Rosemary Hansen

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since Apr 07, 2018
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duck food preservation homeschooling homestead trees urban
I am a published author, artist, devoted Yogi, and Mama to 3 littles. I also write for Mother Earth News as a Blogger.
We've just moved to the wilds of British Columbia: 15 acres of forest and cleared land, ours to mold and steward. The plan is to plant thousands of fruit and nut trees in the permaculture way, as our "retirement plan". No doubt we are naive and overly optimistic but we'll get through it with humor and determination!
Coastal British Columbia
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Recent posts by Rosemary Hansen

I am planning on growing 4 trays that are standard nursery size: 11" x 22" and are only $2.49 each or if you buy 6 or more they are $2.24 each! The microgreen trays are sturdier than standard nursery trays and have optional holes in the bottom for drainage.

I've done microgreens before in pots and they are so easy to do. It's nice to hear that lots of people are trying this out, especially up in Canada where fresh produce comes from so far away in Winter!

I am sprouting seeds in jars (until my potting soil comes in at the local store- for my new microgreens "factory"), and I really love how fast bean and pea seeds sprout. They are second to none with speed and give you big sweet sprouts within 2-3 days depending on the temperature in your home.

I buy in massive bulk quantities from Mumms seeds and they ship both to Canada and US:
You can buy 5kg, 25kg bags, etc. Super cheap and really beats the nutrition-less lettuce from the store shipped from Mexico and California!

If anyone wants an instructional video for sprouting in jars, check out my Youtube video here:

Summary of my sprouting (in jars) tips:
  • Don't use cheesecloth with jars = MOLD
  • Clean your jars with diluted apple cider vinegar every time you are done with a jar
  • Soak your seeds for between 4-8 hrs on the first "watering" (depending on seed type)
  • Smell your sprouts everytime you open the jar to water them your nose can tell if there is something funky growing

  • Also, I made a video of my favorite salad with sprouts:

    21 hours ago
    How lucky you are to get it as a gift! I've had lots of compliments on how pretty it is. But the best part is that it works really well and I've never had any issues with it. Really easy to use.
    2 weeks ago
    Someone asked about grains and grinding your own flour. I've done this and still do it!

    I don't experience my freshly milled flour turned into bread as "heavy whole wheat" bread, but it's hard to say since I haven't had a slice of pure white bread in many years. But the FLAVOR is out of this world. It is very complex, nutty, and sour (since I do sourdough with my flour)I would encourage anyone who is curious to try it out and don't be afraid of a heavy whole wheat bread. If you really hate it, you can always sift your flour to get most of the bran out of it, and maybe over time sift it less as you get used to the bran taste. But my bread is usually very moist, dark-colored but still smooth and delicious. It usually won't rise super high unless I ferment it for a miniumum of 24 hours, so if you're looking for that really high loaf, you might want to stick with 100% white flour from the store. Here's a picture of my breads:

    The flour grinder/mill I use is electric and is called the KoMo. It is beautiful and works wonderful (and also keeps the dust down!). Here's an article about it:
    2 weeks ago
    Okay, I have to weigh in here as well since I wrote a book for beginner gardeners! But I'm not an expert (I hate that term and all of the associated ego-mania that goes along with it), just someone who has gardened for 8+ years and learned some things the hard way.

    Here's my list of easy plants for beginners:

    Cherry tomatoes - produce in spades and are so delicious to pop in!
    Early Tomato varieties - they might be labeled “Early Girl”, or some such other name with Early in it. These will fruit sooner, just in case you get an early frost or plant too late.
    Kale & Chard - can harvest in a month some baby greens
    Lettuce (my favorite varieties are Pirat & Black Seeded Simpson, both heirlooms)
    Mixed greens (sometimes called Mesclun Mix)
    Dandelions (these are usually considered a weed but are super nutritious! Bulletproof plants)
    Chicory, Sorrel, Radicchio, Frisee (all gourmet greens, but easy)
    Nasturtium - this plant has gorgeous bright colored edible flowers and is a fast grower
    Calendula (an edible flower, that you can also make salve from for cuts and wounds)
    Chives (for a garlic-flavored salad dressing)
    Strawberries (you can easily grow these in hanging planters or pots)
    Potatoes (very easy and grow well in deep containers)
    Runner Beans

    This list is predicated on buying plants from a nursery...starting from seed is more for intermediate gardeners as there can be lots of loss and problems with leggy plants if growing indoors without lights. However, lettuce and other greens are really easy to grow from seed and you don't need to buy the plants. Same for chives and potatoes (using potato starts). It is also very rewarding for a beginner to have some plants from the nursery and they start producing almost immediately with very little assistance. In my first year of gardening I started from seed (with everything) and was disappointed when I didn't get as much reward and had a lot of loss.

    One tip for beginner gardeners who have a slug infestation: start plants indoors and your slugs will be less likely to eat bigger, more established plants. I've had slugs eat every plant you can imagine when the seeds were put directly in the ground outside. But when I started those same plants inside or bought them from a nursery, the plants were probably too "tough" tasting for the slugs to eat. It seems like the plants need a bit of a head start before being put out into the garden. This tip is really for folks who have a VERY heavy slug infestation. Just wanted to share that since I went through a whole season being very frustrated about not being able to grow anything due to "slug predation", haha.
    I'm re-reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable Miracle, which has some nice simple recipes in it + good local food discussions.

    My newest favorite fiction book I just finished is The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Beautiful prose, gorgeous imagery, just a delicious book.

    And if you read LONG books, I simply adore Circe by Madeline Miller, which I just finished (and also The Song of Achilles by the same author). Her characters will stay with me forever and I read an enormous amount of fiction!

