Blaine Clark

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since Jan 01, 2018
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I'm into a bit of urban 'farming' on a 1 1/2 in town lot. Not a lot of room, but we have fun with it growing Sunchokes, Rhubarb, Horseradish and a couple other perennials.
I'm also into using Linux instead of Microsoft.
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Recent posts by Blaine Clark

Glad you like the leaves! Raw, they're a bit fuzzy for sure. I've boiled them and flowers to get broth for wine making and the boiled leaves lose the fuzziness plus they taste a lot like squash with the flowers. Add a bit of butter and you're good to chow down. I've got two varieties and one has leaves nearly three times the size of my hands, suitable for wrapping just like grape leaves for Mediterranean style or corn husks for Mexican style. They soften up when cooked though, really soft!
They contain trace amounts of salicylic acid - raw aspirin and coumarin - raw coumadin or warfarin, an anticoagulant or blood thinner. Dried, they make a mild pain relieving tea. I've dried them and mixed with dried Mullein at 60%, dried Spearmint or Peppermint at 10%, 'choke leaves at 10% and pipe tobacco at 20%, all by rough volume measurement for a decent pipe smoke. For spits and giggles I pan fried some in olive oil - meh. They tasted like olive oil so if I was going to do that regularly I'd add some herbs or spices to give them flavor. Pan fried they got super crispy and actually melted in my mouth. I haven't tried pan fried flowers though the one variety I have has very tender flowers, tender enough to toss raw in salads. The other variety's flowers are quite tough.
As far as I can find, the leaves and flowers don't contain Inulin, the fart ingredient.
Dealing with the farts from the tubers, there are four ways to convert the fiber Inulin into mostly fartless fructose; freezing, fermenting, cooking in an acidic ingredient or slow cooking for around an hour.
If you want them chipped raw in salads, either toss them into the freezer for a week or so, or if your winters are cold enough to freeze them, dig them when the ground thaws. Get them before they start to sprout, when they start to sprout the flavor goes 'off'.
4 weeks ago

John F Dean wrote:Hi Blaine,

I went roof diving back in ‘82 off a second story roof.  With my usual advanced planning, I was alone, a mile from the nearest neighbor, Christmas Eve, with a major snow storm rolling in.  I suppose it was a good thing that I hit the ladder on the way down, putting a serious bend on it.  I woke up on the ground with my dog in my face barking.  I was more fortunate than you. I did break my left knee cap in 3 places. Through some stroke of luck, it healed without major problems …I refused the hospital. There are days when every joint in my body seems to relive the experience, but Turmeric seems to address that.  Thanks for the tip on the Horseradish.



I hit the Turmeric for years but for me it only took a big edge off of the ache. My drop was around 33' to 35' and I landed on my feet, did a tuck and roll on sloped but tamped backfill, came up on my feet and promptly crumpled. Two fellows were with me and got me into the truck and to the hospital.
1 month ago
Not iodine related. I've made Black Walnut Vinaigrette and Black Walnut Liquor. Vinaigrette was good but I wasted a fifth of good vodka on the Liquor.
Both are made the same. Pick the Walnuts before they harden, wash well and quarter them with a cleaver or hatchet, hull included. Pack the pieces into a jar and cover with either vinegar, not distilled, or vodka. Set aside, out of sunlight at room temperature. Shake well every day for about six weeks. Taste occasionally to see how strong it's getting. Filter the pieces out and let the filtered liquid stand for at least six months in a dark cabinet or pantry.
The vinaigrette is good on salads and some say on ice cream. For me, salad was good but the ice cream ... blech.
The liquor ... as I said, I wasted a good bottle of vodka. It's supposed to be a nice sipping drink. Not for us!!
1 month ago

Joshua States wrote:This intrigues me, as I have bone-on-bone in both knees and am trying to avoid the replacement surgery.
@Blaine Clark, where is your pain centered?
The idea that horseradish would have anti-inflamatory properties was news to me, so I asked the Oracle of the internet and it gave me this:
https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-horseradish



