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I'm back!

Girard, OH

Ohmygoodness, finally.... hey guys, I'm NorthCoastGirl. Our computer had quite a few problems and fizzled out rather abruptly. We didn't get our Internet back until recently, lol. I missed this forum a lot and I'm so glad to be back. =)

So... what's shakin'?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)


(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Hey you, wondered what happened, glad you're back. This forum seems to have slowed down quite a bit, probably an ebb tide sort of thing.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Welcome back NCG! Wondered what happened to you.

Think a lot of people just got busy with the holidays...lot less posts right now. You'll have to go thru and do lots of reading to catch up. Darius was pretty sick for awhile. BTW, we're planning on a working RoundUp at her place come spring. Melody and her husband (in Kentucky) were in a serious car accident a few weeks ago, but are recovering rapidly it sounds.

Have you got any (or all) of your project ideas up and functioning? We put in the 70 gallon rain barrels on 2 corners of our place just before we left Kentucky in mid-September. Al had to go back and check on things and fix our front door 6 weeks later and he said the barrels were full...whoohoo!

We'll be home by Christmas and I'm sure anxious to get back to working on my list! A very Merry Christmas for us!


San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Welcome back! Computer fizzles are a nuisance aren't they?

We've been busy with winterizing the garden, work and holidays so I haven't been posting as much. There's been a good exchange of info, so I think some folks are busy utilizing that as well.

I was thinking of starting a thermal-mass/kachelofen/epa wood stove thread for discussion of sustainable heating for regions where these *would* be sustainable.
Guess I'd better check the fireplace/wood stove forum first to see if that's already been discussed there.

Girard, OH

Thanks for the re-welcomes. =)

I guess you've heard that the NE including us here in Ohio got hit by a vicious hag of a winter storm. All schools in this area are closed today. Yay me, lol.

We got one rainbarrel up so far, and 4 raised no-till beds are up! Yay!! Getting the cinder blocks (for free) was a challenge... we ended up driving up and down streets looking for old torn-down buildings. I tried to get an herb spiral done, but it got rainy as all get out before it got finished. So that'll be a spring project.

I'm still in the process of trying to convince my DH to use a whitewash on the house instead of conventional latex paint. Other then that, to be honest, some things have been put on hold for stress management purposes. Hubby and I both had sudden deaths of people very close to us in the past year. ( my baby brother, his best friend), so this has been a bittersweet holiday season.

MsRobin: bet you can't wait to get back home. =) Have you been working on any art projects lately?

A woodstove thread would be great, pull our combined info together, lol. I was wondering if I could tear down these old wainscoting cupboards that take up an entire wall in my LR then replace them with cob and a cob rocket stove. We're also looking into an earthen floor for added thermal mass. But... the expression on my husband's face when I told him that we'd be handling lots of muddy stuff was classic, lmao. Ya'll remember that handy he is NOT, right? ;)

This totally flies in the face of voluntary simplicity, but.... I now have at least 10 different kinds of heirloom daffodil bulbs planted around the front yard. Just got carried away. =)

Darius, I hope you're feeling better! A working RoundUp... what's that? A weed-killing party? =)

Norwood, LA(Zone 8a)

Hi, Northcoast, what does your new name mean? Matafleur=flower killer??? That can't be right.

You have certainly accomplished a lot--4 raised beds for no-till, a rainbarrel, what else--herb spiral in the works.
I've really got to figure out a rain collection system, mostly for my plants. I just read a recipe in a Cajun cookbook about how the old-time grandmeres would use clean rainwater. They'd sit by the fireplace in the early morning and slowly add spoonfuls of hot rainwater onto the coffee and chickory. It made a very dark drink that they cherished.

Does anyone use rainwater to drink or cook with? It would have to be cleaner than the stuff that comes off the roof.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

maypop, folks who use harvested rainwater for their domestic water use will filter it before using. There are many areas in both the US and abroad where rainwater is the main, or only, water source. Texas has a free pdf download on setting up a domestic water supply from rainwater. If you check some of the earlier rainwater threads on this forum you will find some links to that info.

Girard, OH

LOL! It's the name of a dragon in one of my favorite fantasy books. =) I don't think it means Flower killer... that would be something like "Le Mort de Fleur". Eh, should have payed more attention in HS French. ;)

We're planning on using the rainwater for both laundry and plant irrigation, no drinking. But that Cajun coffee sounds interesting. What does chicory taste like, and is it the same purple ditch chicory we have all over the place up here?

Norwood, LA(Zone 8a)

From what I've seen in books on edible wild plants, chicory has naturalized here, originated in Europe. It's one of those coffee substitutes that farm people used back when . . .? Hektor was a pup, I guess. Been years since I tasted it in New Orleans where it is still popular. Some people use chicory to make red eye gravy. My plant book (the one I have is by Charles Allen) says the root can be eaten like parsnip. Never tasted parsnip.

I do plan to catch some freefalling water and try it in some tea of wild plants. Blackberry stem tips are supposed to make a wonderful tea. Also leaves of American Holly, New Jersey Tea, Mountain Mint, etc. So far, I've never tasted anything as good as what you buy in the little bags on strings.

In what book does Matafleur appear? Mata reminds me of matador (killer). But the Spanish for fleur is flor. I do read some fantasy, like the dragon riders of Pern. Mostly, though, I'm into regular sci-fi.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

I enjoyed Anne McAffery's dragonriders of Pern series, buy Matafleur is from a different series (now a game).

