Denise Kersting

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since Nov 24, 2014
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cat fungi urban
South Central PA
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Recent posts by Denise Kersting

My hubby verified they are "brandlings," he called them red wigglers. We relocated as many as we could find back to the first stage bin, and moved the the compost that needed to finish to the garden. Topped that off with a heavy layer of grass clippings to help keep any stragglers warm. He thinks they got in the bin when we take collected piles of damp leaves in the spring and toss them in. (Got a few spots around the house that the wind naturally piles them up at.) We use the same damp leaf addition at our cabin's composting toilet to let the microbes/molds do their work when we aren't there.
3 days ago
I do think it's best to just clear off some space in my garden, and trench it in now. At least its fall, and I can cover the garden with fallen leaves and the neighbors won't be the wiser. I'm not certain how they got in there, but I always have a healthy population in the composter doing their thing. There are ventilation holes on the sides, there are always flies and what not in there in the summer.  The may have traveled in there when I dumped any number of potted plants I have around after their season outside was over. Thanks for all the advice!
3 days ago
I live in a city, so my composting needs to be kept fairly tidy. I compost in an insulated, rotating, composter. Problem is, I need to move compost into a finishing container or I run out of space. The most recent batch I pulled out of the composter had a ton of worms in it, and my finishing container is a wheeled trash bin with a lid. My problem is, how are the worms going to live in that trash bin, and am I subjecting them to an awful end? Should I try to sift them out and put them into my garden? I know they are super helpful with the composting, but I'm afraid that I am condemning them to an untimely death by putting them into the lidded bin.
4 days ago
To the original OP, I think there are some things that if you don't change your lifestyle, you have to accept might be waste. So (for example) the soft plastic bags that the plants you ordered came in, since you cannot recycle them, if you can settle for reusing them as trash bags for the few things that you do end up discarding, at least they won't be a "single-use" plastic. The piece of old wood that was cut for a doggie door, if the wood was not covered with lead paint, I would suggest leaving it outside to decompose. Shoes are pretty easy, depending on the construction. Most towns  (at least near me) still have cobblers, and they can resole shoes (they will have to discard the old sole), but normally for under $10-20 your shoes have a new life. Also, birkenstocks are easy to have resoled, and the cork is degradable.

To Sarah N., I know you are against using plastics, but what about a soup-style thermos, it would keep your food warm without needing additional microwaving. It would still have plastic involved, but since there is no direct heating in it, might not leach into your food. There are many that are all plastic, but we have a soup thermos that is mostly stainless, bit of plastic and works great, (all contact areas w/food are stainless) but I'm not sure that your work would allow it, even though I can't for the life of me think of a way it could be used as a weapon.
1 week ago

Mike Jay wrote:

Mike Barkley wrote:Write in the note section of the 13th check "paid toward principle only".

  This is critical when paying extra!  Otherwise they'll happily just apply it to the interest, which is in their best interest   When doing this online, there should be a check box or something to ensure extra payments are going towards principle.

I have to laugh, when I started the monthly overpayments, which I wanted the "extra" to  go to principle only, my bank royally messed it up. (several times) After many phone calls, my account was sorted out, and they did the right thing, and applied the extra payments when they should have been applied, but my solution was on my statement ticket (the bottom portion I sent back every month) I included bright colored (red) arrows and instructions showing the full breakdown of the payment I was sending. I actually wrote out the math equation version of payment + principle only = total enclosed, and annotated each line as such. (I wrote the same on my checks) After about a year of annotating my "ticket" the bank revised their monthly statements, and included lines where you could add in any additional principal or interest that you were sending in each month. I'm not sure if my comical notes were the cause, or just a needed overhaul, but I've never had an issue with them mis-applying our payments since I started that, and now that they have made it clear on their tickets, it's been much easier to add the extra in each month!
2 weeks ago
We are 3 yrs into our 5-yr debt free plan, and I have to say sometimes its tough. But the rewards are great! We refi'd a few yrs ago to a 15-yr loan for our house, and now we are paying almost double payments, we're set to be debt-free in 22 more payments. Our hope is for me to join my husband in retirement, I won't be able to collect anything for quite a few years; but for us it's worth it if we have the time together. I've watched too many family members work themselves till retirement, and then pass-on within months after they finally retired. We don't want to lose those years by spending all our time doing jobs that we don't really love. Our method is simple, pay off everything, have enough accounts/retirement pay to sustain us, and live well within our means. Right now, we are basically putting my entire salary into our house payment, and have been doing so for several years. That is what makes it tough sometimes, my account gains every month and then is purposely depleted. We deal with that self-inflicted, paycheck-to-paycheck by little indulgences, which don't break the bank. Our vacation and "fun stuff" is actually mostly free, we like to wander local game lands and forage, kayak a nearby river, or vacation at our camp. I'm thrilled to think that we will have saved many thousands off our mortgage by paying it off early, and we will have all our property (vehicles/camp/home) paid off and ours soon. Our family thinks we are nuts, and will be destitute in our old age, but we've been careful about the math and feel secure.
2 weeks ago
Thank you for all the replies, I will contact the extension. Hopefully they will be able to shed some light on what I'm up against. It is a shame, the monetary loss is not large, but many of these plants have been with me a long time now. I'm not sure what is worse, all that I brought to this bed, or the lilac that may have been here since the 1920-1930s. I'm only the third owner of this house, and that lilac had been here long before the longest living neighbor moved in (+ 40 yrs  ago).
3 weeks ago
Hi Stephen, thank you for your reply. Do you know of any labs to suggest, I live in Harrisburg PA, so not sure where I could send to.
4 weeks ago
Hi Patrick, nice to meet you, I will be looking you up hopefully next year. I've got to find a spot that I think the black morels might like here, they are our favorite! (Our foraging spot for them is dying out) I like that on your site you list the type of morel kit you offer. I've seen other places that have kits, but many don't specify, and for that reason, they did not get our business. Welcome, and I look forward to your posts, Kind regards, Dee
4 weeks ago
I'm having issues with one of my large beds that runs the length of my property that is currently planted with english ivy, sweet woodruff, bee balm, lilacs, peonies, roses, elderberry, and ninebark. I think that the soil might be infected with Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, or Armillaria, and causing root rot and massive die-offs. First to go was a prized rose, that had gotten huge and had the best display, the following year (last year) it just died, almost suddenly. At first I thought that the ivy was choking it, or the bindweed that I keep fighting to eradicate, but then the peonies didn't come up this year, I've had them for years. Also this year, the lilac is showing serious signs of stress and die-off. Branch-by-branch are dying at the bases, no obvious insect damage, a little powdery mildew, and the same with the ninebark (next to the lilac). (We had been following the cut a little every year to rejuvenate it as it was very tall and leggy) The soil is not overly wet, and this location is in full sun. I'm worried that the soil might be infected, and wanted to see if there is a way to tell, and if it is, a way to remediate the soil without removing all the plants. The only amendments that I have added to the bed is an occasional compost tea, and in anything I have planted I have added a few scoops of compost when planting. Thanks!
4 weeks ago