Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cast Iron and other cookware and how to care for it

I have collected cast iron cookware since I have been married and use it for nearly all my cooking. I just got a new set of stainless steel cookware so I can throw away all the nonstick stuff I have left, which aren't very many I hate using the stuff but have a few things I still have been using them for.

Here is a link to caring for cast iron that you should go to if you have any questions about cast iron care:

Cast iron cookware will last you a lifetime if properly cared for, stainless steel cookware will also last you a lifetime if properly cared for. Another thing I collect is glass ovenware, which is much more fragile but is also a healthy alternative.

Non stick and aluminum cookware is thought to have poisonous aspects, such as the nonstick surfaces flaking off and the aluminum leaching into your food, both which have been considered contributing to health problems, including alzheimers.

Here are a few photos of my cast iron cookware collection. Many of them are antique but some of them that were gifts or picked up at garage sale are more recent cheaper replicas, but still work well.

Here I have 4 cast iron saucepans, 2 lids, a large pot with a bail and 6 cast iron fry pans hanging from the rack. On the rack is an antique corn muffin pan and a new press, and also a collection of old rolling pins.(14 cast iron pieces)
Here I have my favorite cast iron pans that I use daily, the two larger skillets, as well as a crepe pan and an abelskeiver pan. A set of very cheap cast iron utensils on a cast iron rack. 5 cast iron trivets as well as a tin soldier pan, a bear muffin pan and a reversible bear/gingerbread house pan that I picked up this summer at a flea market (the molds are not old either).Out of the picture is also a very small fry pan (17 pieces)
And these are my griddles. I have a  6 burner stove with cast iron grates on the top and the long griddle fits nicely in the center over a long that. (2 pieces) I also have 3 or 4 pieces in the cabinets that I didn't have room to hang on the island. So about 35 pieces right now all together in my cast iron cookware collection. Used to also have a cast iron wood burning cookstove but had to part with that...and yes I miss it.

I'm always on the look out for a new piece to add to my collection, but I really don't NEED any more. I have done a fairly good job about limiting the things I DO collect any more, down to only books, good cookware and some dishes, and of course outside plants and trees. Used to have tons of collections but now I have just a few of my favorite pieces and the collections are gone..thank God they were very difficult to care for.

Here is a photo of my hanging pot rack. I just bought the stainless steel cookware and haven't even tried it out yet, still also have 6 pieces left of my old cookkware hanging up there, but will be tossing most of that as soon as I can bring myself to doing it. All the rest of my cookware collections and glass bakeware are in pull out cabinets (finally) as being partially disabled it is so difficult for me to reach them in regular lower cabinets. The island came with pull out cabinets and I put some wire pull out bins in some other cabinets too.

I'm new to the stainless steel so I'm not really too sure on how to care for them, but I do know that they aren't considered dishwasher safe and you cannot use bleach on them. I am allergic to metals, so I'm hoping that switching from the nonstick to the stainless in my non cast iron cookware, that maybe that will be an additional boon to healthy living for me. Also I won't be eating flaking nonstick surfaces either. It will be a learning experience but I will be looking forward to it. Would appreciate any tips on caring for the stainless from any that have good tips for me..thanks.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

More tree planting

On July 14 my BIL came up and brought me a bucket of cuttings that he had from pruning his Austrees..(hybrid willow) and a potted black walnut that a squirrel had brought in.

Well the walnut went west of the other black walnut growing in the back, so that they will wind pollinate each other, and after spending a few days in the pond the Austree willow cuttings were planted here and there around the property.

I put about 10 of them east of the n/s ditch east of our pond along the property line area..and more on the west side of the same ditch..staggering them to where they will make a fairly consistant screen from the east view.  East of Joel's garage are 2 or 3, then 2 or 3 north of there along the ditch, then across the ditch 2 or 3 east and 2 or 3 west of the mown trail, then farther north the same, 2 or 3 east and 2 or 3 west of the mown trail..and 4 more west of the dtich..with a total of about 18 along the ditch staggaring on both sides and across the not one solid line north to south, but will appear fairly solid as an eastern shade line.

This will make a pretty consistant wildlife corridor from the  woods to the road. There are also a lot of white pine, red pine and hemlock trees as well as maple, alder, aspen , and other trees and shrubs between these trees, and lots of wildflowers and even some siberian iris and jerusalem add to the screening, wildlife corridor effect.

Then the remaining trees were planted here and there in the yard (2 in Joel's back yard and one by the pond west, and the rest in the woods N.)

