Rebecca Norman

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since Aug 28, 2012
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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

My life here produces a lot of leftover curries. Mutton, chicken, veg, whatever. I don't care for rice as much as it imposes itself in my life, so I tend to make pasta to use up leftover curries.

In winter, our region is cut off by road from anywhere else, so we don't get any fresh fruit or veg at all, and I like to dry a lot of vegetables. A lot of them rehydrate nicely if thrown in the water with the pasta. Especially mushrooms, broccoli, or eggplant.

I have a miserly habit of boiling pasta in only just enough water, from the many years of hauling my own water up one story to my living quarters. At this altitude pasta seems to take forever to soften, so I cook it in the pressure cooker, with just enough water to cover the pasta and dried vegetables, bring it up to pressure and then turn it off. By the time the pressure cooker is cooled enough to open, the pasta is usually cooked and has absorbed most of the water. It comes out fully cooked through but kind of al dente that way.

For sauce, if I don't have a leftover curry to use up, sometimes I dissolve grated strong cheese in simmering milk with sauted onions and garlic, indulging my secretive and relatively expensive love of (exotic!) cheeeese. Or saute down some tomatoes with the usual accompaniments and oregano till it's saucy. Or for the easiest and laziest, just butter, salt and (omigod delicious!) powder of home-dried tomatoes.

In the US I used to like making lasagna, and here I just recently got an oven (exotic!). I found that making up a stiff dough and rolling it out is perfectly reasonable and doable. Certainly easier than boiling and straining commercial lasagna noodles, though not as easy as making lasagna with dry noodles, which is how I always did it before. At least this way they're whole wheat.
1 hour ago
My life here produces a lot of leftover curries. Mutton, chicken, veg, whatever. I don't care for rice as much as it imposes itself in my life, so I tend to make pasta to use up leftover curries.

In winter, our region is cut off by road from anywhere else, so we don't get any fresh fruit or veg at all, and I like to dry a lot of vegetables. A lot of them rehydrate nicely if thrown in the water with the pasta. Especially mushrooms, broccoli, or eggplant.

I have a miserly habit of boiling pasta in only just enough water, from the many years of hauling my own water up one story to my living quarters. At this altitude pasta seems to take forever to soften, so I cook it in the pressure cooker, with just enough water to cover the pasta and dried vegetables, bring it up to pressure and then turn it off. By the time the pressure cooker is cooled enough to open, the pasta is usually cooked and has absorbed most of the water. It comes out fully cooked through but kind of al dente that way.

For sauce, if I don't have a leftover curry to use up, sometimes I dissolve grated strong cheese in simmering milk with sauted onions and garlic, indulging my secretive and relatively expensive love of (exotic!) cheeeese. Or saute down some tomatoes with the usual accompaniments and oregano till it's saucy. Or for the easiest and laziest, just butter, salt and (omigod delicious!) powder of home-dried tomatoes.

In the US I used to like making lasagna, and here I just recently got an oven (exotic!). I found that making up a stiff dough and rolling it out is perfectly reasonable and doable. Certainly easier than boiling and straining commercial lasagna noodles, though not as easy as making lasagna with dry noodles, which is how I always did it before. At least this way they're whole wheat.
1 hour ago
My life here produces a lot of leftover curries. Mutton, chicken, veg, whatever. I don't care for rice as much as it imposes itself in my life, so I tend to make pasta to use up leftover curries.

In winter, our region is cut off by road from anywhere else, so we don't get any fresh fruit or veg at all, and I like to dry a lot of vegetables. A lot of them rehydrate nicely if thrown in the water with the pasta. Especially mushrooms, broccoli, or eggplant.

I have a miserly habit of boiling pasta in only just enough water, from the many years of hauling my own water up one story to my living quarters. At this altitude pasta seems to take forever to soften, so I cook it in the pressure cooker, with just enough water to cover the pasta and dried vegetables, bring it up to pressure and then turn it off. By the time the pressure cooker is cooled enough to open, the pasta is usually cooked and has absorbed most of the water. It comes out fully cooked through but kind of al dente that way.

For sauce, if I don't have a leftover curry to use up, sometimes I dissolve grated strong cheese in simmering milk with sauted onions and garlic, indulging my secretive and relatively expensive love of (exotic!) cheeeese. Or saute down some tomatoes with the usual accompaniments and oregano till it's saucy. Or for the easiest and laziest, just butter, salt and (omigod delicious!) powder of home-dried tomatoes.

