Casie Becker

gardener
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since Nov 13, 2015
Casie likes ...
forest garden urban
Zone 8B/9A
Temp avg range 15 F to 100 F (cold temps are sporadically scattered through winter)
Avg rain 36 inches (plus or minus 25 inches)
Flood and drought both are common here.
Alkaline limestone/caliche based soil
Just northwest of Austin, TX
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Recent posts by Casie Becker

I'm surprised the dried spice has a bitter taste. Occasionally we have it available fresh in the grocery stores here and I thought the taste was something like a combination of carrot and fresh ginger. When I think on how I used it, mostly grated into stew or in stir fries that included sweet potatoes, maybe there were enough sweet elements to overcome any bitterness.
2 weeks ago
Something someone posted a little while ago about using chickens that are past their egg laying prime made me realize that permies have a challenge that few people get exposed to any longer. How do you make a moist succulent meal out of a tough old bird. Something that stuck with me, from the cooking program "Good Eats", is that Coq Au Vin traditionally used a rooster because that tougher meat had more flavor, after following the recipe the meat was completely tenderized.

My families traditional recipe for chicken and dumplings would probably be another good one for making the most of a tough bird. We boil the chicken in a herby broth and then pull it out to debone the meat while cooking a mix of mosty cruciferous vegetables and pull them out as the just start to soften. Often carrots make their way into the pot as well. We mix up a basic drop biscuit recipe with a lot of dill and garlic and use that to cook as dumplings in the broth and then pull those out. All the chicken meat and vegetables get piled into a casserole dish and are just barely covered with the cooking broth. The dumplings are piled on top so they just touch but aren't submerged in the broth. The whole dish goes into the oven to bake until the dumplings form a golden crust. When it comes out the dumplings are flakey, fluffy and moist and the meat and vegetables below are covered in a rich meaty gravy. The leftovers freeze very well also, if you add as many vegetables as my family you might find it worthwhile to split the meat and veggies into two dishes and make enough dumplings to cover both. The second dish can go directly into the freezer and be pulled out to bake another day.

It took me many years before I realized why most chicken and dumplings skipped that last cooking step. I thought chicken soup was just the sensible reuse of the remaining thickened broth after you made the casserole. We usually reserved some of the chicken meat for this purpose and would have chicken soup with a fresh mix of veggies on another day. I didn't realize in most houses chicken and dumplings was actually a soup.

Does anyone else have recipes they use or want to try that can help tenderize your tougher meats?
2 weeks ago
If I keep getting the not entering the contest photos, I may have no entries at all. Maybe everyone who wants a hori hori knife has already purchased one. Thanks for reviving the thread again.
3 weeks ago
I know there is a difference between latex and plastic because my sister is allergic to latex and there are many foods (figs, mangos, aloe, jackfruit... ) that she cannot eat or handle because it triggers this allergy. Based on her experiences, latex occurs fairly often in nature.

I can easily believe latex paint uses an artificial plastic instead of a natural latex. In fact a quick search shows that they do use artificial compounds and calling it latex is apparently an American term. If I wanted the same substance overseas I would be looking for an emulsion paint.

It makes me wonder if they still use real (plant sourced) latex to makes gloves since she reacts to those, but not paint. Sorry, off topic, but Adam's comment made me wonder.
3 weeks ago
I was going to recommend a rabbit, also. Rabbits enjoy eating fruit tree and rose prunings. It's important to the rabbit's health that it chew on wood, so you teach her about animal care and pruning at the same time.

In personality I've always found them to be most like cats, though they take better to a leash. You can train them to use a litter box so they can run around rooms with hard floors. The hard little pellets are uncontrollable but on a hard floor you just sweep them up, it's one of the great things about rabbit droppings. The other one is that they can go directly on the garden without worrying about smell, disease, or burning the plants.

The real key to this working is taking time and attention to socialize the rabbit. Especially as this is her first time with a rabbit, take the time to find the calmest rabbit you can. Talk to the rabbit and handfeed it treats. Those rose and fruit tree prunings are great, too many carrots are like too much cake for a kid.

In dietary needs, get lots of real hay. That should be the bulk of the diet. They need all that fiber to keep their digestive system flowing smoothly. That could easily be the most common way pet rabbits die is people feeding them too many rich foods (vegetables, pellets, and treats) without enough roughage. The wood and hey also keeps their teeth in good condition so you won't end up with a dentist visit for a pet.

I know, you haven't decided on a pet yet. I just think it can help the decision process to have enough information while you think.
3 weeks ago
You're certainly right in my case. When I could still eat tomatoes I never could figure out how they could cook tomatoes down so thick without burning. Now I know.

The nice thing about that technique is that I can also see it working for other vegetable and fruit purees.

Around Halloween you can find the old huge styles of winter squash sold for more interesting jack-o-lanterns. The seem to be left to mature more in the field before picking than most of those sold for eating and I have starting buying some to use in the kitchen. I think I will try this technique on them to maximize the storage space.

(I love the word maximize)
3 weeks ago
My understanding of the painting of fruit trees is that you're just creating a sunscreen for the trees, like those white zinc sunblocks that people paint on their nose at the beach. The key is a physical barrier to the sun, in a light color that won't absorb heat. Latex paint has become a staple here because it's cheap, readily available, and long lasting. Kim's right that the brand doesn't matter.
3 weeks ago
I've always thought there's solid reasoning behind the idea that you spend the first year doing a lot of observation. At the very least, watch how water acts during a major rain event. If you need to do any earthworks to capture rain water or divert flood water it's better not to have a tree planted right in the way.

Every homestead is different, though. With more information about what you're starting with and your eventual goals then people can give more targeted instructions.

Are you looking to be self sufficient for your family or maybe add a business selling what you can produce to raise money for what you can't?

What is your region like?

Climate: What temperatures, rainfall patterns, soils ect. are where you live?

Government: Different areas work with different sets of regulations.

Community: Do you have a relationship with your neighbors? Do you want to?.


Getting answers to these kinds of questions is also part of the observation process. I think it's very much a case of the more you know, the better you can make your decisions. The more we know the better we can find suggestions that apply to your circumstances.
3 weeks ago
Lucerne- stabilizers (Carob Bean and/or Xanthan and/or Guar Gums), Potato starch-modified, natural flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate

Philadephia- Stabilizers (Xanthan and/or Carob Bean and/or Guar Gums), Sorbic Acid as a Preservative, Vitamin A Palmitate


Those are the ingredients they both list that I don't think actually belong in cream cheese (I don't make cheese, but they look suspect.) and both of those do include an apparently variable assortment of stablizers.

This site https://www.toxinless.com/cream-cheese has a pretty complete list of cream cheeses with ingredients. In addition to those which have no stablizers there's a forth stablizer used instead of the ones above (Locust bean gum) It might be worth trying one of those to see if you still have a reaction.
3 weeks ago
As someone who's very new to fermenting, is there a reason why ceramic cookie jars would be unsuited to this? Most of them are close to a gallon size. They often come with lids that give tight seals, but not so tight the jar would explode. I wouldn't think finding weights for the inside would be harder than finding ones to fit some of the other containers I'm seeing recommended.

edit: Just think of the delightful surprise when your visiting grandchildren/nieces/nephews/neighbors kids... try to sneak a cookie. But more seriously, cookie jars display well and so it might make it easier to find places to put your ferments if you're short on pantry space. My grandfather kept cookie jars (with candy in them) on the mantle in the living room.
4 weeks ago