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Leigh Tate

author & master steward
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since Oct 16, 2019
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goat cat forest garden foraging chicken food preservation medical herbs writing solar wood heat homestead
My dream has always been to live close to the land. My goal is simpler, sustainable, more self-reliant living. In 2009 my husband and I bought a neglected 1920s-built bungalow on 5 acres, which we've gradually built into our homestead.
Southeastern U.S. - Zone 7b
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Recent posts by Leigh Tate

Good point! What I'm discovering, is that the pond experts don't understand permaculture and the natural processes. I'm doing everything "wrong" with my pond, according to them, but the frogs and dragon flies are happy, and that's what counts!
15 hours ago
Jay, just a day or two before, when we were preparing for the weather, I took a good look at the pond. The water was clear and I could see the bottom covered with lots of leaves and plants. I admit I tend to worry about my frogs, but nature seems to have the best way of keeping them tucked away in the extreme cold. Probably a better job than I could do! lol
17 hours ago
Yesterday, we had our annual snow event, and, for us, it was a doozy! In the 13 years my husband and I have lived here, our record homestead snow is 7.5 inches back in January 2011. Yesterday, we came just a quarter-inch shy of that, at least in measurable snow. I'm not sure how much precip we got before the rain turned to snow, nor how much melted because the ground wasn't frozen.

Anyway! For the first time since we've had it, our frog habitat froze over.

Frozen frog pond, close-up

Frozen frog pond, a few steps back

It's comforting to know that the bottom of the pond is filled with mud, leaves, dormant duckweed, and spreading hornwort. I'm thinking that our frogs are about as comfortable as they can be.

We're supposed to get up to melting temps today, with a forecast for our coldest nights so far this winter.

In other pond news, I ordered more pond plants yesterday: blue flags, pickerel, and creeping jenny. The blue flag and jenny will go in the concrete block chinampa. I plan to put the pickerel in the mud mound in front of the chinampa, after I border it with block too, to keep the mud in place. I'd really like to see those filled with pond plants.
1 day ago
Angi, welcome to Permies! This looks like a fantastic and much needed book. I know several people who are a little unsure about pressure canners, but it opens up such a wonderful new world of canning. Really looking forward to the canning discussions on Permies this week.
1 day ago
Michael, at the very least, you have an entire community here  who can empathize with you! We get it because nothing is truly "free." We either pay with money, or we pay with time. If we use power tools, well, there's a cost to keep them fed (either in fuel, electricity, or batteries). And even paying fully with money can present a conundrum, because unless one is independently wealthy or has a self-generating source of income, we can only obtain money with time, i.e. working for it. In the end, the time : cost : benefit ratio is a very subjective thing.

One good thing about using your own "free" resources, is that you probably have a pretty good idea of what the time cost is. With externally sourced resources, whether it's natural gas or buying wood, you can't control the money cost. Everything usually goes up (except wages, ha!), so that the benefit gradually becomes more and more expensive.

About the house, I'm all for historical preservation, but that certainly presents some serious challenges to your situation, especially since you rent. Masonry stoves with their lovely thermal mass are perfectly historical (Ben Franklin designed one), not to mention very fuel efficient. But there would be time and expense to get one built. Plus obtaining permission. Is the house already fitted for gas heat? If so, I'm guessing that would have to have been before it was granted historic status.

I think one question I'd have to ask myself is, is it worth it to stay there? We all get older, so to maintain a permaculture / homesteading lifestyle, we have to work toward being able to keep things manageable as we age. Can you do that there? How do you see yourself living 10, 20, 30 years from now?

2 days ago
This badge bit (BB) is part of the PEP curriculum.  Completing this BB is part of getting the straw badge in textiles.

In this project, you will make and sew pair of panties, boxers, or briefs.

Minimum requirements:
  - make one pair of panties, boxers or briefs
  - use a natural fabric
  - knit fabric is okay as long as it's natural fiber
   
To document completion of the BB, provide proof of the following as pics or video (< 2min):
  - A description of which you will make
  - The fabric and tools you will use for your project
  - Sewing in progress
  - Finished panties, boxers, or briefs
 
You can find instructions in these articles:
 - How To Sew Panties
 - Men’s Boxer shorts – Free sewing pattern & tutorial
 - Men's Briefs - PDF pattern

Or with these videos:


2 days ago
I took up Edward's suggestion and have started a couple of experiments.

The first is dehydrating milk kefir grains. I washed the grains and spread them out to dry on a cotton kitchen towel for several days until they were hard and dry. Directions say to coat the dried grains with milk powder, which I don't have. So I put them straight into a baggie, and put the baggie in a small paper bag to protect from freezer burn. That went into the freezer until next spring, when I'll have fresh milk again.

For the second experiment, I put some unwashed grains into a small amount of milk in a jar and then froze them fresh in the milk. I put the jar into a paper bag and am keeping it in the freezer, also until next spring.

Kidding is in March, so soon after that, I'll have milk to work with again and can find out if either or both batches of kefir grains survived.
2 days ago

Image source: Amazon

Summary
 
Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation

Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern "kitchen gardeners" will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. Yet here is a book that goes back celebrating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles in ways that maximize flavor and nutrition.

Translated into English, and with a new foreword by Deborah Madison, this book deliberately ignores freezing and high-temperature canning in favor of methods that are superior because they are less costly and more energy-efficient.

Inside, you’ll learn how to:
  • Preserve without nutrient loss
  • Preserve by drying
  • Preserve with oil, vinegar, salt, and sugar
  • Make sweet-and-sour preserves
  • Preserve with alcohol

  • As Eliot Coleman says in his foreword to the first edition, "Food preservation techniques can be divided into two categories: the modern scientific methods that remove the life from food, and the natural 'poetic' methods that maintain or enhance the life in food. The poetic techniques produce... foods that have been celebrated for centuries and are considered gourmet delights today."

    Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning offers more than 250 easy and enjoyable recipes featuring locally grown and minimally refined ingredients.

    An essential guide for anyone working toward self-reliance.
     
    Where to get it?
     
    Chelsea Green Publishing
    Amazon US
    Amazon UK
    Amazon CA
    Amazon AU
     
    Related Videos
     


     
    Related Threads
     
    Food Preservation Forum
    Fermentation Forum
    Food preservation methods before modern times
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    [/review_grid]


    3 days ago

    Image source: Amazon

    Summary
     
    Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation

    Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern "kitchen gardeners" will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. Yet here is a book that goes back celebrating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles in ways that maximize flavor and nutrition.

    Translated into English, and with a new foreword by Deborah Madison, this book deliberately ignores freezing and high-temperature canning in favor of methods that are superior because they are less costly and more energy-efficient.

    Inside, you’ll learn how to:
  • Preserve without nutrient loss
  • Preserve by drying
  • Preserve with oil, vinegar, salt, and sugar
  • Make sweet-and-sour preserves
  • Preserve with alcohol

  • As Eliot Coleman says in his foreword to the first edition, "Food preservation techniques can be divided into two categories: the modern scientific methods that remove the life from food, and the natural 'poetic' methods that maintain or enhance the life in food. The poetic techniques produce... foods that have been celebrated for centuries and are considered gourmet delights today."

    Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning offers more than 250 easy and enjoyable recipes featuring locally grown and minimally refined ingredients.

    An essential guide for anyone working toward self-reliance.
     
    Where to get it?
     
    Chelsea Green Publishing
    Amazon US
    Amazon UK
    Amazon CA
    Amazon AU
     
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    3 days ago