Wow! I'm going to have to get into a conflab with my wife on some of those cooking ideas!
As for your bone-on-bone, I'm pretty sure you're still going to need either artificial padding or joint replacement. if the erosion isn't too rough, the artificial padding might get you through for a while. The Horseradish should help with pre and post surgery aches. Your knees have to move, my back is nearly immobile. A young friend of mine is a UPS driver and his knees kept getting worse. He had steroid shots and from the sound of his description there was some kind of lubrication injection or insertion. Even with that he had to have both replaced three years ago. I recently told him about the Horseradish, but he detests it.
My pain matched my current stiffness. From the base of my neck to the bottom of my beauteous maximus. The center of the worst moved according to the weather anywhere from my short ribs to the center of my hips. On some occasions due to both weather and exertion it would hit me all the way from short ribs to the hips at once. Those were my number 9 days. I'd need a cane to get around. Come to think of it, I haven't been close to needing my cane all winter! It's been leaning against my night stand since November!
Back in 78 while I was in the hospital, the osteopath on duty told me I'd be on replacement hips and probably replacement knees by the time I was 50 because every bone and every joint was spider-webbed with fissures. Well, 50 was 19 years ago and I'm still running on original equipment. I retired from the HVAC service field with thousands of trips up and down ladders with tools, wiring, pipe and parts as well as hauling furnaces, airhandlers and boilers into and out of buildings, some were commercial/industrial sized units. Hips are a bit rough, but nowhere near needing surgery because the pain is from sciatica. How my hips and knees are still good is beyond me, but i'm not going to question!
1 month ago

Diane Kistner wrote:
The rest you posted is very good advice. I do have Jerusalem artichokes growing for inulin and am looking into fermenting some to avoid the gas problem.

But I wanted to talk about Creeping Charlie. I've got a ton of it growing everyday, so much I'm just letting it be ground cover. The pollinators absolutely adore it, and it does look pretty. I'll have to try it in salads and cooking! I knew it has some medicinal benefits, but I can't remember what. Being that it's a mint (which I did not know), I wonder if it will help keep snakes away from the chicken coop.... Please do share whatever you find out about using it, because it's probably the most abundant thing I grow.

Glad to know cooking horseradish helps with the heat. I assume it still has its beneficial properties for arthritic pain when cooked?



I grow two varieties of Sunchokes that I've collected locally in west-central PA. One is, I'm guessing Stampede. It grows a good 5' to 6' tall with very knobby white/tan skinned tubers. They only spread about 16" or less and the taste is mild, kind of like Sunflower seeds, but different, maybe earthier. The other is a red skin I'm guessing is a Red Fuseau. It's smooth and looks like a small red sweet potato. It's for sure nuttier and packed full of more farts than the Stampede. It grows 6' to 8' and spreads out a good 2'. We do most anything with them. Canned for pickles. Roasted. Grilled, my wife says they taste like grilled sweetcorn, but they don't taste like that to me so they must take on different flavors to different people. Makes me jellyous. I've made wine from tuber and flower broth. The boiled flowers taste a lot like squash. I've dehydrated chips and made flour. Tossed raw chips on pizza and into salads. Maybe you can guess we love them? Freezing, fermenting, cooking with an acidic ingredient or cooking for around an hour converts most of the Inulin into Fructose. The leaves contain trace amounts of salicylic acid (raw aspirin) and coumarin (raw coumadin or warfarin). Leaf tea is a mild pain reliever just like Willow bark.

I've got a link about Creeping Charlie; https://www.healthygreensavvy.com/creeping-charlie-uses/ I've got some in my lawn but not enough to use regularly. I mainly just toss a handful into salads during the summer.

