Kate Muller

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since May 29, 2014
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Recent posts by Kate Muller

Pearl Sutton wrote:When, due to health stuff, the garden is not planted yet, some of the beds were not even cleared last fall, none were done the way I want beds done in the fall to be ready for spring, so everything needs work before I can even find the dirt under the weeds to amend and plant it.
The main weeds out there are brown eyed susan, ox eye daisy, buttercups, yarrow, lots of asters as tall as I am...
You know you are a permie when you say "I'm not coping, but at least the bees are happy!"

I am feeling this so hard right now.  The garden is getting overrun with runner grass right now but there is also so many wildflowers, herbs, and random veggie volunteers all over the place.  

2 months ago
Your Money or Your Life.  

A classic book that has a great approach to analyzing where your spending is going and tracking it so you can focus on how you are spending your money.  It talks about not only paying down debt and saving but also making sure you can spend money on things that mean the most too you.  It plays well with permaculture principles.

I need to reread it so I better focus on my long term goals.
3 months ago
You know you are a permie when you host your FRC robotics team's end of season party and don't get to sit and eat because you keep having to give garden tours, answer gardening questions, dig up excess volunteer plants to send home with people, and share raise beds design plans.   While everyone else is eating the salad from the garden or watching the frogs in the garden pond I am running around showing people all the plants, pond, earthworks, solar, chickens, greenhouse, and other  projects we have at the moment.  They want to have another party at the end of the summer to see how all the projects are progressing.  
3 months ago
$1,000,000 would speed up the plan we are already working on.  
Pay off mortgage  
Renovate house with high quality, low maintenance, and long term durability materials.  The work will be done with aging in place in mind so we can grow old here.
Finish the various outdoor projects including fencing, food forest, carport or garage, garden pond, and water storage high on the hill.  
After that it would be figuring out an investment strategy to cover our living expenses, taxes,  old age medical costs,  and having excess to donate organizations we want to support.  

3 months ago
Here is a video of a demonstration my brother did on sharpening chisels.   It goes over using stones and tips on sharpening both straight and gouge style chisels.  He goes over how to do it with with and without a griding wheel.   My brother's knowledge comes from restoring 18th and 19th century antiques with my father and a group of amazing craftsmen from around the world.  He goes over low cost old school methods and some of the pros and cons of grinding wheels, clamps, stones, and polishing compounds.  

4 months ago
I had my husband build me a recipe scaling spread sheet.  This way I can scale up or down any recipe that I am making.  It has been a life saver during harvest season when I am trying to figure out what to do with all the abundance.  
5 months ago
When I pressure can meals in jars I tend to make my own recipes.  I do follow recommended safety procures on what you can and can not pressure can and how long the foods need to be canned. Chili is my favorite home canned meal in a jar.   I have found I don't like most meals in a jar recipes that I have tried so I tend to can various ingredients separately so I can easily throw together a meal.  

I have the following books
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes

I want pick up the The USDA Complete Guide To Home Canning to add to my library. Much of the canning information from the USDA ca be found on various State Cooperative Extensions.

I can broth/stock throughout the year because is is so useful to have shelf stable ready to use.
Chili happens in the fall when I up to my eyeballs in home grown tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, onions, and garlic.  It is great to have an easy heat and eat meal over the winter when we are super busy.
Canned chicken and turkey chunks. Super versatile and easy to do when you catch a deal on poultry.  
Potatoes get canned when we are not eating them fast enough or my mother in law brings a 50 pound bag from a local farm.  These are chunked and are great in soups and as mashed potatoes.
5 months ago
You know you are a permie when your batch cooking for a busy winter weekend looks like this.

Tomato sauce made from the following
Home grown and home canned Upstate Oxheart tomato puree
Home grown Dehydrated oregano, basil, garlic scapes, green onion, summer squash, and wine cap mushrooms
Sweet Italian sausage from your friend's farm that used locally sourced food waste and raises the pigs in the woods.

Ham and potato soup.
Left over ham from our big family gathering
Ham and pork stock I pressured canned from the pig we get from our friend's farm.
Home grown potatoes stored in our basement
Home grown and dehydrated carrots, summer squash, lovage, green onion, and garlic scapes.
Heavy cream from the amazing grass fed dairy farm in town.  
A little rice flour to thicken it
Salt and pepper to taste
Grass fed, raw milk, cheddar cheese served on top.  

Chicken veggie soup.
Home pressure canned organic chicken thighs I bought on marked down at my local supermarket in the summer.
Home pressure canned turkey stock from the extra bones my husband brought home from helping a friend harvest their home grown
Home grown and dehydrated carrots, parsnips, celeriac, kale, summer squash, wine cap mushrooms, green onion, thyme, lovage, and
  garlic scapes
Salt and pepper to taste.  

In less than 30 minutes on a very busy weekend  I have put together 2 gallons of soup and enough tomato sauce for 2 lasagnas that I will finish making on Sunday.

Next on the cooking list is dealing with the 8 dozen eggs our hens have gifted us,  

8 months ago

Faye Streiff wrote:

Kate Muller wrote:

 I am giving up on growing potatoes due to the large amounts of work keeping bugs and disease off the plants. (I also can get low cost potatoes in large quantities from my relatives in Maine.)   I will continue to grow parsnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, diakon radish, and celery root.  One or more of them veggies can be swapped out for potatoes in most of my recipes.

Faye Streiff wrote:

  Potatoes don’t like lime, but they do like gypsum as a source of calcium, as it has sulphur also in it.   The sulphur in the gypsum doesn’t cause scab the way plain lime does, but also repels the voles which eat root crops.  We use gypsum with a little soft rock phosphate and a small amount of wood ash, for potassium.  One of your problems may be the wet soil.  We have the same problem here some years, but sometimes it is too dry.  Lately we never know what is going on with the weather.  Makes it very hard to grow anything.  This year I had some nice potatoes, but made deep furrows between them to drain the excess water from heavy rains.  Just didn’t have very many of them, as I didn’t plant much.   When plants get the minerals they need they don’t usually have much if any bug damage.   Potatoes are moderately heavy feeders and need plenty of well finished compost mixed into the soil.  

Sounds like you are doing a great job considering all the climate challenges.  

I have been working on my soil for years and too much drainage is more of a problem since we are on glacial sand.  We use lots of compost and mulch our beds once the plants are established to reduce watering needs.   I hadn't thought to add gypsum to the soil since it is on the acidic side.  Other than the gypsum we amend our soil the same way you do.  We also add magnesium in the form of lobster and crab shell since our soil is very  low in it and it makes a difference when growing nightshades.  The oldest beds have the healthiest soil and every year they get better.  If I could keep the wind from damaging netting and row covers I would just grow them under low tunnels.  The wind gets bad enough to make low tunnels impractical for netting or row covers.  

9 months ago