Willows are great when grown for wildlife habitat, esp birds. These are a hybrid that is supposed to grow very quickly, up to 10 feet per year topping out from 40 to 65 feet tall when full grown.

I hope we get rain so that they take root quickly and grow fast, we really would enjoy having the taller trees along that ditch esp as there is a great need for shade there.

We will continue to put in trees, seed, cuttings, etc when they come available ..esp fruit these areas to continue to bring the more open land into a more wooded setting in the future, and esp food forest type settings .

Friday, July 20, 2012

note from Paul wheaton's chicken feed blog
I used to sell my chickens for almost exactly the same price I paid for feed. And the story for the eggs was pretty much the same. This is not sustainable.
So I started exploring ways to cut feed costs and ended up on techniques that not only eliminate feed costs, but also provides a far higher quality of feed! My goal was to cut my chicken feed bill by 80% or more.
When I was first trying to figure out a better solution, I was thinking about growing all the stuff that comes in a bag of feed. Grain mostly.
So then I was thinking that I would harvest it, store it, and feed it to the chickens later. Wow, a lot of work. And I’m a lazy bastard. So what can I do to be lazier? Can I get the chickens to maybe harvest some of it? I’ll plant the grain and put the chickens where the grain is and they will figure out how to get it? I see other birds doing that.
In time my plans grew bigger and bigger. After all, if you let the chickens into the garden, they will eat damn near everything. While that leaves less garden for me, that also makes for less chicken feed bill.
Source: Irene Kightley
So then I got the idea of planting a lot of perennial stuff that chickens like. And how about stuff that is annual, but manages to reseed itself? And fruit trees? Berry canes?
This whole path became richer and richer and richer. And now …. ladies and gentlemen, I present to you …. a system where I spend absolutely zero on chicken feed. And the chickens eat a far richer diet than moldy, dried up, commercial “chicken feed.”
Wanting something that the chickens can harvest themselves, I considered two angles: 1) most chicken food per acre per year, and 2) most chicken food per acre in January.
Imagine an area for the chickens which has an enormous mulberry tree dropping fruit throughout June, July and August. There is a plethora of clover, alfalfa, grains, sunflowers, buckwheat, peas, and lentils in the more open areas. Fruit and nut trees are surrounded by siberian pea shrubs, chickweed, comfrey, dandelion, amaranth, nettles, and sunchokes. Maybe some raspberries and blueberries are in the mix too.
Assuming it is summer, why would a chicken eat dried up “chicken feed” with this bounty at hand?
Generally I have a lot more chickens in the summer time, before many get moved to the freezer, but I still need winter chicken feed. What, specifically, to grow depends on a lot of factors.
Source: Irene Kightley
Source: Irene Kightley
How much room do you have; how cold does it get; what is your soil like; how much does it rain …. Some plants produce more food per acre per year than other plants. And some produce food for a just a week and others produce food for six months.
The best producers appear to be mulberry trees (lots of fruit dropped constantly over three months) and wheat (when grown with the Fukuoka-Bonfils winter wheat method). Sepp Holzer pushes a perennial rye and sunchokes as the core chicken/pig feeds.
I advocate using the chicken paddock shift system. And along with that, I think that the lion’s share of the people food should be grown in those same paddocks. A lot of the stuff we eat is great chicken food! And the chickens clean up anything we drop and anything we leave behind. Less waste.
So, my top 10 list of the best perennial chicken feed is a work in progress, but mulberry trees definitely makes my #1 spot. They are perennial and are heavy producers of feed all summer. And, they actually contain protein! They sound rather dreamy for chicken feed!
Other crops I’m experimenting with:

Someday I hope to have my own chickens, but I would like to get these plants up and growing and producing first, to save me having to spend a lot of $ on chicken feed. My goal is only to have about 6  chickens and a rooster so I can have fertilized eggs, and I'll need to have a coop and some pasture fenced to keep them out of my annual gardens, etc. I'm going to use this thread to add on other things I find on feeding chickens in the well.

