Robin Katz

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since May 10, 2015
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hugelkultur forest garden food preservation medical herbs wood heat
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Recent posts by Robin Katz

We are in a very similar environment in a cold valley in Idaho. We use hugel beds (apx. 2 feet tall) and they heat up quicker in spring than the rest of the ground. Right now the beds are almost clear of snow and we still have 6-12" of snowpack on the ground. We don't use plastic in our garden mostly because I don't want plastic leaching anything into the soil. I have enough plasticizers in my body.

In the spring and late summer we put garden cloth over a framework above the beds to keep the warmth in. It's good for those random frost killer nights in June and August. This is a pain if you have a lot of garden, so I tend to put the most frost sensitive plants in the same bed and concentrate on covering those. The rest I'm working on landracing varieties that are somewhat frost tolerant.

I wouldn't dare use smudge fires in August around here. Wildfire danger is usually in the very high/extreme category at this time. I don't like the idea of adding pollution to the air in any case.
6 days ago
I'm glad I found this thread and a big thanks to the contributors. Our neighbor has one of these plum trees and we didn't know what it is. The tree isn't always a reliable producer in our cool valley but it's a tough plant.

Our neighbors don't like the fruit and usually leave it for wildlife. I found that the plums got much sweeter after picking and letting sit in a cool room for a week or so. I loved them and planted a bunch of the pits at the edge of our forest. We'll see if anything comes up.
3 weeks ago
May, it now looks like your first guess is right on. After a couple of hours doing online searches it seemed like it wasn't an unusual plant at all, but a problem with growth conditions so I started searching for that and found a reddit thread about Prince of Orange leaves becoming stuck due to lack of humidity. Thanks a bunch for your help.

3 weeks ago
Thanks, I'll look into that species and see if I can find more info.

The leaf behavior has always been that way, with the tip end encased in a sheath attached to the stem.  Apparently it stays that way for a long time then the tip end lets go and the leaf uncurls. I've never seen anything like this behavior.

Also, I was told that this plant flowers, but have no information on the flower characteristics.
3 weeks ago
I inherited this plant last week and have no idea what it is. It is a tropical-type plant and the new leaves come out on two stalks - one at the base and one at the tip end. The leaf stays connected to both for a long time and is twisted. Any help here is appreciated.
3 weeks ago
My potted citrus doesn't get scale during the summer when they are outside. Once I bring them in, they always get an infestation within a couple of months. I use a fairly dilute Dr. Bronners soap (2 Tbsp in a quart). The peppermint soap works best for me. I coat every surface of the leaves and stems once a week or so and the scales die and come off in later treatments. I don't rinse off the soap, which I think is really important. I do maintenance every few weeks and it keeps them under control until the spring when they can go outside again.

Now that I think about it, when they are outside they get the benefit of winds and high pressure sprayer from the hose so that may be why they don't have a problem. The physical removal of the mobile form probably keeps them under control. All the predatory wasps are likely doing their part too.
1 month ago

Mike Haasl wrote:How much lard do you get from a lard pig?

The lard pig we got was not processed by us so a lot of the fat was not included in our custom cut package even though we asked for the lard. Looking at the chops, there seemed to be apx. 30-50% more fat and significantly less meat. A 1" thick chop would give 2 ounces of meat.

The bacon was about 80+% fat with thin meat layers. That's why I won't buy another one since we're paying for a lot of fat and not as much meat.
1 month ago
Sarah, thank you for the great information on ascorbate and the impact on hip dysplasia. My husband and I have always had Great Danes and both dysplasia and knee weakness (requiring TPLO) has been a common problem. The conventional wisdom is that dogs make their own Vitamin C so there is no need to supplement.

Since we don't live in a perfect world of perfect nutrition for our dogs, I can see how they may not be making enough of their own to support the rapid growth in large and giant breeds. So then the question is how much to give, what form, and for how long? Even though it's water soluble, vitamin C in excess can have side effects in humans, and I assume there could be similar issues in dogs.

Or maybe even better, what sort of nutrition is required to give the pup all it needs so that supplementation isn't necessary? Raw vs. cooked meat, carbohydrate types (if any), etc. I don't have those answers so this could be a great discussion.
2 months ago
John, I love your idea. That fits my ideal for "somewhat assisted living" where you can have your own place, people nearby, and medical assistance as needed on hand. Our current system seems to require that you give up your independence in order to get care. I can see why so many people refuse this system unless forced into it.
2 months ago
I'm glad to hear that the epsom salts worked. I've found that magnesium chloride works better for some reason. And I need to do it regularly and at fairly high levels on my skin. I don't know why that is, but my body tells me when I don't have enough. My whole family has the same issue so there may be a genetic reason.

I add concentrated mag chloride to my lotion and put that on my skin so that it can absorb all day. That seems to be the only way I can get enough.
2 months ago