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Stacy Witscher

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since Mar 06, 2017
Southern Oregon
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Recent posts by Stacy Witscher

I would agree with that. It's just as important to ventilate a greenhouse so as to prevent overheating as it is to prevent overcooling.
20 hours ago
Not that it is dealing with your situation exactly, my experience with Wisconsin is that it's wicking cold for a long time. But my experience with USDA zones is that they don't tell you the whole picture. I'm in zone 8a but we are likely to only have sub-freezing temperatures for a couple of hours a day during those periods. My non-tender vegetable plants recover fairly well. But I feel like you could extrapolate to greenhouses that are kept at or near freezing over the winter. Not everything is going to thrive, but most will survive. Honestly, think the greatest issue for northern areas during winter is lack of sunlight rather than temperatures.
20 hours ago
I would be wary of antique canners because they don't have all of the safety measures that modern ones have. I see them regularly being sold in our area, but they aren't cheaper than even new All American Canners. I don't see the point. While I love antiques as much as the next person, antique sewing machines being a favorite of mine. I wouldn't trust an antique canner as anything other than a conversation piece. As far as modern pressure canners, follow the instructions and you will be fine.  I think the most worrisome thing that I have come across is that occasionally, it's happened to me, a can will break in process and people will want to immediately deal with that, don't. Finish processing then clean up the mess. The broken jar is unlikely to damage the others and disrupting the process is never a good idea. To my mind, losing the whole batch is still preferable to an exploding canner. That being said, use common sense, just be aware of the dangers. I don't think it's really different from the dangers of a chain saw or other such work.
21 hours ago
I'm not trying to argue but we do have Ponderosa pines in the area around our pond. They aren't at waters edge as they don't like that much water, but they don't seem to have any negative effects on the pond. Our pond has endangered Oregon pond turtles, invasive bull frogs (which largely get eaten by foxes) and plenty of dragon and damsel flies, as well as a plethora of bats. That speaks to me of a healthy ecosystem. My best advice would be to give it some time. Maybe put up some bat boxes in the interim to discourage mosquitos.

My best advice is to talk to locals with ponds, find out what they have in theirs and try to replicate that if you are in a hurry. If not, I'm of the mind if you build it they will come, just not always on our timeline. In my experience, humans are impatient. I wish you good luck, regardless.
21 hours ago
Salsa definitely changes flavor once canned and over time. For one thing it becomes much less spicy. I think that testing the ph would be a good idea. The flavor might have just changed in a way that you don't like.
2 days ago
Sounds a lot like our property. I'm in southern Oregon, about 3 hours from coast. We have 80 acres surrounded by hundreds more acres of BLM land. Southern facing slope with gorgeous views. A year round pond, a couple of seasonal watering holes and a seasonal stream. Our property is split between a mixed conifer/evergreen forest and oak chaparral. We have two houses, an operational well, a large off-grid solar array, a large pole barn.

Our neighbors are selling their place right now. They only have 45 acres but it also has two houses. One log house and a small cabin. It doesn't have a pond but abuts the creek. Also off-grid. Obviously similar foresting. They also have a natural spring as well as the well. It also has a 4 car garage that can be used as a workshop. Being off-grid it's difficult to get loans. They might be interested in alternative financing. PM me if you would like more information. I think that they are asking $650,000 for it.
I was always taught that as long as you process for the ingredient that require the most time you will be fine. For example, my spaghetti sauce recipe contains meat so I process that for the length of time required for meat, none of the vegetables require as much time. One year I processed mirepoix, I found a lot of conflicting information on that, but I didn't have any problems with it.
2 days ago
Christopher Shepherd - I have never heard not to can potatoes. It's in the Ball book of canning as okay. I have regularly canned tiny red or gold potatoes without any trouble. I like to can them so they are ready for hash. Apple sauce and tomatoes can be water bath canned if you check acidity.
3 days ago
When I first starting pressure canning I read a lot of blog posts on people recounting problems they've had. All of them failed to follow the instructions. As long as you do all the necessary steps and don't try to shortcut anything you should be fine. I love my pressure canner. Although I have to say I usually use it for meat based things. I do can green beans but other than that it's spaghetti sauce, chicken stock etc.
3 days ago
I moved from the SF Bay Area in California to southern Oregon. For general living the climate in the Bay Area is great, mild year-round, but it's not great for a lot of summer vegetables as it's quite mild. The summers here in southern Oregon are a little hotter than I would like, but the vegetables love it. I'm zone 8a. My winter garden grows great. I'm currently harvesting radishes, turnips, rutabagas, beets, fennel, broccoli, mustard greens, parsley, arugula and chard. I have lettuce and more fennel, beets and chard in the greenhouse.

We don't get a lot of snow here, just enough to be fun, not enough to make life too difficult. Not a lot of rainfall, but rainwater harvesting helps. Soils in our area vary tremendously. Our property is rocky, it's a geologic slide zone. Areas to the southwest of us have serpentine soils which I understand can be very challenging. And there are areas with prime farmland, but they are pricey.

Our property taxes are low and the state has no sales tax. I have no idea about income tax as I have no taxable income. We are off-grid, our internet is okay. We stream all our shows. But it's not good enough for my future son-in-law to do his job online. He coaches e-sports so his needs are extreme. There is fiber optic in neighboring cities.
3 days ago