Tessa Lampe

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since Aug 25, 2013
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Recent posts by Tessa Lampe

i grew a variety of hulless pumpkin this year as a trial from baker creek seed co, the name either being kakai or godiva, but as I went to go look it up on their website they may not have it any more or perhaps just not in stock right now. Regardless, just wanted to add that they were a pretty successful crop in zone 8a an hour east of Seattle in full sun and what I consider to be poor soil. They only got around 6 inches across but survived late planting, slugs, and a significant amount of heat and neglect simultaneously. The plants themselves were very compact, more like a zucchini than other squash. Each plant produced one or 2 fruits. Might be because of the soil/neglect though, on both accounts.

I harvested them in early september when the vies started to die, and cracked one open immediately to find maybe half the seeds immature. I scooped them out anyway and put em in the toaster oven and found they contained a lot of water and sort of steamed and eventually toasted. They were delicious, and I loved how easy to prepare and eat they are compared to the normal ones.

I let the rest of them cure for around 2 weeks in a warm greenhouse and they're now in my root cellar and soon I'm gonna open another one to see whether the seeds have matured and hopefully dried out somewhat for an easier roast. If not, I might just return them to the greenhouse or other warm area and keep testing them periodically.

For me, I think this is a great fat and protein source from a self-sufficiency perspective and it may also be noteworthy that my dog felt just fine about eating the flesh, so nothing will likely go to waste. He ate several cups full over a few days like they were candy. That being said, he's not a picky eater and loves squash in general. But hey, free dog food!
5 years ago
I'm not sure what the "typical" expectations are for work/stay or internship scenarios, but to me that sounds pretty unbalanced. It makes me wonder though if there were clearly outlined expectations to begin with, and if so do they match your experience of time spent working and what you're being asked to do. I once had an internship (not farming related) that specified by contract that I was to do 12-15 hours of specified work per week, and they had me doing close to 35 hours of work that wasn't in the contract. That clearly didn't work, and I ended up having to leave as a result of not getting my contractually based req's met.

If you want to stay, I would agree that writing a clear and kindly worded letter about your experience would be valuable. I would recommend also figuring out what you are and aren't willing to do, and for what, and ask to have a sit down to re-negotiate the terms of your stay.

I'm a new farmer and just hosted 5 interns, all with pretty unpleasant results, but all I asked was 15 hours of labor per week in exchange for housing and staple foods. I think part of the problem was that as a newbie I didn't know much about hosting and failed to communicate specifically enough and give them clear enough messages and boundaries. It would have helped me streamline the process if I had feedback from them, and resulted in less annoyance and resentment of them, which probably came through as a result of my frustration. They might similarly not be aware of things they're doing wrong, and it would be good to figure out if they don't know and care, or know and don't care.

That being said, I had the most trouble (closely followed by excessive substance use) with getting any of the interns to actually complete the 15 hours, so by comparison, your possibly 50 hours (guessing) per week sounds like a lot if you're not really getting a heck of a lot out of it. If you're one of (by my perception) the few people willing to put in massive hours of work as an intern I'm certain you can find a better arrangement elsewhere. But it sounds like either you need more of a contract up front backed up by the willingness to say no to things that aren't on that contract if someone asks. Easier said than done at first, but it gets easier
5 years ago
I'm wondering if anyone has experience with doing extensive cooking on a RMH and if this is a feasible plan for someone who does a lot of cooking (usually for 1, but about 99% of meals). I'm in the process of building a 400 sq ft cabin and would love to use a RMH, but having never seen one let alone used one, I wonder if planning to cook on it is workable. Money and space are issues and I would also like to cook with wood.

I've seen videos of rocket stoves turned into cooktops that resemble "regular" stoves, but those videos are usually in Spanish and don't provide detailed instructions. It also looks like they're intended for outdoor use in many cases or use in a more tropical climate where homes are intentionally quite drafty. I'm in WA state, about zone 7b.

A traditional wood stove is also an option I suppose but I don't like the heat loss and dirty burning. Part of my confusion here is my total lack of experience using/cooking on any of these surfaces, with an exception of a regular wood stove, which I have very limited experience cooking with.

*cook food regularly
*provide heat for 400 sq feet
*use wood as fuel
*conserve space
*not overly heat space in summer months (I will have an outdoor kitchen setup and a hot plate or something similar for making tea/coffee water in the morning so maybe this isn't an issue.

Any insights/feedback/experiences would be appreciated!
7 years ago
Thanks Ken, those were my initial ideas as well, however the ice house concept seems like a much bigger (and outdoor) project than what I'm hoping to achieve here, and the cool box is interesting but again involves a whole bunch of piping and plumbing which I'm not able (or perhaps more the case is willing) to do. I'm looking for a way to get this done 15th century style, so to speak, basically just using natural materials, sort of in the spirit of a super tiny root cellar indoors.
7 years ago
I must have the nicest drake in the world; he always "asks" before mating, doing the mating dance with his girl, and if she's not into it or walks away, he just leaves it at that. I'm new to ducks so I figured that was normal, guess not! Side-note here... is it normal for the drake to refuse to eat any of the good stuff and let the ladies have it? He's never even tried to eat a slug I've offered, but just stands there and lets the girls at it while he watches out for predators (me). Based on the above advice on breeding, he's a keeper I think!
7 years ago
Hi all, first post here, very exciting!

I'm about to build a tiny house and am trying to find ways of making my lifestyle as off-grid as possible. I would love to not have to buy a new fridge and the one I currently use is ginormous, inefficient and makes creepy whining noises intermittently. It's not coming with. I have a huge garden which I am starting to get a reasonable amount of food from, and expect it will improve each year (only been on the property just under a year) and an equally huge root cellar perhaps 50 steps from my future front door as well as a greenhouse. I'm working towards eating from the garden primarily and eventually the root cellar/greenhouse in the winter/spring as well as pantry items, and only making enough food for a meal or perhaps 2. My main fridge items are things like a pint of cream which I would only need to keep for 2 or 3 days tops, cashew cream, perhaps some cheese (not sure that even needs the fridge), and any leftovers. I probably will have a small freezer or a chest freezer either in the house or greenhouse.

What I'd like to do is put a pantry/cold room on the NE corner of the new house where the kitchen is located but can't seem to find any precedent to look at for guidance. Perhaps I'm better off just buying a really great cooler or zeer pot for the few things I would need refrigeration in the house for, or *gasp* walk the 50 steps to the root cellar to cream my coffee in the morning. However, mud and pajamas don't mix well.

Regardless of its ability to keep dairy products fresh, I do need a space cooler than the pantry to store onions, garlic, and canned goods, so back to the original idea of a cold pantry area: The whole unit would be about 2' x2' '8'. It sits on a concrete slab, which I imagine will radiate some of the coolness of the ground. If the top 5' was regular pantry, could the bottom part stay cooler if it were made out of brick, perhaps with a vent to the outside that could be opened at night? Even in the summer, the temp often gets to 50 at night, and winter in the teens or 20's. Would some insulation be needed perhaps on the outside of this using the brick as thermal mass, insulated from the main living space and the above pantry? What kind of insulation? I suppose I could use light straw outside but if anyone knows of something like foam board that's not made of poison that would be sweet.

I'm looking for the simplest possible solution, and realize that there are some plans for refrigeration using piped well water, but honestly I'm not up to something like that. I'm really hoping more to understand how to build a tiny, integrated ice box if anyone has experience or conjecture. Thanks!

7 years ago