Catie George

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since Oct 20, 2016
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Ontario - Currently in Zone 4b
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Recent posts by Catie George

Mom baked fresh buns when I was a kid for Christmas dinner. Fresh whole wheat buns with gravy .... mmmm.... (Diagnosed as celiac so that tradition died).  Nothing on the table other than the cranberry sauce and dessert had sugar. Lots of butter and 3-10 kinds of vegetables (one tradition is counting how many kinds we managed).  

Stuffing made with ground pork, eggs, bread, giblets, celery, onions, sage.

Nuts. Dad always bought bags of mixed uncracked nuts and we'd sit in the evenings and crack nuts and eat them.

Turkey hash. It's a post Christmas and post Thanksgiving tradition.

1 week ago
Look in thrift stores for old pyrex dishes with glass lids. They stack in the fridge! They stack in the cupboard! Even the lids stack! The lid can be microwaved! The lid can go in the oven!  The lids make a good plate or dog dish. And they are even easy to clean.

I use plastic lids for food that will travel, but really like my ancient pyrex. I have them in everything from about 250 mL to large casserole. I have Corning Ware as well, but that doesn't stack.

Similar to:

The really old ones have a finer lightweight glass. Half of mine are from my grandma, half are picked up for cheap at garage sales/thrift stores.

2 weeks ago

Liza Stallsmith wrote:

Water experience -  Started life together by buying a high quality raft and our honeymoon trip was a rafting trip down a river. Lots of learning happened but we survived only to return more experienced.
                                  Yrs later raft rotted and we switch to canoes. Kids came along and we jumped to two canoes. Kids grew we went to kayaks. Now the kids have left and we are returning to canoes, but
                                  still use our kayaks some. My son's German Sheppard that got left behind likes to go with me so that limits the kayaking. We been on the water, but have gotten away from water
                                  camping trips, just two complicated with schedules. It was easier to do day trips. Looking forward to revisiting canoe camping trips.

Renting - Really struggling with the prices of renting because I could put that money on equipment to use again. I am really looking for light weight canoes as I have no desire to portage our old 17'
                aluminum canoe. Does anyone have a favorite? I would love one that could be used tandem or solo.

Sounds like you have plenty of experience :)

Swift makes good canoes.
I personally would rent a canoe for the first trip, they are an expensive investment and the number of trips for payback compare stop renting is more than some of the other gear. See how much you love it (or don't). Used canoe prices have gone nuts here in Canada, and there is a shortage of new ones so deals aren't great there either  Canoe pack and barrel pack I would buy rather than rent (over a week long trip you almost pay the cost to buy them). Maybe you have them already. Oh, and money for good life jackets (like Salus) designed for comfortable wear while paddling. I like shoulder season canoeing, so am a big believer in buying life jackets you will actually enjoy wearing (and therefore wear).  And decent (resin tipped) paddles.  Basically, stuff you will use even if you decide tripping isn't for you anymore.

A 17' kevlar canoe can be soloed backwards, just make sure it's a symmetrical canoe hull and flat traditional style  seats. I solo a friend's 17' fairly regularly. You can add a few jugs of water as ballast at the front. Or a German Shepherd.

Comforts - don't want all the comforts of home, but want a good night rest for old backs. They make some increditably light chairs now. Don't owen any yet. We have never done much of the dehydrated
                   food . Do you have any suggestions?

Back support - YMMV but look for self inflating 3-4" thick mats. I own two (one for backpacking, one for car camping and guests). It's awesome. It's got tons of insulation and is almost as comfortable as my bed at home.  Thermarest is the classic brand (made in the US), but there are others. Heavier and bigger than the other ones, but in my opinion, worth it. Try in store if you can.

Food-  I make my own food.  You can also bring stuff like sandwich ingredients of course. For the first days, having some fresh food is nice.

This is a good website for getting started

I like having a dehydrator, and at $10 for a single meal from the commercial sellers, payback for a dehydrator is pretty quick!  Plus, it tastes better.

We had planned to do the Allagash Wilderness Waterway next yr, but after the new covid norm I have decided to change plans. They are so busy that it doesn't even sound like fun to me. We are looking into the Adirondacks, but I also just got a map of Algonguin Park canoe routes and was totally blown away with how many options there are. Not sure about planning a trip outside the US right now because of how fast boarder rules are changing, but it definitely made it to the top of my want list because it is less then 8 hrs from us.

Algonquin is an awesome place for a canoe trip. There are Outfitters that rent canoes and will deliver them to your site, allow you to do a one way and shuttle you, etc. The Barron Canyon is spectacular.
2 weeks ago
What country/area of the country are you in?  I live in Ontario, which has fantastic canoe camping routes.

How much canoeing experience do you have? A pair who who canoes every weekend will be able to travel further in a day than a pair who hasn't picked up a paddle in a decade.

It you are planning on bringing all the comforts, look for a longer canoe to rent ((17'). Paddling an overloaded 16' canoe sucks. Also recommending shelling out the money for a kevlar canoe if you are renting and doing any portages. Carrying a 17' aluminum canoe also sucks. You can buy a pad for the yoke that makes it more comfortable to carry on your shoulders.

