most of the year.
3 months ago
Word.
I read through this thread and felt a heaviness lift in me.
The things that I have gotten wrong in setting up our farm have far outpaced the successes, but now in year four I feel like it's starting to balance. This year I only had 5 new fruit trees not break dormancy. I guess that'll teach me not to buy cheap trees! Put one more lesson in the books for Lindsey... I can't tell you how nice it is to hear other people feeling as downright defeated as I have felt. I don't want any of us to be in pain, but it makes me feel a lot less like a loser in permaculture if I know other people are standing on their land and feeling that same sinking loss and abject frustration that I have felt. Cyber hugs, all around. Virtual beer is ON ME.  
I am also a Therapist (as my side job - hee hee hee) and I have been actively working these last 6 months to institute a change in how I see things. I use this a lot with my amazing clients and we have some good success with it. We humans live with some pretty damaging universal truths. There are many! But there are two universal truths that I think about a lot. 1) We tend to focus on what we don't want and 2) what we focus on becomes bigger.
So. Taking that into consideration, I have decided this year that I will pay extra attention to the things that are growing well and pay a little less attention to the things that aren't growing so well (I'm looking straight at you, peach trees.) I'm choosing to pay attention to what I DO want, and create space for those things to become bigger in my mind. So far, it has helped me feel a bit more balanced and help ease the considerable self-criticism that can take hold when things don't work well. I have even gone so far as to name certain trees and stuff on the farm to help me pay attention to them - I greet them every morning and tuck them in at night when I put the animals to bed. Just little tricks of the mind that can have a big impact. And when I'm starting to feel very upset with the whole thing - cue the eagle attacks that have taken 3 ducks from me in the last 6 months - I go out on my land and walk around listing at least 5 things that are going well and that I'm proud of. (An old therapist trick but super effective. It takes 5 positives to outweigh one negative. Try it sometime. Game changer.)
Oh, and I wrap our young tree trunks in friggin' tin foil to save them from the varmints.
Be well, group. We are all doing good work. Even when we feel like we aren't.
3 months ago
I have been a soap maker for 10 years, and have decided on a recipe that gives us a nice hard bar, with less expensive ingredients, using the most sustainable products we can find while also be soft on the skin. We do not use my soap for shampoo - just body washing. I also make facial bars with this recipe.

25% coconut oil (sustainably produced, but who can really know for sure.)
50% olive oil (we use extra virgin, but you can use pomace oil, too and in some ways, I like pomace better - I just hate ordering things online and can't source it locally.)
20% clarified lard (from pigs our friends raise every year)
5% castor oil

Because of the high olive oil percentage, these bars have to cure for about 8 weeks before use - the higher the olive oil, the longer cure time. Although in the end, it produces a much harder and long lasting bar. From this base, I can use hydrosols for the liquid, any and all herbal ingredients (added at trace), essential oils and/or clays (like kaolin - good for facial bars).

We superfat at 5% and find that it creates a bar that is really sudsy (thank you lard and coconut oil) while also creating a firm and proliferate lather (the olive and castor oil).

Sometimes I use more lard and less coconut oil - and just change the lye/water amount using the lye calculator on Brambleberry.com

I use to go all fancy (think apricot and avocado oils, etc) but it meant much more buying online and getting shipments to the house and waiting. And the cost was much higher. Plus, I cook with 3 of the ingredients, so I always have them on hand and a bottle of castor oil lasts forever. I have found that no oil is completely without it's problems - from mislabeling to companies just straight up lying about how they harvest product to being shuttled halfway around the world, burning through layers of fossil fuels to get here.  I settled on the lesser of the evils when it comes to oil and went from there.

