Gail Gardner

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since Jul 08, 2014
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SE Oklahoma
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Recent posts by Gail Gardner

Dale Hodgins wrote:This Thread recognizes those who  have helped to clean up spam. Those featured are known as spam hunters.

 James Freyr and Mike Jay both spotted spam today. It was passport crap. We don't have to look at that stuff now. Thank you gentlemen.

Attention other staff members. Whenever you notice a helpful spam hunter, post the name here so that all can see.

They must be really good because I don't think I have ever seen any spam in this forum. Thanks to all of you who keep it cleaned out without deleting real posts. Modding is never easy.

Jeremy Baker wrote:Hi. Does anyone have suggestions on ways to find floodplain land to buy or lease to own?

There are land investors who put land on eBay and auction the down payment which can end up being only $100-$200. They carry the paper. That is the cheapest way to get into one, but they also advertise on land sites (just typically with a somewhat higher down payment required.)

Floodplain wouldn't be hard to find in Texas or Oklahoma or any other wet state. Just look for land near a river.
1 month ago

Jeremy Baker wrote:How practical is it to drive there? I'm very curious to discuss visiting and volunteering along the way. Learn about the culture, food, water, nature, and regenerative good energy happening there. I've been to Panama, Nic, and Costa Rica on a backpacker trip. This is my first time considering driving from Oregon. I'm currently in Bend, OR. My cabin in N. Idaho can wait for me lol. It seems visiting Belize is relatively straightforward. No visa required. Inexpensive. Gorgeous. Any stories to share? Thanks.

There is a Mennonite community in Lott, Texas (SE of Waco / NE of Temple - half-way between Dallas and Austin). Some members of that group lived in Belize, but chose to move back. I know there were a couple of Mennonites who would drive through Lott on their way to Belize once a month hauling whatever the Mennonite communities in Belize needed - supplies, furniture, windows, etc.

You could try calling Falls Farm & Auto at 254-584-4600 or you might be able to reach them through their Facebook page at They would probably be willing to share information or maybe even introduce you to the men who drive down there monthly.

I once bought a book about moving to Belize and living there as an ex-pat, but when I downsized I didn't keep it as I had decided not to move there. My friends who had lived there and moved back said it was somewhat dangerous living there and they felt they stood out too much. (They're very blond-haired light-skinned people.)

There is information online about the Amish and Mennonite communities in Belize.
1 month ago

Roddey Cooper wrote:Hello everyone! I am a very handy and fairly skilled guy, but I know that I would rather build something then to dig in the dirt. I have looked into buying a pre-fab cabin to finish. I look almost daily at available properties in the Ozarks, namely SW Mo and NW/Central Ark.

You may want to check out tiny houses and look at the pre-fab buildings widely available many places as rent-to-owns. Look for a place like up your way. They sometimes have great deals on buildings that get turned back to them. Some have plumbing and electrical or have been finished inside (or you can do that yourself).
1 month ago

charlotte anthony wrote:thanks you all for these ideas.

my first response to the topic is that i do not believe that most  companion plants (or guilds)  work everywhere.  it seems to me that soils, climate, etc will influence what plants like each other or do well together. 

This makes perfect sense because marginal soils might not be able to support 2 plants that needed the same nutrient, but soils with an abundance of that nutrient may be able to support them both.
1 month ago

wayne fajkus wrote:Its that time of year, and a first for me (raising a thanksgiving turkey)  Any tips would be appreciated.  Butchering advice is great, but also looking for the preparation/cooking side of things if different than store bought turkeys.

I can't speak to butchering as I have never even seen it done.  Since so many recommend brine, is something like that done to store-bought turkeys?

Baking, though, I have a unique way. Did you know even a large turkey fits perfectly on the rack in a water bath canner? I put a little water in the bottom, stuff the turkey (yes, I know the paranoid way not to do that anymore, but I still do), and put it the normal breast side up on the rack.

Lower it into the pot and put the lid on. If they lid won't fit in your oven right side up, you can put it on upside down. (My water bath canner has a deep lid and the current oven is apartment-sized until I replace it.)

Bake as usual. It will take less time because the bird is completely enclosed and it will stay more moist. Lift up the rack and put the bird on a platter, leaving the drippings in the pot. I slice off all the white meat and a little of the dark to eat and make sandwiches and leftovers.

Then after dinner, I remove the rack from the pot. (You could make gravy using that drippings, but I don't - I want them in my soup stock.) Put all the rest of the bird (bones and most of the dark meat) back into the pot and cover with water. Simmer it overnight (if it is late) and then boil it down during the next day.

I take out the bones and pour the turkey and broth into quart canning jars (ideally wide-mouthed). If I'm going to use it quickly, I just put lids and bands on them and turn them upside down on a towel so they'll seal. Then I put them in the back of the refrigerator after they've cooled.

If I don't want to refrigerate or freeze the turkey and broth, I can process the quart jars in a pressure canner the usual way. (There are lots of videos and recipes online for how to can.) Then you can put them on a shelf and they'll last even longer.

Pour a jar or two into the crock post, add vegetables, and you have instant turkey soup. You don't have to use a crock pot - you could do it on the stove in a big pot instead. I find that dehydrating slices of summer squash works better for soup. Add the amount you can eat each sitting and they don't get as soggy as frozen do.

