Heather Staas

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since Dec 17, 2013
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dog forest garden urban
Springfield MA
Western MA, zone 6b
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Recent posts by Heather Staas

Well,  the pandemic personally didn't change my life/lifestyle very much at all.   I'm single with grown children, and live alone with 2 big dogs and an indoor cat.  So there really wasn't suddenly extra people all at home at the same time.  I'm self employed and my work time didn't really change either.  

My current single-family home is 675sqft.   I don't use the second bedroom,not even for storage, I just don't have enough stuff to "need" it.   So that takes me down to about 550 sqft that I live in,  and includes kitchen, bath, laundry areas.    No basement or attic.   It never feels crowded or tight in that space,  I'm fairly minimal with how much "stuff" I own and keep.  My furniture is scaled to fit.  Plenty of open and walk through space.  
Psychologically I NEED open space, uncluttered surfaces, and not to feel boxed in.   That's been easy to achieve in 550.   I often speculate how much more of that 550  could I shave off and not miss it one bit?  I still have unused closet and cabinet space.   Pretty sure I could go down to 400,  or 350 without feeling much sacrifice.    Less than that?  Probably not while still having the indoor animals that I live/share space with.  But maybe.   While I spend a LOT of time outdoors,  I'm pretty heat/cold sensitive (RA, Fibromyalgia) so I need to consider indoor space during the hottest/coldest times.  But then moving to a more hospitable climate could solve some of that.  

Now I'm not sure what I'd do without my garden/tool shed;  that outdoor storage is essential for yard/ garden/ vehicle tools and maintenance, and outdoor animal supplies, etc.   That floorspace is another 200sqft. of storage.
20 hours ago

"Acts of service" are my primary love language, how I express genuine care and emotional connection to someone.  So when I offer to help I really do mean it,  and I'll keep asking,  rephrasing,  changing the offer so the person knows I'm genuine and I truly want to do something to lighten their load.  

By the same token, disingenuous offers to me that weren't really intended to be accepted, will likely emotionally distance me from that person.    I do understand that other people do NOT have that as a love language priority, and I don't expect it from people.   It's the offers that are just lip service that make me feel vulnerable and unimportant.
23 hours ago

Yeah,   I buy organic seeds for my garden, and really not much else gets purchased to come into the property.    I did buy some marigolds but everything else was grown,  foraged, or salvaged.   Grass clippings, compost, leaf mold,  food scraps, urine,  rabbit manure (my own)  etc.  

This year was my first year setting a goal of 1) all food etc. grown from SEED,  and 2)  No purchased produce/fruit/veg since March1st.    In an effort to "clean" up my food supply.  

I'm still buying meats and fats.  
2 days ago

Gregory Campbell wrote:I I'm really surprised that out of 40 plots I'm the only one with mulch though there is one plot with a very thin mulch of grass clippings.

I'd like to think I can influence some people to garden better.

I'm not really sure how this quote thing works, but trying it.  There are a couple of people (out of 70) that have mulched with straw.   One that has cardboard down with rocks holding it.  And one or two that have paths covered with weed barrier fabric.   Most have bare soil/weeds though.   Mine is the only one that looks REALLY mulched, aside from a straw covered plot.   I wonder if they make people remove organic mulch too?   I  am so curious about what the end of the year/season will be.   And more determined than ever to try to get a "no till" option.  Surely it's less work for the park crew if a good number of plots want to be skipped?   It doesn't seem it's done with heavy equipment,  the paths aren't touched and they are all sorts of shapes/sizes not uniform.  

Maybe an simple colored stake in your plot to be skipped?   Even if it's a nominal fee I'd do it.   If they don't seem receptive, maybe a petition organization or presentation/meeting is in order if they have a committee meeting of any sort.   Maybe at a town meeting.   So many things to find out!  
5 days ago
Five week update!

It's hard to believe it's the same garden I posted 2 weeks ago;  things are really taking off now.    This was the FIRST day that I've watered,  aside from watering in new seeds/seedlings.   I'm pretty pleased with this.   Hot weather is just about here,  today is our first almost 100 day.   Harvested turnip and mustard greens, and chamomile.   Yellow squash will be starting by next week!

5 days ago
I'm new to canning and about to embark on my first "pickling" season.  I'll be watching for answers here as I learn!

I'm looking for a few things to really understand this all,  like water: vinegar ratio as a general rule of thumb.  Recipes are all over the place.   But I don't want to follow an "exact" or specific recipe every time I make something.   I want a "basic" formula that I can then play with as far as flavor and spice.

I'm thinking I'll have at least a "regular",   a "sweet" with splenda or something, and a "spicy" with dried red pepper.    Then I can play with vinegar types and substituting or including a new herb flavor.  

I grow a variety of my own herbs;   dill,  coriander/cilantro, mustard seed,  thyme, orgeno,  basil,  savory, rosemary, chives, garlic chives,  chervil,  parsley, loveage...  
1 week ago
Purslane is really nice addition to stir fry too!
1 week ago
Physical barriers are the only thing I've found to be reliable while my plants are little.   Once they fill in and develop a good root system they seem to be able to hold up to squirrel and chipmunk abuse!   Hardware cloth,  wire baskets,  dog crate panels..  my yard looks like a junkyard in the spring lol.
2 weeks ago
Sochan is DELICIOUS and abundant.  If you like parsley flavor and spinach you will like it.  I can't wait until spring again;  I just learned to can and I will be putting up TONS of it for use during the year.   It's also super early, before a lot of other things are ready to harvest.   You can pick it all spring and early summer and it doesn't mind.  You'll still be tons of beautiful 8 foot tall flowers and seed if you want it.  Makes a BIG patch if it's happy.   It is really really good.   But I also love rhubarb lol.   Mixed with Strawberries or raspberries, it doesn't need other sweetener for me!    
2 weeks ago
Looks pretty good!   Not enough to do the whole plot,  maybe 1/4 of it.  
2 weeks ago