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Karla Jaeger

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since Apr 02, 2018
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Recent posts by Karla Jaeger

Libby Jane, how you tell if weck jars are sealed is by the little tab of the rubber ring that sticks out. If it is pointing down, you have a seal. To break the seal when opening it, you just pull on the tab.

I am a big fan of “alternative” jars. My favourite are vintage GEM jars with glass lids and zinc rings. They use a red rubber seal ring which are still available for cheap here in Canada and can be reused. I use my GEMs for canning, dry storage, fermenting and freezing. Never had one break. They are a mainly western Canada jar I believe.

I like Weck jars and I have several, I especially appreciate the cute tiny ones because my old GEMs don’t go down to little jam size. Drawbacks are the price (holy shit, the small ones are like $8 in the local kitchen store. Mine are all from the thrift store), and the annoyingness of using the clips to keep the lid on a jar of jelly once opened. They do sell alternate lids/corks for them and it would probably be worth me buying one or two. I have also experienced one or two stretched out rings. They are quite thin imo and I’m not sure what I did to cause the stretching.

I also use old wire bail lightning jars for dry storage, though I haven’t canned in them because I don’t have a source for rings that fit (except for one awesome looking old box of them I found in a thrift store). Le Parfait wire bail jars are my go to for most fermenting and for taking food on the go because of their large mouth openings.

My main goal with my jars is to avoid any plastic contacting my food, especially during canning and long term storage. That white underside to mason jar lids is plastic, BPA, etc. That’s why regular mason jars fail in my eyes. I have plenty of them too, they are so cheap and available, but I want to get to a point where I don’t need them.
3 years ago

Cath Brown wrote:This is gorgeous. I really love green roofs. Succulents are a good way to go, but eventually nature takes over and shows us what will survive. I have a friend who had a green roof in Turkey. Green in the winter, and dry straw in summer, but it still protected the house from the sun's heat.

Yes, the roof offers wonderful insulation!
One aspect of the roof that we think about in summer is fire risk. The past couple of years here in western Canada have had crazy forest fires, and while they don’t usually reach us here on the coast, it’s possible. A floating spark could set our house on fire when the roof is basically tinder. So this year we are installing sprinklers for peace of mind.

Marta, I think it would be good to broadcast some seed over your roof to get some roots established and hold the soil on, as long as you’re still expecting some rain or can irrigate. I’m really impressed at the ability of succulents to propagate (and we have one native variety that seems to be self seeding everywhere) but still, coverage is slow. Getting some clover or grass started will help hold the earth in place, and you can still plant into it, especially after it all dies in summer.

Wildflower mix is nice too! My partner threw down some wildflower seeds at some point, and some of them come back every spring.
4 years ago
Here are some pics. It’s still looking really green on the north side. The south side has had most of the little weeds and wildflowers die. I will try to remember to take a pic in August :)
4 years ago
We are in a similar climate, with droughty summers, wet all other times of the year, zone 7b. We have a green roof that is stunning fall-spring, and pretty crispy in summer, BUT we have a lot of seedums/succulents on it and they always look good. I really recommend those types of plants. When my partner made the roof, he started with cut sod which I think would have the benefit of reducing soil erosion while it gets established. The roof has gone through phases since then and ended up a mixture of moss, grass, wildflowers, random weeds and succulents. Everything but the succulents die off in summer (they are dead now) but they either reseed, or the roots survive until the rains come. When we go up on the roof, we will often propagate the succulents around (as easy as pulling pieces off and poking them in holes) and try to slowly get better coverage, especially on the south facing slope where it is driest. I'll post a couple pics of our roof tomorrow if I remember :)
4 years ago
I haven't read most replies, but this is a fun question :)

I love the passive solar heating and cooling we get with our large overhangs and clerestory windows. I love our green roof, for beauty and cooling in the summer. I love our mass heating woodstove (it keeps our house a constant temperature at all times! We have no other heat source, and it keeps all the rooms warm), I love our window bench in the kitchen (the only place I spend more time is in bed sleeping).

I wish we had a pantry room, a second bathroom (5 person family) and bigger/more covered outdoor space like a veranda.
I've built up a set of vintage enamel cast iron pots with wooden handles by keeping an eye out in the thrift stores for a couple of years. They don't seem to be commonly used around here, though dutch ovens and fry pans are. I've also had great luck on ebay (bought an enamel dutch oven for a great price) and I know that etsy also often has great vintage cookware like that. I love my cast iron pots.
4 years ago
You’ve really been busy! It’s all so nice :) Those stone walls are really lovely too, well done!

Mice are eating almost everything I try to plant. I’m thinking of getting a cat.
4 years ago
That's funny, I was thinking about doing this same thing just today and wondering how well it would work. Well now I'm going to try it for sure, thank you :)

I've been having a lot of fun with wattle garden bed edging lately. It's fast and cute. My partner is very impressed at how quickly I'm making garden beds (just made three little round ones for the kids today, they are pretty adorable). I'm using cedar stakes, and weaving in first year coppiced maple shoots, which are numerous on the property thanks to my guy taking down several maples last year.
I always end up making beds lasagna style, first with cardboard weed barrier, then chunks of rotten alder, then whatever coarse organic material I can find including unrotted compost, seaweed, partly aged manure and small bits of plants like leaves (though I don't like all the settling I get with leaves, prefer them as mulch) and then top with a relatively thin layer of topsoil or fine compost. For me, because I'm building on top of poor soil, that's as quick and easy as it gets. For two recent beds, I did also dig down so that I could bury quite a lot of wood without having a big mound. Way more work/less fun.
I've considered so many other ways of making garden beds, but keep coming back to sheet-mulch style with a low border. It's just chill.
It's at the Roberts Creek Hall so it's a ways, but at least it's on the bus route :)
4 years ago
Wow!! I'm so happy to read this and see your pics. The garden looks WONDERFUL. Your friend clearly has woodworking skills, that fence and gate are lovely! I'm jealous of all the great inputs you're finding. I should really try harder.
I'm building a new garden this year (I have two small beds from last year), and it will be a similar size to yours. I have a few flats of seeds started (got my west coast seeds order last week :D ) so I hope my guy and I can get the new beds built in time. We will be bringing in soil mix from Quality farms, although my preference is to minimize the amount of bought soil, and use rotted alder and other organic matter under the beds.
Do you know about Seedy Saturday next week?
We are out past Langdale, on the side of mount Elphinstone. Lovely view, but our soil is basically rocks. We still have some snow here :/ so today I scraped it off the two small beds I have, hoping the soil will thaw and I can plant peas.
Brace yourself for slugs. Ugh. I'd be interested to hear how the copper works.

I have so much to learn, and I really love how you share your process! It's so helpful and interesting :)

Nicole, how do ducks do with predators? Would they be able to free range and be locked in at night?
4 years ago