Matafleur is from Dragonlance:

Chicory leaves are eaten as a salad. Radiccio and witloof endive are in this family.
The chicory prepared for coffee is the roasted root of a particular chicory plant.

Girard, OH

The Dragonriders of Pern books were wonderful, it's been years since I read them. G-M, yup, Matafleur the dragon is from the first Dragonlance trilogy. Dang, if it brings "Flowerkiller" to people's minds, though.... lol. The writers of the Dragonlance series were the same folks that created Dungeons & Dragons. I never cared for the game too much, but the books were great.

We have tons of naturalized chicory growing along the roadsides here. People think it's a pesky weed, but I guess it's very good to use for erosion control. You can also plant it underneath fruit trees, or vines as a permanent cover crop. The flowers are pretty.. light purple with daisylike petals. I should look up this particular variety and see if it's palatable. It's always interesting to find out that there's good value to weeds. Our yard is covered with clovers, dandelions, wild plantain... you name it. We got a few offers from landscapers to come fix our "problem".

Maypop, have you tried lemon balm tea? It's really good mixed with a bit of mint. Lemon balm is a plant that naturalizes like crazy ( very invasive ) so you might be able to find some down there. It's in the mint family, actually. Wild rosehip tea is supposed to be high in vitamin C, too.

You know... I really missed this forum and the pleasant, informational, leisurely discussions we have here. =)

Santa Fe, NM

Hi, Matafleur. Nice to meet you. I'm wondering what zone you're in? Me, I'm in the twilight zone! No, I mean for growing chicory. I think I'll look it up. It sounds nice and I like it as a coffee stretcher. Where I am we have flax growing on the roadsides. It has a pretty blue flower.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)


Could you post a pic of the chicory at your place? I drink coffee with chicory. Community New Orleans Blend. I can't buy it here so I get a case when I go home or family brings it to me when they come to visit. I'm down to my last pound and I'm getting nervous. I'd have the DTs if I ran out. LOL

What is an herb spiral?

We plan to put in a large raised tank at the new barn to catch water from the roof. We have a good well but waste not, want not. Right?

Girard, OH

Hey =)

Depending on the source, it's either zone 5a or 5b. For simplicities sake, we'll go with just plain 5. New Mexico might be too dry for chicory? I honestly don't know too much about it, but I'll try to find a link to a picture. roy, is the flax you have the same flax grown for the fiber?

An herb spiral is a structure where rocks and dirt are built so the walls spiral upward.. the person who brought it up likened it to a Babylonian ziggurat. You can plant herbs between the walls and save a ton of space. It's a permaculture idea, I think. If you google it, there should be a better explanation with pictures.

We'll be putting on 3 more rainbarrels, 1 for every corner of the house. how the rainwater will get from the barrel to the garden is a whole 'nother project, lol. The one we have now have a spigot in the bottom, that's it. It's in our front porch. that'll probably be designated the front yard water supply, lol.

Has anybody here had any luck with homemade drip irrigation systems? There is a gentleman I met this summer who just bought several lenths of plastic tubing, then rigged them up to the garden hose. Eventually, I want to put in a greywater system in the back, then run a drip to the gardens.

Girard, OH

Here's a website where they have a picture of Ohio's wild chicory. Don't know why it isn't hyperlinking, sorry about that.

Norwood, LA(Zone 8a)

Mata, I wish I could have been there when the "professional" landscapers told you they could fix your weed problem. I hope you gave them some pointed advice about the value of clover and other plants that are actually sustainable-gardener helpers.

My mother used to wilt down dandelion leaves in a tangy bacon and vinegar gravy, which we ate over boiled potatoes. I wonder if chicory would make as good a cooked green. When the leaves are covered to exclude light, they turn white and are called French endive. And the flowers are edible!

Unfortunately for me, chicory prefers cooler climes. As for lemon balm,I have grown it before but never made a tea with it. I re-discovered edible wildings after I quit working full time and am having a good ol' time doing' my thing on the homestead. Like you, Mata, I let the weeds grow almost everwhere, except in cultivated beds. I try to keep the chamber bitter population down, Japanese Climbing Vine, other true weeds that infest our place.

Cajun, I'm a transplant to Louisiana, and I don't like traveling away from Community Coffee, fried oyster poboys, and warm winters. Kentucky is a beautiful place to live, if you don't get too much snow & ice.

Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7b)

Matafleur, thank you so much for the idea of an herb spiral. I did some research and it will be perfect for a spot next to my kitchen! I too love sci-fi/fantasy and am a great fan of Anne McCaffery among others. I also adore Mercedes Lackey! Now I'm going to have to go check out that particular Dragon Lance series.

Girard, OH

It looks like the chicory up here can be used as a coffee substitute or additive. Huh, neat. maybe we'll try it next spring....

maypop, lol... I usually just give people "the look" and tell them I won't poison my land that way. Japanese climbing vine.. is that like kudzu? Kudzu never made it's way up here, but I've seen it before. Our cold climate does a good job with killing off many invasives. We have lots of alanthus (sp?) that are so tough to get rid of. Those're the stinky trees. Most gardeners up here would disagree with me, but our potential weed problem isn't too bad, compared to other regions in the US.

My herb spiral will be situated in the corner of my front yard. Ideally, it should be in the back where the kitchen is, but with everything else going back there, there won't be room. It'll be a pretty focal point, though. =)

Doccat, Dragonlance has three trilogies and a bunch of short story anthologies. Read " Dragons of Autumn Twilight" first, if you can.

Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7b)

Read that one and am looking for the others.......I LOVE Amazon, however, DH doesn't........silly man..........grin

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