Stacy Witscher

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since Mar 06, 2017
SF Bay Area
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Recent posts by Stacy Witscher

Strawbale is a great insulator and the thick walls have a nice look.
1 day ago
In the East Bay, there is East Bay Permaculture, they have a facebook group and meet monthly in Oakland.

The School of Adaptive Agriculture is south of Willits in Mendocino county, they offers workshops sometimes, as well as the school.

Northern California is a fairly large area, maybe narrowing it down would help.
While I've never tried weeding with a blow torch, I would try that, if you have one already like I do, rather than a culinary torch. We didn't even use culinary torches in restaurants for creme brulee. We used regular blow torches.

In areas that I never grow things, walkways, cracks in concrete etc., I like boiling water, typically already used for cooking.
1 day ago
Casey - I'm thinking that a WEEDS system is going to be necessary for me, as I don't like direct sunlight, so eaves and/or trees are necessary. Only planning for one issue seems to be a recurrent theme in life. Looking at home placement issues, the positives for fire are often negatives for flood. And typically after wild fires, floods with all the ash are an issue.
3 days ago
I don't really do it on purpose, but my half sheet pans become carbonized with fat over the years, and this definitely makes them more non-stick.

Another thing to keep in mind, many foods will stick at first, but just leave them alone and when they are ready to flip, they will unstick. Of course, that doesn't work for eggs, at least for me, because I don't want them cooked that much, but it works great for fish, meat, etc.
3 days ago
I vote for the cow. The sheer variety of products that can be made with milk is beautiful.
4 days ago
Pearl - We have large dogs, and they can be a problem with my mother. The younger one will jump if you let her. She doesn't do it with us, but other people just don't know how to handle it. I try to teach my mother how to handle it, but at this point I don't think that is ever going to work. So mostly we put that dog away when my parents visit. I do think it's important to teach people as well as dogs. The older pit bull has twice pulled me down while on leash. The kids tell me to let go of the leash, but it happens so fast. It took years for my knees to recover fully.

As an aside, I'm disappointed to hear that LGD's bark all the time. I won't like that. Our older pit generally will just kill small animals with very little noise, but I'm only in the suburbs now. Time will tell.
4 days ago
To be honest, I use the Ball book just for canning times and knowing whether or not something can be raw packed, those type things, but I don't think I've ever made a recipe. Once you have that info, it's fairly easy to extrapolate the recipes to something you will eat. I don't use commercial pectin, but that won't change the processing time for jam. It's the acidity level that matter for water bath canning, so invest in a pH meter for your wife.

If you are looking for jams, jellies etc. with different sweeteners, Marissa McClellan has a good book "Naturally Sweet Food in Jars".
4 days ago
I have been planning my move to a rural property for a few years now. In February, I am putting my house in the SF Bay Area on the market and buying a place in southern Oregon. My oldest daughter is moving with me, my middle two are staying here in the Bay, and my youngest is finishing her Bachelor's at UC Santa Barbara.
I'm a life-long gardener, edibles and ornamentals, so that's not new. A professional chef, so from scratch cooking isn't difficult. I've been practicing all kinds of food preservation, cheesemaking, charcuterie, so I feel pretty well prepared in these areas. My father has been teaching me simple building and woodworking. I took a natural building workshop. While I haven't had livestock, I raised four children, many dogs, cats, rodents, lizards, snakes, birds and bunnies. I have a small income, and my daughter has an outside job, not trying to make money from our homestead/farm. Honestly, I just don't have the patience for that. But I would like to have gatherings/workshops.

I think it will be a much more difficult transition for my daughter than for myself. This is a concern for me. But this is one of the reasons why while we will be rural, town is not far away. We are very different people, and we both need to be happy.
5 days ago