Morfydd St. Clair

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

Blane Arnold wrote:What a great thread of information. I’ve been thinking about replacing a non edible hedge that came with the house we’re in between us and the busy street. I’m in western Washington, zone 8b, was thinking about using a mix of the following.

- silverberry
- pineapple guava
- loquat

They’re all fruit producing and evergreens which should make for a great hedge. Tossing in some rosemary along the edge doesn’t sound too bad either! Has anyone had experience growing the plants I listed above?

I had a beautiful loquat in Seattle (8b) several years ago.  It never fruited.  My understanding is that the fruit sets over the winter, and even mild Seattle winters were too much for that.  I also got nervous for the life of the tree, every hard freeze.  However, the tree lived and it's gorgeous year-round.  

I tried pineapple guava here in 7a and it died, but that particular hedge area has killed everything except eleagnus x ebbingei, and even a couple of those.  I don't have fruit from the e-x-e (a relative of the silverberry) either, so this may be a me thing.

Jay Angler wrote:

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Jay, you can't just casually mention "Rhubarb Custard Pie" and leave it at that. Recipe please!

Hmmm... I guess you don't realize it is a family tradition handed down through hands on-training and memorization?
After all, Great Grandmother never attended school, so never learned to read or write and didn't own measuring cups etc.

Good thing I wasn't willing to put up with that.
"Mom, you put what you "think" is the right amount in this bowl, and I will measure and record it."

Well, sort of... good luck defining a "large" pie plate - we go for deep dish pies in glass pie plates. Rhubarb is very acidic, so no metal plates allowed. Outside max diameter is about 11".

Grandmother's Rhubarb Pie

Spread 1st layer of rhubarb in pie plate - sprinkle flour over it.
Spread 2nd layer of rhubarb in pie plate - if it feels moist, sprinkle flour (if the weather's been quite wet)
Sprinkle ground nutmeg over the top.
My large plate takes about 5 1/2 cups of chopped rhubarb.

Sauce - in a bowl
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of flour
2 very large eggs
mix the flour into the sugar, then add the eggs and beat with a spoon
add a tsp of vanilla
Pour this sauce over the fruit in the pie plate. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and cook another 45 minutes. If it's not quite set, turn off the oven, but leave the pie in for another 15 minutes.

See what I mean??? This makes total sense to me, but there's still a lot of wiggle room to muck it up when you haven't been watching mom make for as long as I can remember! It is *really* yummy! Good luck and report back!

Interesting.  No sugar mixed with the rhubarb itself?  My plants are dying down but I may give it a shot this weekend.  Thank you!
4 months ago
This seems like a very practical system - I'm glad it's working for you!  

Why do you describe it as unsafe?  The tricky balance between too wet and too dry?
5 months ago
I grew up picking salmonberries and I don't remember ever feeling hurt* by being pricked by the bushes, much less getting infected.  As said above, blackberries are much more painful.

If you're planning on picking a lot at a time, you might try lightweight gloves.  I don't think a single plant is going to bear super heavily for you, though - I'd consider it more of a pleasant snack on your way to doing other things.

*and I was a wimp!
5 months ago

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:One of the hard things about "covering up" is dealing with the reflected light from surfaces below.

Snow, of course, is notorious for reflecting UV/IR. Sand is likely bad too. Concrete, gravel, any light coloured surface.

Also, of course, water, as my fishing-mad great-aunt discovered.
5 months ago
Wonderful picture!

I've planted 2 pawpaws previously after ordering from semi-specialty nurseries.  One has died and one is struggling.  A couple of weeks ago I was super surprised to find pawpaws at a very normal garden center here in N Germany, both from Peterson Paw Paws in WV.  They actually had several varieties, and I picked up (IIRC) a Shenandoah and a Susquehanna, after quickly checking them out on my phone.  They look pretty healthy so far!

I also picked up a mirabelle plum, and planted it next to my non-producing plums that I pruned back hard last year.  If it doesn't encourage them, it may let them know that they can be replaced.  (Ominous music plays...)

The rabbits managed to kill my mint plants, safely in their planter.  I... didn't know you could kill mint.  But it gave me an excuse to pick up some chocolate mint from the farmer's market.  It seems to be doing ok so far.

I have a bunch of chili and tomato plants ready to go out this week - I think the Joe's Long sounds most interesting.
6 months ago
Privacy hedge:
--Korean pine will (eventually) grow pine nuts, but it's also a slow grower and not very dense.
--Elaeagnus x ebbingei makes a good hedge, topping out at about 6 feet.  I have yet to see those mythical berries.
--I'd totally go with camellias for a hedge - the foliage is pretty and you can pick your height.  You might consider mixing multiple types - there are some non-tea varieties that bloom in mid-winter which is cheering, others have more beautiful blooms, and tea camellias have less beautiful flowers but obviously the leaves are useful.  I believe all camellia flowers are edible.  If I could keep them alive in my garden I'd have tons.

--Creeping thyme (some varieties) is nice, not as sturdy or spreading as one could hope, but useful here and there.
--I personally don't find bergenia attractive, but I inherited it and it makes sure it's the one part of the garden I don't have to weed, so it's staying.  The flowers are striking and the leaves are edible "as a famine food" according to PFAF.
--Moss rose is pretty and theoretically edible.  I haven't tried it yet.
--Kinnikinnick is a plant I have much more appreciation for now that I'm out of its native habitat and not seeing it everywhere.
--Winterberry is cute.  I've never been able to get it to spread.
--Creeping rosemary is barely hardy to zone 7, but useful and pretty.
--Prostrate junipers were mentioned above.  I find them kind of boring, and grass will peek through and then you need to wade through the prickly stuff to pull it.  However, great for holding hills down and keeping most weeds out.
7 months ago

Nancy Reading wrote:We haven't had a game recently, so here's one!

Actually, obviously this is a box - it's a small wooden box, so the game is to guess what it is used to contain. I think Permies will appreciate the low tech nature of this, which is used everyday.

Small wooden box with lid half open

I think it is made of oak and is at least 70 years old, possibly a few decades more.
Here it is laid out with a ruler (cm) for scale:

Small wooden box with lid

The bit of wood inside is a bit that broke off the top, which would have prevented the lid going straight across, obviously over the year this has become broken off. I'm thinking of using some small panel pins to fix it, but don't want to damage it further.

Hm.  It looks a bit like something for transporting queen bees, except the holes would be really big.  Aren't there boxes where you stop up the holes with wax and the drones chew through to get to their queen?
7 months ago

Nikki Roche wrote:

Christopher Weeks wrote:

Nikki Roche wrote:
My favorite part of the radish plants are the seed pods, but I can't figure out how to calculate those calories when the time comes.

I wonder if using sprouted radish seeds is a good guestimate. It seems like roughly the right green-to-seedmass ratio. For that I’m seeing 16 Cal/cup.

Thank you! You might be on to something there. I just looked up green bean calories compared to bean sprout calories, and they were pretty close. I use radish seed pods in place of green beans in winter soup, so that comparison makes sense to me.

Interesting!  How do you use the pods in winter soups - wouldn't they be dried by then, or do you freeze them, or?
7 months ago
Hey, even Marie Kondo knows it now!

(Though the article's more nuanced than the headline.  She still values order, it's just not at the top of her priorities right now.  And in her books she freely admitted that she was weird about how highly she prized order at the time.)
9 months ago