Anywho - whatever chance I have to talk soap, I'm on it, even though this post is old!
3 months ago
I'm on board with what everyone else has said! Such great minds. How much do I love the "blame it on the insurance guy" comment. Solid gold. I gotta remember to use that next time my kid asks for a trampoline.
When we moved to our farm, we apparently bought the house that was everyone's "hangout" - read: the place they come to burn things, drink beer, watch football in the shop and sled down the steep hill on our front pasture. The first year we were there, it snowed (of course) and the neighbors showed up at 8:00am with their sleds without asking and started sledding. This after repeated pop in's and hints about wanting to continue having bonfires on our property. I had always brushed them back and gently, with a smile, rebuffed their advances. I am from suburbia and I moved to the country to have no more pop ins, and some peace and quiet!
Here's how I handled the sledding:
I went outside in my pjs and told them to leave. With a smile. I also put it back on them - I remember telling the mom that I didn't understand why she thought it was okay to take her children to a house with strangers in it on a rural acreage. We could be murderers. What were they thinking? *smile*
There were other little incidences after that - some of the male neighbors coming to the property and walking around in my pasture without asking. I did the same thing. I went out there and asked them to leave. I said it with a smile - something like "gosh, boys. You know you have to ask before coming onto my property. Don't do it again. Now you run along and be sure to call next time to see if you can come over. " And showing them the way out. The whole time just smiling and behaving as if they should know better. Because, you know what? They should. I like to start from "yes" - meaning, I like to believe that people will ultimately do the right thing, but sometimes lack the understanding or knowledge of what the right thing is for another person. My job is to educate them, with lot's of respect and a general love for people. I like to start there and if they push more, then I unleash the kraken.
My mantra has been the Iron Marshmallow. Nice and kind and absolutely unyielding. It has worked so far. The point is to be direct and instruct them on my rules and do it with manners. Now they all leave us alone and we leave them alone. I also have released any and all interest in what they think of me. And every time I see them, I smile and wave and ask how they are doing! I don't want to be rude, but I want my boundaries respected.
(Once I started building hugel beds I think they all thought I was nutso anyways and now they keep a wide berth.)
3 months ago
I have not posted a reply to all of these great ideas!  I wanted to check back in with people to let them know what I have (sort of) settled on.
But first - a word of humble thanks to everyone who replied to my question. I so deeply value the input of the kind and knowledgeable people on this forum. Truly, a high caliber bunch.
A note about why I want to build a root cellar:
We are currently growing food on several integrated landscapes that cover about 2 acres. These include raised beds, an orchard and a row garden and then a big ole food forest. We grow LOT'S of root crops - carrots, potatoes, etc. We also brew a lot of stuff - cider, wine, etc. And the sauerkraut goes for days. We have lot's of preserves and canned fruit going into the winter. It's possible I go a bit overboard on the applesauce. Our house just gets way to warm in the winter with our hyper efficient wood stove, so even the coldest room stays about 65 degrees all winter. And it's super dry. Again - the wonders of wood heat. Not great for any other the stuff I preserve and sinking trash cans  (how much do I LOVE this idea!!) just wasn't enough space for what we needed. Although I gotta say, I love the simplicity of that idea so much.
We also have no basement.
And our house in on a hill.
Carved out of rocks and sand.
So I have  decided on placing the root cellar in a little ravine on the north side of our garage. It will resemble more of the wofati design - half underground and not buried too deeply.
We have no cedar on our land - only soft wood. So the cellar is going to be concrete block with a moisture barrier and slanted roof for runoff down the slope to the left side of the cellar. Because there won't be a ton of excavating, and I wasn't too keen on the earth bag design knowing our wet and wild climate, I decided to go with good old fashioned concrete. With a pounded gravel floor reinforced underneath with hardware cloth to keep the vermin out. It will be circular with racks built into the inside floor to ceiling.
We have friends who live entirely off grid down by the coast and they have a similar design, carved lightly into the side of their north facing hill and it has worked great for them. I'm not super jazzed about using concrete blocks (bc of the cost mostly) and if I can get my hands on some cedar logs, I may change my mind to a log based wofati design (I am so partial to how they look, how simple they are to construct and how the naturally work well).
Anyhow, that's where I'm at currently. If the end of the world doesn't speed up, I should be installing the cellar this summer. Photos to follow.

