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Miki Shiverick

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since Aug 08, 2015
I grew up a dairy girl in West-Central Idaho. At first I thought I'd be a nun, but the nuns thought that the convent could not contain my wild nature. I tried my hand at nursing, and got sick to death of killing people with Big Pharma's poisons. I've studied herbalism for most of my life, love to make soil, and kefir, cheeses, butter, tinctures, essential oils, wines, beers, ciders, ales, embroideries, and books.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
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Recent posts by Miki Shiverick

James Freyr wrote: I joke with my wife that if she goes first, I'll never remarry, and will build a cabin in the woods in the mountains of Idaho

Terrible idea, and one I loathe hearing with a passion. Everyone says this, including half of California, which is why my childhood farming community of 3,000 (Eagle) is now a golfing resort destination of more than 30,000.

People need to stop moving to Idaho to "get away." They've destroyed my home State, and decimated the way of life we native Idahoans treasured and miss deeply.

Even my daddy's cabin (which was built by my great grandfather on top of a mountain we own) is now surrounded on all sides within a half mile territory boundary by transplants from California, New York, etc. doing the very thing you joke about, and they all bring their city culture with them, and insist on "improving" things with concrete and jacked up taxes....
1 year ago
I truly do not understand this thread at all.

I turned 50 in April. I grew up in an agrigultural community of 3,000 spread out over 20 square miles. In college, I moved to Phoenix, and began a decades-long wanderlust that took me to New York City, Chicago, California, Mexico and just about everwhere in between. And most of the time? I found myself trying to get away from the stink, the heat, the filthiness, and the wall-to-wall people of city life. Even with backyard gardens and boarding stock animals at nearby farms, I couldn't deal with the constant contact with people and I was more often than not stressed out and unhappy.

A few years ago, I went through a shortlived marriage to a city scoundrel (who, despite not wanting to work, insisted that we *must* have central air) followed by a nasty divorce. At that time, I made a conscious decision to bite the bullet and return to my roots to do what *I* want with no concern for the wants of others. It was the best decision of my adult life.

This morning on my little farm, I woke with no alarm (I don't even own a clock anymore) at 6:30, and lay in bed reading for a couple of hours before getting up to take care of the animals. I made three pounds of ghee that I started yesterday whilst I watered my herb garden in the front yard. Caught a moth beating itself on the windows and let it ouside, put all of yesterday's washed dishes from those projects away, and mixed up herbs for a nice big pot of tea. It was a beautiful, quiet morning...until it was interrupted by someone pulling their noisy car up into my private drive.

Not gonna lie: my heart skipped a beat and I got a little irritable at the idea of having to talk to anyone today. Fortunately, they turned around and left without a word.

I love my time free to paint and write and do cross stitch, harvest this and that, lie around in the pastures in my birthday suit with the dogs and an ice cold thermos of sweet tea. My Daddy is right: people *need* quiet and solitude; it soothes the soul.

...Makes me wish I had never left home in the first place. I would have been better off. You city mice are perplexing. And, personally, people exhaust me.
1 year ago
All old ceramic and stoneware glazes craze after a time; it's just a normal part of aging. The way we used to clean them on the farm was to soak them in vinegar and thrn sit them out in the sun to dry. I wouldn't bake them, though. When the glaze is brittle enough to craze, extreme temperature fluctuations will just exacerbate the problem.
1 year ago

William Bronson wrote:

A note on stainless  steel.
Someone suggested that strong acids would leach nickle out of steel.
Was that in reference to stainless as well?

Yes, it is. In years past, I've tried making sauerkraut in both my Revere Ware stockpot and my giant Ball Premiere line canner; in both cases it ended with grey, slimy cabbage that tasted like metal. Not long afterwards, i read a USDA article at the ag extension that said that even the allegedly nickle free stainless leeches in high acid. I'll try to find the article.
1 year ago

thomas norris wrote:Inexpensive is relative to duration of use In my opinion.  A crock will be something that can last well over 100 years.  They also stabilize the temperature inside and have been used for a few thousand years for storage and fermentation

That's great...if you actually plan on living a hundred years. I'm still using the same carboys that belonged to my grandparents on the farm, and the same jars I was collecting as a kid (some of which belonged to them, too). I do much of my fermenting in the basement, which is where the cistern spigot is, and use straw and old blankets as insulators and light shields for stability. Only once have I ever broken a carboy, and that was whilst racking carelessly. But I've dropped several crocks in my life, including my grandmother's favourite seven gallon pickling crock; it couldn't be replaced, but jars are easy.

You need to pick your battles. At 50 and farm raised, I'm personally not willing to waste money on what can be easily done without.
1 year ago

Johnny Niamert wrote:

Glass jars with glass lids. Clear, wide-mouth. I used to use mason jars, till I noticed how bad the brine would affect the lid and rust with even slight contact.

Lids are usually superfluous for most fermenting. If you really want lids, then buy Tattlers, which do not rust. Most of the time I just use cotton floursack tea towels tied with garden twine.
1 year ago
By the by, you can use any pickle jar lid to fit any airlock. Just drill a hole, coat with foodsafe sealant, and insert your airlock. Most homebrew supplies places carry the gasket seal you need for the opening.
1 year ago
Since childhood I have been using gallon pickle jars. In high school, I used to get them from the local bar before they got tossed. Now, thirty years later, I use them for everything--brandy, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, eggs, pickles, vinegars, infusions, culturing butter, veggies and small batches of wine. I also use 5 gallon carboys. I have three oak barrels that are only used for cheesemaking.

I won't use steel for fermenting; the acids leech nickel out of the metal, and tend to turn whatever your making funky colours with funkier tastes that should not be.
1 year ago
Also, after reading this thread, part of the problem with aloe vera is that people don't know to drain it of it's latex before using it, which is what causes the burning and contact dermatitis for many people.

To bleed it, simply cut off the blades cleanly at an angle, then stand them up in a glass after lining the bottom with a clean rag or paper towels. Leave it in your fridge or chilly box for 24 hours, or at least overnight. It will leech off a yellow mucilege, which you can discard; this is what also gives fresh aloe a bitter taste.

Rinse the blades under cold water before slicing lengthwise and removing the drained gel.  

And, as with any natural products like these, whether you use water, borax, vitamin e, whatnot; refrigerating and/or freezing them in small containers (I use 2 oz jars for most) will delay rancidity. All of my saleable products say "refrigerate when not in use" on the labels for just this reason.
1 year ago