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Kat Ostby

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since Jan 29, 2018
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homeschooling kids forest garden
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 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

Tereza Okava wrote:we use clove for insect repellant (soak lots of cloves in alcohol for a month or so and spray on. strain and add a bit of mineral or veg oil if you're worried about skin irritation.) for working in the garden and for visitors-- we throw a lot of parties on our back porch in the garden and guests often have children and don't want to use commercial insect repellant. It works well for about 2 hours before you have to reapply. It stains clothing though, I wonder if there is some way to use clove essential oil for the same purpose.

There is:

1 ounce carrier oil (mixture of neem, fractionated coconut oil, and soybean)
15 drops essential oils *  (i.e. clove)
Glass spray bottle
Drop essential oils* into glass spray bottle.
Add in carrier oil and shake vigorously.
Spray over and rub onto exposed skin right before going outside.
Reapply every 60-90 minutes.

             Being totally oil based this would stain clothes.  There is also a spray you can make with water and witch hazel and clove (or other insect repellent oils) but imho it's not quite as effective.
7 months ago

Thekla McDaniels wrote:here is a link that I found through new england cheese making newsletter:

Thought it might be a useful link for folks viewing this thread

I was going to post this on permies today, cool to see it's already here!

I made 30 min. mozzarella today and used the (acid) whey as a soil amendment for recently planted blueberries. I recently found another source for raw milk, so hopefully I'll be using a lot of those leftover whey ideas.
7 months ago
I popped on today to see if I could start earning my Food Prep and Preservation Badge with stuff like making yoghurt, butter, or mozzerella cheese.
I know they're not all inclusive as it's not vegan...but I'd love to see some dairy options added.
  Maybe a future addition to the pizza badge? Homemade mozzerella to go on top of a homemade sourdough crust pizza?
I saw an idea where someone used old silverware with metal letter punches to create some pretty unique plant labels. One can even find old silverware that already has holes as part of the design (I have old silverware that I found at a yardsale like this).  I am hoping to be able to do this someday, once I've gotten the lettering stamps.
  :) Edited to remove soup can idea-obviously steel would rust. ::facepalm::
8 months ago
Those look great, it's so neat to see pic.'s of what others have done.
 One of my favorites is passionflower and california poppy for a sleep aid/mind calm downer. It works fine as a strong infusion too.
  And another is straight dandelion, for those months when there aren't any fresh. :)
A friend made me a immune boosting one with (I think) elderberry and echinacea. That was pretty good too.
Oh, and plantain! In fact-with this thread inspiring me, I think I'll start a plantain tincture and dandelion tincture tomorrow. Thank you!

8 months ago
I've taken a few essential oil classes, and while I'm by no means an expert I'd like to throw a caution out there. There are only a few oils that are safe to use undiluted and it's recommended that they are only used undiluted in emergencies (example-full strength Lavender on a burn).  Even using dilutions as low as 15-20% is dangerous on a regular basis for many oils. What is best to do is start with the lowest recommended dilution rate and work your way up if that's not effective. The lowest dilution is usually a 1-2%. Medicinal and should only be used under supervision of an aromatherapist warnings start at about 13-15%. Besides the health risks associated with various oils when you use oils full strength you risk sensitizing yourself to them. Clove is considered a 'hot' oil and can physically burn if you use it undiluted. Personally for clove I use 1-2 drops in a Tablespoon of coconut or organic olive oil, and that is usually sufficient.
 A couple links that discuss dilutions:
              A bigger overview of why dilute, and how to:

            A chart of dilutions in terms of cups and teaspoons- :) Hopefully helpful, usually I use ml or oz to drops as I like my rollerballs and spritzer and ointment bottles!:

8 months ago
Hi Mr. Redhawk,
                               You stated that,
                          "Presumption number one is correct.  However presumption number two is flawed, just because you use a container does not mean you would have to constantly
                                adding to the soil microbiome, quite the contrary, that microbiome will continue as long as the minerals are present.
                                 The problems arise when people use too much "fertilizer" in the container soil which poisons the microorganisms of the microbiome.
                                There are good options for fertilizing container plants though and those will not harm the microbiome so much, the trick is daily monitoring."

I was wondering what the "good option for fertilizing" a container garden would be? I've been reading through your soil series, maybe it's mentioned in there and I just haven't seen it yet, if so sorry for bothering you!
 Also-I did composting with worms in a bin in the house a few years ago, and was wondering if a modified compost worm tower would be helpful in larger containers to build the soil naturally.
8 months ago
You're right-as already stated. And he's crazy. I'm wondering how he's going to react to the "I told you so." ;)

and Thank you to Kim for all the links! I had read years ago that Wild Ginger was not used herbally because it was unsafe, and didn't really question it then. Earlier this year I found out it is still being used and am quite excited by that.  I especially appreciated the article "Wild Ginger: A Love Song to a "Toxic" Plant", very well written and informative.
8 months ago
Does anyone have any favorite water kefir recipes or links to recipes that might help answer the question too?
8 months ago
Love it! It is so inspirational to see what others have done. And also, I too am jealous of how lush everything is looking...but at least we don't still have snow. Our last frost date was this past week (and it was frosty right up to it), so I'm just finally getting much of my annual garden planted.
If it wasn't raining right now, I'd go out and do a little video too. Hopefully tomorrow.

 Kat O.
8 months ago