You will want to buy or rent a canoe pack (plasticized waterproof roll top bag with backpack harness) and a barrel pack for your food. Wet stuff is miserable.  

Chairs are nice, if you have the space and aren't portaging too far.  At minimum, a piece of foam to sit on is nice.

iMO fall is the best canoe camping season. Water is warm, bugs are mostly gone, less people.

You will likely need to tree your food or do a staked out canoe. Lighter weight (dehydrated) food is far nicer than cans.

Have fun! Canoe trips are wonderful.
2 weeks ago

Orange soup, aka Squash Lentil Soup

Saute onions to glassy, add in chopped (preferably red, orange, yellow for colour) peppers, maybe some celery and fry until cooked.

Add water and peeled and deseeded squash and orange lentils.

Cook for a long time, season to taste with some of the following : ginger, garlic, garam masala (or other curry spices), hot sauce, pepper, sugar, salt, etc and enough fat to make it have a nice mouth feel.

Run an immersion blender through to puree it. If desired, add coconut milk or serve with mayonnaise, plain yoghurt, or sour cream. After pureeing it, don't cook too long as it tends to scorch.
1 month ago
I am celiac.

I started my own starter by placing a mix of flours (rice and teff were in it, don't recall what else) and water, and a bit of sugar if I recall,  near the fruit basket on the counter and waiting a few days for it to bubble . I have done it twice now - once it caught something weird while trying to start and I had to restart. I fed it mixed GF flour and water, and froze it for up to a year at a time between batches.

No experience with nut flours, but buckwheat and oats should both work well.
1 month ago
Our bathroom is accessed by walking through the laundry room. There is a closet in the laundry room, too. Its an 'ugly' setup because it means guests walk through the messy laundry room but I have grown to like it.

I usually get dressed in the bathroom/laundry room. Very little clothing gets brought back upstairs, only stuff that's not in frequent use.  Works great!  Basically 4-7 days worth of clothing in constant use is kept downstairs, anything else upstairs.
1 month ago
The instant pot isn't recommended for pressure canning, it doesn't reach as high of a pressure as a stove top canner. I keep hoping they will start to publish recipes for pressure cooking with an instant pot, but so far, nope :(  I would consider those jars not safety canned.

For future reference, when canning, do not press down on the top of the lids. They won't be sealed, and have that vacuum, when they come out of the pot, they press down as they cool. Leave them, and then refirdgertate if they don't pop down on their own. A seal alone is not a sign of a good, safe, canning job - you also need to look at the correct times.

I have no experience with dehydrating eggs, but know that times are often off in recipes you find online. It depends on the airflow in the dehydrator, how tightly it is packed, the humidity of the house and a whole host of factors. I go by feel and appearance, not time.

Here's a reliable website that should be able to answer most canning questions:
1 month ago
I ended up buying it all - now looking at buying a second bag of apples. About 1/6th were not good, but the rest ended up canned and put away, or eaten. The deer apples I bought were windfall apples. Macintosh apples that are RIPE and taste and smell like the apples at my grandparents farm when I was a kid. I don't normally enjoy raw apples, but ate 1-3 per day for a while, until they were all eaten or canned. I would have paid $15 just for the eating apples I pulled from the big bag!  Apple pie for Thanksgiving was very good and I am thinking of making more apple jam as Christmas gifts this year.

My grandmother calls this time of year 'bringing in for the winter'. She can still recite the grocery list for the fall from when she was a child, on a farm in a family of 12 children.  The number of 50 lb bags of flour and sugar and oats, pork preserved in barrels of salt, etc. When my mom was a child, they still kept an extensive root cellar. My dad thinks of late fall as the harvest season, the whole extended family getting together to kill pigs and render lard and make sausage and smoke it, drying peppers and fruit in the rafters of the attic, fermenting sauerkraut and pickles. Both my grandmother and my father grew up without refrigeration.  

Other things I have bought for the winter is extra dog food and other extra supplies of stuff I buy in the city - messy roads make it sometimes perilous driving to the city in the winter and prices at the local store are often 25-300% higher than 45 min away.  Another bag of rice, more canned goods, more lentils and beans, oil, coffee, cocoa, etc. We always go into winter with a full pantry.
1 month ago
How deep is your soil? In my area, when soil is very close to bedrock, tree roots go further, and are more sensitive to disturbance. Sounds like you have pretty deep soil though and closer to the surface roots might already be stressed from drought and dry soil?

A 6" swale  i'd be comfortable closer to trees. Not sure how close,

A larger/deeper swale I'd want to be well out of the drip line of the trees.  Maybr 1.5 x the drip line? Trees can recover from some root disturbance but typically have roots 2-3x the radius of the drip line.

This feels like a question for walking the land with a spade. Walk, think about where you might like a swale, put the spade in the ground and hop on the top of it. Try that in a few areas. Do you hit roots? How often?
1 month ago