Hilary Duinker

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since Aug 21, 2020
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Recent posts by Hilary Duinker

plenty of good comments here already so I will just add my bit briefly.  I got a milwaukee battery powered chainsaw about a year ago and am loving it so far.  It's been plenty big and strong enough for anything I've wanted to do (pruning, carpentry work, dealing with windfalls) but next time I want to fall and buck up a big batch of firewood I'll definitely bring the bigger gas saw too.  My advice would also be to get both, but get a battery powered saw first, cause it's way nicer to use and feels good to cut wood with sunshine rather than dinosaur juice.  Then if/when you need something bigger, get your buddy to come help and bring his big gas monster ;)  If you go with one brand for all your battery powered tools, you will be more likely to have charged batteries available when needed, because you'll likely get one for each tool and thus have multiples.  

Also, there was a good comparison of brands in Popular Mechanics: https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/a28522787/battery-powered-chainsaws/
2 weeks ago
I find tomato starts are the key offering, and those need warm conditions to get started, so you'll likely need to do them inside anyways (not sure where you are though....).  A propagation cupboard with lights might be a better place to start (?).  Don't stress too much about making mistakes, that is the best way to learn!  For greenhouse, just get started with a budget DIY design - cattle panels, plastic pipe or rebar frame with plastic sheeting and think of it as a learning opportunity rather than the end solution. Base the design on the resources you have available to you most easily - ie maybe the cheapest option is actually building with scrap wood and old storm windows you already have lying around, rather than buying a bunch of new plastic pipe/rebar etc.  I have a small A frame greenhouse built with wood and plastic vapour barrier that my ex made.  It's not big enough and I don't like the design that much (not enough headroom when the tomatoes get big) etc etc but I've had use of a greenhouse for several years now, so I'm grateful for that and hopefully sometime soon I will get it rebuilt in a better way.  
2 months ago

Catie George wrote:What brand are you using? I'm going into my 3rd winter with some of my merino long johns, with very little mending required yet. I particularly like the Stanfields ones.  Other than that, consider trying a larger size/brand - if you are getting rips in the crotch it may indicate it's too tight in that area, or possibly cut wrong for your body.  

Most of them are from Mountain Equipment Co-op, and the fabric is just too thin.  there are some crotch rips but alot of them are just rips on the leg from me putting them on!  I was already pretty disappointed with MEC and now they've gone and sold out to a company in California (wtf?), so won't be buying anymore of those.  Have tried some other brands too.  I am short and curvy so hard to find pants that fit in general.  My honey wears Stanfield stuff and it seems really itchy to me, but maybe they have some merino stuff that's better?  Just splurged and bought a pricey pair of Icebreaker longjohns with a nice pattern so I can wear as leggings, so will see how they wear.  I splurged similarly last year and got a pair with gorgeous pattern from Adventure Pants in Australia and they ripped......  I will keep you all posted on how it goes....once I carve out some time for sewing hopefully later this week.......  Thanks for all the suggestions!  I have darned socks but haven't sewn through fabric like illustrated above, just filled holes so I will try it out.  I have a duffel bag full of socks to darn this winter too......
2 months ago
Hello sewerfolk (hmmm, that might not have sounded right the way you pronounced it....).  I seem to go through merino long johns like no one's business.  I wear them everyday all winter and they always rip on me so I've got a bunch that I would like to rebuild into functional garments.  Many have big rips that don't seem conducive to patching, plus I don't want bulky crotch areas!  I'm not a stellar seamstress (yet!) though, so I'm reaching out to ask about how to deal with thin, somewhat worn out, stretchy merino wool fabrics.  Any advice?  I'm not really clear how to sort out the pattern when dealing with stretchy fabrics, or how to make flat seams with my basic machine.  Thanks!  Hilary
2 months ago
Hi y'all, I'm curious how you manage your greenhouse tomatoes.  I usually aim to prune them to a single stem wound up a long strip of sheet secured up in the rafters, but I inevitably get behind on the pruning and end up with a chaotic mess.  Also, I know there's a way to drop the plants down when they start to get too high to reach, but I haven't managed it yet.  Hoping for some inspiration or maybe a new direction/technique for next year.....
2 months ago
I like the layout of the first 2, prefer the brown background over the green but really like the bright colours of the food pics from the last one.  The meat pics in first couple of options aren't as appealing.  So I would go with option #2 but with different pics, keep the oven, but include more diverse, colourful food pics.
2 months ago
if you just want a small pond, for sure, just do some digging.  think about where the dirt you dig out will go, and what shape and depth you want.  good to have gradual access somewhere so critters can get in and out easily.
2 months ago
yet another example of how deprived we are in "developed" countries, where food comes from a grocery store.  In my experience here in Canada you see "yellow" (usually waxier) "white" or "red" (usually more floury) potatoes and then russets or "baking" potatoes, usually wrapped in aluminum foil.  fingerlings are available as a fancy farmers market type offering.  Yet there's actually hundreds of different varieties.  We really need to cultivate more diversity!  I've been trying out different varieties and started organizing an annual big group buy for seed potatoes for my remote island community a few years ago.  So this year I grew over 20 different varieties as I am trying out a bunch of new ones that different people ordered.  Pink Fir Apple is my big winner so far - most productive and keeps well, a great heritage fingerling variety that often grows into crazy cool hand shapes.  Everyone loves Yukon Gold, which was developed at Guelph University in Ontario, they taste great and are good for everything but I haven't found them to be especially productive.  I think it's what gets sold as "yellow" but not sure.  Purple potatoes are really fun and I love them mashed and roasted but they can sometimes be hard to find in the dirt and I miss a bunch.  If you haven't already, read the chapter on potatoes in Carol Deppe's book The Resilient Gardener (great book).  it's got everything you need to know to grow your own potatoes and she has recommendations for varieties.  There is also a neat citizens science 'heritage potato project' going on in Canada.  Definitely worth encouraging readers of the book to explore different varieties themselves, potatoes are a fantastic intro gardening crop. Eagle Creek farm at https://www.seedpotatoes.ca/ has an extensive list of different varieties with descriptions.

2 months ago
omg, there are so many tomato varieties! I keep trying out new ones and growing a bunch of different ones but have trouble reducing the list!

Everyone here on our island seems to love Sungold, which many others have mentioned and also Juliet, which I think are what you call a "Saladette" type, smallish oblong, bright red.  Juliets are great for drying as well as fresh eating or canning (they make your sauce nice and bright).  both are prolific, both are hybrids so you can't save your own seeds.  

My honey's favourite is Amish Salad for fresh eating.

My friend who's been gardening for decades with a specific focus on flavour prefers Rose de Berne.

I quite like the unique flavours of Persimmon and Green Zebra, and like to grow a colourful mix of cherry tomatoes, this year Gardener's Delight (red) were my favourite, Black Cherry is also good.  I tried out some new slicers this year but I think "Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Red" which I got from Heritage Harvest Seeds in Manitoba, Canada is still top of my list flavour wise

Someone else mentioned Stupice, which is a good early, tasty, reliable and prolific variety that's worth trying out.  In general, "heirloom" varieties are a good place to start for good flavour.  Start requesting seed catalogs now so you have lots of time to narrow down your selections!

We did a tomato taste test at the Fall Fair one year which was really fun.  It's neat to see how different the same variety grown in a different garden can taste!