I know this is an old thread but I had this same conversation with my grandmother a few years ago and have been trying to research this very thing.
My grandma grew up in Minnesota during the Great Depression. She told me how they would keep meats for long periods. Some meat was salted, some was smoked, some in an ice house, and others were even rendered in fat.
The best description she could give me for preserving in fat/lard at the time was that they would do it only when they had a large amount of meat and always before winter. She told me this was normally a whole pig.
They cut out as much of the fat as possible and boiled it in a big pot. She kind of gave the impression that you had to use the animals own fat to do this.
The meat itself would then be fully cooked separately. They would then take a wooden barrel, pour some of the boiled down fat into the barrel and then start placing the cooked meat in and then more fat.
They would alternate fat - meat until the barrel was about half full.
When they needed something they just went out and chipped off what ever they needed and reheated it. The fat from that was then poured back into the barrel.
They could keep a barrel of meat for months. She too said this was her favorite over the salted and smoked meat.
I wanted to add that growing up, my grandma always had a big coffee can next to the stove that she poured her fat (Mostly pork fat) into and used that fat to cook everything in (Pork fat seemed to be the go to). It would sit for days and would harden. She would just scoop out what she wanted and heated it up again.
Now none of this is heart smart in any way but....
I am glad I am not the only one interested in the old ways....
The merits of this gardening strategy are so many, it's hard to list them all. We've been laying down wood chips now for over 15 years and have watched the soil transform from hard, lifeless clay, to rich, black, crumbly and fertile. Our water use has dropped by over half. The worms are so abundant, it's crazy.
Our spring garden has pretty much all sprouted or been transplanted into the food forest at this point, so I spent the weekend laying mulch down around the tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, ginger and herbs, cabbage and other brassicas . . . everywhere, particularly around the fruit trees and berry bushes. Mulch breaks down very quickly in our climate so we need to replenish it twice a year, in the fall and now again in the spring. I got a lovely load of mostly pine a few weeks ago --- I only wish I had 20 more yards of it.
Often, when you get a load of chips, there will also be bunch of unchipped larger pieces of tree trunk (firewood) in the back of the truck as well. What we don't use in the fireplace goes into the hugelkultur mounds.
In terms of bio-remediation, our understanding the role of fungi in breaking down harmful compounds continues to grow. The work of Paul Stamets and others has shown us that fungi degrade, bind, and digest all sorts of harmful stuff. Given the fact that my food forest is in Los Angeles country, surrounded on all sides by 20 to 50 MILES of city, I would imagine that all sorts of stuff has drifted down and settled on our soil down through the decades. So with each new layer of wood chips, whatever was on the surface of the soil is now covered by an exceptional fungi-growing medium. After a hard rain, it's not unusual to see 10 more more different varieties of mushrooms popping up all over out there. All that fungi is so good for the soil, the trees and plants, and the entire biome.
I would encourage anyone who hasn't tried this to take a corner of your yard somewhere and experiment with it.
Question about wooden spoons and cutting boards...............When they are wood burned are they food safe? AND does anybody know if the commercial ones you buy (quite inexpensive) are truly food safe?
