Richard Kastanie

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since May 26, 2010
Missouri Ozarks
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Recent posts by Richard Kastanie

Flagstaff Arizona is at 7000 feet in elevation. It's quite a different climate from the hot deserts of Arizona. According to Wikipedia, average summer high temperatures there are around 80 degrees, with an average nighttime low of around 50. Low humidity, sounds like a very nice place to be in the summer. I can't say exactly when potatoes would be harvested there, it would depend on the variety too, but I'd imagine in the fall, maybe late summer, because there's a short season up that high and I don't think they'd be mature before then.
1 month ago
Science as a method is a very useful and powerful tool and has brought us many things. Like any tool used by humans, it can be used well or poorly, for good or ill intentions, corrupted by those with money, power and influence, and simply subject to fad and whims of egos of humans as so much else is. That's why especially when it comes to what I put into my body, I want the freedom to make my own choices, using experience of myself and others as well as science. I appreciate many things that the scientific method has brought me, but when I hear people use science as an excuse for authoritarianism (people all need to do X because science), I have the same negative reaction as I do when I hear religious authoritarians try to force everyone into their idea of religious morality. Not that anyone in this thread is doing that, this thread seems entirely reasonable to me, but I've been hearing that a lot in the last few years. Not only are there the issues of human imperfection and corruption already mentioned, there's also the issue that our bodies are not all the same. If some food or medicine is helpful for 80% of the general population, or of the population of those with a particular diagnosis, but deleterious for the other 20%, then those in the 20% will get a raw deal following recommendations from science that comes from studies of the whole population, even if the science is flawless. Experience and intuition can give us a lot of knowledge about our bodies that science hasn't figured out completely.

All of us take risks every day as a fact of life. Those who take the risks that society encourages and get the short end of the stick are usually absolved of any blame, after all they were doing everything they "should". Even by mainstream estimates, medical error is a leading cause of death. However as soon as someone takes risks that society discourages and meets with failure, they are often widely scolded and ridiculed, even if many others took similar paths with good results. The results of the path myself of anyone else is taking won't be known until it's over, even if he have educated guesses. People making different choices gives all of us more examples in our lives to either emulate or to spurn. If you accept evolution (as I do) then natural selection will sort it out.
1 month ago
I can taste a lot of difference between many of the blueberry varieties that I have. Pink lemonade is the most unique, but the blue ones have plenty of diversity too. I am able to grow rabbiteye, southern highbush and northern highbush varieties here, and a variety of cultivars of each. I don't notice as much difference between the different northern highbush varieties as the others. There's quite a bit of difference in flavor between the two southern highbush cultivars that I have the most of, Ozarkblue and Summit. I particularly like the rabbiteye blueberries, which have a distinctly different flavor and texture to me from the highbush types, although rabbiteye types tend to be more finicky about waiting until they're fully ripe. If picked too early they will be mealy and lack a full flavor. The variety Tifblue in particular, which I like for its heavy yields and having berries later in the season than any other variety I have, is also annoying in having berries that appear blue but aren't really ripe yet. If they don't pull off easily, they need more time. This is also true for the highbush varieties, but most of the highbush varieties have more leeway in being picked a little under-ripe, they will be more tart but still good. An advantage of rabbiteye varieties is that they don't need to be picked as often. I can pick many of them only every 5-7 days when they're ripening and get more fully ripe fruit that way, with only minor losses to fruit drop. My highbush plants need to be picked more often or there'd be greater losses of fruit to the ground.
2 months ago
I have two small honeyberries that I planted in a spot with some afternoon shade two years ago. They have survived but not grown much, they don't like a southern Missouri summer much, which is similar in heat to most of North Carolina outside of the mountains, even though a colder winter puts us in zone 6b. The USDA zones say nothing about summer conditions. Western Oregon and Belgium are much cooler in the summer than Missouri and North Carolina despite the lack of winter extremes in the more maritime areas.
4 months ago
An update: Very low production this year. The plant that produced well last year had only a couple dozen nuts on it, a few other plants had a small crop but nothing major, even though the plants still look quite healthy.
5 months ago
According to this article, there are at least some Kenyans looking to bring back traditional nourishing foods. I don't know if any of these people are anywhere near you, Maureen, but if so you may be able to find others with similar values.

Weston A. Price Foundation Visit to Kenya
5 months ago
I should have been more clear in my last post, I don't mean to dismiss any concerns about negative reactions. I've only had the berries raw in small quantities myself, never had more since I wasn't particularly fond of the taste of them raw. I could very well have had a bad reaction to them in larger quantities as well. Even the commonly eaten nightshade family plants don't sit well with certain people, and I've had my share of food intolerances too like with pawpaws which I shared on this thread. Sam Thayer has in general proven a pretty reliable resource for me, and I think the toxicity concerns he's addressing are more from people who've claimed it's extremely poisonous through confusion with belladonna, but like with any food its good to trust what our bodies tell us. After hearing Joseph's experience, I'd think it best to try it in small quantities first. Cooked berries may be more easily tolerated than raw ones as well.
6 months ago
Sam Thayer has written a good deal about black nightshade at this page. It is used extensively as a food plant in many places of the world, reported poisonings can be traced back to misidentification, usually with belladonna (which is the plant the deserves the name "deadly nightshade", but they are pretty easily distinguished from each other.
6 months ago
You might want to get in contact with Nat Larson at The Draw He's not too far from Ashland and has quite a permaculture project going.
6 months ago
I can't see from that view whether the leaves are opposite or alternate. Milkweed and honeysuckle both have opposite leaves. I think what you have may be sprouts of American Persimmon. If so, the leaves will be alternate, and the patch of sprouts will most likely be coming from the same base. Persimmon spreads readily by suckers, but they tend to space themselves out a bit.
8 months ago