I haven't found one thing addressing whether cooking changes the Horseradish. I skip any other dose of Horseradish when we have it in a dish, but I've discovered that I can now skip a day occasionally without any increase in the bone ache so I just flat-out don't know. All I can say is that it's like black pepper when cooked, it loses the zip and some of the flavor, but that flavor gets into the meat. BTW, my brother-in-law got me going on using hotsauce when roasting turkey and chicken. A good tsp. to Tbl. spoon per pound in the juices, basted very regularly really brings out the flavor and again, there's no heat. The fat in the bird does in all the heat as it roasts. And I stab the birds to death twice before roasting so the juices penetrate. Of course the birds are dead before I stab them!! Who do you take me for??   Never mind.
1 month ago
I can't say anything about GERD, I've got a castiron stomach and nothing bothers me. I will say, try a bit in milk, if milk doesn't upset you. The fats in milk help cut any 'heat' and stomach problems for some. Also, that chicken casserole had a very mild flavor and zero heat. Cooking Horseradish cuts the heat totally out. You can cook other meats with it too. Lamb with Horseradish, a bit of mint and rosemary is out of this world!! I grow a bit of Horseradish, nowhere near enough for what i need now. I also grow Spearmint and Peppermint. Here's a bit of a surprise for most, Creeping Charlie, that scourge of some lawns, is a mint too, and it adds a different flavor to salads and cooking. I need to excrement - I mean experimint *experiment* with it a lot more. I know, my puns are terrible!
GERD is caused mostly from inflammation. Look up Inulin - not InSulin -. It's a soluble fiber that helps balance gut bacteria, moving them down from the small gut to the large gut where they belong. The thing about Inulin is that it's a prebiotic that those bacterial feed on, and in the small gut, that combination can cause extreme gas. If foods such as bananas, garlic and onions give you gas, they have some Inulin. Talk Inulin over with your doctor and if they agree, start with absolutely no more than 1/8 tsp. per day. I take it for colon inflammation. I got a double whammy from my parents concerning colon trouble. I've taken Inulin for 18 years and my colon inflammation went from the upper side of moderate (trouble) with a sizable polyp to zero inflammation and zero polyps in just a couple of years. My doc dropped my colonoscopy schedule from high risk every three years to moderate risk every five years! And every scope since that first one has been perfect!
I take one heaping tsp. every day, my wife takes 1/2 heaping tsp. every day for diverticulitis. If you start, 1/8 tsp. per day is plenty. Every 10 days or so, as your gut will allow, you'll know by the gas, you can double the dose. That's 1/8 tsp. to 1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp., doubling every 10 days or so. It takes a while for the Inulin to coax the bacteria down from the small gut into the large gut. If you take any antibiotics on a schedule, Inulin won't help you, it could hurt you. Antibiotics do terrible things to the gut bacteria.
1 month ago
New to the group and I've been using Horseradish for five and a half months for bone ache from arthritis. I 'take' one tsp., around 5 grams of either grated or creamed Horseradish every day and it's done wonders. My pain level before would hit eight to nine on bad days such as wet and cold. After one week of Horseradish my pain level dropped to two or three, even on special days. I'm retired but I work four to eight hours per week at a craft store to get out of the house. Because we had trouble getting help over the holidays the boss asked me to help unloading their Friday supply truck. That was before Thanksgiving when I started unloading the truck. I was in agony afterwards and I was ready to say I couldn't do the truck anymore. It was just three days before the big Thanksgiving truck when I started the Horseradish. On that Friday I was feeling so good I couldn't believe it. I unloaded the truck and my pain level was no more than maybe five. I managed to stay and help do some stocking for almost three hours.
After a week and three days of daily Horseradish I unloaded truck again. Knocked my socks off! I finished up with a pain level of no more than three and put stock away with no increase in pain! Another huge plus is that with the bone ache nearly gone, my sleeping has been SO much better.
So far I've only found this one problem, taking it regularly can interfere with Thyroid hormone treatments, which I don't take, so of course, check with your doctor before trying this. There is relatively little confirmed research into Horseradish so there may be other problems. Keep on eye out for any side effects.
Now, if I could find something for arthritis stiffness. From the tops of my shoulder blades to the bottom of my beauteous maximus (are you laughing at me?) my back feels like saddle leather under the skin. I fell off of a house roof in 78 and went from 5' 11 1/2" to 5' 9 1/2" instantly. My disks are pretty much gone. Several vertebra are fused from arthritis and several more are surgically fused.
I 'take' my Horseradish on beef, lamb, pork, chicken and lunchmeat, in cups of bouillon and even in milk (not bad in milk, if you like Horseradish to begin with). My wife has made chicken casserole with Horseradish and that's pretty good too.
1 month ago
If you have the time, get familiar with what the plants look like, keeping in mind the varieties can range in height from 3' to over 12'. The yellow, often 3" across flowers and the green parts are unmistakable. Look for them from August through November. They are native to the eastern half of North America way up into Canada from zone 3 through zone 8. You might be lucky searching in your area if you are somewhat rural. Lots of people still have them in their flower beds often not knowing what they have! I've gathered three varieties locally and now have only two. The one I got rid of was ... undesirable to put it mildly! They grew to 12' tall with a spread of well over 4' and a nasty turnipy-herbal flavor so strong they'd stink up the kitchen! They were a type of white Fuseau. No matter what spread the tubers have, DO NOT put them in any of your good gardens. It'll be a super b-ear to keep them from taking over in years to come, much worse than mint or horseradish! They need full sun, no partial shade.
If you decide to order from online, always look through the reviews, some sellers aren't to be trusted. Amazon, Ebay and a very few online nurseries have them, but normally in the fall when they're first harvested or in the early spring when they can be harvested again. They're not the easiest to store so most suppliers don't try.
If you buy online, look for varieties called Stampede, a good sized very knobby tuber. they're hard to clean without cutting the knobs apart but they are prolific and normally only spread no more than 18" from the crown. That makes them easy to contain by regular mowing and suitable for containers over 7 gallon size. They also have a maturation time of 90 to 100 days. Next is Red Fuseau. They are a red skinned non-knobby tuber, very easy to clean. Picture small sweet potatoes, 1" to 1 1/2" thick and around 3" to 6" long. They generally spread a bit over two feet from the crown so also fairly easy to contain. They mature in about 115 days, two weeks longer than the Stampede. Mine have a noticeably more nutty flavor but are nowhere near as productive as the Stampede. They also grow 8' tall with much larger leaves than the Stampede which grows 6' tall. The leaves are about three times the size of my hands and would make good wraps for Mediterranean recipes. Yes, even the greens are edible!
4 months ago
Don't mix the varieties in the same plot. They are allelopathic and will compete with and degrade each other. I learned that the hard way when I rescued some possible Red Fuseau and tossed them into an established patch of possible Stampede. The Stampede had established themselves for years in that patch and severely retarded the Reds, the Reds didn't do well at all until I removed some and put them in their own patch.
I've collected mine locally so I can't guarantee what variety they are.
9 months ago

