Mk Neal

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since Feb 02, 2019
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Torn between wanting a bigger garden and loving the city life.
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Recent posts by Mk Neal

Susan Mené wrote:I ended up trying to make my usual jam using apples to thicken instead of pectin.  Slightly overcooked it (doing too many things at once).  Going to use some of it to make thumbprint cookies and will still enjoy the rest.  Has anyone else use apples for thickening jam?  I got the idea from making apple syrup from peels and cores.

This year, I made my usual red currant jelly for Christmas cookies, but it was a bit more than one jar, so after filling one jar, I cooked up the rest with chopped apple and some of the red currant pulp for a currant-apple jam.
1 day ago
Pale blue absolutely clear winter skies. The invigorating feel of the first breath of frosty air. “Sun dogs” in the early morning sky. The hush of the world under a thick blanket of fresh snow.
3 days ago
Matthew, welcome back! It so good to hear from you again. Much sympathy for all your hardship, but glad you persevered and have come through this difficult personal journey with helpful lessons to share.
5 days ago
Cooled chamomile tea is a traditional eye soak. Relax with a tea-soaked cloth or a couple teabags on your eyes.
5 days ago
I also grow black currants and red currants, and love that they are so easy to propagate. I usually give away a bunch of twigs to other gardeners in the fall.

The flavor of the black currants I don’t like much for fresh eating, but I use them to flavor honey and as an addition to other berry jams. One year I made crème de cassis, which turned out beautifully, but no one in our house drinks much, so now I stick to the flavored honey.
6 days ago
May’s double-handled bag is a great design! I have found that when carrying a heavy bag a long distance, it’s easier to carry it in hand by a short handle, arm hanging loose by my side. But for lighter loads, or to free up hands for other tasks, a shoulder strap is useful.
1 week ago
First I had the thought maybe 12 years ago that I should buy plants and seeds from companies in my geographical area, because these were more likely to be well adapted to my climate. Then also the thought that heritage crops developed by the people native to my area would be better. Then what followed from that was the thought that seeds from my own garden would be best adapted to my growing conditions.

So from that mindset, I learned from permies the words to describe these ideas, like “landrace” and “rematriation” and I learned about people doing this work.

Around the same time, I got involved with a seed library that was starting up in my neighborhood and met other people interested in saving seeds.
1 week ago
So sad to hear that war has destroyed so much.
2 weeks ago
What a disappointment!  Maybe there has been some subtle change in the environment where the zahatar used to grow, like it is more or less shady, or another more competitive plant took over. I have seen with different wild plants in my yard that a thing that was once common becomes less so and a new plant takes over in time.

Maybe if you can find a plot of the herb somewhere else, try transplanting a small amount or growing from seed.
2 weeks ago