Kate Downham

gardener & author
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since Oct 14, 2018
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homeschooling goat forest garden fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation pig wood heat homestead
I'm a quiet goatherd establishing a permaculture homestead on old logging land at the edge of the wilderness.
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Recent posts by Kate Downham

I use them in my kimchi sometimes - very tasty! I wonder if they would go well just fermented on their own in a brine? Or just with plain cabbage for garlic kraut?
1 week ago
I got a chance today to share this with my cookbook Kickstarter backers. I hope it was OK to use the Lorena stove image to help promote it, it was just too exciting!

My update with the image in it: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/706848724/real-food-cookbook-a-year-in-an-off-grid-kitchen/posts/3508662
1 month ago

Edward Norton wrote:I was searching for an answer to Kate’s question and found this thread. Kate - what did you end up doing?

I’ve recently removed carpet, underlay, tiles and ply to revel 160 year old pine boards which have been painted. It’s going to take some work to clean them up but they look in good condition. I would like to put a natural finish on them - any suggestions?

We ended up doing nothing.

The trick I've found to keeping it clean is to not let it get wet or get water tracked in from wet places - I put a towel at the kitchen sink and that helps. When it does get dirty, it can be scrubbed with very hot water and that works. Maybe not as easy as a finished floor, but it's fine.

The bedrooms still look great with the tung oil/orange solvent mix after 5 years, it's just the areas that got wet when the oil was curing that don't have the coating now.
1 month ago
I have very limited internet access at the moment and thought I’d go back on Instaham briefly every now and then as a way to quickly share some photos and promote my stuff. A while ago I was scrolling though my feed on there and clicked ‘like’ on a few pictures that I liked and Instagram bots decided it was suspicious activity, and that I would be blocked from clicking ‘like’, commenting, or posting up new things. Seems strange that clicking ‘like’ would seem suspicious. Somehow I managed to find a way to contact them (through a ‘report a problem’ button on an obscure corner of the website) and it all went back to normal for a while.

The other day I wanted to quickly post up a photo of goats. Posted it up, went to add a comment with my hashtags, and I was told that it was suspicious activity, and that I’d have to change my password. Changed my password, tried doing it in the same way, locked out again. Changed password again, tried to post the photo with the hashtags attached to it, got locked out again. I guess the bots don’t like goats?

With Permies on the other hand, I don’t think Gir Bot does anything naughty. When things are deleted or someone banned, the decisions are made by actual people, giving actual explanations behind the scenes about why something was deleted, and in the trickier cases having a discussion so that it’s a group decision with many different perspectives taken into account.

When I’ve gone on to Failbook or Instaham, it shows me a feed of whatever is high in their algorithm, often it will show the same posts again and again, and I’ll see stuff from some people heavily and nothing or very little from others. I know these and many other internet sites are censoring information on things that don’t fit whatever current corporate stuff they wish to promote. I wonder when this growing list of things will grow to include organic gardening, permaculture, raising animals, and basically everything we talk about here…

I like that when I log onto Permies on forum view, I see a list of recent topics - just the most recent by date, with no funny algorithms. I suspect a time will come when more and more people will grow tired of logging on to social media to see a tiny selection of posts, and tired of getting their posts deleted or accounts locked by bots for ridiculous things, and I wonder if more people will grow to miss old-style forums and join us on Permies.

Thank you Permies for remaining a real place to learn and share. Thank you Permies staff for keeping it spam-free without overzealous bots and other craziness!
Pliers worked! Thanks everyone : )

He tried a claw hammer but in the end he preferred the pliers for this job. Fence is now tight and goats are staying in.
2 months ago
I have an idea…

We have a 2” pipeline bringing water to the house with a combination of solar pump and gravity. The water comes from a mountain stream and is always lovely and cool.

Reading about old ‘spring boxes’, where food is kept cool by cold flowing water, I wonder if there is a way to take this idea, and modify it so that instead of a spring, I am using the pipe, which then fills a small trough holding bottles of milk etc, before the water makes its way towards the animals and irrigation.

The water wouldn’t constantly be running, only when I am irrigating or when the animals are drinking lots, so mostly on the hottest days.

How can I make this idea into reality? Would it work if it’s not constantly flowing? And are there improvements that could be made (e.g. thermal mass around it) that would help?

If I got a trough with a hole on both sides of it (with the outflow pipe lower than the intake one), could I have a float valve regulating the intake of the pipe, and the outflow pipe going to irrigation and animal water, and would that work seamlessly enough to run a garden sprinkler, or is that going to stop and start all the time and cause problems?

Has anyone considered or tried this kind of idea before? How did you/would you go about it? Does anyone know exactly what fittings I’d need?

Pipe is currently 2” poly, with a ball valve and a 1/2” fitting on the end of it.
2 months ago
Looks great. Is there a way to upgrade to a download of this movie?
3 months ago
The hay we get has lots of seeds in it, which we don’t want coming up in the vegetable garden. Will the chickens eat these seeds (or most of them) if I use hay as their bedding in a chicken tractor garden/“instant garden” set up?
3 months ago