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Mary-Ellen Zands

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since Sep 01, 2015
Ontario, Canada
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Recent posts by Mary-Ellen Zands

I have 10 acres of cedar forest. Which I love. It convinced me to buy the land 20 years ago. The house wasn’t important at all. I have been thinning the forest over the years to create some light, to be able to plant other tree species to bring some diversity I have planted so many trees on my land especially nut trees and Rowan’s and elderberries, thousands actually. The only place the trees don’t thrive is near the cedars. The cedars were planted 30-40 years ago because of the rocky terrain they thought wasn’t suitable for farming. Now of course with the size of machinery that wouldn’t be an issue, since the clear cutting of forests in our area seems to be in full swing. Rocks the size of cars are nothing to these monsters. I have been going to the clearcuts close by and removing little saplings and wild garlic, wild ginger etc and transplanting to my woods and the edge of my forest in hoping to save them. All the different types of ferns too. I’m hoping they all survive. I haven’t seen any ticks in my forest because there is not much undergrowth, but of course the deer that come for the sanctuary will bring their tourists.
The only thing I can count on is my lepista Irina mushrooms that grow in the cedars in the fall. There are many more mushrooms but these are the only edible ones I have found.
I seem to be restricted to planting my medicinals in the fields and hedgerows of the property.   Should I be bringing a good tractor bucket of cow manure in the forest to plant other species? Or would I be disturbing an eco system?  Someone once told me that I shouldn’t be harvesting berries from bushes and trees that were transplanted, since they weren’t natural to that soil or to that area. To harvest from the wild was the best for human and for the tree/bush since it had chosen to be there and it was at it’s optimum health in its own habitat.  Has anyone ever heard that before?
1 month ago
Pickle juice, well i’ll Share my favourite secret for making the best potato salad ever. Is that when your potatoes are still hot. Soak them in the leftover pickle brine. Then when making the potato salad just add enough pickle brine to make a nice creamy dressing.   Then of course add your usual herbs and kefir.  Yes i make mine with kefir and sometimes a little sour cream. Yummy!
1 month ago
For up in Whitehorse I would suggest you look into tree beekeeping. Much thicker walls. Warmer hives in winter. As long as you can protect them from the cold and from the conventional farmers in the area. You don’t want any spray going your way. I think you are much safer up north. You can protect your hives better from glyphosate. Plant lots of flowers!
1 month ago
Thank you Yury for getting back to me. How long is EM good for in the bottle?  I will be buying your product but my friend’s daughter found a bottle of EM that is several years old. Do you think there would still be any life left in the product for her to use on her fields?  
3 months ago
Wow I’m so glad Yuri has brought this subject back. I heard about EM years ago from an old biodynamic Austrian farmer.  He was brewing his EM in an old freezer in the barn.  I was dying to have some to try in on my farm. I saw how everything flourished in the garden and the orchard. Unfortunately my friend has since died. I have been looking for how to get ahold of EM since.
Does yours also have to be ‘brewed’?  Anything that helps our garden and us in the long run is appreciated. I just remembered that when I watched my old friend spray his trees he also sprayed in his mouth to show how good this stuff was!  He was the picture of health till 2 days before he died, years later. No link of course. I was involved in their home care.
3 months ago
Well I finally broke down and bought a scythe that was built for me. That was at the beginning of summer 2019. It is as light as a feather.  Way lighter than any other scythe I’ve ever tried.  So Jasmine maybe this would be for you?  Check out https://scytheworks.ca/
I’m still adjusting to using a lighter model. It is a work of art. I am also learning the art of peening.
7 months ago
Seeing the milking station from J Grouwstra from Friesland brought back some wonderful memories from my childhood.  My Opa and I crossing the Dutch countryside and investigating all the things I didn’t know about. When we came across one of these remote milking stations. My Opa stayed till milking time to show me how it worked.  I loved it!  I dreamed of having one of these in Canada when I grew up.  I did have a milking machine but nothing as fancy as the one in the photo.  Also it was for goats not for cattle.  Mostly I milked by hand. Quicker clean up. The cows I did milk were by hand. I don’t think the highland would like the noise of the milk pump.
7 months ago
Would the big round one be some kind of grinder?  It just looks awfully heavy to handle.  
7 months ago
I love my scythe. Going out early morning listening to the birds. Just whacking away at the tall grass. The cattle stampeding towards the fence mooing with excitement knowing their treat will be arriving soon.  Nothing beats it. I’m actually dreaming and will be dreaming all winter of scything on a bigger scale. Would love to introduce scything to a younger generation. Maybe do a demo at our local antique day.
Not to mention the health benefits of getting more exercise in. Quieting the mind....
7 months ago