Cubes of sweet potatoes and butternut squash, bell peppers, regular potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic all work well. Mix and match and every time you make it (or add more veggies to the pot), you get a different taste. I might use organic Italian seasoning one time, then salt / pepper / celery salt another time, and sometimes even curry.

1 month ago

Wes Hunter wrote:

Scott Foster wrote:I guess the biggest concern I have,and the question I can't answer is why do apple trees have so many pest and disease issues that weren't around 200 years ago.  Part of it could be that I don't have enough biodiversity yet...same issue with the pollinators.  So maybe these issues will work themselves out with time.

The orchards around here are spraying millions of gallons of toxic herbicides and pesticides on the trees. What changed from the depression era and before?   The trees back in the day didn't get any herbicide or pesticide and they did well...if not they died.

I've got a book on my shelf titled "Orchard and Small Fruit Culture," copyright 1929, that devotes nearly 100 pages to controlling insects and diseases.  So they were around.

I don't know, but I'm going to hazard a guess that apple trees today aren't necessarily less resilient than they were then, but that apple culture has shifted and so more effort and emphasis is now placed on disease and insect control.  So what has changed?

When families had their own trees, if some fruit was damaged or diseased they fed it to chickens, ducks, livestock or cut the damage out and used it anyway. What changed is the emphasis on perfect fruit for market.

Fruit trees are an amazing source of free food. Now that I finally figured out how to get more of the pears than the red wasps, butterflies, and bees got, I have a cabinet full of pear butter, canned pears, and dehydrated pears. We are fortunate that pear trees thrive here on their own.

He planted peach trees which died and then one sort-of came back but struggles to produce any fruit. And I think the others are apple trees that have never produced at all. But the pears produce well in spite of high winds knocking the pears off prematurely.

I just gather them up and depending on what ripens how, share them with the livestock and ducks as necessary.

A thread here on Permies somewhere said fruit trees planted from seed are hardier, need less water, and stronger. So I have 2 plans. First, I eat organic heirloom fruit so I saved all that seed and plan to plant it at the edges where the pecans and persimmons grow along the wet weather creek. 

If they don't produce fruit, I can always graft onto them. And I've been pondering how to graft bigger persimmons onto the wild trees. I have read that it can be done; however, these are tall and straight probably 40+ feet tall. So I'm not sure where to find a place to graft that I can reach. I'm assuming it needs to be on branches and they are waayyyyy up there.

All the trees here have off years when a hard freeze comes after they bloom. This year the pecan trees looked like they would produce, but I need to check again. Last time I looked I didn't see what I expected on them.
1 month ago

chris thorpe wrote:I grow tomatoes, aubergines, bell peppers and chilies in the summer and salads and carrots in the winter. After reading one of the other posts, I'm thinking of adding shading in the summer as the temperature got up to 55C this year even with the doors open permanently.

You could cover it with shade cloth, or add windows or doors that open for a cross breeze. Can you see the photos at this link? I'm not sure how it works, but there is a triangular shaped addition on the top to let the heat out in the summer. If that URL isn't visible I'll see if I can find the company's site that makes them.

I have a bunch of notes about hoop houses:

For winter growing, best to orient it east / west to maximize sun

Put hoop house in full sun area; each layer of protection moves space 1.5 zones to the south

Use compost for heat

Grow in the ground stay warmer; pots repeatedly freeze even in hoop houses. Larger soil mass = warmer

Have mature plants going into the freezing weather because cold slows germination

Above freezing vent both layers; below freezing leave both layers closed;  20-32 degrees vent inner layer;

Water less in winter - only watered once a month?? Never water when freezing weather

Don't harvest from frozen plants - let them thaw or it can kill them.

Insulate north wall; use barrels of water to keep temp above freezing; PCMs (phase change materials) absorb heat by melting and release heat when temperature drops - PCMs are available with different working temperatures

Make vertical trellices 

XLNT VIDEO w/ list of winter crops

Crops we're growing now for a winter harvest:

Under One Layer of Protection
Dandelion Greens
French Sorrel Giant Red Mustard Greens
Good King Henry
Mustard Greens
Perpetual Spinach
Sea Kale
Tree Collards

Two Layers of Protection
Dandelion Greens
Dinosaur Kale
Egyptian Walking Onions
Garlic Chives
Georgia Collards
Giant Red Mustard Greens
Italian Dandelion Greens
Lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson)
Lettuce (Romaine)
Mustard Greens
Perpetual Spinach
Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard
Red Veined Sorrel
Tree Collards
Vates Kale

2 months ago

bob day wrote:Activated charcoal is a great cleanser, inside and out, adsorbing all sorts of chemicals, both organic and inorganic (good and bad). If it was all I had I might use it on a fresh bite, but I would keep it separate from other herbs I might be inclined to use, as it would just as readily soak up those phyto chemicals.

True. I keep the powder on hand for poultices and the capsules for internal issues. I did once drink the powder mixed in water for what seemed like food poisoning at the time. I hurt so bad it was worth it - but not really what you want to drink.
2 months ago

Joy Oasis wrote:Another great thing to use internally and externally is either bentonite clay or activated charcoal, they pull out the poisonous substance from the tissues and carry it out. It is also best to change poultices made with them frequently at first. .

I use a paste made of powdered charcoal and water on bites to draw out the poison. I had a brown recluse bite with the usual bulls-eye rings. That took multiple applications of poultice. It would go away, but then recur.

But if a bite gets infected, you can stop it dead with tea tree oil.
2 months ago