Kat Ostby

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since Jan 29, 2018
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forest garden homeschooling kids
Hi! I am a homeschooling Christian mama of 6 with a passion for Jesus, permaculture, herbs/aromatherapy, dogs/animals, sewing and crafting, healthy eating and living...etc... I've been studying permaculture on and off since I found Toby Hemenway's book in Barnes and Noble about 8 years ago...it was so fascinating! I was already a Master Gardner, but this...this felt like starbursts of light and rightness.
I'm glad we have this community to interact with (or just stalk ), because around here...and my dairy farming family especially permaculture is still an idea on the fringes of acceptability.
Southwest Wisconsin: Zone 5b: Clay bottomland soil near a river
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Recent posts by Kat Ostby

Just to clarify. Dwarf apple trees will not do as well as semi-dwarf which will not do as well with standard in a polyculture setting because they are less tolerant of root competition.  ?
If you live in a town and a standard size tree is just too big, can you plant a standard and keep it trimmed to semi-dwarf size?
What rootstock is the best for trees that you want to have a polyculture under?
6 months ago
I think the others covered quite a bit of your main questions...so I'll go for fun stuff.  I would recommend Tom Brown's books for reading material. He's got lots of great things you could be working on while you're out in the wild like that. Firestarting, toolmaking, weaponmaking, foraging for wild food, and especially tracking! There are so many cool things you could learn how to do, :).  And also...if you haven't read them before permaculture books are great too. Toby Hemenway's, "Gaia's Garden: A guide to Home-Scale Permaculture" is a great beginnerish guide to it.
 I second (or third?) using essential oils and diatomaceous earth for the ticks.
 Also I'd look at a couple basic essential oils to add to your first aid kit. Lavender and Tea Tree and Peppermint are pretty cost-effective and have so many uses! Just make sure to buy from a reputable company...if you get impure oils they can do more harm than good.
10 months ago
Hi! I like the changes you made to the post. It's nice to have an approximate needle size. As a crocheter I would appreciate a hook size also. Also, you might want to list the discount for a kilo or more in oz. or lb.'s. I really like how you put in what you used to dye your sample with what a neat detail! And I think your pictures look stellar. Very pretty, good detail, nice background, they look inviting... :)
10 months ago
I was looking through some of your pictures by clicking on the reviews, and I really think you've got great balance in the pictures. I like the background white you used for the darker yarns and wood for the lighter yarns. I love the sheep and geese photo! It looks like the quality of lighting and the clarity could be improved in some of them...it makes me wish your shop was open now! My fingers are itching to crochet!
11 months ago
Just a quick note...and you probably already know this...but...one person had said to get your customers to purchase through your etsy shop and leave a review. Well , if you know they *won't* leave a review, you can still use the sell now page and have the sale added in (numbers wise) to your etsy account.
Also a note on photography...taking pictures in indirect light is good, it's even better when the sky is overcast. Or using the lightbox. I also second the idea of using a softer natural material under your yarns. (If you visit my shop...not all my pictures are great, I'm trying out a couple different cameras and playing with what I like.)
There were a couple names I liked from the lists...but it does sound like you need a bit more of a farm name first. And...if etsy is the selling place... I second the suggestion to make it simple! I have a couple friends on etsy and whenever I want to look for their stuff I search it in google instead of etsy because their names are a little hard to spell/complicated and the esty search engine is so word specific!
11 months ago
Hi, .  I am putting in the middle of a long range vision of a permaculture food forest garden, and have had my back go out 4 times since the beginning of it...hardscaping stonework, weeding, and shoveling woodchips did me in.
 Just a couple ideas. This depends on the size of your plot...and possibly your age...and how much money/help you can get or put into it.
 If you have a smaller plot or even just more specifically in zone 1: You might want to consider a modified permaculture system that relies on raised bed planters with a wide ledge around them for working comfortably while sitting. A low maintenance path around said planters would also be a boon.  
Other ideas- keep fruit trees to dwarf size, and prune them so the branches angle more down for ease of picking.  Mulch, mulch, and more mulch! Weeding is the bane of a bad back. Keep your focus lower with vines that you plan on harvesting from also. I know this means losing part of your vertical space, but if you can't garden because you strained your back on the ladder while getting grapes or apples...well...it's all about trade-off isn't it?  If you want to get woodchips for mulch, buying them bagged is a better option for the back than shoveling them into a wheelbarrow...same for dirt or compost...if you have to buy it.
Minimizing work that requires bending/twisting motions with the back is key. Like an earlier poster said about knees for lifting...
A permaculture garden with a touchy back is totally doable...but might need a bit of a different focus. Hope it goes well for you!
11 months ago
What a cool thread! I love making little stuffed animals (aka softies) for my kids.  I got the idea from a book called 'Countryside Softies'. I really like how eco-friendly, non-plastic, and unique they are. I've made individual ones for each of my kids to fit their personality's. My oldest got an otter...my son got a skunk, he's an adorable mischievious stinker! https://www.etsy.com/listing/488416187/little-black-skunk-softie-made-to-order ...this is a picture of his skunk.
And this is my daughter's owl with it's habitat bag... https://www.etsy.com/listing/496476102/owl-softie-small-with-habitat-woodland

I would highly reccomend the book for anyone interested in making some toys for their kids. The softies have a lovely vintage feel and look to them, and they are a lot of fun to make!
11 months ago
I think ways of gardening with the really wee ones was covered pretty thoroughly. So I kinda just wanted to add...let the little ones dream a bit, and encourage the ideas-even if some of them seem a bit crazy.  Gentle molding of ideas instead of just  a "no" will help them learn independence.
 Last year my 8 and 6 year old wanted to build an undeground fort for their older sister for her birthday, it was one of those points where I wanted to look at them like they were crazy...instead I asked them to tell me their plans. They were so enthusiastic about it I told them they could do it on 2 conditions that they move the planned spot a bit (their idea was to build it right under my veg garden!) and if it wasn't finished in a month or two they wouldn't complain about filling it back in.  They agreed and set to work.  They had a wonderful week or so of digging and planning, and made an impressive hole-which stayed that same size the rest of the summer. When we were doing our fall clean-up I had them fill it in which they did as agreed while reminiscing about how fun it was to dig it, and making plans for an even bigger underground fort at their Nana's.
 I guess the point is...it's easy to stifle creativity without even realizing you did that, and if we want our kids to work with us they need to be listened to with respect for their ideas- even if they don't work out they can provide great memories and build trust and communication.
11 months ago
Nicole, I really appreciated your last post. I've said for the last 10 or so years that the only thing you tell a woman who says she is pregnant is, "Congratulations!"  I have 6 kids, and have had debilitating nausea the first 5 months of being pregnant with 5 of them, and postnatal and postpartum depression with 4. Pregnancy and dealing with small children (or other issues) is hard enough without judgementalism!
 I also wanted to say I totally understand your feeling of losing 2 years of your sons life. That's one of the main reasons I think 6 kids is enough for us. It's so difficult not being able to care for your other children or spend time with them the way you would have if you hadn't been sick.
  I'm glad things are finally looking up/smoothing out for you!
11 months ago
Hi Mike!
 I'll definitely check out the Madison group.  It would be nice to talk to people who already know what I mean when I say "fruit tree guild" or "herb spiral" or "zone 1 around the house"!  
  Eventually sometime faar in the future I want apples and frozen fruit in the winter too! It's going to be awhile though. We have 6 young kids and they all like to snitch off the bushes/trees/vines too.
 I dream of taking a PDC some year soon. Do they have those/host them in Madison?
11 months ago