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Rin Corbin

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since Jul 08, 2017
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urban food preservation greening the desert
Zone 6, High Desert
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Recent posts by Rin Corbin

My family has been consistently throwing away one 50 gallon trash can per person per year since the 1990’s. When weekly trash pick up came to the neighborhood, we never bothered to sign up. It wasn’t a struggle, and we didn’t think about it much or give things up in order to reduce our trash production. We only noticed that it was kind of a big deal after a decade of watching the neighbors put their bins out every week and wondering what the heck they put in there?!  

Here’s how it works:

1. Build your soil - mulch, compost, tera preta, whatever, if it rots and it’s not a piece of an animal, make it back into dirt using a method that works for you and your environment. (tera preta and bokashi may make meat/bones ok, do your homework.) When I moved away from my parents’ property (zone 8, 35” rain/year) to my place (Zone 6, 10” rain/year) I had to change methods, and my trash production spiked while I figured it out.

2. Burn your burnables - be careful here, know what you’re burning so you don’t mess up your chimney or make ash with toxic gick in it. Outdoor fire pits/covered cauldrons/rocket mass pizza ovens can work if you have a yard but not a fireplace/woodstove/rmh in your house. Bonus points if you heat your house with your RMH this way. Use the ash on property (in the garden, soap, etc.) Alternately, shred and compost your burnables, but again, do your homework and listen to Paul’s discussions of toxins in paper products and cardboard.

3. Repurpose/Recycle - see the better world book on this, and do your homework. Not all recyclables actually get recycled. Give away stuff that is still serviceable rather than throwing it away, but be real about what’s still “serviceable”, or whether you’re actually going to make that rag rug with all those worn out shirts.  

4. Pre-cycle: Buy in bulk (less packaging) infrequently (less purchasing), buy good quality stuff, take care of it, and repair it when it breaks. This works for us because we have the option to have dedicated pantry rooms and large attics in our houses.  

That’s it. In hindsight, we could probably cut our trash in half if we made Sepp Holzer’s bone sauce with the meat and bone scraps. The only thing left would be random bits of plastic wrap and blister packaging.
1 month ago
The PM was rejected by the system, so I e-mailed you at the richsoil account listed on your profile.
Do you still need window quilts for Allerton Abbey? PM me, I can help.
I also found this field study report from someone who did eradicate a stand of alianthus with oyster mushroom spawn. It has good detail on how, when, and how well it worked. https://projects.sare.org/sare_project/fnc07-670/
4 months ago
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. There is a good alianthus-specific discussion in this post: https://permies.com/p/897027
4 months ago
I’m also late to the comment party, and I’ll add votes to ‘I wanna come!’ and  ‘learning to use power tools, machinery, and axes, etc.’

Specifically, lessons BY female-bodied people who are experienced with using these types of tools FOR female-bodied people who want to learn to use them safely and ergonomically.

Female-bodied people are on average 20% smaller than male-bodied people, and have a different center of gravity. We sometimes need to move and hold things differently in order to do so safely, and the differences can be subtle, so learning to use big/sharp/powered tools from a male-bodied person isn’t always as safe for us as it would be for a male-bodied newbie. The tool design itself can be a problem- if you can’t close your hand around something that expects you to do that (I’m looking at you, smartphones and power drills!) then you can’t use it as intended, so you have to choose your tool carefully.
2 years ago
Puncture vine. It’s where the Romans got the idea for caltrops, it goes through bike tires, and the seeds last up to 6 years in the ground. Mulch with cardboard (not the best, but solid enough) covered with 10+cm of normal mulch seems to keep it from sprouting. I’ve heard rumors of lawn rollers covered with yoga mats, but haven’t tried that yet.

2 years ago
Thanks, Tina, these are great recipies! I never thought to make carrot noodles for pad see ew, what a great idea, Kate! And Mart, raw food, good call on that and the turkey. I hadn’t thought about it, but I’ll add that to my post-holiday frugal tricks, along with Pumpkin Stewing Day on November 1st.
2 years ago
Howdy, Sandy!

The two things that I’m grooving on recently -

1. Coffee grounds as a soil amendment. There’s keen competition among gardeners where I work for the breakroom coffee grounds as a soil acidifier. I haven’t re-checked PH on the patch I’ve innoculated yet, as it takes a while to build up enough, unless you have an ‘in’ at a cafe.

2. Cheese weed - Malva neglecta - has 10-100x the nutritional value of grocery store kale, a mild taste, stands up to cooking (don’t fry, odd texture), and is delicious in salad, palak paneer, and spanikopita. It seems to grow best as a 3-season annual in the un-irrigated, high-traffic, gravel-and-weed-barrier footpaths of xeric landscaping, ideally with a gardener jumping up and down on it, swearing, and tearing at it with a stirrup hoe weekly to bi-weekly.  
2 years ago
Clacka-berries en facion Chris, au Buerre Noisette, sel de tartuffes, et walking onion greens (the only thing not currently fossilized in my northern hemisphere high desert garden at winter solstice)
2 years ago