Larisa Walk

+ Follow
since Jun 29, 2010
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand Pollinator Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Larisa Walk

I think it may be a predecessor to Presto? I remember about 40 years ago that there was a big Presto building along the highway in Eau Claire, WI. Maybe this was made there?
3 days ago

M James wrote:Larisa, I went to the library to look at the pdf and it really doesn't help me. I'm a very visual learner and need photos. The vagueness is a project killer for me. Step by step was what I was wanting.

I have no idea where to even start, but I'm really wanting to build that thing.


I suggest that you get someone with some construction knowledge to help you get this project off the ground. As Jay says in the next post, search out your materials first. If they don't match exactly, that's OK as long as the food trays aren't left partially uncovered and exposed to direct sun/rain/critters. The dryer will work even if the workmanship is poorly executed as long as the general principles are followed. It's really a matter of putting all the layers together to make heat from the sun and remove moisture from the food, all passively and as simply as possible.

Thanks to Jay for putting links in from others who have built dryers from our design. I think with those links there are sufficient pictures to get someone with building skills an idea of how to take your materials and put it together.

If you're in the SW Wisconsin area, the Driftless Folk School is offering a dryer building workshop later this month using our design.
5 days ago
Adding chick pea (or yellow pea) flour to boiling water is what I call "pealenta", the legume equivalent of making polenta with corn. I had thought that when it was described as a "tofu" it was a coagulated protein rather than a cooked starch. We use yellow peas for making miso rather than soy but there is no substantive difference in the process.
1 week ago

T Blankinship wrote:The other day I made some Chickpea Tofu. I think it is also called Myanmar-style tofu? I was looking at it and thought could this be a substitute for soy based tofu? The chickpea tofu was on the soft side and I have not tried to press the tofu to change the texture. Has anyone used this tofu in a recipe that called for soy based tofu? If so did it work?

Do you have a recipe for the chickpea tofu?
1 week ago
We currently have 3 hybrid bikes/trike. We are in the bluff country of SE Minnesota with very steep terrain (inclines up to 10% slope, often gravel, and over a mile long) and use hub motors, not mid-mount (friends with the mid-mount have to replace their chains frequently). The electric motor makes our topography "flat". If I only had to do a couple of miles in a physically nearly flat locale on good roads I wouldn't bother with the conversion since, whether you use it or not, you're always hauling around the weight of the motor and battery and thus will need the motor's assist more often than when you ride unencumbered. A recent conversion, including 1500 watt motor and 1 kW/Hr battery, cost a bit over $700 and a day's labor to install.
1 week ago

Jordan Holland wrote:Since that one was so easy, here's one a little harder:

Looks like it could be used as a carpet stretcher?
4 weeks ago

M James wrote:Do you know where I can get step by step instructions with pictures for this? I asked questions about that before I bought the book "feeding ourselves" which is why I believed it would have all that. It doesn't. It has a materials list and one very dark photo of the completed dehydrator. I'm not a happy camper.

I have my heart set on building and using the dehydrator this summer, so if anybody could point me in the right direction I'd appreciate it. It looks awesome.