Friday, July 6, 2012

attempting to link flash earth map of our property

Hopefully this will take you to a flashearth link to our property..This is the south part (road side) and it shows our house and property in  the center, sons on the right and neighbors on the left. I beleive it must have been taken during either late winter or early spring as there is very little foliage (only  the evergreens) and there is a shadow in our front yard of the large tree that we had cut early spring, so it was taken before then. Also our neighbors have redug their pond and it is now larger. The squiggly lines east of our son's house is a radio control car track he built how it shows up.Also this map has to be at least 3 years old, as the bridge to our island isn't shown or the waterfall and there are a lot more clay piles around the pond then there were this spring..most are moved it is probably 2010 in my estimation. Roads are also not visible into the woods. Wonder when they'll update it? Oh and our lattice surrounding the rear fence was just partially up at that time too, so that dates it at least back to 2010.

this second link is the NORTH end of the property, woodsy can see the drainage ditches that go back to the woods and that come off of the side road in a curve..and at the far SW corner you can see our old broken down horse barn..the rest is mostly just shadows of the deciduous trees in the woods and the colorful evergreens..,-85.33456&spn=0.001176,0.001781&ctz=240&t=h&z=19

Trying google earth, it is more updated but still from spring when only evergreens were in foliage, however this one shows
the bridge to the island, more of the lattice up around the rear garden and a few more updated things..but this still shows
the large tree in the front yard so it was taken before that was taken down in the spring.,-85.334469&spn=0.001176,0.001781&ctz=240&t=h&z=19

This map you can see slight shadows where the trails go through the woods as well.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fireworks at Joels 7/3/2012

And also Katelin ...taken by flashlight at night.
It was a nice time, they had a bonfire and finished off with black raspberries from our patch..People that were there were Dave and Amanda and their kids, Joel, Nick and Katelin. We watched from our deck next door. Happy 4th ya'll.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Paul's husp thread got me thinking......

On the forum Paul Wheaton had a thread on husp (horticulture of the united states of pochahontas) is a link to the thread:

recently he has added a new thread regarding this thought, here is a link to the new thread:

here is a quote from the above thread:

The first chunk (4 acres) would be called "permaculture" and is roughly defined as "ten times better than organic". I know that what "better" is would probably change from person to person, but since this would be my property, then I guess I get to make the call on what "better" means.

The second chunk (about 100 acres) would be called "symbiculture". I would roughly define this as "ten times better than permaculture".

The last chunk (remaining acres) would be "husp". Roughly "ten times better than symbiculture".

Already I find myself leaning on this definition to better express myself. So before the podcast even comes out, I want to express this stuff.

Some quick attributes ....


- paint is allowed, but not much. Maybe ten times less than you would find on a typical organic farm
- cars may be parked there, but care is taken to make sure stuff does not leak into the soil.
- imported organic matter is allowed (very carefully selected)


- very little paint is allowed
- imported organic matter is not allowed
- limited use of plastic
- electric vehicles allowed
- use of a trac hoe once a year is acceptable.


- zero paint allowed
- no plastics
- no galvanized stuff
- stainless steel and glass are okay
- no electricity
- no plumbing
- nothing is ever burned (no fire, no candles)
- clothing restrictions (no synthetic fibers, shoes, etc.)
- no trac hoe

I expect that I would live in the symbiculture section.

I think that the husp section has a LOT of stuff to still figure out. But that was always the intention with husp: it is far more advanced than I can imagine, and I wish to make a feeble attempt to discover what could be. With the parameters outlined, one challenge seems to be lighting. Jon and I talked about this a bit. He was thinking candles might be okay. I said that the cleanest candles do put stuff into the air, and they consume oxygen from the air.

At this time, the only type of building I imagine building on the property is wofati. I suppose there could be other options presented at some point in time, but I don't know what. Smoking and drugs are not allowed anywhere on the property. Some alcohol is allowed.

I think that figuring out how things can work in the husp area is what I think these forums are for. I mean to say that when I created these forums, it solved a lot of things and gave me a place to "grow" with like minded folks. And now, many years later, these forums do all of these things, but the thing that is the most important is the "grow" thing. There is so much about husp I am not sure about and wish to try and figure out - and I am leaning heavily on these forums to do that.

Ok this entire idea got me really thinking about the area that we have just reached with the new road that Joel has put through our property to the North beyond the big tree.

This area was pulped off 40 plus years ago, which ruined it and made a mess, but it has been left to itself for the last 40 years..basically untouched. The land has done an amazing job of healing itself..and I was so blessed to be able to reach it now that we have the trails through our woods.

I don't have a lot of photos of the area..but there are a few that were taken "just off the road" about 100 feet north of where we ended the road building when we walked through the woods to our property lines.

Both Joel and I were amazed at how beautiful some of the areas were, but I had no camera with me when I went to the farthest areas, so I wasn't able to get photos there. But I can describe them.

One of the farthest areas is a woods that is so dense that the sun can barely reach the ground. The trees are mostly large cedar and Canadian Hemlock trees and the ground is nearly bare with only a few plants, some of which are wild huckleberry plants with green berries on them when we were back there. Lots of signs of bear in this area.

