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Jessa Hunt

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since May 13, 2019
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cat tiny house urban
Portlandish OR
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Recent posts by Jessa Hunt

Jay Angler wrote:I can't choose a favourite, so I'll just mention one I've always admired even though it has its downsides - I think Monkey Puzzle trees are neat! (Araucaria araucana). I've planted one, but I know it won't likely fruit until I'm gone but they do produce edible nuts if you're lucky enough to have planted a female. On the plus side, the deer don't eat them. On the downside, the reason the deer don't eat them is because they're *really* prickly.

I second the Monkey Puzzle, or any of it's relatives really. I love all trees, and I'm going to have a huge mix - including a few new to me mentioned in this thread - but I absolutely must hunt down one of these dinosaur trees when I get a place for it. Probably add a few other 'ancient' plants to the same area and add a velociraptor version of a pink flamingo stick just for fun.
1 month ago
I browse the Zillow listings about once a month, have for the past year or so. I have a few requirements, and I just poke around the map and look at things. Obviously, the man price factor is Location. Closer to metro areas you end up with inflated insane prices. Any time I see what 'ought' to be a nice bit of land for a low price near or in town, I wonder what's wrong with it.

Which is important to pay attention to.  One of the lots I'd fallen in love with, within budget and against protected woods, I find out after someone tried to buy it and it went back on the market - it's an incredibly steep lot with no current access from a road. Probably building costs are prohibitive.

Another lot I thought was amazing, turns out it's "recreation only" so no permanent residence. Another was "wetland" and not buildable, period.  Then there was a lovely collection of acres for a nice price - but it was zoned for Farming only, no residence.

So price depends on a lot of things. Location may be key, but BUILDABILITY is kind of important. If I can't legally live there, then it doesn't matter how cheap it is, it's worthless to me.
I hope to find something close enough to still commute to work within a year or so. Eh, we'll see.
1 month ago
Ah, I know what they're doing! I've seen the Japanese instructions for this. Those must be Ume - which are somehow always translated as plums, but are actually closer to being apricots?  The first set of jars you put the green ume in layers with salt. In Japan they also add some red Shiso leaves or such to dye the salted plums red. Those end up as the ubiquitous salt pickled plums you see in classic Bento rice as Umeboshi.

The second set of jars are layered with rock sugar and a hard liqour (soju/shochu) is poured over. The plum wine is ready by the next year's ume harvest.

I've always wanted to try this, but can't get my hands on Ume plums. I never hear of uses for the ripe plums, vaguely remember hearing they weren't so good?
Wiki page has a lot of quick info on that type of plum.

Now I'm going to have to look into this again with an eye to using whatever I have on hand. Fruit liquor and salt pickles!

-edit to add-
HAD to know, so searched for making umeboshi with regular plums and found this, so now I have a new project!
1 month ago
Hm, so far a Pepper plant died of aphids on the growing tip, and the Shiso I planted next to it is ALMOST dead by my own hand after spraying with alcohol to try to control the aphids. I forgot to dilute properly. It's still trooping, so I hope for seeds if not delicious leaves for wraps. My crookneck squash isn't dead but it's not really growing either. Zuc-Zilla in the next pot over is demanding a trellis already, but the crookneck mound is like the size of half a basketball. Lots of buds, but... the leaves are still small and I worry.

I have terrible growing conditions on a tiny balcony shaded by a large tree.  Got a grow light to put in the porch fixture and on cloudy days I put the squash pot up on a stand under the light to try and give it as much light as possible.

Everything else seems to be doing pretty well, considering! Only one and a half dead things, but it's early yet. If my cat gets out unsupervised, there will be certain casualties. She digs and pulls leaves off for fun.
Voted. It said there were four hours left to vote, so I hope enough people get to it in time.
1 month ago
I recently saw an interesting version of a self-watering pot that used short chunks of wood as wicks. Like 2-4" round branches cut short to fit. I cannot for the life of me remember where I saw that, sadly.

I do remember wondering how well it would work, and putting it on next years balcony garden experiment list.
1 month ago
Oddly enough, I have JUST got to the chapter relating to this in Sepp Holzer's Permaculture book that I got recently for my kindle reader.
I think it's required reading for this forum, so I'd be surprised if you didn't have a copy too. In book, it's referred to as liquid fertilizer and seems to be a naturally fermented tea made from just about any plant that seems to have good nutrients you want to pass along.

I'll have to re-read the chapter now, I wasn't really paying attention since I was powering through, just noted in my head for 'later' when I have something other than a tiny shaded balcony to play with.  I was fascinated by the description enough to remember where I'd heard of tea fertilizer when I saw your question. I hope that helps at all, I know my description was very vague.
2 months ago
I've been considering a bidet seat upgrade to my toilet for a while. Found a recommended one on the Evil Empire of Amazon that I like. link for reference
I started out with the cheaper version on my wishlist, and then read the comparison information and reviews from the deluxe version that required a slight amount of work to hook up to the hot water line. With temperature control, there's no freeze ray in winter. Worth the extra ten bucks imo.  
Only reason I haven't bought it yet is because I'm in a rental that I'm not sure if we're staying in for another year or if they're going to raise our rent enough to make me want to leave. Not wanting to install twice in a short period of time.

Most of the reviews that refer to drying off just use a small amount of tp. I'm considering a personal washcloth, but eh. We'll see.
2 months ago
What if you used a mix of pasteurized and raw to get the grains used to the raw before phasing out the pasteurized stuff?
I have no practical experience to base this on, but it seems like it would work.

Just staring out with kefir myself, and I'd love to do a whole milk version, but alas I am suburban with no access to fresh real milk. Otherwise I'd try it out myself and report back. ;-)
2 months ago
I've been seriously considering a kit-home. There's several companies that do log-cabin style kits, but that's not my cup of tea so I didn't save those links.
The company I'll probably go with is - I am attracted to the polished GoodFit series by an architect who specializes in small homes, but if I do a little more design work myself I could save even more with a basic kit I think. They swear that you don't need any cranes or large equipment to put their kits together. Just a couple of able bodied people, no carpentry knowledge needed. I imagine I'll have to get some help, I have no head for heights.
They quoted me 6k for shipping from MA to the Portland, OR area, and depending on the kit, from 45-60k for the kit. That includes roofing and siding, but not doors and windows - and of course nothing is finished inside.

I've lived in a manufactured home before, and while I didn't mind it, I just never felt like it was a House? I also want to customize my own kitchen, don't want a dining room... Most of the modulars and manufactureds on the market right now are more of a 'pick your colors' on existing floor plans that don't make me happy.

It's still a long ways out, since no matter which way I end up going I have to have the money saved up first. And find land. And the money for the land. I have hopes but I'm not betting it's anytime in the next two years. Either we'll find a plot with a house that works ok, or we'll probably do the kit.
2 months ago