Carla Burke

master gardener
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since Oct 29, 2013
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personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
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A Christian & devoted Patriot, wife, soap maker, herbalist, formerly a homeschooler, baker, truck driver, and more. I was born in the South, but actually grew up around the Great Lakes. Both of my families had big, lush gardens,& preserved everything they could for the winter. I carried that into my own life. But, change happens and for over a decade, it just wasn't an option. Now, retired in the Ozarks, on 29 heavily wooded acres of mostly ravines, our best crops are nearly inaccessible wild blackberries, rocks, wild herbs, and ticks. We're utilizing our burgeoning small-livestock collection, straw bales, raised beds, and containers to build soil, and a better, healthier life for ourselves and our beloved critters, who provide us with eggs, meat, milk, fiber, fertilizer, tick control, loads of entertainment, and even help turn the compost.
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Recent posts by Carla Burke

I'd LOVE to grow my own coffee! (And a hoot-ton of the other tropical plants I'm addicted to, like bananas, cacao, and citrus fruits - for starters!) But, I'm honestly not sure where/ how to start. I'll watch the videos asap, but I've a feeling, since our house is kinda dark(all logs, few windows on the south side) that supplying myself might be a hella challenge. On the other hand, even just a couple would be awesome, and would give me 'Oh, yes, of COURSE, I grow (a minute portion of) my own coffee!' type bragging rights, lol. Even if it never fruits in my house, it's still a beautiful plant!
1 day ago
Garden lime?
2 days ago

Jordan Holland wrote:Cutting it in strips and hanging it on sticks to dry could preserve it. It could be traditionally smoked or maybe a fan could be used to speed up the process.

This is a classic preservation method that is one of the easier methods. I often make jerky for our dogs, this way. The fact that the cow didn't bleed out concerns me, though - even for canine consumption.
2 days ago

Chris Vee wrote:I understand the feelings involved with animals being food-- we have cute, sweet, adorable, delicious rabbits on our homestead, as well as a processing table and huge deep-freezer... My least favorite however, is when we had a skunk get into the chicken coop... there was no time to retrieve anything for the badly injured chickens and I ended up having to finish the deed barehanded.

As long as I feel it's humane I have zero problem with doing what I must to feed the family. I think anyone willing to eat meat should probably process it at some point, so the gratitude and reality of sustenance can be genuinely appreciated.

I'm 100% in agreement. But, I must also admit, I had more than my fill of dressing 'em out, growing up. I started hunting with my dad, at 3. By the time I was 16, I'd killed &/or dressed out everything from rabbit(both wild and domestic) and other small game & predators, and fish, to poultry, deer, and steer. If/when I do it, it is purely out of necessity, now. As in, dang-near emergency. In fact, if I bag anything now, including a deer, John dresses it.

We also used to name our critters by their end product, too deter attachment. Steer got names like chuck, and hamburger, for example.
2 days ago

Kit Collins wrote:Amount of Lime +  Vinegar pickling without refrigeration

(1) I've done lime preservation once, following online suggestions for quantity of pickling lime and water. It seems that most of the lime I added to the water precipitated to the bottom, and simply stays there. I doubt that the lime on the bottom is really doing anything other than perhaps providing a "soft bed" for the eggs on the bottom. Might it be possible to use, say, half the lime and get the same preservation effect?

(2) In some restaurant supply groceries in my area, they sell hard-boiled eggs in big gallon jars. I believe these are in an acidic liquid (like vinegar or citric acid). They are not refrigerated. If I remember right, one brand said "refrigerate after opening" and another brand didn't. For people interested in non-refrigerated acidic-pickled boiled eggs, it might be good to look at ingredients list of these types of commercially sold eggs.

I believe the recommended measurements are not something I personally would mess with. The chemical reaction in the water is what matters, not merely the amount of solids that sink to the bottom.
3 days ago

Al Marlin wrote:For my lime whitewash, all I do is add (pickling/ non-iodized) salt to my lime mixture. The lime/salt combo seems to help keep the nasties down in the coop while not being toxic to the girls. And since summers are very humid here, I figure the coops walls actively cycle as the humidity raises and falls (& the walls lighten up and appear not whitewashed and then dry again and go a dark white).

I was reassured that my whitewashing is probably on the right track when I visited Upper Canada Village (a live museum running as if it were the 1860's) last summer. After each milking, the farmer shoveled any manure off the floor and then threw down a bucket of lime water whitewash. This was the only sanitizing they did of the milking stalls. Since they sell their dairy products, this procedure must meet with current standards as well.

Thanks for the reminder about the salt. I've used it on my porch swing, a long time ago. This spring, I'll scrub down my roosts, and do it to those, too, but my coop is primarily metal, other than the framework - but that would be a wise thing to whitewash, too.
3 days ago
Ahhh! Ok, that gives me more ideas! (I know - scary!)
In your shoes, I'd get them. Probably not so much for their milk, but for the many other possibilities they offer. First, they'll offer you experience - probably loads of it! You'll learn what works and what doesn't. You'll have the opportunity to learn husbandry - while filling your freezer (goat meat is an incredibly healthful and yummy meat), &/or selling off or bartering for dairy goats, and by the time you decide whether you definitely want to get those, you'll have already built your infrastructure to support them. There's also no reason you couldn't mix breeds, using a dairy goat as your main breeding doe/s (generally speaking, they need to be breed, annually, to keep them in milk). If you want year-round milk, 2 does well work better, so that they're bred alternately(another advantage to the Nigerian Dwarf or Nigora), so that one is pregnant, and the other is lactating. You could keep a pygmy buck for breeding purposes, and sell/trade/eat the kids. But, I'll warn you about that, too... selling/ trading them is hard, emotionally, if you tend to get attached. Eating them is even harder. You'll need to get your head fully wrapped around the concept of livestock vs pets, if you go this route, and learn how to be loving with them, (so they thrive) while still working to not get so attached, that you can't follow through, when it's time to decide their fate.
3 days ago