As you walk back toward our house the area gets sunnier and sunnier and in these areas there are maple trees that have been growing since the area was pulped off, so some are larger now, 40 years old. There are also thousands of baby maples and baby Canadian Hemlocks in those sunnier spots..some only inches tall. There is a meadowy area that has a lot of baby quaking aspen trees surrounded by wildflowers and grasses, this is such a pretty area my son said we should bring a picnic table back there.

At the end of our road we hope to dig a pond and bring the drainage ditches across somewhat to keep the water flowing from our pond to the creek north of us..but we wouldn't dig into this beautiful area of woods that hasn't been disturbed for 40 years.

I like the idea that Paul has of the husp area, where there are no fires, no chemicals, no heavy equipment, etc (as in the quote above)..but that you could go in there to forage, meditate, rest and enjoy nature.

I'd love to leave this unspoiled (for 40 years) area as natural as possible, maybe not even clearing out the trails to walk, but where you'd have to hike around the fallen logs and brambles to get to the beautiful places...but would like to keep it accessible enough to be able to continue to enjoy it as I age (61 this month) what is the point if you can't even be there to enjoy it.

I do like the fact that the only thing you see right now that tells you that people have been there are the propertly line markers..and I would even like to have those less visible...but still there so as to know what is ours and what is the neighbors.

This is an area really close to the road and would be in view of the pond if we put a small one in at the end of the road, where Joel thought it would be nice to have a picnic table. This would be at the edge of the more wilderness area, so less wildernessy, but I see no need to "improve" upon it or clear trails through it as it is already beautiful. The dark backdrop through the trees, are the Canadian Hemlocks in a deeper forest area..this area is near the opening in the woods with the huge tree, and it gets a lot of sun. It is also a dip and mound area where there are a lot of rotting fallen trees, and low swampy areas, a lower area that is wet in spring.
This area is slightly North of the above photo, and is getting toward the more evergreen woodsy area and where the young maples begin. You can see it is still fairly open to the sun for another hundred feet or so and then you start to get into the deeper woods (which I didn't get photographs of). As you go into the woods you begin to have more bare ground and less meadowy plants.
In this photo I waas standing in the edge of the woodsy area looking back over the the left and deeper into the photo is an oldfield that is being reclaimed by trees and shrubs (you can see the clearing through th trees). To the right of this photo is the opening with the huge tree in the photo below.
Instead of walking back into the older woods, while I had the camera with me, Ron and I crossed the opening North of the giant tree, and proceeded out of the property on the west side of the property. This area also has some older trees, mostly cedar, but isn't as pretty as the areas on the NE of the property. Below are a few photos taken on the NW sides of the property where we now have a road (since this photo was taken) to give us access to the giant tree and to this part of our property.

This is still NE slightly of the opening with the large tree, above, where the maples are getting a little larger and more are the Canadian Hemlocks.

This area is NW of the large tree, a little more dense woods. Last week we did build a trail to the area in this photo and the photo below..but this will be the farthest North that our trails will be built. There are a lot of dead ash trees up to this point that will be removed for firewood, but North of here, all fallen trees will be left to feed the soil and the wildlife.

You can see here that there are 3 large trees all falling together, but not completely down yet..our trail ends at this point by the huge tree in the clearing. This area is very thick hemic soil that would be impossible to dig or put a trail through except in the areas that we have already gotten through with the tractor. We will maintain these trails but not put any roads farther north  than this point, the areas north will be limited to foot hiking...and rough trails around fallen logs and bramble areas...trees that fall here will not be moved.
Hmmmm..Paul doesn't want any plastic in his husp area, but I believe that in order to show photos I'll have to hike back with my camera so I can photograph the more wild and older areas someday, but right now it is still unspoiled by even my camera lens..

These areas would be on the edge of my symbiculture area, trails will be allowed in to remove firewood and to access areas to build ponds and creeks and clear access areas for use, also trees, shrubs, plants and vines will be added to produce food in the areas up to this point, along and at the end of the trails. But as you move North and east and west, at the end of the trails, the areas will not be developed any more than they are at this point. They will be left to mature on their own, to self fertilize, self water, and self maintain.

There are many areas in the blog here that I talk about the trails, ponds and food forest gardens, but this area will be left as natural as it is possible after having been pulped off more than 40 years ago. It is healing and people that walk into these areas can experience healing and peace and be able to meditate without disturbances of trails, or manmade intrusions...beyond earlier damage already done.