Dian Green

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since Jul 08, 2023
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Southern Ontario, 6b
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Recent posts by Dian Green

I kept the syrup very simple. Just tons of cleaned blossoms, a pile of white sugar and a bit of water. Then heated on low and brought to a simmer so the sugar dissolved and then kept at that temp for maybe 5-10 mins then cooled. I've kept it in the fridge. I was hoping for more of candied product but the flowers also melted down and I got the syrup. It is quite heavily flavoured.
These were the flowers from the tree with the white Pom-Pom style flowers. I dried the larger petaled pink flowers. I found the white flowers more gingery than the pink. This was my first year with magnolias so everything was very experimental. ( next year pickling is also going to be tried)
5 days ago
I just made an experimental pie and it was such a winner I had to share.

Last year, the final crop in our old place from our Montmorancy sour cherry was huge. I cleaned and just froze several large batches. This past week one got pulled, thawed and cooked up.
Part was made into "pie filling". For this, I cook the cherries and juice, add in sugar, cornstarch, some Amaretto and splash of vanilla. Cooked to a thick sauce, it's the better version of the classic cherry pie filling.
In this case, I replaced some of the sugar with a chunk of the magnolia syrup I made this spring. It added a great boost to the cherry flavour and a wonderful extra depth and zing.

We had some cream cheese that needed to be used up so it was put in a bowl with vanilla, lemon zest, sugar and more of the magnolia syrup. Then I used a hand blender to get it smooth and added a bit of Birds custard powder, for thickener, then blended it again.

A deep dish pie plate was loaded with our fave egg/vinegar pie paste, then the cream cheese mixture and then an almost equal layer of the cherry filling. It got a top crust and then baked. ( 425 for 15 mins and then reduced to 350 for another 40 mins or so)

It was a bit messy due to how filled it was but the taste was incredible. Great warm, even better cold! It's like great cheesecake but doesn't have that overwhelming cheesiness you can get from actual cheesecake. I can't get over how well the magnolia flower flavour went with the sour cherry and cream cheese. I can't wait to try it with some other things and next year I'll be stripping the tree!

6 days ago
I do scratch pancakes fairly often and also don't bother with adding any fat to the batter. ( the 60+ year old recipe calls for about a tablespoon, but I stopped adding any 2+ decades ago) I rarely bother with any added sugar to the batter either since we love to soak in real maple syrup.
We usually use butter for the pan. Very little is needed with a good pan.
Buttermilk is wonderful, but yogurt works almost as well and still gives some tanginess.

I friend showed me the best way to add frozen berries which is by dropping them on to batter when they are just put in the pan. It avoids the whole muddy mess you get otherwise and let's us use our own fruit. We love our haskaps in them since they are pretty tart and help balance the syrup.

1 week ago
As the title says, I am wondering if anyone has any ideas if grouping kiwi with cucumbers and beans would be an issue and if grapes ( Concord types) will be fine with melons and beans.

We have a new property and I moved a bunch of things and was able to prep their spaces in the fall. The grapes and kiwi are planted with spacing for their eventual sizes, but that will take a few years. For now, it would be great to use that prepped space as well as their support arch for annual crops and I was hoping to do the combos above.
Any issues anyone knows about?
2 weeks ago
This is our first year at our property. Between what we moved and some buying, I now have a dozen mid sized hazelnuts. There was time in the fall to prep planting spots so they all have good surrounds with tons of leaf mold and wood chips.
Due to how much there is to deal with on the property, there is not a ton of space ready this year for annual food crops so I'm trying to mix as many things in with permanent stuff as possible.
The sizes of the hazels look like they should be able to make decent supports for pole beans or peas and I like the idea of giving them a nitrogen fixing friend for this first year.
Is there any reason that this would be bad for either of them? Of course, the hazels are higher value than the peas/beans so they are the primary concern.
2 weeks ago

r ranson wrote:

I'm curious about this.

The two lifts we had previously fit one human but wouldn't hold on to a box of wood or a laundry basket.  The arms and other safety features got in the way of non-human shaped items.  If we used it to carry the weight of the firewood, then we would have to walk up with it to stop the box falling off.

But that was neigh 10 years ago.  Maybe the technology has gotten better?

Ours has both foldable arms and seat and has a seatbelt built in. Our recycling bin and laundry baskets fit just fine. Those don't even need the belt to be stable. For a few of the moving boxes, we did need to use the belt, but not often. It would work for wood, but you might need to find the right size and shape of box for that.
We did pay extra to have the heavier duty version put in since we are not small and didn't want to risk the lower weight capacity.
The installation tech said he had quite a number of people who used it mainly for laundry/groceries since they could still walk the stairs but could no longer manage to carry anything too.
2 weeks ago
Just wanted to mention that you can use many of today's chair lifts as a dumb waiter as well as the lift. We needed one and ours gets used for shifting loads up and down as well people moving. It has a remotes at the top and bottom so you can run it as needed.
It also has a backup battery so will work through outages.
2 weeks ago
As I plan each year, and build up the permaculture plants, I keep trying to find more things and ways to eat/preserve stuff earlier.
What can we eat in the spring? Early June? We are far enough north that the bulk generally comes in aug/sept/oct, so as much as I can get us eating before then is helpful.
I chose my pear trees in the old place so they would have staggered ripening times, and that was vastly helpful. Summercrisp may not be the most exciting pears, but they are tasty, cook well and were typically ready before mid August. I'm totally getting another one for our new place.
I read about taking cabbage heads early, like mid/late June and then they set multiple, smaller ones for a second late harvest. It supposedly gives a net higher production but even if it's close, getting half of the crop early has value. I'll be trying it this year.
We'll start eating our kales by June. We love pea greens and very young green beans. Radish and kohlrabi tend to be fast growers and done early. Garlic scrapes are a big winner for us. I like to run them through the blender and freeze in pucks for garlic butter, soups and sauces. I'm putting in lots of squash so it's possible squash blossoms and baby squash will be on the menu.
We also try to have recipes that work for things like green tomatoes. In a bumper year, I have made the call to do a big batch of green tomato pickles or mincemeat to keep us from drowning in the ripe crop.
Also, food prices are nut here so at least I can always donate extras and know that they are helping others out.
If you are drowning, it might be worth offering some up online. If you are in any local groups, fb or otherwise, just post the excess and say you will consider trades or other offers. You might get some people who will process and give you back some finished goods.
It just seems worth a shot if you can not deal with it all right now.
2 weeks ago
Sunchokes should also be part of your plan. Amazing calories per acre on them and once they are in, you basically just harvest as needed.
I have sample a young leaf, since they are also high protein, but I found them pretty unpleasant, at least raw.
You may need to ease into eating them, or do more processing, such as fermenting due to their inulin levels. Otherwise they can cause some digestive distress.

Our place has come with a couple of redbuds so I'm going to try their young seed pods this year as well as the flowers.
3 weeks ago