All my vestiges of squeamishness were obliterated by having kids. I already changed diapers when I was 14, because my youngest sister was born then, but my first wife had spent a fair amount of time in Nepal and had extensive organic farming experience and wasn't about to do anything but be "natchurl" so it was cotton diapers all the way, with wool wraps (no frikkin' plastic!!) So the diaper bucket had a squirt of Bac-Out added (a bacterial culture with surfactants and citrus oils formulated by the founder of BioKleen in Portland OR- I used to do the pick-up run for People's Co-Op there so I'd even met him) This liquid meant that the bucket didn't smell bad. So I'd pour the liquid on the compost pile. I was then making my living as an urban bambusero/nurseryman, so I needed quantities of compost. No damn little piles for me. That liquid worked the pile up just fine. Years before when I was on Orcas Island, a friend living in a tipi and building a cabin had finished a composting toilet, the first I'd ever seen. His observation was "if the toilet smells, just add some fresh grass clippings" so I learned early that bad smell= something is off-balance. Early on I had had some mice get into a compost pile, and one time I impaled one on a fork while turning the pile. The squeaking was horrible. Later I had a bad-ass vole tunneling in a pile, and he made a break for it when I was turning the pile. He'd made a mess of the pile, and feeling vengeful I swung the fork at him so as to finish him w/o the squeaking, and broke the fork. So, when a family of rats moved in to the pile when I had kids years later, I felt I had to do something. I was touring my garden and nursery and didn't want rats around giving a bad name to organic. I thought on it long and hard. Well, if you want to control a pest, first understand how to breed the pest. It was a cold winter so I made a cavity in the top of the pile, filled it with dry leaves and roofed it with cardboard covered with a piece of black plastic and a piece of plywood on top. Dry, snug and with bottom heat! Then I sharpened my Allen hoe- the one that's arrow-head shaped, and filed the angles SHARP. At high noon when all good rats are sleeping off the night's revels, I walked over to the pile, said "Landlord, rent's due!" and flipped the lid off with the top corner of the hoe head and with a sewing machine-type stroke, diced the rat habitat real fine, rats too. No squeaks. Rats compost just fine if the pieces are small enough! I have visited a beach town in Guatemala- Jalapa- a sand spit where a creek parallels the beach for a mile, and there was just enough space for a block of "beach hotels", wooden shacks with tin or thatch roofs, a hallway on one side from the manager/owner's room at the creekside to the bar/restaurant at the beach end, and all the rooms between the two on your left as you walk towards the beach, all up 4-5 feet off the sand on posts. People just went down-creek towards the mouth, where the hotels stopped. Sanitation was the purview of a group of insanely large hogs (300 pounds minimum, looked like) who lived out there. As you walked out that way, they would follow you with expectant looks, and if you hurried, they hurried too, so as to be the lucky one right there at the right time! I appreciate that the Cuban permies I've met are all really good at designing beautiful, well-functioning compost toilets, to further the bio-revolution.
Diatomaceous earth is mostly silica, which is, for the most part, chemically inert. That means there is little, if anything, available for biologic processes. I don't agree that adding DE will improve a soil's mineral content in any meaningful way.
Rock dust, in general, can be extremely helpful, extremely harmful, or anywhere in between. It all depends on the existing soil conditions and the composition of the rock dust. Adding limestone rock dust to an alkaline soil isn't going to help you. Soil pH is extremely important to nutrient uptake.
There is much bad information here. There is also some very good information.
Rock dust can only assist if the existing soil is deficient in minerals, pH imbalanced, etc, which can be improved by the rock dust.
However, rock dust can drastically (which can be beneficial or harmful) alter the pH, structure, and nutrient availability (both positively and negatively) of the soil. If you randomly add rock dust (or any other soil amendment) without knowing the existing soil's chemical balance, pH, and structure, you stand as much chance of causing a serious problem as you do of making an improvement.
Dan Grubbs wrote:If you look at the swale/berm I cut yesterday on our farm, you'll see about a 300-foot swale that is about 18 inches deep, four feet wide and a burm of about two feet in height. Today I covered the berm with a thick coat of hay to keep the rain from washing it away before I get things planted on it. So, obviously, I'm asking for planting suggestions. I will be ordering a variety of nut trees to plant, too.
I want both food and soil regeneration on our farm. On either side of the swale/berm is pasture and open for most anything, but likely will grow various forage for our goats next year. We live in Northwest Missouri in the upper part of hardiness Zone 6a. What would you all suggest?
Hey Dan, I haven't read most of this thread, But great work using that equipment for your swale install and thanks for the pics. I'm sure you've planted some things by now since this post is about 2 years old now. However, here are some plant suggestions for establishing a productive poly-cultural food forest.
