Sherri Lynn

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since Feb 19, 2014
Piedmont, NC
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Recent posts by Sherri Lynn

This is a great example of a thread that while it has been around for a while, it is so very valuable and timeless. . .

I am growing those things that I cannot do without (instead of growing suggested spices that I never use).  Some time back, I quit using black pepper in favor of the cayenne pepper that we grow and dry for our own use.  It has that peppery taste, it is red (much more attractive in foods since it doesn't look like bugs), and it actually tastes better than black pepper to me.  I like knowing that it was grown without chemicals, and I like being able to save my seeds from year to year.  We also enjoy the medicinal value of it and use it liberally in our dog food to keep fleas at bay.  Additionally, I have a strong belief that when we grow things locally, it really helps us in our environment.

Oregano is easy to grow (perennial here), tastes great, and has some great anti-bacterial properties so we use it in deodorant, as well as first aid spray for our animals (the same bottle.)  Of course, it is also a main feature in our spaghetti/pizza sauce.

We grow a couple of different kinds of mint (just because it fell into our laps).  We grow it around the foundation of our house to repel rodents, I make mint extract for food flavorings (ground mint with vodka), we make tea with it for upset stomachs, we love mixing it with chocolate dishes in the summer especially (mint chocolate milk shakes - yum), and I use solar distillations to make the essential oils to add to my soaps.

Fennel is also something we love to grow.  I love the flavor in Italian dishes, with sausage, and in tea for soothing and calming.  It grows so easily.  I think once you start growing it, it will continue on with self-sowing.

Basil is a staple around here.  Not only do I make pesto, but I dry it for sprinkling in egg and potato dishes in addition to Italian pastas.  

We grow our own garlic and put it in oil for many, many dishes.

We use green onions constantly as well as bulb onions.  We are quite successful with the green ones and are awaiting success with the bulb onions.  I think I use at least a half onion daily.  We are still buying them, though, as we can't keep up.

We grow lemon balm and have used it to attract bee swarms, but have yet to use it for lemon extract for foods.  I look forward to exploring this.

We are just now experimenting with saffron, turmeric, and ginger.  As we live in zone 7, turmeric and ginger are iffy.  However, I planted them in an old horse trough we got for free because the bottom was rusted out.  I put ginger in half and turmeric in the other half.  I had read that if I mulched them, them would hang around, and I surmised that the horse trough would be excellent for holding in the leaves.  Ask me later on this.  If they come back out in the Spring, it was a success. These were bought at an organic grocery store in the produce section. . . Our harvest from the saffron was quite miniscule especially after drying.  We shall see. . .

We are growing Lindera Benzoin, as I was looking for a spice that could replace cinnamon.  I actually bought the trees/bushes? from a native plant nursery in our area.  I had read that you needed a male and female for the berries.  This last year, berries showed up but I only got 6 of them that are now dried and in the freezer.  Can't wait to try them, but it seemed like such a small amount. . . .I am thrilled to find out that I could get berries though.  Allspice seems a mixture of all the spices I like to combine with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  However, I am thrilled to find the bark of the Carolina Allspice or Sweet Shrub. I also can't wait to try the pods of the honey locust for chocolate.  In my experience - it seems that the roasting is what gives things their chocolate flavor - I have tried roasted dandelion roots as well as coffee beans for coffee.  The amount of roasting is key.

I found this article by looking for vanilla substitutes, as I currently buy vanilla beans and mix them with vodka.  I can't wait to try the sweet flag we already have planted around our pond, or our almond trees for almond extract, should they finally bring nuts  (probably 2 - 4 years old since one was replaced.)  

I read a book once that when someone was asked what they planted they said well, I looked at what I was eating, and if I liked it , I planted it.  That really resonated with me.  Thanks so much for all of this info.
1 month ago
Thanks so much for the info.  Love the postcards as notecards or business cards idea.  On a side note, I was just looking at the stinging nettle beer recipe.  However, I also just over-seeded the pig pasture with barley, as they moved on to the next rotation. . .I need to get back to finishing my book.  Just taking a breather as I try to get over this flu bug.  I will have to look up getting isbn numbers in the U.S.
4 months ago
I think I have discovered it to be Senna Obtusifolia.  Yes, it can be very invasive.  It sure is nice to think it could be helpful, though.  Thankfully we should have a frost soon. . .
4 months ago
The earth on this little farm of ours that used to be a hay field is amazing to me.   It seems to know just what plants it needs to heal the ground.  Never has it been more evident to me than over the top of this area where we inserted pipeline this summer in August.  Out of seemingly nowhere comes up these "java" plants (this is what someone called them).  They are not evident anywhere else in the pasture.  As they look like pea or peanut plants, I am assuming they are nitrogen fixing.  If the earth will bring up these plants all by itself, why spend money for seed on cover crops?  I am really asking this question for someone to explain this to me and perhaps add more information that I haven't picked up on in the past. . .
4 months ago
I love having found this.  So glad you went through with it!  I, too, am working on something.  For others, as a way to get you past chapter three, starting working on chapter 10 and come back to it.  Don't worry about whether you are putting enough information in the book for everyone, perhaps you are writing for the beginner.  Any new information you get will lead to a "revised" or "advanced" version later.  At least that is what I am telling myself.  

I would love to hear more about the process of self-publishing.  How do you begin to promote your book?  Who did you send the postcards to?  How do you go about getting an isbn number?  How to work with a local printer?
4 months ago
I was listening to a Boss of the Swamp video in which he mentioned the shows he watched as a child.  Since they were much of the same as the ones my husband and I watched (we are about the same age as the Boss), I was wondering if our childhood television watching had anything to do with our homesteading today.  Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, Swiss Family Robinson, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, My Side of the Mountain.  On the same hand, I was wondering why, if that is true, others our same age were not homesteading.  Just fun to contemplate.
4 months ago
Currently, I am attempting to grow button mushrooms in my basement, or their more mature title of "Portabella" mushrooms (yet they are cheaper under the title "button").  Thanks so much for the ideas on feeding them for a continuous growth.  Once I know I am successful, what variety of mushroom are you growing?  Do you have to do anything special for them in the winter?  Are there specific ways of cooking/preserving them that make you choose them?
5 months ago
Has anyone succeeded in growing a sustainable supply of mushrooms just for your own eating pleasure?  It seems like all the rules around mushrooms just make it much more complicated than it needs to be.  After all, they have been growing all by themselves in nature for a long time. . .
I was just thinking about something simple like button mushrooms.  What if you just left some to mature and make more spores?
5 months ago
We just kept mowing our pasture for a few years, then put cattle on it.  The mowing added organic matter back to the top of the soil and kept down the tree seedlings and the blackberries.  We are now pasturing chickens on the same fields via a chicken tractor to add nitrogen (and food in the freezer).  Our next addition will be pastured pigs.  We didn't worry too much about flattening the field, as my husband felt that the old rows were adding a few "natural swales" to increase water absorption.  As we have a small pasture, we are just about finished with partitioning it off for rotational grazing to maximize use of the pasture.  It all seems to take time, as we have been working on this since 2012.
9 months ago
Our last purchase was in May of 2012.
10 months ago