4 months ago
I'm a coffee grinder person to make the powders.
First I take raw garlic, pulse it in my food processor until it is a slurry, then spread on dehydrator mats that I only use for garlic and onions and dehydrate - then whir them in my designated coffee grinder. I always buy the grinders at Goodwill for a couple of bucks. This method has gotten me a good powdery situation with garlic.
Oh, and I dehydrate the garlic outside in our greenhouse because DANG it's pungent.
I also use coffee grinders to do our powdered herbs and also I have one for salt that I grind up extra fine to use on popcorn. I think I've got 3 now to use for all the things.
5 months ago
Hi there,
Hope you guys are all doing well!
I have been really intrigued by Edible Acres (find them on YouTube) and what he is doing to turn food scraps and grass clippings and other plant detritus into compost for his hens to turn while they eat it and all the bugs it generates. He also buys a bit of seed and sprouts it and adds it to the compost as he turns it, which the hens dine on - the sprouted seed of course being more nutritious than unsprouted, so he gets more bang for his buck. He then runs a large amount of dual purpose chickens on that compost in an intensive system that has almost no monetary input but keeps him in lot's of meat and eggs. He cycles the hens through and harvests them as they need the meat. He has LOT's of videos on this topic. Might be worth looking into if you want to use your space well, have access to meat and eggs, generate compost for your land, and keep your family fed.
The other idea I had is to run ducks a bit more free range on your land, as it allows. Or run muscovies, which I guess are technically geese, and they will do two things for you: eat the ticks and all the other other little nasties, and give you a harvestable meat source as you need them. In France, they put Indian Runner ducks in the vineyards to keep the insect population down, but runners are pretty lean, so I would go for something a bit heavier and quieter. If you have a good timbered area that they could run around in, it would decrease the predation from hawks and eagles, but you would still have to house them at night to ward off the ground varmints. They will eat young succulent plants, but just tend to trample the larger, more mature stuff, but it always bounces back. Our Muscovies have found my Egyptian walking onion bed and have basically been rolling around in it for 2 weeks, but the plants never seem too worse for wear.
I have raised Cornish and also Freedom Rangers. The Cornish hens seemed to eat me out of house and home and drive up my feed bill substantially, whereas the Freedom Rangers I could put on pasture and use them for turning garden beds, cleaning out potato crop areas and keeping grass down in our orchard. They got bigger slower but ended up costing me far less in the feed bill but more in actual labor. Harvesting and processing them was a bit different, too, as Cornish seem to be very fragile birds at harvest, whereas the Freedom Rangers were more robust, with thicker connective tissue and tougher skin. It's all a bunch of trade offs, right??
Right now, we pasture a rotating flock of dual purpose birds which I replenish in the spring with a big hatching of chicks. We have Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Astrolorps and Wyandottes and as we need meat, I have been gently culling the oldest (which is never more than 3 years old - max).
I can't speak to efficiency of feed to meat - but I think the efficiency of running good foraging chickens on pasture land that can be culled would cut your feed bill a bunch, kill all those nasty bugs, keep the grass down, and give you food.
Best of luck to you!

5 months ago
Agreed on the previous posts. The only way we stopped fox and weasel pressure for our hens and ducks was to build them houses made entirely out of wood, elevated up off the ground, with wood floors, drawbridge doors, and hardware cloth in all the vent openings. It was...intense. I can't even tractor our chickens anymore, because the predators dig underneath the sides and cause mayhem.

I ended up building our pastured hens a house on wheels and they get shut in every night but we can wheel them around the pasture and they spend the days in a large paddock with bird netting over the top to keep the ravens, hawks and eagles away. It still lets us pasture them but I only move them to fresh grass once a week because it's such a hassle to take down the fencing, move it, pound the stakes in, set up the bird netting (If I commit terrible acts in this life and go to hell, my punishment will just be me putting bird netting over a chicken run for the rest of eternity) and move all their water troughs. So instead of sweet nicked pasture that bounces back, we have these big bald patches from their stay there. I usually spread clover and buckwheat behind them for future runs.

Anyhow, good luck. Securing our hens if a never ending process. I'm so sorry you already lost one.
5 months ago