Tereza Okava

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since Jun 07, 2018
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dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
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Tereza Okava currently moderates these forums:
I cook for fun, write for money, garden for food, and knit for therapy.
South of Capricorn
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Recent posts by Tereza Okava

Hugs! Smiles! Concerts! Museums! Community heirloom seed exchanges and farmer's meetups!

Also going to spend time with my mother!!! We speak almost every day but it's not the same as spending time there. This was the first year in... many years that I didn't spend my summer there tending her garden, cooking for her, and generally trying to be helpful. Next year hopefully I'll be able to go.
1 day ago
The tie is such an important feature, Kathleen!!
I have a Williams Sonoma denim apron I bought in a consignment shop a long time ago. It gets unsalvageably dirty, I clean it up and dye it dark blue again, and the fabric is still nice and intact after 10+ years.
This apron has eeeeeeextra long ties-- which go around the back and come back to tie in the front, even if you're not a small person. I will totally incorporate that into any future aprons I make- such a small thing but so important.
2 days ago
^^ door opener, elevator button pusher, hook for picking up germy crap, and a bottle opener for when you get home and need a beer!
2 days ago
In my experience it's a lot easier to adapt to a hot climate than to a cold one (I've done both, currently live in the hot climate and am planning a move to an even hotter place....), but I admittedly hate the cold.
I moved up to the snow belt for college, and I imagine it was much easier as a college student than it would be for a homesteader (while I complain a lot, I could always go to the library or coffee shop to warm up, even when my slumlord locked the thermostat at home).... I never had to deal with frozen pipes or go break open the animals' water. I do remember one time fearing for my safety during a blizzard, wondering if I was going to make it home with all my fingers and toes (and I won't even get into the pleasures of driving in ice/snow/sleet). Cold can be a scary thing.
2 days ago
What a great process!! I just did this a week or two ago, but I used lime, not ashes. I also used a red corn and was amazed to find that it took many hours more than the usual yellow (feed) corn generally takes me. It could be that this corn was older, I suppose, I got it from a different supplier than usual.
I'm curious about the choice to grind it dry rather than wet; do you typically use small amounts? Or is it easier to get a finer grind when it's dry?
Dry grinding is an interesting option I hadn't thought of-- I generally do a kg of corn at a time, which is enough for two LARGE meals (like, hosting a dinner meals, or dinner for 4 with leftovers for two more meals), so I process it all at one and freeze half.
Thanks for the food for thought!!!
2 days ago
I don't buy EM (can't get it here) and start my culture using rice rinse water and then later milk and molasses. That gets put into bran, which later gets diluted down with wood shavings and used in my bokashi bucket. This way I end up making the EM serum maybe once a year.
I've heard of other people using dried milk powder, or molasses water.
I'm a major apron fan!! I cook and get messy a lot, and used to entertain a lot back in "normal times" and I have a lot of aprons of all different kinds.... lately I decided I wanted one of these Japanese-style pinafore aprons with more coverage. I used the pattern cited above from Purl Soho and I made some modifications-- no pockets, since I had a bit less fabric than the pattern called for, and I rarely use the pockets for kitchen aprons anyway (garden aprons is a different story; I figured if I really needed a pocket I could add a patch).
I used some leftover fabric cut from linen curtains I bought on clearance, and to cover the shortfall from the pocket I didn't make I used some antique handwoven belting that had been laying in my fabric box for the last 20 years giving me the stink eye. Made it a bit shorter than the pattern called for, since in my kitchen the mess tends to stay at about mid-thigh.

Some comments specifically on the Purl Soho pattern. I feel like the front panel is a bit narrow. If I make it again I will probably broaden it by at least an inch and also fool around with the strap length, which also affects how the back hangs. I wear a women's size L, am 5'9 with a large bust and broad shoulders; I get the feeling this pattern was made for someone much, much smaller and more delicate than me! Then again, it was a very easy project that I did in a day. Clear pattern, clear instructions, easy peasy.

I do plan to do another version of this apron for the garden in some sort of stronger fabric with pockets. I have some old denim that I will probably cut up for it, but the pattern involves a lot of folded seams and going through 4+ layers of denim means I'll probably be modifying the pattern even more, but the general dimensions and process are worth keeping.
4 days ago
Different people seem to have different tolerances for "fairness". My natural tendency is to be constantly calculating who did what. But no two people see things the same way and it's a great way to cause strife.

My daughter is a bit of a piggy in the house, has always been, and in the past it led to some issues. She moved out two years ago to go to college, but thanks to pandemic business she moved back a few weeks ago. I told myself that instead of taking stock of who did what and how unfair it is, I was going to focus instead on how much I missed her while she was gone and how happy I am just to have her back at home. Like the example above, just her presence here gives me benefits, and I'm willing to stop making tick marks to see who did what.

M Wilcox, have you talked about feeling put-upon? Or talked about what tasks you do that she could take over? Since food and wifi, clean clothes, power, etc all come from somewhere, it seems like maybe there could be some sort of redistribution. Nobody LIKES to do housework (I actually don't mind washing dishes or clothes, shhhh), but part of being an adult is having to take responsibility for your own care (or part with some of your money or other talents to compensate someone else for doing it for you).
[not that anyone asked, but in my experience the old "i'm going to stop cooking/cleaning/washing dishes/etc until they start carrying their weight" never, ever, ever works. There is a great story I read called "He's never going to put that shirt away" about a women who leaves a shirt in the same place for 8 months hoping her husband will get a clue and start cleaning up after himself. He eventually picks up the shirt, and when she points it out he mentions he also put away her socks which she herself had piggishly left somewhere.]
6 days ago
Once my loofas got going, nothing could stop them and they needed no companionship. I am on year 3 after planting loofas and still have legacy loofas!! One in my front yard has given me literally dozens and is still going. It was a volunteer, growing next to a passionfruit and some geraniums.
In the backyard another volunteer is right next to some lemon balm and collard greens. I've planted them with sunflowers too. Beans I find problematic since they all end up tangled together and the loofas have a longer life than the beans, and the beans get mildew and flea-type beetles that get passed to the loofas. Sunflowers seem to attract fewer pests and bumblebees, which I find are really happy to pollinate loofas.
Nasturtiums seem to go well with everything, and would provide some nice low cover as your loofa goes high.
Is there anything better than an ice cold piece of watermelon on a stifling hot day? It finally got hot (about time for southern hemisphere summer!!!) and we're finally getting good, good watermelon. What a treat.
1 week ago