Faye Streiff

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since Oct 08, 2015
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Organic/biodynamic farmer, Naturopath, herbalist, writer. 
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Recent posts by Faye Streiff

I have a friend who meticulously washes all the glass and plastic veggie containers and brings to the farmer’s market to see if anyone can repurpose it.  She brings egg cartons too.  Then another friend started doing it.   The vendors there love it, saves them from having to buy containers.  
3 weeks ago
Many years ago the house was being painted inside and I could not breath with the intense fumes, so slept on the unheated, open back porch for several nights during winter.  Temps were in the 20’s at night.  But I had a clothesline on that back porch so lowered it a bit and threw two king sized sheets over it to make a long enough tent for me to sleep and to bring in clothes, supplies, etc.  I overlapped them a bit, as it was too long end to end.  Wool blankets over that, and an additional quilt over that.  Pinned the ends together with clothespins.  Put a futon on the wood floor which had no insulation underneath.  That wasn’t enough, so added a couple of layers of cardboard under it and  a folded quilt also on the futon mattress, under the flannel sheet.   At night I went in with hat, mittens, scarf and undressed only after my body heat warmed it up a bit.  The bathroom was just inside the door only 15 feet away, so that was cold getting up during the night,  but otherwise toasty warm all night.  Amazingly quick to heat a small space with just body heat if a person is healthy.  
1 month ago
We’ve been using them for kindling for years.  Not much heat,  it great as a fire starter.  
1 month ago
The roots do get large, can weigh hundreds of pounds or more.   Big enough to require a backhoe to dig them.  That said, I’ve often grown stuff indoors knowing that when it gets too large  I toss it and start over with a small plant to keep it manageable.  In good soil it can grow 2 feet of vine per day.  Since it can grow as a forest understory, may not require full sunlight, but probably a grow light indoors or sun through a window part day.  

I’ve harvested lots of leaves from wild foraging to feed goats and rabbits as it is a superb feed for them.  Also made jelly from the blossoms and it had a nice, light, tropical, floral scent and taste.  Very good.  

You’ve certainly given a lot of us incentive to try indoor growing to contain it, although it grows quite well here in southwestern N.C.  Great idea!
1 month ago

Christopher Weeks wrote:

Faye Streiff wrote:During the last depression people would collect roadkill and feed to their chickens.  Might have to cook it first...

Why would it need to be cooked? I'm getting my first chickens this spring and was planning on collecting roadkill for them whenever I saw it.

My chickens just always were afraid of it if it was whole.  If cooked I can chop with the ax and they don’t seem so intimidated.  Raw should be ok.  I watched one of them chase down a small mouse, toss it into the air, catch it and swallow it whole.  
2 months ago
Mealworms are easy to grow in small containers indoors, or Black Soldier fly outside in summer.   Grow duckweed in any container that will hold water.  Temperature sensitive, but it will go Winter dormant, encapsulate and sink to the bottom, start growing again as weather warms.  These are all good protein sources and insects have the fats poultry need.  You can also grow winter squash for them.  The seeds are high in protein and act as a vermifuge to boot.  The flesh of the squash is a source of vitamins and carbs.  My Grandmother always fed corn in winter to “help keep them warm” but not much in summer as it made them too fat, and an overly fat bird is not a good layer.  Oats have so much fiber, if they eat too many they don’t eat enough of the concentrated proteins they need and their feathers will fall out.  Sunflower is easy to grow, and you can throw the entire heads in the chix pen, they will pick it out.  But I’m talking about the larger breeds.  Seed might be too large for smaller birds.  Same with milo or sorghum seed heads, they will pick it out.  You could rotate runs and plant in a run they were not using and turn them in at harvest time.  Oregano is a good plant to grow for them to have partial access to so they don’t kill the entire plant.  Such as planting outside their run so it grows into the run and they eat whatever they can reach.  Keeps them healthy, viral free and kills parasites.

When they are moulting they need extra protein and calcium to regrow healthy feathers and restart laying.  Dark green leafy vegetables have a lot of calcium.  Dry their eggshells, crush and feed back to them.  Also oyster shell or any crushed  seashells If they don’t get enough calcium otherwise.   Or mix a little calcium carbonate (lime) into a wet food mix, such as table scraps.  

Biggest problem with poultry is giving them enough protein,  predators also a problem, especially if you free range.  Weasels, skunks, opossums, raccoons, foxes, Bobcats,  and coyotes plus the occasional domestic or feral dog will kill poultry.  Domestic house cats will sometimes kill baby chicks.  So will rats.  

During the last depression people would collect roadkill and feed to their chickens.  Might have to cook it first, but could do that in a pot over a fire outside.  You can also cook and feed the offal from any game you or neighbors hunt and dress out.  
2 months ago
Thornless blackberries are not as cold hardy as wild brambles.  You can tip layer them by just sticking a growing tip into soil.  Pin it down with a rock or a metal pin made for that purpose if you need to.  They root easily.  Once they start sending up a new shoot, cut the branch near the new plant that came from the mother plant.  Best to prune out any dead growth to just clear the space to make picking easier.  They do get rather large.  Keep mulched to conserve moisture and moderate temperature extremes.    They are a fungal dominant plant so love wood chips or leaves.  Use plenty of compost for optimum berry taste and size.  We also put a trace mineral mix plus cal/Phos and a tiny bit of wood ash on ours.  
2 months ago
My husband sprays calcium/phosphorous in water solution on our land.  As Elaine Ingram taught him, less is better, as too much makes the microbes lazy and they don’t do the real work of working on the native soils and breaking it down to make it more available.  He had the good fortune of working in her lab and being one of  her most avid students many years ago.  We’ve never had fleas here but the neighbors are infested.  Out dogs/cats never had fleas and received no treatment to prevent them, didn’t need it.  Calcium/sulfur gets rid of most ticks too.  (gypsum). So does keeping grass from getting too high.  

We are rotating the chickens into the apple orchard and out into two other smaller paddocks, which seems to be working well, but we only have a few at present.  
Years ago when I bought this farm, the pear trees all had severe fire blight.  Did chicken tractors and all trees put on vigorous new growth and heavy crops of fruit.  
Pears recover well if given the right nutrients.  

Grazing animals have an enzyme in their saliva which stimulates plant growth.  High weeds/grasses shade out clover until it dies back.  Grazing cuts it down, so clover growth is favored.  As grass is grazed it root prunes which leaves decomposing roots to turn into humates/compost, rejuvenating the soil.   When they are on the same land all the time, the pasture never recovers and favorite plants like clover, lespedeza, and chicory die out.  Rotating paddocks or strip grazing also eliminates most of the parasite problem.  
2 months ago
Check with Field and Forest.
2 months ago
I did the same with an old apron I had last summer.  Most women’s pants don’t have pockets and I need pockets for those small garden tools.  The big pruners I constantly lay down on the ground and then spend more time searching for them than actual work.  Haven’t found a workable solution for that yet.  Still missing a fencing tool and other small items, lost somewhere in the tall grass or perhaps buried under mulch in the garden.  
2 months ago