Sorry our book left you unhappy. Here's a direct link to a PDF on our website that has complete photos of a workshop build of our design. The details are left "vague" so that people will utilize locally available materials for the most part. Once the basic concept is understood there are all sorts of possibilities for scrounging. For instance, we've seen dryers of our design built with glass shower doors, patio doors, and auto glass as a substitute for the polycarbonate glazing. Bamboo woven trays instead of stainless screens. As long as it's food safe and utilizes the basic principles of radiant heat and passive airflow it will do the job. The basic size recommendation of 4'x4' is based on both the dimensions of commonly available materials and a size large enough to produce adequate heating. A 2'x2' dryer is too small. One that is 2'x4' is marginally effective. The north/south dimension should be kept to around 4' as bigger would heat excessively, although one person in Italy did make a longer north/south one that sat atop a stone wall but it was only 2' wide east/west and apparently was working well for him. But another person in the southern U.S. made our dryer with shower doors, long dimension north south, and he burned peaches. He rebuilt it with the shorter dimension north/south, cut the peaches thicker, and it worked fine in his climate. The design is adaptible to local conditions but may take some experimentation and refinement if being built in areas other than the upper Midwest where it was developed and in use for over 35 years. I hope this helps. We're always willing to answer questions as they arise.
1 month ago
My dryer design works well for mushrooms even in early spring or late fall here in SE Minnesota. It doesn't take too much solar power to dry a low moisture product like 'shrooms. But it is better to put them out to dry (gill side up) in direct sunlight for a day or two to increase their vitamin D content many times over. Then into the solar dryer to finish them off. I seem to remember reading awhile back that Paul Stamets said that this process can also be done to already dried 'shrooms. I haven't tried that but I do know that if you lay out trays you need some window screening over them to keep the lightweight 'shrooms from blowing away. You can increase the efficiency of the dryer for more northerly regions by locating the dryer on the south side of a white wall to get a bit more solar reflected down onto the glazing. Also changing the tilt (within reason) to get a better angle for sun penetration of the glazing. You could get extreme with this and periodically track the sun by rotating the dryer during the day but I have never found that to be necessary in the 35+ years we've used this design. As to the chicken poop idea, dried chicken manure would be substantially a different end product than compost as you would cook out the volatile nitrogen and micro-organisms that would be present in a healthy compost. I wouldn't advise it unless you're aim is to bag and sell the finished product.
1 month ago

Rebecca Blake wrote:I’m such a beginner I had no idea what aftermordant was! The onion skins do sound like an easy first go at it. And I love coppery orange so I guess now I need to look up how to do it thank you!

A few years ago I gave a natural dye demo at a fiber farm tour. I only had 2 dye pots along for the day but ended up with 8 colors. I started off by making 8 small sample skeins for the demo. Half of these were mordanted in Alum before dyeing and marked by a knot at the end of the strand (I used a 30 day cold water soak in the mordant water). Half were left unmordanted. The dye baths were precooked and I put 2 skeins of wetted unmordanted and 2 skeins of alum mordanted wool in each dye pot a couple of days ahead of time and left them to soak. The day before the event I transferred the dye to gallon glass jars and placed 1 skein of unmordanted and 1 skein of alum mordanted from each dye bath and put them in another gallon glass jar along with some rusty hardware and some of the dye bath. So now I had 4 jars for the demo. I left them sitting in the sun until pulling out the skeins while giving my talk. Each jar had 2 slightly different colors from the alum versus no alum.  The colors were slightly more intense with the mordant, but I think the alum would over time hold up better than no mordant and be even more intense in the long run. The biggest color change was in the rusty iron hardware jars which originally were the same as the skeins left in the 2 original dye baths. I do most of my dyeing in the summer when I can set up jars in the sun to cook like sun tea and often leave wool in there for days if not weeks. Another trick I learned in reading some of India Flint's work is that "slow" dyeing also includes letting the fiber "age" after it comes from the dye bath. I no longer rinse it right away but let it dry and put it aside. Let it age like fine wine and rinse it before use even if that's months or years from when it was dyed.
2 months ago
While in general I'm on board with intentionally increasing the genetic diversity of garden crops, one that has left me particularly puzzled is beans. I see the pictures of very mixed looking beans and can't figure out how I would cook with them. We have over a dozen varieties that we keep separate mostly for their contributions in the kitchen. Some varieties are grown for specific recipes because of texture or flavor and differing cook times. Horticulturally different habits or harvest timing also comes into play. With a crop like corn it's easy to pick and sort cobs but with beans we grow over 100# a year and like to be able to thresh them rather than husk each pod individually. I think some of these cooking and eating notions influenced selections in the past and led to narrowing the genetic variability of named varieties. One way to deal with genetic bottlenecks and to keep a variety more "vibrant" is to occasionally swap some seed with another gardener/farmer growing the same variety but selected from their land. Hopefully this will introduce some genetics able to cope with differing environmental conditions while preserving the basic attributes of a variety.
2 months ago