Brody Ekberg wrote:
How far apart do you space your plants in order to get decent sized tubers? Or is tuber size based more off of variety and water than spacing? And do you try to harvest 100% and then replant, or do you just do a sloppy harvest and let whatever you miss regrow?


When I harvest aggressively, which is seldom, I still don't get all the tubers, plus anything under about 1" I leave. Some summers they're thicker than the hair on a hare and still produce good sized tubers. Soil quality is #1 I believe, light to moderate water while they're in full bloom is #2 and variety is #3 I'd say. They'll grow in most any kind of soil, but the better it is, the better the tuber. I wait until the tops are dead and dried, then I go through and pull the stalks and take whatever tubers come with. The soil in the old patch is loose enough that most of the tubers come right out. I've got a little 1.5" electric chipper that I put the stalks through and scatter the chips over the patches. When I go through after the ones left behind with a sod fork, later or in the spring, the chips get turned under and become fuel for the next years. My patches keep getting better and better each year. I put no fertilizer, lime or anything other than a scatter or two in the fall of Slugo to cut the slug population down. I have some Stampede - I'm guessing and some red skinned Fuseau - maybe. They've been collected locally so I don't know what varieties they are for sure. The Stampede, the oldest ones I have, can produce some massive gnarly tubers the size of baking potatoes in their 15 year old patch. They've more than doubled their size in 15 years, and I don't re-seed with the largest tubers obviously. I could only guess how they'd have done if I'd done that over the years. The red Fuseau are much younger, I've only had them by themselves for three years now and they are much like small to tiny sweet potatoes.
10 months ago