Heather Holm

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since May 13, 2011
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Nova Scotia
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Recent posts by Heather Holm

Niki Jabbour has written another nice book about season extensions:

She is (and I am too) in zone 5b-6a in Nova Scotia, less challenging than the Laurentians where you are, admittedly. I made a little greenhouse out of an old swingset, and suspended row cover over the salad greens - if you figure out what and when to plant them so they're strong enough through the coldest weather. I've had salads at Christmas and Easter, if little between those dates, but sprouts or shoots grown indoors can fill that gap. A tunnel or greenhouse with row cover inside (as Eliot Coleman mentions) will boost your zone by 2 or 3. Lots of tomatoes are grown commercially in greenhouses in Nova Scotia.
1 year ago
SKIN - Ever since I took an evening massage course and the instructor extolled the benefits of almond oil for the skin, I used it on my face almost exclusively, happy to not buy smelly creams and lotions. More recently, a local entrepreneur has been making a pure, unscented shea butter product (may have coconut oil) which being post menopausal, I bought to use on my lady parts. It's very thick but warms on contact. I've been putting it on my face as well, and started applying it to the few patches of psoriasis that remain, and it seems to clear them up over time.

LIPS - I've always found commercial lip balms to cause my lips to crack even more unless reapplied constantly, to the point that I consider them something of a scam - although I note someone above said they had good experience with them. Starting in my late teens, I used Vaseline on my lips once a day when I went to bed. Now I use a local beeswax-based product similar to the recipe described above. Much nicer. Burt's Bees is close enough if that's all you can get. And I still just use it once a day. I might use it more often if I were in a hot dry climate, but once a day is generally enough even in an eastern Canadian winter.
5 years ago
I saw a fancy peppercorn mix for the pepper grinder, and one of the ingredients was coriander, something that easily goes to seed and which I'll never have to plant again. So I mixed some with black peppercorns in my grinder. I should try it on its own. Doesn't taste like pepper, but for the kinesthetic FEEL of grinding something on your supper, it might help, kind of like a reformed smoker chewing gum.
5 years ago
I used an old swingset and scrap wood to make mine 4 winters ago. It's still there. I'm patching the plastic now with that sticky red construction tape, and when I finally am forced to replace the plastic, I'll build a frame for the sunny side, as I mention at the bottom of the article here:


6 years ago
How to keep it out of the mouths of babes: The Candy Fairy!

From my blog:

If you ever saw the movie Elf, you know that Santa’s elves live on candy. “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup,” Buddy the Elf explains.

Don’t you think Santa’s kitchen must run low on supplies before Christmas Eve?

Not if the Candy Fairy can help it. She’s a sister of the Tooth Fairy, and she works for Santa Claus.

If, and only if, your parents are well connected, she will come to your house while you sleep on Halloween night – if you can sleep after eating all that sugar – and in exchange for a BIG pile of candy, she’ll leave you an early Christmas present from Santa’s workshop.

She’ll let you keep your favourites – maybe you want to keep the chips and the chocolate bars. You decide. She’ll take the rest and leave you a cool toy.

Ask your parents if they know the Candy Fairy.


Of course, that doesn't answer the question of what to do with it if the Candy Fairy doesn't show up and take it away.
7 years ago
Sleep has been the Holy Grail at our house. Here are some things we've learned/used.

1. Since menopause, I have had a hard time sleeping if I've had sugar and/or chocolate late in the day. Or I might get to sleep then wake up at 3 am restless. Some other women I've talked to have had the same experience.
2. My husband used to talk about catching the train - the sleep train. If you miss the wave of sleepiness, it's harder to get on board later.
3. Valerian. I have some in the garden, but we just buy capsules at the drugstore. Take enough. Then catch the train.
4. Recently we've been discovering ayurvedic herbs such as Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Ashwaganda which help with relaxation and stress.
5. I've had trouble with some herbs like Ginseng and Yerba Mate which stimulated me too much and kept me from sleeping, so experiment.
6. Sometimes a little exercise helps get rid of the excess fuel in the body (perhaps from too much sugar in the evening as in item 1). We have an exercise bike, but a walk might help.
7. I know sleep experts say to keep technology out of the bedroom, but since getting a smartphone a year ago, I've had great success quieting or distracting my worried mind by listening to hour-long talks on YouTube by soft-voiced spiritual or meditation teachers. They put me to sleep even if I want to listen to what they're saying. If sharing a bed I use earbuds. My favourites are Matt Kahn and Rupert Spira, but you can find your own.
8. Finally, if the mind is distracted and the body is restless (perhaps from too much sugar in the evening as in item 1), an orgasm works wonders, whether self-induced or assisted. It reboots the system.
7 years ago
Buckwheat greens (flowers too) are totally edible and tasty. I put them in salads and smoothies. If they go to seed, you can cook the seeds too, though I haven't tried to get the black hulls off. Dark buckwheat flour that you buy has dark specks in it, so I think they must grind it with the hulls. A friend did so, and shared a photo of the resulting pancakes on Facebook.
7 years ago
Last summer I tried growing a few stalks of sorghum again, starting them indoors, and learned how anemic the previous results (photo above) had been. The heads were fuller and there were side branches. I removed the side branches to give the main stocks the best chance of maturing. And then in October, around the time we were starting to get more frost, the seed heads on the best plant filled out and got round, more like Holly's photo above. Tasting the grains, they were quite sweet.

My conclusion is that at my location near a bay off the Atlantic Ocean, we don't have enough heat to grow it efficiently. Further inland in Nova Scotia it might be possible, however; we're usually a few degrees cooler than even a short distance inland.

8 years ago
(1) Put a "Find us on Facebook" graphic with a link to the Facebook Page in the header of the forum so that it appears on every page, plus one on the homepage (not just a share-on-FB button as is there now, which is fine, but you need another link to YOUR page).
(2) Put a link to the Facebook Page in the footer of all your dailyish emails.

Those are the first two basic things to do that I see are missing. (I'm a web designer.)

Then make posts similar to the dailyish email - one topic at a time.
I'm in Nova Scotia, zone 5b or 6a but in a rather cool location near the ocean. Last year, I got some Mennonite Sorghum seeds from AnnapolisSeeds.com, which is located in a warmer part of Nova Scotia. I like sorghum flour for gluten-free baking, so wanted to get to know the plant better.

I started a few indoors under lights then planted them out in a bed which definitely lacks fertility. They grew slowly but got to be 6 ft tall. They eventually flopped over in a wind-and-rain storm in November (picture), so I harvested the grain heads. I haven't tried eating it yet (it's sitting in a jar looking pretty), but I'm intrigued by the idea of popping. I chewed on a stem and it was definitely sweet, but it was obvious that I'd need some kind of press to get anything useful out of it. I've started another small batch indoors and will find a better place for them.

8 years ago