Mk Neal

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since Feb 02, 2019
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forest garden foraging urban cooking food preservation
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Recent posts by Mk Neal

The fats are mostly in or around seeds, providing energy for new sprouts. Perhaps there is some metabolic advantage to the fats being liquid at sprouting temperature of the seed? Purely speculating.

Or maybe its just that you are really looking for a very specific intersection of traits that make a plant a commercially useful source of fat, and these traits may not bestow any evolutionary advantage on the plant. E.g. you're not just looking for a plant that contains some fat which is solid (but soft enough to be useful) within a specific temperature range (say 60-85 degrees farenheit), but also a fat which is readily extractable, edible to some degree, with a neutral or pleasant aroma/taste, and present in large enough quantities to be economically worthwhile. So maybe it's just coincidence that the few plant meeting all these criteria are tropical or subtropical.

For non-culinary uses, there are myrtle/bayberry shrubs that are a traditional source of wax in temperate climates.
13 hours ago
Maypop plant I ordered arrived at the end of April just before a late frost that killed it.

Beets did not come up at all; I gave up in them and planted turnips instead.

ON the other hand, the potatoes are going gangbusters, including a lot of over-wintered surprises. I did not think potatoes survived winters here, but guess they survived last winter.  It pays to be an inefficient harvester sometimes.
Seems like a good list of herbs and vegetables. If you are looking at what you can get use out of within the next five years, and only partial sun, I think you should put the annual herbs and veggies you like best in the sunniest parts to the yard. Plant some more shade-tolerant perennial flowers nearer the house to attract pollinators.

For fruit, you might have better luck with currants against the west fence, they do OK in part shade and also will get you some berries after two years. Most of them are thornless and not quite as aggressive as raspberries/blackberries, so not leaving a bramblepatch for future tenants, just soem bushes they can enjoy or ignore. Grapes take longer to produce, and require more maintenance, but if you plan to maintain ownership of the property, you could keep them up even after moving out.

3 weeks ago

Gilbert Fritz wrote:I've wondered how the Andean peasants do it, and I can't find anything about it. The seeds seem about as slow germinating and delicate as carrots; imagine trying to get thousands of carrot seeds to germinate in clay soil with a dry climate, without seed drill or other implements.

I don't know how the Andeans plant it, or how this translates to large-scale agriculture, but my red amaranth is a reliable self-seeder.  New seedlings come up every spring in the same spot.
I have had pretty good luck with bay leaves for keeping ants out of cupboards. I read it somewhere and really did not expect it to work, but I had a big bag of it and thought why not try? I wedged the leaves in the cracks of the window frames where the ants used to crawl in, and scattered them on the floor of the food cupboards, and sure enough the ants avoided thos places. Either they don;t like the smell of it, or it masks their pheremones or something.

It's not a total panacea for the kitchen, because eventually they find some new way in that does not lend itself to bay leaf treatment and start crawlig on the counters, but it does keep them out of the "leafed"cupboards and limit their entry points so you can better target your application of other remedies like DE or borax traps.
3 weeks ago

Jason Hernandez wrote:
So what I propose discussing is, why does it seem that so many people these days have to go on specialized diets? I'm not talking about switching from highly processed foods with lots of preservatives to natural foods; I mean why are people having to cut out even whole, wholesome foods like grains, or greens that contain oxalates, or (in my case) all kinds of meat?

I often wonder about this too. It seems that one of the defining features of human biology is our ability to derive nourishment from a vast array of plant and animal foods so that our species thrives in all climates. So the general claim that humans "didn't evolve to eat X" which many people cite when eliminating a particualr food from their diet never made much sense to me. Seems like we evolved to eat whatever we could digest without it killing us in the process.

Yet I also know so many people who have eliminated one type of food or another and feel much better for it. Maybe each person just needs to figure out what works best for their own body. Or maybe just the act of eliminating one type of food makes a person more intentional overall about what they eat and a better diet and better health results, regardless of what particular food was eliminated.
4 weeks ago

John F Dean wrote:Concept wise, there was a cook book put out by Life Mag in the 50s.  The format still fascinates me.  First the was the bound book full of fantastic pictures, recipes, and stories.  Then there was the second volume. It was a paper back work book version of volume 1with all of the recipes on punch out index cards.

I love these too! They did a whole series of these of world cuisines; I have both parts (photo/culture book and recipe book) for Middle Eastern Cuisine, which includes regions from Greece to Iran and Egypt, and just the recipes for Japan and Russia.
1 month ago
Blanch then and chop them finely with fresh herbs.  Mix in just enough egg to coat, and your favorite seasonings. Fry in an oiled pan either as palm-sized "patties" or as one big round to cut into wedges.

You can also substitute chickpea flour for the egg.
1 month ago
Petticoats were women's underwear for much of history.  A cheaply-made underskirt that could be washed spearately from the outer garments.

Not useful with pants, though.
1 month ago
Maybe introduce some terriers?  

When you say "gopher" do you mean the little chipmunk-sized ground squirrels, or something larger?
2 months ago