Kate Downham

gardener & author
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since Oct 14, 2018
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homeschooling goat forest garden fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation pig wood heat homestead
I'm a quiet goatherd establishing a permaculture homestead on old logging land at the edge of the wilderness.
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Recent posts by Kate Downham

I'm interested to hear more about this. Please feel free to share YouTube videos or anything else helpful.

Which variety of rice are you growing?
1 day ago

jordan barton wrote:Wow, what a suprise thank you! What do i have to do?


You don't have to do anything yet. We will send the email address you use for Permies off to the publisher and they will contact you to ask for your postal address.
4 days ago
Thank you Meredith : )

I've started a thread to discuss nitrates and would greatly appreciate your opinion on this topic: https://permies.com/t/138015/kitchen/Nitrates-celery-nitrate-nitrates
6 days ago
I was wondering whether the safety of not using nitrates changes, depending on what you are making?

I'm comfortable with not using any nitrate for my cured pork saucisson and chorizo sausages, which I make with 32mm chorizo-size casings. I use more salt in my sausages than what nitrate-containing sausages do, and I also use red wine in them, which would increase the acidity. I also cure them in an area that gets good airflow, with our natural late autumn/early winter temperature of around 10°c. I wonder if any one of these factors over another makes these small sausages less risky?

Many recipes for cured sausages made in thick casings call for nitrate. I've also noticed that cured sausages containing beef usually have nitrates too.

Prosciutto is traditionally made without any nitrates - I wonder if the increased amount of salt is what makes it safe?

I make my bacon without nitrates too, I've made both wet-cured and buried-in-salt bacon. Most bacon recipes do call for nitrates though, I wonder if that is more due to the look and texture (and reduced saltiness maybe) rather than safety?

I prefer to avoid added nitrates (including celery powder) all together and stick to recipes that I know are safe for this, but I'm also interested to learn what exactly it is that makes some recipes safer than others.
6 days ago
Respectfully hunting wild animals that there is a healthy population of (or too many of) is very ethical. Practising aim and knowing what kind of shot is going to kill quickly would be an important part of making sure you're causing the least amount of suffering.

I choose to eat more red meats, and less poultry and pork, because the red meat animals here harvest their own food and improve the soil, and there's been no energy use to grow and harvest grain for them. Wild animals are similar - they're harvesting abundance themselves, and if there's a healthy population of them, it's great to harvest this abundance.
6 days ago
Ethically raised meat on my homestead is about looking at the land and what it is providing, the interactions between animals and the land (e.g. using goats and pigs to clear scrub and turn it to silvopasture), raising animals in a way that lets them express their animal-ness.

I don't use abbotoirs, we have a good local mobile butcher, and I have some butchering skills too that I'm slowly growing more confident with. There are ethical farmers I know who do use abbotoirs because it's the only option now to legally sell their meat, and the way they handle the animals reduces stress, it's not as good as butchering in the paddock, but in the current system here it is their only choice.

It would be good for farmers to have more choices in what they can do for butchering when they sell their meat. Last year I didn't raise my own pigs, but bought a live pig from a farmer and asked him to drop it off at the mobile butcher's farm, and I then asked the mobile butcher to do the slaughter, so if people buy whole live animals rather than paying by the weight, more options open up.

Another aspect of ethical meat raising for me is about looking at all aspects of the animal in a permaculture way - I'm not raising an isolated flock of chickens, but chickens that help reduce goat parasites, spread manure, scratch up the ground to get seeds to grow, as well as providing meat and eggs. With goats the meat is a part of dairying, and I'm not just looking at the meat, but the hides as well. Seeing value in the parts of animals that are seen as waste by others is also important to me - the bits we don't eat are feeding the soil life, they are not seen as waste here.
6 days ago

K. Hanner wrote:Hey Meredith - Welcome!  Looks like a great book and something a LOT more people will be interested in these days of empty shelves...  Thanks for bringing it to everyone's attention.

Okay, need some help - Dave or whomever, you said that posts to this thread won't count as an entry to win the book and I didn't see any threads in the "Food Choices" forum main page to add to.  Do you want us to start a new topic in Food Choices and post "Why this is THE perfect addition to my library, and why I would want it and why I would like to be added and possibly selected as one of the winners of the book...please, please, please?"

Please advise.  Thanks - KBH

We are encouraging all kinds of perennial discussions about food choices. Topics saying "I want to win this book" end up being deleted. If you can think of aspects of food choices and ethical eating to discuss, you're welcome to create new threads about these ideas, and new posts made in any existing thread in food choices also count towards winning a book. Also if you have questions for Meredith and other Permies members about butchering, food choices, ethical meat eating, or any other relevant subject, please feel free to start new threads for those too, and that will count in the giveaway as well.
1 week ago
Congratulations, and thank you for all that you do!
I'm sorry for your loss of a good milking goat. Looks like you have respectfully made use of the gifts that are left. That is an amazing amount of nourishing fat.

Is butchering a goat that's been dead for a few hours very different to butchering one that's just been slaughtered?
1 week ago
Welcome to Permies : )

I enjoyed your book a lot!
1 week ago