Sarah Elizabeth

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since Jun 16, 2015
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Recent posts by Sarah Elizabeth

Tyler Ludens wrote:Perennial Leek aka Elephant Garlic grows easily from seed and is a super tough plant, surviving here with no irrigation.  It will propagate by self seeding and division.

This is good to know because I saved seed from my elephant garlic last year on the off chance.  There was no reference to saving elephant garlic seed in any of my seed saving books.  

I planted the original elephant garlic cloves in August of Year 1 and over-wintered them in our damp, cold temperate climate under a mulch of autumn leaves (despite the books saying they were too tender to do so).  They produced a fabulous set of seed heads by July/August in Year 2.  I had to stake them as they were about 3 to 4 ft tall. When the individual seeds stopped being milky and turned black, I cut the heads off with a good length of stem and stood them in an old glass bottle to dry in a warm room for a couple of months before removing the seeds from the seed heads.  The drying seed heads are beautifully ornamental too.        
10 months ago

Tatyana Piven wrote:You must save that worm from drowning after the rain.

ha ha my husband is obsessed with this. He is the Worm-Rescuer..
10 months ago

Getting oil-based labels off jars is a great way to use veggie oil that has gone out of date.  I have linseed oil that I bought in bulk a couple of years ago that I am still using for this purpose.  The bulk buy did not turn out to be economical because I did not use it fast enough and it goes rancid really quickly - I won't do that again.

When I was a child and lived by the sea we used to use mayonnaise to get beach tar off our feet.  I bet that would work too.    
10 months ago

When I was younger I wanted to go to university to study law but I did not have the funds to pay for it.  Each year one of the big local law firms gave out a scholarship that covered all the costs of tuition for the whole course of study.  My friend and I were both about the same academically but she said to me "Well, only one person can win so why bother to apply?".  I said "Well, they have to give it to someone: why not me?".

So I applied and I won it. In fact, I had already interviewed and been accepted at university before I knew how I was going to pay for it.  It was a big leap of faith but I have always found that you have to commit to yourself and your goal even if you cannot see how it is going to be fulfilled.  This is one of my favourite quotes:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.  Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way."

Scottish Himalayan

10 months ago

Peter Chan wrote:

I should have clarified that I was talking about using glass spray bottles, but that the TUBE inside is still plastic and we are essentially using solvents (alcohol, vinegar, essential oils, etc) to tincture this little plastic tube!  what nasties are in these little tubes i don't know.

Peter you are way ahead of me with the glass spray bottles - I haven't found any here yet.

One of the things I love about permaculture is the license to experiment with everything.  Happy dish washing:)    
10 months ago

Peter Chan wrote:

i have to admit, it has always weirded me out to make an extract of any kind, whether it is a tincture, using alcohol, or vinegar, or oil.  it's not the making of it or even the result that freaks me is when it is put in a SPRAY BOTTLE that is freaks me out. becuase, regardless of the fact that i made a lemon tincture prior to bottling it in a spray bottle, while the lemon tincture is in the spray bottle, the medium (vodka) is tincturing or extracting things from the plastic tube which draws the liquid from teh bottle and out thorugh the spray nozzle.  every time i spray it, i'm thinking "am i spraying endocrine disruptors into the air and on eveything?"  i've thought and thought about how to avoid this, but becuase the spray bottle is so convenient, i have kept doing it. i've though about instead drizzling counters with my lemon tincture form a vinegar cruet or an olive oil spout to eliminate the need for the plastic spray tube sitting in the tincture, but the whole point of the spray bottle is that you coat the surface, and if you leave it there for a minute, it acts as a disinfectant.  

Peter, I know what you mean. Plastic spray bottles are so convenient but I don't tend to leave anything in them because of the leaching problem. If I use one,  I just put the stuff in it temporarily and funnel the remainder back into a glass jar or an old glass juice bottle or whatever for storage when I am finished.  For doing the dishes I just tip out a bit of my lemon oil from the glass jar into the bowl.

I am less concerned about the whole disinfectant issue.  My aim is always to keep the "good" and "bad" bacteria around me in balance so that there are always more "good" bacteria.  I see it the same as I see my gut - I don't want to get rid of all the bacteria but just make sure the balance is right as I rely on those "good" bacteria to keep me healthy.  That's why I use normal olive oil/castille soap for dishes too.  It doesn't disinfect but restores the bacteria balance.  My nose tells me soon enough it the "bad" bacteria have the upper hand and I re-wash or throw out whatever it it. I have never become sick from cleaning the dishes this way.      

Next I am going to try growing my own sponges/scouring pads ie the loofah plant  

10 months ago

Peter Chan wrote:

do you find this is more effective than lemons soaked/infused in alcohol?  does bacteria breed in the water where it ever gets an off smell?


Hi Peter,

I have never tried soaking the lemons in alcohol and I am sure it would work but the hot water method works fine for me and it's cheaper.  I just went and smelled my two year-old bottle of lemon oil - it does not smell like fresh lemons but more medicinal or like a kind of vinegar.  If it smelled "off" or just distasteful to me, I would not use it but this has never happened so far. I had one jar that someone did not seal properly and the lemon pieces that were sticking out of the water went moldy but if the bottle is kept sealed when not in use, it seems fine.  I also tend to keep topping up with lemon pieces and hot water so that there is not much air space in the jar. Alternatively, when some oil has been used, I sometimes just put the reminder into a smaller jar so there is less air-space in the container.    

Lemon is my favourite natural preservative anyway  - I always add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice to batches of plum jam because it "lifts" the flavour and also because it acts as a natural preservative so the jam does not go moldy after it is opened and part used.

Ps Apologies for my English spelling eg "favourite" and "flavour"  :)  

11 months ago

Thanks for all the great tips.  I can't wait to try some of them out.

My fav degreaser is really easy to make and lasts forever.

Homemade Lemon Oil

Cut up a few lemons (especially the skins where the oils are) and put them into a mason jar or similar.  Cover with boiling water, seal and leave on a window sill for a couple of weeks.  If the jar is sealed you probably won't get mold on the top but if you do, just scrap it off. Alternatively you can weigh down the lemons under the water in the jar with a clean stone.  The lemons will turn brownish and the liquid in the jar gets "oily" and strong but fairly pleasant smelling.  You can discard the lemons and just keep the liquid or keep the lemon pieces in and just add more lemon pieces and water as you go.  I usually have couple of jars on the go at any time and one I am using is about two years old.  

You can use the lemon oil in warm water when you are washing dishes  - it is a GREAT degreaser and leaves glasses really clear. Of course, I wouldn't use this on cast iron but for plates, dishes, glasses and ceramic pans is works really well. I also use the lemon oil neat on a sponge to wipe down tiles and surfaces in the kitchen after cooking. You can also dilute it in a sprayer for surfaces.

And best of all, it leaves a great scent in the house.


11 months ago

You know you're a permie when a friend calls and says "I saw some roadkill and I thought of you.."

PS I love this thread.
1 year ago

I will have to try this too.  What a great discovery, Shaz.  

We have tons of horse chestnut trees around here. I grew a few last year  - they germinated really easily just in a sack of damp, sandy soil/leaf mulch.  I left them outside all winter under a bench and in the spring most of them had come up. Over the years I have really come to appreciated trees like horse chestnuts that drop lot of leaves as they are so useful in the garden for mulching/ground cover, growing tree seedlings etc. Just mulched my elephant garlic with fallen leaves this week as frosty nights are  already here.          

I recently got talking to a lady who was picking up horse chesnuts and she said she used them in her drawers and cupboards/closets as a natural moth repellent. I am going to try this too.

2 years ago