Jess Dee

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since Mar 10, 2011
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Prairie Canada zone 2/3
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Recent posts by Jess Dee

My totally unscientific opinion is that a certain level of cleanliness is really important - for instance, keeping the kitchen clean enough to avoid food poisoning, washing hands after using the toilet, not pooping in your drinking water, keeping pests out of clothing, skin, hair, and food, etc.  Beyond that, I suspect it's not *as* helpful, to a point (diminishing returns), then tips over into being unhealthy at a later point.  Where those points are, exactly, are probably open to debate.  Where you live also probably plays into it - in cool, dry areas, you probably need to wash things less than in hot, humid environments, due to mildew, molds, bacterial reproduction rate, etc.  

Personally, I think that drenching your house in toxic 'cleaners' in an effort to sterilize your environment has clearly crossed the 'unhealthy' line, but there are a lot of other things where you could make debate.  My husband thought I did laundry (particularly sheets and towels) too often.  They aren't being washed in anything particularly nasty (soap nuts), but he has correctly pointed out that we could spend that time and water on other things, so there is the financial/mental health/work-life balance aspect to consider, as well.  
10 months ago
I make my own vinegar-based pickles, and most of them are not dill, but we use the brine from pickled peppers and pickled plums as a marinade for pork chops for the BBQ.  We've also used them to pickle eggs from time to time.
10 months ago
My experience with nuts in general is that if they are no longer good to eat, you'll know as soon as you bite into your first one, even if they do somehow pass a 'sniff test'.  They tend to smell pretty strongly to me if they are rancid, but I've been told I have an overly sensitive nose, so this may not work for everyone.  They are not (immediate) poison if they are rancid - rancid food isn't good to eat a lot of, but chewing up one nut and spitting it out is not a big deal, so that is how I would choose to test them - sniff first, then taste.
10 months ago
We grow a lot of winter squash.  Over the years, we've found that we can substitute winter squash for sweet potato in most recipes, so that might be a good starting point for you.  Our favorite squash recipes are stuffed pumpkin (stuffed with rice, sausage, onions, and celery, and seasoned with poultry seasoning and sage), squash tortilla casserole (we use a mixture of cubed squash, corn, black beans, and enchalada sauce, layered, lasagna-style, between layers of tortillas, with cheese shredded over top, then baked), and squash-and-spinach fritatta, with feta cheese, onion, and Italian seasoning for flavors.  
1 year ago

Trace Oswald wrote: I grow those cherries as well. I have Carmen jewel, romeo, and juliet varieties. They are bush cherries, and while they are considered sour cherries, they have high sugar content and are supposed to be very good for fresh eating. Mine aren't producing yet so I can't comment on that. Uni of S says they are zone 2 hardy.

I have all three of those, plus Crimson Passion, and some are bearing for me.  They are not sweet - there is a lot of marketing going on there.  They may have high brix (sugar content) scores, but they also have a lot of acid, and are definitely tart/sour to taste.  I will eat a few out of hand, but then again I will eat a few chokecherries out of hand, too, when I'm picking them.  They're not like a Bing, where you can gorge on them.  The high brix makes them great for wine, though, and they have that strong cherry flavor that makes amazing pies.  Canned with sugar, I'm happy to eat bowlfuls, too.  If I could grow sweet cherries, I would still grow some of these for canning, jelly, and wine.   I have 3 that are bearing, and have since planted 5 or 6 more, which tells you what I think of them, overall, I guess.  

They are definitely cold hardy, though they sulk in droughts.  Their root system must be relatively shallow.  
3 years ago

Meg Knox wrote:

I'd actually be really interested in fucking with some strange apple types. I read an excerpt from Michael Pollan's book The Botany of Desire, and learned a bit about apple diversity. There are so many bizarre apple types we've never seen, and every seed is unique! And apparently there's a guy who will send you random seeds for free, so why not! I figure some might be inedible (as very very many are considered), but might serve well as apple cider vinegar for cosmetic use or something. That's kind of my attitude with the whole place honestly: Fuck around and find out. I'm just looking to try out anything, and see what I can make of it.

Very excited to get started on my lil experiment, and very much appreciate the advice.

There's a Canadian fruit tree supplier who sells seedlings of wild apples (malus sieversii).  I planted 5 in zone 2/3 Saskatchewan, and 2 survived to the tips; the other three had varying degrees of winter damage, but survived.  So that might be interesting to you, as they'd have a good shot at being fully hardy for you.  The place is called Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery.  If you plant an apple seed and don't like the fruit, you can also graft other apples to the branches, so it's not really a waste.  

You might do okay with the University of Saskatchewan dwarf sour cherries, too.  They are really nice for making pies, jelly, and wine, and they're quite tough.  I can give you a whole list of what I'm able to grow, and I'm sure your frost-free season is longer than mine, though I don't know what kind of heat you'd get in the summer for ripening fruit.  Zone 5, though - you should have decent options.  
3 years ago
Concrete can also leach 'stuff'.  We have a below-ground concrete cistern in a cold climate (Canada).  We haul treated city water to use.  After it's sat in the tank for a while, it leaches 'stuff', that it deposits wherever the water sits for any length of time, like toilet tanks and such.  It dissolves easily enough with vinegar, but it's a nuisance to clean, and hard on the plumbing, I suspect.  
3 years ago

Carla Burke wrote:
Unfortunately, not so much.

I'd like to throw another option out there. A cheap wood burning tool is easy to use, and if you burn deeply, it's very difficult to sand off, and even under heavy paint, the changed texture is difficult to hide. A cheap engraving tool can do the same on solid metal tools

That's too bad.  At this point, I rarely do work at other people's places, and equally rarely have outside help here, so it's not really an issue anymore.  I would still be tempted to use hot pink paint, though.  Easier to 'see' the tools wandering off, if you know what I mean.
3 years ago

Remelle Burton wrote:

Jess Dee wrote:I know at various times, I've threatened to paint all the tool handles hot pink, due to tool losses.  I don't think I could pick just one favorite tool, myself.  I have favorite tools for specific jobs, though, for sure!

I have had to do this in the field (oil and gas patch) since the boys seem to like 'borrowing' the closest tools and don't use their own.  I switched to pink buckets, pink camo tools and I paint everything pink.  they got wise to me and brought a can of black spray paint to go over my pink.  Now I just lock things up.  I didn't mind them using them, but when they'd dropped my 2# sledges down the 'hole' more than 3 times, I got over having to supply that subcontractor any more tools.   It definitely was easier to find my tools in a snow storm though.  

I had a particular brand of (very expensive) hammer that was really nicely balanced for me.  I "lost" several of them on various construction projects at friends' and colleagues' houses (and garages).  That's when the pink handle threat started.  At the time, tools that came with pink handles from the store were not good quality.  Things have probably gotten better since then.
3 years ago
I know at various times, I've threatened to paint all the tool handles hot pink, due to tool losses.  I don't think I could pick just one favorite tool, myself.  I have favorite tools for specific jobs, though, for sure!
3 years ago