In the US I used to like making lasagna, and here I just recently got an oven (exotic!). I found that making up a stiff dough and rolling it out is perfectly reasonable and doable. Certainly easier than boiling and straining commercial lasagna noodles, though not as easy as making lasagna with dry noodles, which is how I always did it before. At least this way they're whole wheat.
1 hour ago

S Bengi wrote:
In the Caribbean, it is traditionally prepared:
diluted wi...



This discussion is not about papaya, it is about Asimina triloba, which does not grow in the Caribbean. The name "pawpaw" causes a lot of confusion. This "pawpaw," Asimina triloba, is native to the eastern US, places like Kentucky and Virginia, I think, though it can be grown in other temperate places. It is not a tropical fruit.
7 hours ago
I don't know about charcoal, but I tried a pee bucket with sawdust & woodshavings one winter, and with autumn leaves another winter. I hoped they'd absorb the moisture and make a nice C/N ratio, but instead the liquid pooled up and went anaerobic, making a bad methane smell. But that was after a couple of months. If you're going to empty the container promptly, I think charcoal would probably absorb the smell. Sawdust/woodshavings might be available cheaper and in greater volumes, and they also absorb the smell if used in large enough volumes, but then I guess you have to compost them somewhere, whereas charcoal could go straight into soil as biochar.
1 week ago
As long as we're comparing ourselves to "other Americans," I'm an American and my daily life uses very very little energy.

My house is passive solar heated, with a seasonally attached greenhouse that gives me green vegetables all winter, too. For 20+ years my only back-up has been a hot water bottle kept on my feet in bed, heated on the gas stove.

In my new house I installed 400 W of floor heating cable in the living room, which I might use as a temporary bedroom if the upstairs bedrooms get too cold in January, but I think it might not be needed, because my new house has better insulation and weatherproofing that my room at the school did.

The hot water in my new house is a simple thing on the roof, evacuated wall glass tubes with an insulated tank attached, a popular model here. It gives me scalding hot water, even in the morning or on a cloudy day. I'm in the high desert so I've got the ideal solar situation. It came with a backup electric element which I haven't plugged in yet, but I haven't spent a winter with it yet.

I cook on "liquified petroleum gas" using 2 or 3 14 kg tanks per year, so that's not much at all.

My car is a compact Japanese car, but I drive it very little, probably 200 - 300 km per month.

Now that I'm living in a separate house from the school where I lived for years, I have a fridge, so that's a solid usage. The power goes out for hours or days at a time frequently.

I lift water with a 6 hp pump, about 15 minutes every two days in summer, less often in winter.

My lights are all LEDs, so lights, phone and computer are minimal loads.

My grid supply (such as it is!) is from a fairly benign hydro dam in our region, that didn't submerge any habitations or even any significant habitat. At the school our electricity is off-grid solar, so I didn't have a fridge when I lived there, and the water there is lifted by solar panels and an electric pump.

My biggest energy use is probably international air travel, once or twice per year. Phooey! Probably dwarfs all the rest of it combined.
1 week ago
The method I've always heard for ripening fruit is to put them in paper bags or packed in cardboard boxes and covered with paper, to keep the ethylene gas somewhat inside and let moisture out and enough air exchange. I've seen that putting a banana in with them produces more of the ethylene gas that ripens them, in case they are not producing enough of it themselves.

If they're really too green to ripen, you could try making chutney. I've made chutney with green apricots, and it's pretty good. We make it like making jam, but as well as sugar, we add salt, powdered or flaked dried red chillis, and either garlic or asafoetida (hing). It's got that sweet-sour-spicy-funky thing, like what makes southeast Asian food exciting.
2 weeks ago
Here's a photo show photo show of a small build at our school, SECMOL in Ladakh, in the Indian Himalayas. It was a natural building course offered by Saurabh Phadke, who I consider an Earth God (not the creator or a "Godman" or anything, just a humble local deity). He's brilliant at teaching natural (earthen) building and about composting toilets, inclusive design for the disabled and others, etc. All round super-cool guy. He's currently in the UK :( and not offering natural building courses in Ladakh or India in the near future, as far as I know.

His website has a lot of cute graphics you can use about composting toilets, natural building, building with mud (adobe bricks, earth bags, rammed earth, wattle and daub), milk glue (casein) including the disabled in design, etc, etc.
2 weeks ago
I found this image online with other labels on it, and I retyped the labels to match the issues and attitude problems where I live. You can redo the labels to match your own society.
4 weeks ago
My sister has a jarware lemon squeezer that fits right on a mason jar, and it works great. I like it better than free standing lemon squeezers.
4 weeks ago