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Rebecca Norman

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since Aug 28, 2012
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food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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Rebecca has lived in Ladakh in the Himalayas since 1992. She's a bit of a crabby, grumpy character but is trying to Be Nice on Permies.
Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Recent posts by Rebecca Norman

Well yes, but I have also burned seedlings with diluted pee-water, and burned seedlings don't recover. Maybe it wasn't diluted enough: a few days later I could see that overfertilised salty look (slightly discolored soil with a tiny bit of white crust around the edges of the container) . I think one issue might be that since I plant seeds in pure sand, there's no organic matter to handle the input. Established plants in soil with organic matter seem to always welcome diluted pee-water.
14 hours ago
I'm waiting for any informed answers to your question. All I can give is my experience, but I don't have a lot to say.

When we started building our school on a dry desert plateau 22 years ago, there was no greenery or other plant matter around bigger than your hand, so we mulched some of the trees with stones. We were watering our newly planted trees with buckets and later with tiny canals. gradually gradually over the years, some greenery came up along the tiny canals, and there's a bit of shade and microclimate of slight humidity so we don't bother with the stones anymore.

Pros: Stones shade the soil when there's no other mulch available which keeps the moisture in a little longer.
Stones don't get floated or blown away by the irrigation or wind.
Stones don't hog the irrigation water to themselves like natural mulch would if you were watering from above (but we aren't).

Cons: They don't seem to add much.
Years later I realised that around a lot of trees, the layer of stones was buried under blown in sand or greenery that had come up, so if that's going to be a problem, do think about the fact that it might happen.

I can't say if they actually helped or hindered the pathetic trees planted in the barren desert, though.
4 days ago
I use just about everything, except pads: yuck! Guess it takes all kinds, huh?

My main method is tampons. For years I used o.b., until on this very forum, I think it was Jocelyn who pointed out that the ingredients openly include polyester, and I suddenly realised that those little squares of white non-woven fabric I was pulling out of the toilet manure all these years were not from volunteers using disposable hand-wipes, but from me! Oops!

So I buy two brands of all-cotton organic tampons in the US, Seventh Generation and Natracare organic tampons. Such luxury to just drop tampons right down the composting toilet. I can tell you what that tiny 5th pocket on jeans is for: it's for plastic tampon wrappers!

But the all-cotton tampon brands don't come in the "ultra" size that o.b. offers so I was getting some leakage, so I also bought "period panties."

Period Panties (big black panties with a triple layer in the middle panel) are great for that little extra leak when using a less than optimal solution, or shoulder days, or when you expect your period. I wouldn't rely on them as the sole method through a period, but they're great for allowing a little first leak to warn you to run to the bathroom without fear of leaking out onto clothing.

I wash period panties in the sink when I get home: rinse as throughly as possible, then apply whatever bar soap is around and scrub the cloth against itself vigorously. Then rinse again, wring out as hard as possible (really put your back into it), snap out hard so that it will dry soft and straight, and hang. Doesn't take but a minute or three, especially if on the same day.

I bought a pack of "Keepers" years ago, which were an earlier version of menstrual cups. They have strict warnings not to reuse them but of course I do, and one pack has lasted at least ten years. When I'm travelling in other parts of India where water toilets and especially squat toilets are the norm, cups are the best: nothing to throw away, water available, and squatting is the best position for pulling these out and washing them. I don't feel I'd like to just wipe it with paper and stick it back in, though. There's always one in my travelling bag so that at least I have that even if I haven't carried enough tampons. I don't use it much in Ladakh, where there aren't many water toilets.
4 days ago

Chris Kott wrote:The Polish version adds buckwheat groats. I grew up on that particular version, but I would love to try others.

The Ladakhi (Buddhist) version uses barley flour. Ladakhi Muslims, of course, don't make blood sausage, but they do make some kind of sausage and use buckwheat flour (or groats? I think it's just the flour. I've only been told, haven't tasted it myself).

Strangely, though in everything else Ladakhis have adopted the range of North India spices, the blood sausages are very plain and bland, but they sure do give a woman that yummy feeling of eating something VERY nutritious!
5 days ago
Well, of course, ifyou don't want to make everything you eat and drink out of mint, then you can use it as mulch on other planting areas
1 week ago
Oops, I was looking at the title "Canning kitchen" but most of the descriptions above are for a regular kitchen or food service kitchen, not a canning kitchen.
I use clear sticky window fly traps in the house to stop houseflies. A similar kind of sticky band around the trunk of the tree or the pot would keep ants from travelling up to tend the aphids, provided that the tree isn't touching other routes for ants (such as the wall or other plants). Hopefully only a few ants would get trapped and then the rest of them would get the message that the route is no longer viable. Maybe regular sticky tape such as cellotape facing sticky-side-outward would work, though might get quickly neutralised by dust, but cellotape is cheap enough you could replace it every few days till the ants get out of the habit.
1 week ago
Happy to hear you're getting what you need. I got nettle seeds from someone on this forum a few years ago, so that may be solution for people in the future. Even though I planted them more than a year later, I got pretty good germination, but then the tiny sprouts got roasted on a sunny day, and I changed my mind about introducing an exotic species, and decided to try to get some of the local nettle species (but haven't done it yet).
I don't have much experience, only a warning. Pond water is notorious, I think, for clogging up drip irrigation lines with algae and sediment, so make sure to read up on ways to prevent that.
That looks like a beautiful structure. Our canning kitchen is packed on top of our bus once a year and set up as a camp at a place where we can get free apricots as long as we leave all the valuable seeds. A considerable amount of loud Ladakhi and Hindi pop music and dancing is involved.