Susanna Hammond

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since Feb 01, 2016
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forest garden cooking medical herbs
In 2015 I started my permaculture project and forest garden on the South Shore in Nova Scotia. Looking into what I can grow in our ~15 acres of boggy black spruce. Focusing on biodiversity, harmony and good medicine.
Nova Scotia, Canada, Zone 6a, Rain ~60"
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Recent posts by Susanna Hammond

I'll ditto the general prescription of reducing acid producing foods in the diet - meat, sugar, alcohol, especially.

I had a roommate who has gout. It was usually alcohol that brought his attacks on.
1 week ago
Hi Rebecca.
I have a friend in Nova Scotia who grows stevia. Her favorite way to use it is to make a glycerite by chopping the leaves very finely, placing them in a jar and covering them with vegetable glycerin.

It doesn't matter much if the leaves are fresh or dried, as long as they're healthy. So you can do a quick harvest if the plant doesn't make it.

You can leave the jar to steep for several weeks or longer (shaking regularly) or you can steep it faster by warming the jar. I used to steep my lemon balm glycerite on the coolest corner of the wood stove for a week or in a sunny window. But you can also use a water bath, double boiler or slow cooker on low filled with water with a tea towel lining it, and steep the jar for a day or more.

I usually put my finished glycerite in a dropper bottle and if it's too strong, just dilute with some plain glycerin. I've bought stevia liquid drops at the store and they've worked great for baking, as long as I add them to the liquid ingredients and mix well.
Have fun with it!

1 week ago
Hi Antonio.
I just wanted to pass on something I read about how ants are dealt with in the tropics of the South Pacific, where I guess the ants could carry a small house away if they wanted.

Every morning as an "offering" someone places a small dish of cooked rice outside each of the 4 corners of the house. This is to keep the "gods" happy and these natural forces could very well include the ants! I'm not sure if this kind of offering, of rice or grain etc, nearer to the ants nests or away from your planting area would give them something better or closer to carry away.

In the south Pacific, this ritual apparently keeps the ants from entering the house and seeking food inside, as all they want is available outside it. It takes them roughly a day to empty each of the dishes and they are refilled every morning. I like this idea of making it a "ritual" to be in a supportive relationship with the ants too.

If you're not in residence there all the time, perhaps you could find someone with some spoiled grain or corn that is no good for planting and leave a huge pile of it near any ant nests you can find. Enough that it will keep them busy for a long time!
Just a thought.

Blessings on all your seeds!
My husband and I have had good success with plantain for toothache. Plantain is considered a "specific" for tooth pain in the herbal world. It's a drawing agent for all wounds, including pulling out splinters. And it's prominent leaf veins show it to be good for nerve pain specifically.

Here's a good reference:

From this page:
"The cooling properties of Plantain will clear toxic heat and reduce inflammation as seen in allergies, eczema and even boils and abscesses. Matthew Wood has found Plantain to be particularly helpful in infections around the teeth where there may be abscess or root canal sepsis. He says 'It is a specific here and it will almost never fail to draw out the pus and stop the infection, sometimes even saving the tooth where it was thought to be lost'."

The way to use it is to harvest a leaf or two, wash if needed, and chew them up slightly to make a wad of it. Then stuff that wad in the cheek next to the tooth in question. You can replace the wad with a new one after several hours or half a day if more treatment is needed.

My husband caught a goat horn in the cheek one day that jostled a molar and plantain completely cleared the pain and inflammation in a couple of hours. I've heard of plaintain pulling out infection after a wisdom tooth removal as well.

Best thing about it is it grows literally everywhere. It's one of a couple of plants I kept whole in the freezer for winter use "just in case".
1 week ago
Just pledged for the paperback. You're at 91% already - congratulations!!!
2 weeks ago
I love this latest version.
That sub-header is SO important, it tells me why I want this book (and I do!). It's great to have it large and readable.

I think you've nailed it, Kate!
2 weeks ago
Yes! It's really getting there!

I really like your name moved to the stove photo and the script font. And the narrow lines look much better.

And now I would love to see the title in the green panel widened a bit to take up the extra space, perhaps using a font for "Off Grid Kitchen" that has a little more width to it - not so tall and narrow?? And then you could go up a size and widen the line below it to match the width.

I also keep wondering what it would look like if the outside border only was the same green as the title box. Might not work, but I keep trying to picture it. I agree that the brown borders didn't pop as well.
2 weeks ago
Hi Kate. First, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book!

I also agree with the choice of the green title box. And for me, Option D was way too busy, but I'm much more drawn to the food pics you used in that one.
I really love options E and F, because I just love feeling like I'm looking right into your "off grid kitchen" with the large stove pic in the bottom panel.

So my top fave is E and my next fave is G. The black borders in G feel just a little too heavy, esp the middle horizontal ones. But I really like the bottom right pic in option G (spoons and all!)
2 weeks ago
Thanks so much for this David!

I do have limestone around, for use in the garden. It just never occurred to me to use it on the apple trees.

And creating raised beds around them is a great idea! I had resolved to start planting guilds around both of them. Having the chickens tearing up the grass and fertilizing was the pre-guild step. I can definitely create raised areas for the support plants.

And with 2 goats, and now chickens, I have access to lots of well composted bedding and manure to fill them with.

And hearing your story about the trees in Africa makes me think about how precious a tree actually is, and the great care people in other parts of the world provide them. We have an embarrasment of riches here, indeed.
It makes me want to up my level of care, for sure!
3 years ago
Hi Jason. Welcome! I'm in Bayswater Nova Scotia, just down the shore from you. What part of Halifax are you in? Is that one of the Five Island Lakes behind you?

Looks like a beautiful property! I'm working with existing forest as well, however mostly black spruce here with birch, alder and tamarack.

What's your soil depth like? We have very little and so I'm essentially going to garden on top of the moss and tree roots, mostly adding fruiting shrubs and herbaceous medicinal plants in the understory along with support plants. (Working in large patches, as one of the threads mentioned.)

I may also be able to build up a couple of spots enough to put in a hazel or two or maybe a swamp crabapple. (We're pretty boggy over here.)

My other main strategy is to work along all the sunny edges, making the most of them by putting fruits, nuts or berries there along with helpful guild members... ideally medicinal ones.

I had grand visions at the beginning, just 3 years ago, however things are moving much more slowly. I only realize now that it's actually much better, as everything is integrating in a deeper way.

Keep us posted about what you're doing, including pictures, and how it goes. I also highly recommend walking around and taking a whole set of "before" pictures at this stage.