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

Looks great, wow! Best of luck.
3 days ago
Ugh! Well, in case anyone in the future looks at this thread wondering if they should use plastic to kill weeds, I can give this advice -- I wouldn't use it, for the obvious reason above. But plastic is useful sometimes in certain situations (eg pond liner). Look for UV-resistant plastic, which will not break down in the sun as fast, but it will eventually.

For future viewers, I'd suggest it might be better for weed control to use something that will compost down. Several layers of cardboard topped by something heavy like 6 or more inches of wood chips has often been suggested. I've heard that a thin layer of cardboard doesn't work on bindweed, because it winds its way between the cracks, so cardboard only works on bindweed if it is several layers thick, with the cracks staggered in different layers.
3 days ago
I'm lucky, here in the Indian Himalayas the culture is very polite, so people just ask me "Why is that stuff over the ground" [mulch] and I can give a serious answer, about less water, less weeds, and improving soil. Since I'm so weird and different in the first place, I think they just file it away alongside having weird skin, hair and native language, etc.
3 days ago
When I had mice this year, I put out traps, but the only traps available here are big, for rats. Scary things, like I'm afraid I'll break a finger. My mice were so small they would just climb up on the trap and gnaw the sides of the nut I had wedged in it for bait. I even watched them do this, the little rascals! Then I used poison and they disappeared. Then a predator arrived, but it wasn't an unwanted weasel, it was an attractive cat, so now poison is no longer on the menu.

When the mice came back, I used glue traps, ugh, but very effective. Maybe if you use glue traps, some mice will stick, then the weasel will try to eat them and get stuck. But I don't know.
3 days ago
This was the remains of our iron or steel pipe we used in a rocket cook stove at our school. Then we used it as a mould for making straw-clay donuts instead. Then we had other problems with it and are not using it anymore.
4 days ago
What kind of hot pad are you thinking of? A pot holder? Or a cover for something hot to put on a sore back...?

... I googled it and realise you must mean a pad to put under a hot pot. For some reason, initially I only thought of the hot pad to lay on a sore back, maybe because I'm lying on one right now!

Tyler Ludens wrote:
I'm asking how one proves that one's position is objectively true to the person to whom one wishes to say "I disagree."

I think it's often possible to just launch into describing one's own knowledge, experience or references on the issue without saying "I disagree" or a synonym. For example:

Strawman wrote:
35 MPH is hurricane force winds!

Rebecca Norman wrote:
My location gets 35 mile per hour winds pretty often, and they are not horribly strong or damaging. The hurricane that hit my area in XX year supposedly had 80 MPH winds. I found this chart of hurricane wind speeds on Wikipedia.

One list of GMO crops [in the USA] says "The 10 genetically modified crops available today: alfalfa, apples, canola, corn (field and sweet), cotton, papaya, potatoes, soybeans, squash and sugar beets." Field trials of other crops are happening around the world, but I don't see blueberries or blackberries mentioned in any of the lists google gave me.

This article tells you how to avoid GMO products [in the USA].

Wikipedia is very clear too.
6 days ago

Dave Burton wrote:Not exactly tea or a blend, but a weird experiment I did. When I dug out fennel while putting the gardens to bed a few weeks back at Um Dining Gardens, I chopped off and dried some fennel stalks in my room, so that I would have something fennel to savor later after munching on the freshly cut fennel herbs. I simply boiled the dried woody fennel stalks in hot water and let it sit for a very long time (2hrs+, because the stalks wer very hard). The result was lightly flavored licorice water, which was rather enjoyable.

Sounds great! I'm going to try that. I grow anise hyssop, because somebody on permies said it was their favorite tea ever. I like it, but fennel is also rampant in my greenhouse, where it stays perennial and shoots back up from the root. So thanks for another use for it!
1 week ago
My experience in an unheated solar greenhouse is that in the winter very little water is actually needed. Most of the moisture that is transpired by the plants or evaporated from the soil stays in the air, or condenses on the glazing at night and falls back down. And it's cool, and there's no wind. As mentioned by Eliot Coleman in his excellent books about growing vegetables in unheated greenhouses in a cold winter climate, it becomes possible to water almost not at all, but then if you soil is rich, the plants may find t too rich and get aphids, so it's good to water anyway once in a while. Once every week or ten days is probably what I do. I mulch, as it's a home garden and not too huge.

For summer I remove the glazing entirely and my outdoor summer is like Joseph's high desert, and my water needs are probably similar to his in summer.
1 week ago