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Laurie Meyerpeter

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since May 10, 2012
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Recent posts by Laurie Meyerpeter

We do that with illness and disease too. When someone gets cancer or whatever, we try to find a reason or a blame, like "He got lung cancer because he smoked", which might be a reason to blame the poor guy but I had a friend who never smoked and got lung cancer. I think sometimes it makes the world seem more logical if there is someone or something to blame than if things just happen randomly. Because random cancer is scary. It could happen to us. Our brain likes patterns to help us explain things. Like milk spilling because someone caused it to happen. Milk just getting spilt because that sometimes happens or cancer killing someone because that sometimes that happens makes our brain feel uncomfortable. It's scary because we feel helpless.
1 year ago
Question. Several people have posted about the Ball jar rings (and lids) being an added cost. For me, the lids are an added cost but I've never purchased rings. My question is, when you store your canned goods, do you store with the rings on or off. I was taught to store with the rings off so I always have a huge box of extra rings. So, do you store with the rings on the jar or do you remove the ring when storing?
1 year ago
I don't think Mason and Ball jars are hard to stack. Of course 1/2 pint and wide mouth pint jars are designed to be stacked. But if I want to stack other jars, I just use a pieces of sturdy cardboard or thin plywood or old metal signs in between layers. Smaller pieces work best. Like a section for jams and a different section for canned tomatoes so I can keep things organized. Also, I don't stack glass jars in tall towers whether they are Mason jars or Weck jars.
1 year ago
I'd love to use Weck jars but they're too expensive here. They're between $3 and $5 EACH new and I never see them used. And I inherited a large number of my Mason and Ball jars. They may not be as thick as Weck jars but mine have lasted through at least two generations of families that can and preserve. That's about 50 years of use so far. I occasionally have a jar break but I have a LOT of jars so one expects a small amount of loss over several decades. I freeze food in the jars all the time too and, again, I occasionally have a jar that breaks because I'm not very careful but overall, the rate of breakage is very, very low. Another point of canning is that it is something I do to preserve large amounts of food and one of the goals is a lower cost for the finished product. Free or cheap jars is part of the equation since I'm using a LOT of jars.  
1 year ago

Phil Swindler wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:I think the important thing demonstrated with this thread is that "the train station effect" is something that that we can understand, and has value when talking about community.   It has less value to some, and that's cool.   It has a LOT of value to others, and that makes it worthwhile to expand our vocabulary.

I find the timing of this thread interesting.
In a few days 40 to 50 members of my extended family will get together for Thanksgiving.
I'm really looking forward to seeing at least 30 of them.

Me too! I'm looking forward to seeing at least 30 of them. ...And figuring out how I can avoid 20 of them. Seriously, i love seeing everyone once a year. There's usually about 40 relatives and other people, some I don't know. It's fun but I sure wouldn't want to eat this way at every single meal. I'm good at chitchat so I like these surface conversations as I twirl my gravy into the mashed potatoes and stuff my face with turkey and rolls. But with this many people, I never get to hear what's really happening in the lives of the people I care about but don't see often. The conversation is mostly superficial. And since all the turkey eaters are talking and chatting, I don't even have a chance to really enjoy the delicious food either. I guess I'm not good at multi-tasking. After a few hours, it begins to feel like an ordeal and I'm glad to leave.
Eating great food with lots of wonderful people is like Thanksgiving with a lot of relatives many of who you don't Sometimes you just want to have a turkey sandwich, not alone in your room, but with a couple of your siblings where you can just relax and share memories and laugh and be understood. There's a time and a need for both.
This is a cool thread. Lots to think about.

Off topic but one other thing about human feces besides antibiotics is hormones. Birth control pills, and hormones like estrogen and testosterone, are common. Humans can potentially have some pretty dangerous substances too. I once had a serious illness that involved a test with radioactive substances.
1 year ago
I know you have a different kind of persimmon but those people who have access to Haichiya persimmons should try making hoshigaki. It's a Japanese style persimmon that is peeled (no need to remove the seeds), then hung to dry, and during the weeks it's drying, it's massaged to break up the flesh and make it sweet. When it's done, it's heavenly and coated with a white substance that to the uninitiated looks like mold but it's natural SUGAR. They're exquisite and as the generation of older Japanese grandparents pass on, hoshigaki is becoming increasingly rare. In my area it sells for $35 a lb and sometimes customers are limited to a single lb because quantities are so limited. I learned how to make them from my Japanese boss, including traditional ways to cut the stem (with a "T"), how to tie and hang them over a bamboo pole, etc. but they still dry just fine without the traditional touches. And it's funny but I don't make them anymore. My local Jehovah's Witness contact makes them and gives me a bag each year and we end up talking about persimmons instead of the literature she's supposed to hand out. Some years she even forgets to give me literature. Yes, they're that good. Remember, they're worth $35 a lb!!! I give her fresh eggs and lemons and Japanese maple seedlings.

