Jeanne Wallace

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since Mar 19, 2014
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duck forest garden rabbit
My projects in permaculture combine my life experiences: growing up on an old farm homestead (East coast), living on intentional communities in my 20's, building passive solar adobe homes in New Mexico, organic gardening for a decade in Santa Cruz, CA, and my career as a holistic nutritionist. Melding permaculture, soil ecology and my advanced training in nutrition and functional medicine—with its concern for optimizing human wellness rather than waiting for disease to strike—brings unique insights to raising the most nutritious foods. Do you know the key to increasing phytonutrient levels in your crops? The answer surprises most people.

A professional landscape architect designed our multi-tiered hardscape. From there we took over to create a 1-acre permaculture paradise: culinary and medicinal herbs, perennial vegetables, edible flowers, rain garden, pond with waterfalls, ducks, rabbits, forage crops, cryptocrops for on-site foraging and over 70+ varieties of unusual and heirloom fruits/berries/nuts. We find joy in smart systems and stacked functions, like our combined shed x compost bins x rabbit hutch with rainwater-harvesting roof (all in a 12 x 4' footprint and within a pitchfork's reach of the duck's hoop coop).

Cache Soil-to-Table is our not-for-profit venture aimed at increasing community awareness of local food and permaculture. We offer internships through the local college, host bi-annual tours, workshops and a harvest gathering.
Cache Valley, Northern Utah (zone 6a, 4,900 elevation)
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Recent posts by Jeanne Wallace

There are some very good and insightful replies in the string so far. I'd like to add one perspective.

Consider SUCCESSION. What you are trying to do is go "backward" in the natural order of succession wherein bare ground is colonized by first pioneer annual plants,
then perennial shrubs and climaxing in mature forest. So we want to acknowledge this and keep it in mind. Next, we want to think of the bacterial:fungal ratios of your soil.
In forest, you have a fungal dominant soil; yet in thriving garden you are looking for a more balanced bacterial-to-fungal ratio (and for cole or brassica crops, bacteria dominant
soils are preferred).

If you're not familiar with these concepts, Elaine Ingham's work is a great place to start:

Shifting the bacteria-to-fungal ratio may be a key factor in creating a thriving vegetable garden in your situation. I believe Native American practice of controlled burns may be one
method to consider, and of course "tilling" once (or once every 5- or 10 years) might also accomplish your goals as soil disturbance favors bacterial selection in soils.
Applications of bacterially-dominant compost would also be key, as well as boosting organic matter to feed those bacteria. Of course, tree health will decline where soils are disturbed
and infused with greater bacteria counts. You may find that the transition/border (EDGE!) of your annual garden is a good niche for planting perennial vegetables.

I think it is also worth considering the health and happiness of the trees. If the forest floor is deeply mulched in leaves & twigs & fallen rotting trees, the trees will have less
need to be seeking out the garden's moisture. If the garden has a thriving, balanced soil ecosystem, it will be more drought tolerant and less in need of additional watering.
This has been my experience in a semi-arid climate (Utah, 4,900' elevation, 17" precipitation annually).

There are multiple ways to approach it, and this is an exciting chance for you to experiment, try various methods, and report back what is working and what is not.
1 year ago
Excellent example of the effect of terroir on food flavor. I ate this in Spain (stayed with local family in Barcelona), and it was so so very good. Sliced exceedingly thin and wrapped around local melon. Oh my. Not meant to be eaten as a ham, but more as a very thinly sliced delicacy. A brand available at igourmet costs $16 per TWO OUNCE package. Here's the description, FYI:

Jamon Iberico by Fermin
From the Fermin family comes this exceptional, thinly-sliced Iberico ham. In the dehesas, an indigenous forest of southwestern Spain, the Iberico pig, a descendent of the wild boar, still wanders free. Popularly known as the Pata Negra or Black Hoof, the Iberico roots for wild herbs, fallen acorns, and edible roots. The resulting meat is swirled with high levels of flavorful natural fats, for which this pig has gained notoriety. Savor this exquisite product with a fine red wine, good Manchego or Zamorano, and artisan bread.

Acorn-fed iberico pork has been named to Slow Food's "Ark of Taste" (Spain).