    Thanks for sharing your favorite books, I'm excited to try out The Stranger in the Woods!
    2 weeks ago

    Italian-Style Easy Stew Recipe

    Hello Permies! I make this stew every week for my family of 5. It is hearty and there are so many different ways of changing it up using whatever ingredients you have on hand. Feel free to use up pantry items in here like quinoa, millet, or any type of bean. I thought I would post it here for anyone who needs some Winter Inspiration for healthy meals.

    The snow  and fog wraps us in a cocoon. Stark winter in January. But Spring really is just around the corner. We had one day that felt more like Spring. Warm rays hitting our deck. I sunned myself like a cat blinking in the radiance.

    Most people have very little time to spare, even those who don't have twins! We're all just trying to get through the week. Or maybe you're excited for that vacation coming up. So, if you're pressed for time and need a hearty meal that will feed everyone for many days + is healthy and delicious, here's my recipe for you.

    You'll need a slow cooker/Crock Pot, I use a 6 Qt. size one. I absolutely love it and it makes soups and stews very easy. Set it & forget it!

    1/2 head of cabbage chopped coarsely

    1/2 bunch of celery sliced uniform (or coarsely chopped if you're short on time)

    1 large onion or 1 bunch of Spring onions, chopped coarsely

    2 pounds of frozen ground meat

    1 bunch of kale, torn into small pieces

    1 large can (796 ml) of chickpeas or kidney beans (for added fiber & bulk)

    8 small potatoes chopped into medium cubes

    1 can (500ml or 1 cup) of organic or free-range bone broth

    1 jar of organic pasta sauce

    1 small can of tomato paste


    1-3 TB of Sriracha Sauce

    1 TB Sea salt

    1 TB spice mix (I use one with garlic, onion, basil, parsley, paprika, pepper, and thyme)

    *Add (at the end of cooking, when cooled): 1/2 cup of olive oil for extra calories


    Chop veggies and put into slow cooker first. Dump bone broth in. Then, put frozen meat patties on top and cover them with the spices. Put enough water in so that there is about 2 inches of room at the top. Turn slow cooker on high. After an hour or two, get a fork and break up the meat into smaller chunks. Continue cooking for about 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high.

    Options to save time: you can cook the potatoes the next day separately (boil in salted water until they are soft). You can also use pasta instead of potatoes, but it's not as healthy. You will need to cook the pasta separately or otherwise it will turn to mush. No one likes mushy pasta!

    Other veggies you can substitute, so you don't have to go to the store to get exactly what I suggest :-): broccoli, turnip, peas, zucchini, winter squash, carrots, bell pepper. etc.

    Also, you can make it t with simply cabbage & onion if you're really short on time!

    This lasts my family of 5 about 5 suppers. So, 15 hearty servings.

    Here is the link to the original blog post on my website: Italian-Style Easy Stew with Rosemary

    Have you seen my newest e-book? Grow a Salad in Your City Apartment
    3 weeks ago
    I stumbled on this thread and love it! Has anyone had experience growing (would love to hear from PNW folks!):

    Dioscorea bulbifera or Cinnamon Yam (D. polystachya)? How is the taste compared to bulbifera? I'm really excited to grow either of them and am curious if anyone has experience other than Eric Toensmeier.

    Ground nut (Apios americana) or Hog peanut (Amiphicarpa brachteata)?

    Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)?

    Five Finger Akebia (Chocolate Vine)?

    These look like very productive and high-calorie foods, so that's why I'm especially interested in them.

    Thanks, permies folks!
    3 weeks ago
    Nicole, I know this thread is old..but knowing that you have two littles in the house, the general theme probably never leaves your mind!

    Let me just say that having young kids + homesteading is really tough and I'm doing it too (off-grid, no less!). I totally understand your situation! And it is possible to make it work (don't all us Mamas just make it work somehow?). You just need to have infinite patience and ZERO expectations, haha!

    Your situation with your husband having health issues is a huge stressor on top of all of that, so i hope that he is doing well at this point. And anyone else that is going thru hats off to you. I cannot imagine having my partner out of commission and having to do everything myself. Most things simply would not get done. My husband and I have roles that work for us and some would consider them "traditional" but we trade off a lot in different times in our lives. At one point I was doing a lot of carpentry work for the family and he was watching the kids and doing online work to support us. So it sometimes switches off from traditional roles. Anyway, I'm digressing but what I mean to say is that homesteading, for me is still VERY inspiring, but also there have been lots of fantasy bubbles popped as well. For example, no running water is definitely not romantic, it's really not fun. But you can set up a shower and washing system that kind of works so that you can get other important stuff done in the meantime. We've had to get creative, and in the process we learn a lot about what's possible. I think it comes down to redefining what will work for your basic needs: Food, water, shelter, heat. Making sacrifices in overall aesthetic beauty (like in a shower set-up) in exchange for practical, simple solutions. My husband always has to keep reminding me that we can't tackle a million projects in our first year, we just have to focus on really basic stuff and then when those are handled, look at doing more complicated stuff. And I've had to accept that we might have to still buy lots of food at the store if our food-growing efforts get squashed (like with pests, disease, etc.). I really hate having to buy tomatoes and peppers from Mexico. But one step at a time we are moving towards our goals of producing a lot of our own food. Which reminds me, we always buy a 1/4 of a cow or a 1/2 of a pig (directly from a farmer) in fall and store that in a couple deep freezes. So in that way we are prepared for "doomsday" scenarios. I've also bought bulk amounts (i.e. 25 lb bags) of grain (wheat, oats) and raisins, rice, and sugar. I buy it from Grainworks Mill in Alberta, Canada if anyone is curious. That gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing that we have those things stored up. But maybe I just have a "Hoarding Food" mentality! Anyway, that's my two cents.
    4 weeks ago
    Wow, thank you Nicole for your praise! It really means a lot coming from you.
    4 weeks ago