Morfydd St. Clair

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since Feb 09, 2015
Hamburg, Germany
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Recent posts by Morfydd St. Clair

Anita Martin wrote:Bonnie, I have never seen plastic lids for Weck jars. The normal jars have glass lids (the ones that go with the rubber and metal), and then there are wooden lids for non-canning (decorative) purposes and a new addition are silicone lids. Do you have a picture of your jars?

Amazon has quite a few, e.g.

I would imagine they're nice for once a jar is open, so you don't have to juggle clips to open and close the jar.  (I actually ended up with a few in a mad buying spree a few years ago, but haven't used them yet.)

Edited to add:  Ooh, I use a hippie deodorant that comes in mini-Weck-like jars and juggling the lid is indeed a pain, I should go dig out the lids!
2 days ago
Do you have an author for these recommended books?  Amazon lists at least four plausible options for "Cajun Vegan Cookbook", and six for "Afro Vegan".

Many thanks!
5 days ago
Ha, found it!  Street Food: Urban Foraging and World Food by Ceridwen Buckmaster.

I like the approach - "a collection of recipes inspired by the wild plants that grow in urban areas, as well as by the people and the diverse food traditions present in the city".  Organized by month, each month also focusing on a specific world cuisine, with quick descriptions of the featured plants.  Slim book, but I've bookmarked 20+ recipes to try at some point.

It's not a living-off-the-land book, but the ethos of the project "Invisible Food" that it came from is very permaculture-y.
1 week ago
Ones you might find interesting:
--The Permaculture Kitchen: Love Food, Love People, Love the Planet by Carl Legge
--The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat It by Alys Fowler
--The delightful delicious daylily by Peter A Gail
--The Alternative Kitchen Garden: An A-Z by Emma Cooper
--The Boxing Clever Cookbook: Twelve Recipe Books in One by Jacqueline Anne Jones

This author was recently featured on Permies (and he's awesome!):
--A Food Forest in Your Garden: Plan It, Grow It, Cook It by Alan Carter

And of course the classic homesteaders' book:
--The Encyclopedia of Country Living: An Old Fashioned Recipe Book by Carla Emery

I swear I have a British urban foraging cookbook that was fun, but it may have gotten purged and it's not in my LibraryThing listing.  I recall it being a bit fluffy, but it had a memorable recipe for cleavers, and they've finally shown up in my garden.  I'll have to hunt for it.
2 weeks ago
Hi Kārlis,

I'm in Hamburg, not terribly far south of you.  Our lows usually aren't below -15 degrees C, though.  

How are apples for you?  I have an old tree that fruits heavily every year, and a young Japanese pear that fruits every couple of years, hindered by more shade than it likes.  The other side of the river from me is traditionally apple-growing country - in fact the Apple Blossom Festival is this weekend and I think we'll visit!

In my neighbors' gardens and mine, I see sweet and sour cherries, apples, and hazelnuts do well.  My honeyberries are growing solidly but not bearing anything yet, ditto my Elaeagnus x ebbingei.  My bladdernut bush bears well.

One plant I didn't see mentioned is Oregon grape, which I was surprised to see here in Germany.  It's used a lot in parks, as it's completely no-maintenance-required.  The berries are not very exciting, but they're consistent.  The plant is evergreen, with nice fall color, has cheerful flowers early in the year for pollinators, and it's hardy to USDA zone 5.
2 weeks ago
Have you checked out the This Old House TV series?  I never paid much attention to it, as my house-owning was limited to a 1950 house on the West Coast, but they specialized in older houses on the East Coast and may give you useful insights.  
4 weeks ago
Definitely read through the bylaws to see if there's anything you can't live with.  If you get a chance to meet your neighbors, and/or visit a club meeting, that can help you get a feel for how tidy you'll need to keep it (and if you're a fit with your neighbors/club).

The advantage of taking over a well-maintained garden is that you start with good structures and fewer weeds.  The advantage of taking over an abandoned garden is that anything you do is an improvement and your neighbors will be grateful.

When we got our garden, the plot just north was completely overgrown, and I fought wave after wave of incoming weeds.  A new guy took over, razed everything to the ground, and it's now immaculate.  ...making *my* garden the local eyesore, and he glares at me about the weeds coming back the other direction.  (He's nice!  But it's quite an expectations change.)

On the plus side, it's close to where you live.  My garden is not, and it's really a challenge to give it the attention it needs.  On the minus side, a dry secure cottage makes everything better, and it sounds like that specific plot doesn't have it.  If it's really close enough to run home in bad weather, I guess you can live with it, but eventually you'll spend quite a bit of money to improve it.  I'd look at other plots in the club that might have a better cottage but be more overgrown.
1 month ago
Wow, that's beautiful work!  It looks very well-designed and I am jealous of the space and utility!

Are the circles in the back functional, decorative, or just "fun with the miter saw"?
1 month ago
I'm sorry to be a bit off-topic, but is there such a thing as half-coppicing?  I have a few 6-7-year-old hazels with 3-4 main trunks 2 inches or so in diameter, plus they throw off lots of suckers each year.  Someday I will get nuts*, but this year I thinned everything back to the main trunks to get some light to a couple of understory plants, and I have a lot of lovely thin rods.  Is it feasible to coppice the small suckers yearly and still get a yearly nut harvest, or do I need to choose between wood and nuts?

*one bears nicely and then they go black/mildewy by harvest time, please tell me I don't need to tear out the whole shrub?
1 month ago
For a bought-new option:  I buy these burlap sacks every year to rake leaves into.  They sit for a year and I get something like a decent leaf mold out of them.  Usually by then the bottom has rotted out and I toss the intact scraps into the compost pile. Last year for my new pond I used some of the scraps to line plant baskets.  They were pretty well done by the end of summer, but a) they were still holding soil in and b) that's after 1-2 years of perfect-for-rotting environments.

For a recycled option:  I'd suggest looking at thrift stores after Easter for used baskets.  Wood/straw ones will last a few years, plastic longer if you're not anti-plastic. Of course if you're looking for many of a single size, normal stores should have decent Easter basket sales too.

Edit:  Re-reading the original post for comprehension this time it sounds like you might want something that would hold more water in, where my pond baskets want water to flow easily in both directions.  Wool felt should work nicely!  If you know someone with sheep, you should be able to get scraps for cheap/free.  Otherwise I'd probably go to the thrift store, get their ugliest/cheapest all-wool sweaters, wash and hot-dry them, and piece together liners.
2 months ago