The first few plant species are more productive, and complex carbon organisms (meaning they take long to establish and produce well). Underneath, divided by the dotted line, are support species (they grow much quicker, fix nitrogen & other elements, and produce biomass for the soil organisms), some of which are productive as well.
Even if you have planted this swale, hopefully this list helps you to establish more and diversify the ones already growing. Let me know what you think.
p.s. I tried attaching a text document to no avail, so i apologize for the sloppy copy/paste format
I would personally love it if a rocket mass heater techie who is a decent editor would go through the document and spruce up all the RMH jargon sections, sprinkling it with commas and periods as appropriate and trying to make the language clearer, maybe more visual. I couldn't quite get my head around most of the concepts. I did at least walk away with "watch out for hydrogen atoms!"
Raine Bradford wrote:Leila, I know this is an old post, but I used trichoderma this spring for leaf curl and it worked wonders!!! I got a powder that was a mix of trichoderma and mycorrhizal beneficial fungi from website called kelp4less. I mixed it and made a foliar spray. I did it about 4 weeks after leaves emerged and there was already a lot of fruit set. I saw new healthy growth within a few days. I sprayed again about 10 days later, as the website recommended. Most of the infected leaves have dropped off by now (a month later) and you can barely tell there was a problem. Fruit looks fine. Can't believe people don't know about this.
Raine, could you please pop back and tell us how your trees do this season? Leaf curl typically appears at the beginning of the growing season and in my experience, the affected leaves are generally quickly replaced by healthy leaves. Fruit might still look fine too, though it seems that trees that have been affected for years drop off in production and new trees don't establish as well. So, for me, what you've said doesn't necessarily indicate success - but for everyone's sake, I hope it does!
I use Felco pruners, they are not stainless steel.
Once I am through using them for the day I strip them down, clean them, sharpen them and reassemble, then they are oiled.
It is fine to use alcohol exclusively, if you make sure it stays on for at least 30 seconds.
I built a bottle holder for my belt for the bleach water, it has a rubber cover with a slit so it doesn't spill and is still easy to plunge the pruners into it. The rubber acts like a squeegee as they are pulled out.
I've used the same pruners since 1973, they are still going strong.
I normally avoid getting into these sort of discussions, because it's much like religion.....based upon personal belief.
But I shall go ahead and pose the question of my situation., just for the sake of thought and discussion. I live in a region where environmental factors can be significantly different over a distance of only five miles, the distance between my two farms. Planting according to the signs could result in possible success for one location while at the same exact time end in failure for the other. Quite honestly and realistically, I find that I cannot use the same planting schedule, techniques, and strategy for both locations. So why doesn't planting by the signs work for both locations equally well? Or does planting by the signs not apply to the tropics?
Quoted from link: Ragweed is considered by many to be the single best plant that exists for removing lead from contaminated soil.
That, in itself makes it a powerful contender for lead mitigation.
Just try to terminate it before it goes to flower or else it becomes 'sneeze weed'.
Its allergic nature does not manifest itself until it produces pollen.
I am jealous. I have tried similar tricks with no luck here in northern Ontario. I covered up a large patch of quack grass with a heavy tarp ( 10 x 15 feet) weighed down with plywood 6 months ago. It is even located with a driveway lining 2 of the sides of the tarp, so only 2 sides are open to rhizomatous invasion.
Checked it a couple of weeks ago. No green sprigs of quackgrass under there, but certainly no rotting of quackgrass roots,either. No,instead there is a solid patch of healthy white A repens roots. I found them going down 12-18 inches. I will leave the tarp in place for another 4-5 months in the hopes of weakening the quackgrass enough so I can establish a white clover groundcover come spring.
