Tereza Okava

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since Jun 07, 2018
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dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
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I'm a transplanted New Yorker living in South America, where I have a small urban farm to grow all almost all the things I can't buy here. Proud parent of an adult daughter, dog person, undertaker of absurdly complicated projects, and owner of a 1981 Fiat.
I cook for fun, write for money, garden for food, and knit for therapy.
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Recent posts by Tereza Okava

Matt, I think it matters how your basil comes out when it's done. if I'm drying mint, rosemary, indigo, or moringa, I tie it in bunches, wash it, and then hang it, or put it on racks, as shown above, and when it's dry i strip it off the branches and it gets crumbly.
I don't know if you crumble basil (I have never dried it! maybe I should try) but
I do know when i want to use it whole and need to wash and dry whole leaves it's a massive pain in the behind.
4 days ago
in my experience, any sort of trauma makes the basil get bruised and turn black, so I don't even wrap it in a towel or anything as i would other leaves. but maybe my basil is extra sensitive!
4 days ago
Thomas, I hope it works! I also have clay that gets dry and I have a lot of aloe. It didn't occur to me to try sprouting in aloe but next summer I will (right now down here it's winter and raining for weeks, as it does.)
4 days ago
When I traveled to the US regularly, I used to always buy a new chip and a prepaid plan for while I was there (usually a month. New phone technology means i no longer have to buy a physical chip, i can use Phone Magic to sort it out now, but the system still works).
Walmart/Target are good places, but I've also bought the chips in pharmacies (pretty much all the chain pharmacies have them). They often keep them behind or near the counter. you have to buy the chip, and then a card to put money on the chip. When I've done it at Walmart or Target I've had people help me set it up, but I also have done it on my own when I buy them at the pharmacy. When setting up the chip, you choose the phone number for your region and buy a plan with minutes. It's usually really straightforward, there is an instruction sheet that comes with the chip you put in your phone.
I've used a whole bunch of them over the years, i only remember Straight Talk, Tracfone (one time I was there for 6 months with multiple lines), and the only one I would not recommend, which was Orange (not sure if they're still around, i was in an airport and that was my only option. it was years ago).

As for which one to choose: they all use the 3 carriers that are common in the US, it might be worth asking around to see if there are any that don't work. There are maps you can check but their accuracy is debatable.

And if you don't have a phone, you can often find "simple" phones for sale near these chips/cards where they're sold (often they're marketed as being for older people, but they're just not digital wonders and usually work pretty well). I've bought used and unblocked ones online for next to nothing, but I'm thinking about options where you don't need a credit card.
5 days ago
okay, i am NOT one to talk, since my idea of a date is to go to walk around the tool part of the big box store with my hunny, and i collect tools the way other women collect shoes or jewelry. BUT.....
I think for me, the best thing is to understand the task and then buy the tool. I'm noticing a lot of the things that other people use machetes for, I use pruning shears or a saw for... I have things like taro root that need to be whacked with a machete, because the stems are too thick to fit inside my pruning shears, for example--  only after cutting them with a kitchen knife for some years did I actually buy the machete.
That said, machetes are fun and cool as heck and you'll probably find a pretty good use for it.
6 days ago
I use a machete regularly, but not every day. I have had several walk away, and as mentioned they also have a tendency to get into trouble with rocks, stumps, abuse like hammers, etc, so I buy cheapies and don't feel bad when they need to be replaced. Luckily for me, cheap machetes are plentiful where I live. A cheapie will sharpen just as sharp as a good one.
If I used it every day to cut sugar cane or something I would buy something nice, all metal, with weight to it. But as it stands right now, I don't have the hand strength and need a lightish one. Obviously it depends on what you're using it to cut-- I'm whacking not-really-woody brush, and light is good enough.
I used to use the machete to cut grass for the rabbits, but ended up trading it for a hand sickle instead, found it was much easier and safer.
6 days ago
I'm not a huge fan of garlic chives, but I have a corner of my garden for my mother in law when she visits, which is rare, and so I often have garlic chives to use.
I was traumatized once when someone left a bunch of them in my car overnight when I lived in Japan (making my car stink like diapers, basically, the car needed professional help before it was usable again), and it took me years to be able to actually eat them. My mother in law likes to use them for fish, which I'm not a fan of, but I do enjoy them mixed with scrambled eggs, and maybe mixed half-and-half to replace scallions in most Chinese dishes. They are also better if you can almost blacken them in the wok (Korean pancakes are a great application for this).
6 days ago
i also love my air fryer oven (if you use the right pan, you can have bread really quick) but most of the time I make bread/cake either steamed in my rice cooker (out on the porch!) or flatbread on the stovetop (turkish or chinese). I shifted from loaf bread in the oven a few years ago when there was a cooking gas shortage, and we've never really looked back.
6 days ago
I plant by moon phase. I am not a believer, and my people did not traditionally do this, although to be fair we haven't farmed for some generations (and when we did, we were known for losing farms).
I am a total skeptic of, well, almost everything, and thought it was a load of hooey. But a few years ago I tested planting a few different things and found that of 50 beans planted on a "do not plant" day, only 2 came up, and then 50 radishes planted on an "ideal root" day, all came up, and I changed my tune. I don't worry so much about details, but since then I do not plant on do not plant days, ever.
I have one drawer in the kitchen for towels, cloth napkins (bandanas) and knit dish scrubbies (like Timothy mentions, which I use instead of sponges). It's also where a few tools, matches, razor blades, candles, cheesecloth, light bulbs and other assorted bits and bobs live.
The rule in the house in this smallish drawer is ROTATION. Newly washed stuff goes at the bottom or back of the stack. Otherwise I use the same 3 things over and over again, as Deane mentions, and within a month they're in the scrap pile.

Edited to add: I am AGOG at the size of the towels that lady is folding in the second video. Her washcloths are the size of kitchen towels, and her towels could be bath towels. If those were in my kitchen I'd have to buy another cabinet.
1 week ago