Once upon a time, all our food was raised naturally, with traditional skill and artisanal processing, and I believe, it all tasted this amazing. The more I raise my own food in a healthy ecosystem, offering a diversity of nature's wild feeds rather than industrial foodstuffs, the more everything I raise tastes as fantastic as this.
1 year ago
In mid-October 2016, we had our FIRST CHE FRUITS after a 6 yr wait. Purchased self-fertile, grafted on osage orange, che tree from Edible Landscaping. Growth was slow at first, tree is currently about 5' tall x 6' wide. We're zone 6, northern Utah, 18" precipitation annually, alkaline sandy loam, at 4,900' elevation. The che is in a large berm polyculture with nectarine, Illinois Everbearing mulberry, juneberry, All-in-One almond, red currant, jostaberry, rosa rugosa, autumnberry (Elaeagnus umbellata) and vetch, lavender, echinacea, culinary sage, lemon balm. Site gets some morning shade and lots of hot western afternoon sun. The che is planted on the wind-protected, south-western side of the berm mid-slope. Their natural habitat is poor, dry soil, and rocky slopes, but it has seemed to respond well to improving soil conditions and a little extra watering (site is adjacent to duck paddock and gets some of the nutrient-rich duck water when I drain their kiddie pool).

Che fruits on the current year’s wood. Suggested to prune heavily in winter to encourage new growth for best fruit production. Removed approximately half the branches formed the previous year and headed back remaining shoots by about nearly 50%. Such pruning may explain onset of fruiting for us...or perhaps it was just time as our tree at 6 yrs is approaching maturity? I'll be planting another che this spring (in a site with more direct sunlight), and will initiate pruning earlier to determine if that brings on fruiting earlier.

Only two of the 4 fruits colored up well enough (pre-deep freeze) to be a fair sample of flavor. A bit chewy and fig like. Not very sweet. Reminiscent of watermelon or melon. No seeds (instead of male and female trees, I have only the one grafted tree). Verdict? Four thumbs up (two tasters).

I'll report back with harvest yield next fall.

2 years ago
The OIL from plum nuts is known in nutritional circles, and is sometimes also used in HBA products (lotions, facial creams, etc).
2 years ago
BERBERINE (yellow alkaloid from root of coptis, oregon grape root, goldenseal) very useful in reducing hyperglycemia in T2D. See also this:

You might also look into FIG LEAF.
2 years ago
Tyler, don't be hard on yourself. Every outcome, success or fail, is a way to collect information about what you're doing/eating, make modifications, then follow up to see your progress. It's all part of the path.
One thing to keep in mind: your diet might actually have "adequate" B complex vitamins, but your body's needs may be higher. This is called "biochemical individuality" and was discovered by Dr Roger Williams, who showed that even among genetically identical individuals, one may need up to 20-fold higher levels of a nutrient to achieve the same level of health/functionality. Another thought: are you LOSING B vitamins? Stress, alcohol, and many medications cause our bodies to use up or deplete our B vitamin stores. Yet another consideration: in our clinical practice, we've seen many clients who's diet actually contains adequate vitamin B12 (or B6), but whose lab work shows severe deficiency. [For B12 testing, you want a functional status or MMA test...that's methylmalonic acid.] Further testing has shown these clients to be gluten intolerant or even celiac. B12 absorption requires your parietal cells to secrete intrinsic factor, and these cells can be damaged in gluten sensitive persons. Keep gathering information. Perhaps find a knowledgable naturopath to consult!
2 years ago
SHANKLEESH — Making and KEEPING CHEESE: room-temp storage:
We use raw sheep's and goat's milk to make clabbered shankleesh (from David Asher's awesome book: The Art of Natural Cheesemaking). We clabber the milk leaving it to sit at room temperature for a few days (no rennet needed), then strain it 24 hrs through tight-weave nylon mesh (nut milk bag works great and is easy to clean and reuse repeatedly). Then salt it and drain 4 hrs more. Roll into 1" size balls, and roll the cheese balls in a mix of dried herbs. We use sumac, oregano, parsley, blk pepper, and sesame seeds. Put these in a jar and cover with quality olive oil. The cheese balls can store for months...but they're so delicious you'll eat them long before then. Try slicing the cheese balls and using as an omelet filling, along with some green veggies. Yum. Make sure you are using awesome quality, clean, pastured raw milk. This recipe does not work with pasteurized (heated) milk.
2 years ago
Awesome topic: we're 52 and 61 and have been planning for future for a while. We've incorporated use of many strategies cited above.
We had the (now-recognized) GIFT OF INJURIES over the past 2 yrs (rotator cuff shoulder injury, torn ACL, and herniated discs in lower back).
This gave us a chance to see how our plans for remaining sustainable as we age might work. Here's what we did/learned:

• We shifted our eating patterns toward perennials and didn't bother with an annual garden (instead of tomatoes, we made BBQ sauce, salsa and such with lycopene berries (autumnberry), nanking cherries, elderberries, hawthorn, and plums). Instead of peppers, we made hot sauce with perennial arugula/rocket. We were grateful for salads gleaned from trees coppiced to keep harvests at chest level.
• We foraged on our own property: We expanded our knowledge of wild edibles and found many of our vegetables needs could be satisfied with "weeds" growing right outside the door. It's been a year of eating dock, salsify, nettles, purslane, lambsquarters, dead nettle, arrowleaf balsamroot, mallows, and milkweed. We now collect seed of these "former weeds" and broadcast wherever there's been disturbed soil on our site.
• We attached a berry-rake to a long handle to reach to harvest items without bending or straining shoulders upward.
• Traded pick-yer-own fruit (our 1-acre food forest has 75+ varieties of fruits, berries, nuts) for raw milk, meat, fish (trout), bones for broth, cheese, and other goods from local artisans. (reduced our expenses further)
• We didn't prune or thin fruits one year. The next we offered a "pruning class," put tools in the students hands and walked them through what to do.
• We grazed (walking around and eating what we could reach) more than harvesting and preparing full sit-down meals. Wow: that frees up a lot of time, and nothing is fresher than food you eat before it needs to travel to the house.
• Rather than canning (too much standing!), we dried fruits in the solar dehydrator.
• We were thankful for our many high berms (hugels) and terraces. The "retaining walls" for our terraces incorporate benches, so we can sit and harvest.
• We've been offering 2 internship spots each season (Apr-Nov) and get enthusiastic able-bodied young persons to assist us in exchange for a share of produce/fruit/eggs and mentoring. Having INTERNS was invaluable!
• We offered tours of our site and got more of the community involved in what we are doing. This summer, we're offering classes. Great way to give the gift of skills and gain the assistance of many hands (and backs!)
• We saw the immense value in systems we had set up for low input, limited mobility or STUN. Things like poultry watering nipples off a 5 gallon bucket filled via rainwater harvest from the coop roof, trestle feeder, light-sensor coop door, eggs box at chest level...these really pay off.
• Our home has a city-permitted attached apartment we can rent out to students (local ag university within 2 mi). Extra income is wonderful (highly recommend others consider this!) We considered that it might be an option to offer this apartment in exchange for assistance when we need it (e.g., a caretaker).
• We asked for help (probably the hardest thing to do!!) and were stunned by all the support we received.
• We traded nutrition/herbal consults for heavy lifting!
• We slowed down and discovered how much nature provided for us...without our drive to always be GSD (doing stuff!!!). This was so eye opening. We accepted the gifts that came instead of exerting effort to obtain others. Yes, when life gives you milkweed, you make garlic roasted milkweed spring shoots, curried milkweed bud brocollinis, greek stuffed milkweed pods...

It's been an incredible eye-opening year. I agree with Mae West: "getting old is not for sissies!" We provided our own health care [my career is in integrative medicine (nutrition, herbalism, lifestyle medicine]. We're happy to report: INJURIES HEALED! and we are back to our active selves and blessed to have had a chance gain some eye-opening perspective.

BTW: superior nutrition and activity CAN slow the aging process. Modern diets are deficient in the nutrients needed to maintain and repair joints and prevent cancer/heart disease/autoimmune disorders. replacing many of these can get at the root causes of many symptoms of premature aging. Key among these: GAGS (glycosaminoglycans) and related glyoproteins like glucosamine essential to joint/cartilage repair. vitamin K2 (from animal fat, bone marrow, natto), not K1 from plant foods which has other roles. vitamin D3, probiotics and dietary constituents which quench excess inflammation (key trigger for many chronic diseases).

Our main discovery: all the work we have done over the years to set up good systems and nurture and create a community of support was essential. While our physical abilities were temporarily impaired, we leveraged our knowledge, wisdom and expertise. We welcomed interns and young people (without land of their own) to come, learn, share in the harvests and be mentored. We'll keep nourishing community support and hope that can carry us forward when the time comes for our bodies to slow down.
2 years ago
Top foraged staples on our northern utah property:

1. Immature milkweed pods (about 1.5" long) blanched and frozen, used in soups, stir-fries, or steamed
2. More mature milkweed pods (about 2-3" long): remove maturing silk and seeds, which should still be in the white stage. The outer case will be used for making various Stuffed Pods dishes! Blanched and freeze. To prepare, defrost, stuff with ground meat, cheese, wild rice, or whatever your preference, bake and serve (similar to stuffed peppers).
3. Milkweed shoots: early spring shoots when about 8" tall. Blanch and freeze. Prepare like asparagus.
4. Lambsquarter: blanched and frozen in bags containing 1 or 2 cup portions (the amount needed for most recipes).
5. Elderberries, made into elixxir for winter immune use, and for diluting and using as juice.

3 years ago
I've used many of the sources already listed. Just want to add:
for OP, GMO-free, and mostly organic seeds. Great place for initial seed orders, then you can begin saving them.
Good customer service, and they fill their orders quickly.

Also, if you're looking for something rare or difficult to find, try B & T World Seed.
They will hunt it down for you if they don't have it in stock.
3 years ago