Larisa Walk

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since Jun 29, 2010
South of Winona, Minnesota
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Recent posts by Larisa Walk

We washed clothes for many years with the plunger and hand wringer method (wringer was the same as the kind that Lehman's Hardware sell). I also grew up using a wringer washer with my mom. An important note is that wringers are hard on textiles and buttons, particularly if you aren't careful in how you feed stuff through it. And the clothes don't get as dry as with a centrifugal spin. We still use a plunger to augment our very small Haier washing machine. Its main contribution to laundry processing is the spin cycles. The Haier was $180 new a few years ago and was small enough to fit in our Geo Metro at the time. BTW, we are off grid and have a rainwater cistern so energy and water conservation are very important to us in setting up our systems.
1 week ago
This dryer (see website below) is soooo much simpler and has worked since 1985. It will dry herbs in a few hours and most everything else in 1-2 sunny days.
http://geopathfinder.com/Solar-Food-Drying.html
2 weeks ago
I've been trying to figure out how to turn textile waste into paper (to be used in collage art projects) without a Hollander beater. The blender by itself doesn't do enough. I'm thinking of using a disposal but wondering if it's worth the bother?
I think the main issue with Carol's seeds, or lack thereof, is lack of communication. Most growers can understand crop failures, health problems that interfere with the physical demands of farming, etc., etc. If Carol, or someone that is helping her out, would update her website "News" it would be immensely helpful, both for those who are awaiting seed from previous orders and for smoothing the reentry into seed sales, if that is what Carol plans to do eventually. Then everyone can patiently wait rather than fretting, knowing what the plan is. This may help with getting the word out rather than trying to catch up on a backlog of missed communication one by one.
We mill whole buckwheat with our Diamant flour mill with metal plates. The hulls mostly flake off and our sifted out with an ordinary flour sifter. Small particles of hull add fiber to the flour and are not a problem for us. We use buckwheat flour in many recipes as we don't eat gluten grains. Did you know that you can make wraps with buckwheat flour?The only way we've been successful with home grown sunflower seeds is to use them for sprouting in shallow trays of soil. They don't need to be hulled for that.
4 weeks ago
We use a 12V electric heater element in a standard 10 gallon tank. It can either run as a divert load on the PV system or be manually switched on to get hot water when the system isn't diverting. The water gets heated to about 155*F, at which point we shut it off to avoid boiling it off (we have a digital thermometer placed against the mid point on the side of the tank under the insulation to monitor it). When diluted with cold water, that 10 gallon tank yields more hot water than its small size would when run normally, but you have to know that straight hot water from the tap is too intense. Normally we heat water by PV for at least 8-9 months of the year. In the winter months we have a 1/2" copper coil around our masonry stove's flue pipe that connects to the same tank. We don't have hot water 24/7 but work around weather and stove use and have plenty for our modest means. You can see more about our systems at http://geopathfinder.com/Solar-Electricity.html
1 month ago
I don't wear anything that is knitted as it's too clingy to the skin when damp with sweat. Same goes for synthetics which I wouldn't buy even if they outperformed natural fibers. It's very humid here in Minnesota. I like an open-weave or seer-sucker weave shirt of cotton or linen/hemp. Long sleeves for sun protection until it's too hot. Prefer skirts all year, especially in the summer where they shade my legs, let air circulate, and swish the bugs away. When really hot I like a dress as then there's no tight spot around my waist. For hats, woven straw or cotton with a wide brim keeps the sun off my head and face. If it's really hot, a hat can be worn wet. I feel naked without a hat. Summer clothing criteria: shade from sun, light in color, breathable, insect barrier, loose-fitting. Big pockets are handy but an apron with pockets can always be added when harvesting or planting.
We prefer cast iron in our sun oven. If you have a dark colored Le Creuset all the better but ceramic casseroles also work nicely, as do brown or blue glass, although they let in too much light onto veggies for my liking. Enameled ware does work but its fragile nature makes it short-lived. We had a 3 qt. pot that came with our oven and it's now been downgraded to a waste receptacle. A blackened stainless steel pot will work if you've nothing else. I wouldn't blacken the inside since it might come off in the food. The nice thing about cast iron or pottery vessels is that they have thermal mass and so will help hold heat longer to even out the cook, particularly if the sun intensity is interrupted by passing puffy clouds.
1 month ago

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

L Munro wrote:would you recommend we continue waiting for a 2018 seed listing or change plans and make our US orders from one of the other Oregon seed houses who carry some of Carols excellent varieties?



Until further developments, I'd recommend alternate sources. Many of Carol's varieties are carried by growers with the open seed source initiative: http://osseeds.org



Sorry to hear this. I was really hoping to grow Carol's Goldini Zucchini. I contacted OSSI and it appears that she is the only source on that seed which she just introduced in the past year. Do you know of another source for this variety?

Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:

Wes Hunter wrote:
And to "save" $150 per year, you probably ought to take into consideration cost of building a solar dehydrator and cost of purchasing electric ones, plus upkeep on both options.  Of course there are many variables (Did you buy electric ones new? On sale?  Were they given to you?  Did you purchase all new materials for a solar one?  Use scraps already lying around?), but that might at least ensure you're comparing apples to apples.




I think bringing up that you need to build a dehydrator is fair but I think it's still quite a bit cheaper to build one with new materials than buying multiple electric ones at full price that may have some planned obsolescence built into them. Build a good solar dehydrator, take good care of it, and I think that puppy will cost very little when amortized over its lifetime.



Interesting points being discussed here. Our dryer design can accommodate used stuff, although we do advocate for taking the plunge and investing in stainless steel screen for food safety reasons. The cost of materials per square foot of drying space, even if all new, is less than any commercial electric model we've seen. Since there are no operating costs over its lifetime (use the free nuke in the sky;>), every year it's used the savings just pile up. Put it in a shed over the winter and it will last even longer with very little maintenance.
2 months ago