Robin Katz

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since May 10, 2015
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Recent posts by Robin Katz

I give this hatchery 8 out of 10 acorns.

I like their selection of chickens and turkeys, which is most of what I've ordered. All of the birds arrived in the mail healthy and grew well. I like the fun of getting a mixed bag of turkey chicks so that I could see which breeds I liked the best. So far Narragansett is my favorite for disposition and size. They are fairly small so we don't need to wrangle a 20 lb carcass that's just too much for us in one cooking.
1 month ago
Rosemary, I know this is drifting away from the original post topic, but I'd suggest getting two books. "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Katz (not a relative) and "Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast" by Ken Forkish. Wild Fermentation has so much good information and I always have home-fermented veggies in the fridge. Right now I have purple cabbage sauerkraut, cucumber pickles with dill and garlic, kimchi, pickled beets, and I just made a load of rainbow carrot pickles. Loads of probiotics without the huge cost, and as mentioned earlier, a way to preserve the harvest from the garden. We drink the pickled veg juice right along with eating the veggies because it's all good for you. The bread book changed my ability to make bread from barely edible bread that could be used in a street fight to about as perfect as can be imagined - the first time out.

Your approach to improving diet instead of taking medications is the smartest thing you could do. My husband and I are not in perfect health, but we're not on any medications and we're not exactly young any more.

I am using the bread making method from the cookbook Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. This book was a game changer for making breads. I do a combination of my own starter (which is described in the book) and commercial yeast then the fermentation is at least a day, which adds sourness, other flavors, and I've heard is helpful in increasing the nutrition of the bread. This method of making bread makes the best toast I've ever eaten.

I've adapted the recipes to make my own rye w/caraway (50% rye, 50% white flour, all organic and from Azure) and it's amazing! Brine up some homemade corned beef, ferment some sauerkraut, and you've got a sandwich that's second to none. It's probably obvious that I love making food from scratch.
Hi Rosemary. I've started using Einkorn in my breads the past few months and I love it. I buy it in bulk from Azure Standard and grind it myself. I make fermented breads (French method) and have used up to 100% einkorn and the bread is a little heavier than straight white wheat, but it still has a lot of air bubbles and a good texture.

I plan to try growing some here once we set up our garden area.

This is a great post. Thanks for starting it, and I really like hearing about what others are doing and their challenges.

2018 was a big year with renovating our old house and selling our 2.75 acre property including my awesome garden (5 4x50' raised beds, 20x25' herb bed and tons of fruit trees and bushes) I've nurtured for 24 years. But, that got us out of the big city and into our 11.5 acres in the pines of northern Idaho. There is cleared land around the house thank God (fire danger and all). So this property is a clean slate for creating our permaculture oasis. Right now we're planning where our new shop/garden building will go as well as the greenhouse, the garden beds and the hugel mounds. It's a lot to consider but I'd rather plan carefully for the major items. The greenhouse will have geothermal heating and be somewhat below grade. The house was built with geothermal tubes going into the foundation and venting into the house and we freakin' LOVE it. It can be 14F outside and without any heat on (zero, zip, nada), the inside is at 54F in the morning. Or it's 95F outside and inside it's 72F, so no AC needed. I can't say enough about the cost savings of geothermal. Our house is well insulated so that's part of it.

We haven't decided yet on solar power for the greenhouse. The plan is to not need much except for lighting and running fans.

I don't know how much will get done this year but last year I didn't have a garden to speak of since we sold in early summer. I did get a lot of garlic from the garden but that's all. We were too busy to plant early veggies or greens and the garlic was from planting my favorite way the previous fall - "toss the sprouting cloves onto the beds and see what happens."

We've been working on the inside of the house since purchase so other than clearing a few hundred "pecker poles" and medium sized dead trees to thin the nearby forest we've not done anything outside. We plan to get the shop built, deer fence (or don't bother with a garden, tons of deer and elk), maybe get the greenhouse built, build a few garden beds, chip the wood except what we need for heating (which isn't a lot) then inoculate with mushroom spawn, build a couple of hugel mounds, and... good lord that's a lot to consider for this year. Ah well, I always work better with a little pressure and a lot to do. Whatever gets done, we plan to do it with some thought so that it doesn't need to be redone unnecessarily. Riding that line between planning and not getting anything done vs. building too fast and not liking the results or having to redo. I'm sure we'll have a lot of successes and failures but that's the fun.
1 month ago
Dear Travis,

I agree with Tina. I think many/most/all? have incidents in our lives that we look back and go "holy crap, what was I thinking?" I'm just sorry that it's affecting you so much now. My past may catch up with me as well some day, but I'd like to think that all of the good stuff I've done makes up for it on my personal "decent person" scale.

Wishing you and your family well.
1 month ago
Phil, that was amazing. I now have a new favorite Christmas song with Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss.

This is one of our favorites for Christmas. Greg Lake and Ian Anderson singing I Believe in Father Christmas.

1 month ago
Daron, your first picture of the flowers reminded me that biennials like collards, chard, etc. have abundant flowers in the second year that the beneficial insects in my garden love. In the past I've harvested the leaves but left the plant intact and many would survive the harsh/dry Denver winter to bloom in the spring. It was a great way to support insect life and get free seed. Of course if I'd left all the biennials to bloom there wouldn't be much space for the new annuals so I'd leave select plants to bloom and plant annuals around them.

I really like the idea of mixing perennials, biennials (including a few the second year), and annuals. Every year the garden looked different and I could see what worked in combination, and what didn't. I found this to be fun and reduced the stress of trying to get the garden right. Every year there were successes and failures, but nature still provided an abundant harvest.

This is a great discussion. Thanks for starting it!
At our last property, and in the new one we're working on, I use perennial vegetables, berries and herbs as anchor points in the garden then every spring I plant annuals in between the perennials. Every year the landscape changes slightly as the perennials thrive (or not) and spread. There are usually larger areas for planting corn in blocks for good germination. Even in these "open" areas there was dandelion and purslane in abundance, both of which I harvest as wild greens and in the case of the dandelion, dry for winter teas.

I have found that having the annuals scattered a little throughout the garden reduces the pest load since the little buggers have to travel further from plant to plant. I've made it too easy for them in the past putting all the kale in one section then watching all the plants get destroyed in short order. I noticed a rogue kale in another bed was unaffected, so I realized that being a somewhat haphazard gardener has its benefits.

I have the Tiffany Aching books and love them. I want some Feegles of my own to help out around the homestead but the booze bill would be too high. Crivens!

And I agree that when the pigs took a whiz in the department store I laughed out loud.

Amanda, I haven't seen the TV version! Something to look forward to this winter.
4 months ago