Rebecca Norman

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since Aug 28, 2012
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trees food preservation solar greening the desert
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

I don't know about autumn olive, but russian olive, which is the same genus, is as easy as willows to grow from cuttings, in my experience. Here we do cuttings at least 5 feet tall above ground, so that grazing animals don't eat up the emerging leaves. I think 1.5 to 2 feet underground and 5 feet above ground, for any branch from 2 inches diameter on up, will be almost surely successful. Of course you have to water it initially, and regularly the first season till it gets roots.
1 week ago
Do you want to heat a room?

The key is to have exact south facing glazing, whatever the exact method is. Any other direction tends to overheat in summer and autumn, and not give much heat in winter. Is the window or wall south facing? The amount of heat collected is limited by the area of south-facing surface.

I heat my house with a detachable greenhouse. I put up the plastic in October or November and take it down in late April or May. But I designed my house with the long wall facing south, and the rooms that we want to be heated all on that south side.

There are hot air generating collectors that can be roof mounted. But honestly hot air blowing into a room doesn't really give much thermal comfort unless there's really a lot of it, and then there are other comfort issues.
1 week ago
I agree. In a few years you might really regret planting trees too close together. You may not have the heart to cut out some good ones to make space for other good ones. And certain types of trees are very difficult to remove: Cutting them down will just cause them to make nice dense coppice, shading and crowding out your preferred tree.
1 week ago
Ooooh..... I'd recently given up on my pond fantasy because of fear of mosquitoes, but now this is a great idea and it will propel me back into pond daydreams...
1 week ago
I got my first Oxford AstraZeneca shot the other day. I didn't have any side effects or soreness. Only a little euphoria, but that was a non-medical side-effect, I think.

Wow, it was so easy! India had been doing the health workers, front-line workers, 60+, and 45+ with comorbidities for a couple of month already. They announced it would open to 45+ on April 1st. I didn't think I'd be able to get one here in my remote rural part of India, not having the Indian national ID card. I had a vague plan of flying to Delhi in April or May to get it at a private clinic. But my local friend went for hers on the first day, and staff at the rural primary health centre asked her about me, so I thought I'd give it a shot the next day. Went in entirely not expecting to be able to get it, but my specific visa type turned out to be sufficient ID, and I received the shot within 10 minutes. Wow! I was so happy.

For those who think the risk of side effects from the shot make it not worth taking, I just have to say the risk from side effects sounds tiny. The risk of serious problems if I get Covid-19 itself sound like much more likely, and much more serious. So I consider it a very good deal. I really do not want to experience a ventilator in a rural Indian hospital, whereas a shot in a rural Indian village health centre was acceptable.
1 week ago
To get ideal solar heating in winter and avoid any heating in summer, you have to have your main windows or glazing be only on a wall that faces exactly south, or within about 15 degrees of south. Any other direction of windows will lose heat in winter and gain unwanted heat in summer, especially early autumn when the house is already hot. That makes it hard to retrofit a random house to passive solar heating.
1 week ago

William Bronson wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of apricots because of the super sweetness, but that also makes them likely candidates for making fruit molasses, which I do like.

I think many varieties of apricot are more tart and flavorful than super sweet, especially seedling varieties.
2 weeks ago
I haven't actually made cheese, but I remember a cheese maker telling us that for aging, the temperature should be around 13-14C. Whereas root cellars, I do know, should be in the 1 to 4C range. Once the cheese is aged properly, I guess the colder temperature would be good for long storage. What temperature do you want for aging your cheese?
2 weeks ago
I haven't heard of Montrose variety, and don't know any apricot varieties except what grows here in Ladakh. There are two locally named and grafted varieties here, that have edible kernel and good fruit. One is the tastiest fruit, especially when dried, needs no extra sugar in jam, and has a distinctively wrinkled top. The other has a white seed shell (the only one locally with that), sticky sweet fruit, and a distinctively blocky shape and slightly pale color.

The winter is cold here at 10,500 feet, but just a little higher up in this region apricots no longer ripen properly. Even at my altitude, they don't get as big or as sweet as down at balmy 9000 feet, lower down the Indus River in our region. My understanding is that apricots like summers with intense sun and dry air and dry weather (we irrigate at ground level here). That might be more of a problem than the winter minimum temperature.

I'm sorry, that won't help you with your search for Montrose.
2 weeks ago
They'll store perfectly for several months if you don't wash them. So would it possible to resist washing them before storage, and only wash them before use? Like you don't peel root vegetables or cut off much of the ends before storage. You do that before use.
2 weeks ago