Thekla McDaniels

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since Aug 23, 2011
Thekla has been studying soil life and the process of soil development since 1965, also, the then new idea that fossil fuels were a limited resource.  She currently farms 2 1/2 acres of what used to be fine grained blowing desert sand but is now 4 inch deep soil, and counting!
Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Recent posts by Thekla McDaniels

Dianne Justeen wrote:Great list!  I'm planning on growing Black Cumin this year.  I thought it was only Nigella seeds but now found it's also Bunium bulbocastanum.  Thus the problem with common names.  Anyone know which one is the medicinal one?  Any tips about growing either?

From my experience Nigella is medicinal "black cumin", but I know nothing about  Bunium bulbocastinum. It might be another good "heart herb".

As for growing it, Nigella, also called love in a mist is very easy to grow.  I used it for a substitute weed for many years.  I put lots of seeds in and on the ground, and in the spring, they germinated, made a very strong stand, which made it difficult for other seeds from the latent seed bank to germinate.

Nigella has a very shallow root system, so is very easy to pull up and out of the way when you want the space for something else.
1 week ago

Melba Streiff wrote:Welcome John!

I’ve had firsthand experience using elderberry juice (along with a few drops of peppermint) to cure pneumonia, both in myself and my livestock.  Had a prized Nubian buck down with pneumonia (he had been standing in the cold rain bleating to the does in heat from his paddock), and thought I was losing him.  Gave him a syringe full of elderberry juice, about 6 oz. with the peppermint in it and in minutes he was up, and in a few hours he was not only up and breathing ok, but running back out to do a repeat performance which made him sick to begin with.  Ended up locking him in his stall any time it was cold and raining.  Never seen it fail to work, and took about 36 hours for a complete cure.  I’m a naturopath and truly believe in the healing power of plants.  

Hi Melba,
I am very interested in your elderberry peppermint cure.  What form of peppermint did you use?  Tea from the leaf? Essential oil?  or ?

2 weeks ago
Let's talk about it in terms of a few variables.  

The age of the cutting:  it might be last years' twig, so it would not be the age of the tree, in years since the seed germinated that gave rise to the tree, it would be a 1 year old twig.

Some fruits have a minimum age before they fruit, and in that, the cutting usually shares the parent tree's status.  If the parent tree is fruiting, then the cutting will not need to attain that physical age before it fruits.

Then comes the other consideration mentioned above, that the rooted or grafted cutting will need to be large enough to support the ripening fruit, and it will need to have physiological capability to support the whole process.  For the time when the rooted or grafting cutting is in the process of becoming, then the plant will dedicate itself to vegetative growth.

These variables are all interconnected, but they are also functioning independently, that's how I look at it.
2 weeks ago
Wow, so many replies already! Thanks

I have steam extracted fresh elder berries for the juice, and know many who make elderberry tea and syrup.  I can't  think of any "raw" uses, so maybe we are already protected by cultural dos and don'ts.

I was really wondering if there were any identified varieties or species that are considered safe for raw ingestion, or any that were considered UNSAFE whether cooked or not, like red elderberries, blue elderberries, Canadian, European, and American elderberries, ornamental, lace-leaf, and dozens of horticultural cultivars.

I am glad to know it is cooked or uncooked that divides toxic from nontoxic

again, thanks
3 weeks ago
Hi John, so glad to have an elderberry reference visiting!  I have shopped for elderberry plants to buy, with the idea of harvesting them for my own use.  I find disclaimers and warnings about the toxicity of all parts of the plant, toxicity of some varieties, toxicity of any uncooked part of the plant, and so on.  Can you clarify this issue for me?  Surely a plant with such a long history of human use must have some easy rules for us to follow, to keep us safe.  Or are all these warnings more a reflection of nurseries' concerns of liability?

Many thanks,
3 weeks ago
Split insurance and utilities, (estimated $200.per month) plus $200 per month rent.  The total space is ~500 square feet on Main Sreet in Collbran, Colorado.

Collbran is an old town about an hour's drive from Grand Junction, Colorado.  Elevation 6125 feet.  We have a Post office, hardware store, library, feed store, gas station with convenience store, small independently owned grocery store, mechanic shop, rodeo grounds, community center , a bank with ATM, a cafe and a tavern and a drive in.  We have a motel, and several air B&B.  The only business that is not locally owned is the bank, it is a branch of a Grand Junction bank, (but the town owns the building).  We are uptown!  I estimate the population of town and outlying area of "Plateau Valley" to be around 1000 people.

There are lots of hunters in the fall, but the area is primarily agricultural

It would be a good space for someone with a business that ships their goods, or a fishing supplies shop, as we are on the route to Vega Resevoir, a fishing destination.

An online business might be a good fit.

We have had a retail specialty food shop open 3 days per week and staffed by volunteers in the space since May, and it has been very successful.  The building sold and we cannot generate the income to meet the new owner's rent on our own.  The townspeople are disappointed that we may have to close, and we are trying to find someone who would partner with us in the space and costs of the space.  Anything that is compatible with food could work.

What's in the store now:  local foods, and crafts, some foods required by the food stamp program for us to qualify for that, books by local authors, merchandise sold by the historical society and local cattlewomen's association.  In season, we have local organic produce.

If this piques your curiosity PM me and I can answer more questions, and give you contact information for the building owner, AND the head of our existing business undertaking.

3 weeks ago
Nettles!  Not fruit but so tasty and nutritious, and such abundance where I am..

Hawthorne "berries" may be 'boring' but they are great for the circulatory system, and can be added to tea, herbal or otherwise, can be added to a batch of  jelly if you make jelly!  I make vinegar from fruit, and think maybe next year I will add hawthorne to the fermenting juice.

And the last great NATIVE thing around here: CHOKE CHERRIES

We do have plenty of apricot trees (escaped from civilization) around here, and we usually have tons of them,only lose them to a late frost once in a while.
4 weeks ago
If cooking over a wood fire, as in camping out and the pot is going to get soot on it, if you soap the pot first, then the black stuff comes right off.

You can put a piece of soap in a wash cloth or little cloth bag, moisten the cloth layer then put baking soda on the outside, and use it to scrub the bath tub ring out of a non enamel type tub.

You can get fine sand to stick directly on the outside of the soap and use that for scrubbing more durable surfaces.
4 weeks ago
Thanks for a wealth of experience information and opinions.  I knew the community would be a resource!

I am going to go find the hoop house thread, see what they are saying.  Maybe I should have posted there but I didn't think of it.
4 months ago
Well, it is a mystery to ponder for now.  I think maybe the air movement outside kept those tomatoes warm, but the stagnant air inside the hoop was colder.

Other elements of the puzzle: 6000 feet elevation, at the bottom of a small valley with a side drainage coming down off the 10,000 feet mesa to the south.  It was a clear night.  The night before, there was some frost damage on some of the squash plants, no frost damage on the tomatoes and peppers, though the temperature went down to 29 or 30.

The next night after they had constructed the high tunnel, they covered the peppers and squash with row covers,and they too sustained significant frost damage.

I guess I will ask some of the people around here with high tunnels if they heat them, and for their experiences and opinions.  
4 months ago