I want to second the notion of nettles as a good source of carbs and proteins. Good for you in the spring, when it is tender. You can harvest later too, let it wilt and feed it to livestock. If the seeds will ripen in a short summer like Iceland they are also a good source of fats. Furthermore, I think tjat mushrooms are a good source of carbs and proteins, be it Iceland or further south. There are several native species there, plus you could an a more aggressive species like oyster mushrooms and cultivate it indoors on waste material like cotton fabric, books, or coffees grinds.
This may be a bit of a hazy thought, but what exactly does a willow do with the nitrogen boon in a poo-bog? I know its not a fixer by any means, but would it uptake *any* of it, assuming it was drinking #1's n 2's all summer?
I just wonder if the coppiced matter would be any richer than regular willow scraps in nitrogen, or if it just does its usual nitrogen thing?
"When I die, just throw me in the trash! Who gives a shit!"
Peter DeVries wrote:These are some brilliant treehouses. I'm planning on building one myself. Do you guys have some suggestions of where to find more inspiration? I have found https://www.bookatreehouse.com/ with quite some interesting tree houses but would be glad to find a site with more properties. Any suggestions are welcome!
(Belated) welcome to permies, Peter! Wow, that bookatreehouse.com is like airbnb for treehouses - very cool!
from what I know yes white vinegar is made with franken corn, great household cleaner, does not go in our food. last bottle of rice wine vinegar had corn syrup in it I think, I remember chucking it. Have I ever mentioned how much I love our food system btw.
I've found Ultricularia gibba (bladderwort), a aquatic carnivorous plant, is very effective at keeping mosquitoes from breeding in aquaculture tubs, plant pot saucers, and other small containers of water where mosquitoes normally like to lay their egg rafts. Bladderwort's bladder trap catch and eat mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes can apparently detect and refuse to lay their eggs in water where Ultricularia is growing. It is especially good for locations where predators such as frogs keep eating your mosquito fish and rosy red minnows. U. gibba is native throughout the world from the tropics to as far north as Canada.
I suppose that I'm blessed to have an overabundance of tomatoes. Not just a simple overabundance, but an overwhelming overabundance. I grew about 300 tomato plants this year. I don't mind at all sharing a tomato with a bug, or a raccoon, or a microorganism. I just cut out what I don't want and feed it to the garden. I bottle tomatoes until I run out of bottles. I sell as many as I can pick. I give them away to friends and to the food pantry. There are still many more tomatoes than I can deal with.
So I make spaghetti sauce, and ketchup, and tomato sauce, and salsa, and tomato juice. I eat them raw, and in salads, and I blend them up and add to soups, and I add them whole to roasts. And they keep producing, and producing, and producing...
Headed to the farmer's market:
This is what my fields typically look like at the end of the season: Worm food!
I am partial to halflingers they are a horse breed that are a mix of pony and Belgian in appearance, they get fat by looking at grain and are super easy keepers. They are known to have independence thoughts, but I like animals that are smart enough to think and decide things for themselves!
They can trail ride, drive, and draft, because their size fits all these purposes, in fact there are several Amish in town that use them instead of having Belgians for work and Standardbreds for driving the buggie.
Burra Maluca wrote:I do actually have an important update to this thread.
Young cherry trees, bone sauce, and seriously hot summers do NOT mix!
All the other trees are fine, it's just the cherry trees.
Cherry trees have a specificity in their bark: they have small little holes (you can see them) going from inside the stem to the outside.
I can't remember how these little holes are called in english, but the tree uses them to "breath" threw the stem, that's probably why your product harmed them.
But, as written above: Burra, it's been a while since you started your experiment - could you update us on the results?
Cinder blocks here. Initially expensive, and a pain to move/transport, but they'll last for a veryyyy long time, are easily available, even free if you look enough, easy to form to shape, and the holes can be used for planting as well.
Ah, on a personal note, I'm actually not welcome to move to America. You guys over there are very unaware of how difficult it is for anyone to move over. o-O It's pretty much impossible, for me. Your gov' won't let me.
I'll try your advice. I'll get a small variety of seeds, and setup for the coming Autumn.