For Fuyu persimmons, I slice and dry them in a dehydrator. Delicious.

For soft persimmon pulp, I make my grandma's traditional persimmon pudding, an Ozark recipe that's originated as a type of English "pudding", a cake-like thing baked in a mold, brought to America and the Appalachians, then the Ozarks, and then to California. Cookies are also good. You can also layer it with whipped cream in a glass for a nice dessert. Soft persimmon can be substituted for any recipe that calls for applesauce or pumpkin. They can be made in jams and conserves. The pulp can be dried into fruit leather. It also is pretty good in chili.

Persimmons are also a good fruit to draw birds and animals. Flickers love them. Raccoons fight over them.
1 year ago
I think you're looking for meat-type sandwiches but don't overlook the lowly Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich. I don't eat them at home so I understand what you're asking but I used to do hard, physical labor outdoors in a 5 acre plant nursery and PB&J sandwiches were my mainstay. They don't need refrigeration. They stay with you. They are filling but don't make you feel so stuffed that you feel like you're going to barf if you have to unload a literal-ton of trees from a delivery truck. I take them hiking for the same reasons. It's not my favorite sandwich so I have to get my favorite bread, my favorite fresh ground/no salt peanut butter and homemade jam in order to enjoy it. You can substitute bananas or honey or raisins for the jam. But I do like them when I'm working hard. It seemed to be a pretty common lunch in my profession and the work was really hard. And it payed poorly and PB&J was cheap too.  
1 year ago
There's tons of information here already. Here's something to think about. My brother-in-law has a permaculture and certified organic walnut orchard. He's been harvesting walnuts year after year after year. The walnuts-and the nitrogen contained in them-is shipped off the farm year after year after year. His soil test came back that his soil nitrogen is getting lower so he's starting to think about what he can do. Eventually it's going to reduce his walnut harvest or effect the health of the trees. Farming is not a natural process because in nature, crops aren't harvested and shipped way year after year after year. Other walnut farmers use chemical fertilizers but he doesn't want to this (nor can he as a certified organic producer). Other organic walnut farmers (and there aren't many), fertilize with things like chicken manure that they bring in outside the farm loop but he doesn't want to do this either because he wants to keep farm production based on the farm. He runs sheep on his farm already for part of the year but he was thinking of adding pastured chickens between the walnut trees for the added manure and nitrogen. (Animal manure is readily available as nitrogen to plants.) But adding pastured chickens that are eating dropped walnuts and orchard grass aren't adding anymore nitrogen than are already on the farm and when they are shipped to market as meat birds, he's actually losing even more nitrogen since the protein in their bodies is made of nitrogen. (Note, manure has nitrogen in it but animals don't "make" nitrogen. The nitrogen in their manure comes from the nitrogen, aka protein, in the food that they eat and is then concentrated in the manure.) And if he goes outside his farm loop and brings in chicken food, the chickens convert the nitrogen in the grain into a readily available and concentrated nitrogen but he's still losing at least some of the nitrogen when he ships the birds off the farm. And the chickens don't make nitrogen, they use nitrogen in their food, so he theoretically could just spread chicken food over his farm and as microorganisms eat the grain and decay, they'd add nitrogen to the soil. Not as efficient as chickens and costly, but you get the idea. The added nitrogen has to come from somewhere. You can read more if you look up stuff on the nitrogen cycle.

The primary way that nitrogen can be "manufactured" for his farm is by the bacteria that attaches itself to the roots of legumes. There's a mega-ton of nitrogen in the air but it's stable and plants can't access it from the air.  The two main ways to extract it are the Haber-Bosch method and by certain bacteria like those that fix themselves to the roots of legumes. So as an organic farmer, his best suggestion is to plant a lot of legume cover crops that will add nitrogen to replace the nitrogen lost when he sells his walnut crop each year. (I guess the ideal loop would be to add lots and lots of humamanure to close the walnut/walnut-eating-people loop but that's problematic in itself.)

So too much nitrogen might be a problem as you said but for farmers, too little nitrogen can be a problem too. I don't have the answer.
1 year ago