Saturday, March 27, 2010

Slug Bread and Beheaded Thistles

I wanted to use one of the book's insights as a Saturday Morning Post, but the whole book is so interesting, I couldn't pick just one this morning and am reading the whole 120 pages again in full with it's Inconclusion, it's moving.
This book is a conservative look at conservative ideals and remedies that are reused, non-toxic, and such. Some is for 'wow' effect and historic, most is practical and comical techniques we all can adopt. Ellen Sandbeck shows environmentally safe and developing ways to help our world get off the poisons our culture uses. She believes humor is a key, as well as, wit. She explains about "garden helpers, making toad homes (simply turn over a flower pot and sink it a little)," natural pest control, and safer marketed cleaners. I personally recommend not buying any of that stuff, and learn to boil water, make our own soaps and cleaners and the like. It is a lot of work to be environmentally friendly, but commerce counts on us thinking that you know!
Ellen believes that "Laughter is the best medicine, and so are Dandelions."

"We need a new attitude if we are to excel in the "human versus pests" game; we need to recover our sense of humor and realize that a worm in an apple is not life=threatening, and that nobody ever died of having dandelions in a lawn. We need all the laughs we can get in our dealings with pests, or we will be deadly serious all the way to the cemetery."
She talks of DDT, and exorcism but not in the same sentence. Made you look. Anyway, it's a great addition to your library's garden section; at least it is for my library. Wouldn't exorcise it for the world. Always good to have a tickle and a nickel where pest control, and the toxic commercial remedies out there, are concerned. So, it's time to go look at the dirt for signs of life. I can't wait for the lights to come on. Just joking, open, open, open~~~


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Banana This; Recycle Old Peels~ fertilizer or silver polish

There are things you can do with that old peel.

1. Do you have a green thumb? House hold plants and outside gardens require fertilization. A great way to give your plants nutrients is with a banana peel. The banana peel is very rich in potassium and phosphorus, which give that added boost to your plants soil, especially so with roses. Here is how to use a banana peel to fertilizer your soil for your plants. Remove the peel from the banana. Place the banana peel on a cookie sheet to let it air dry. Grab a paper bag or envelope. Crumble the dried banana peel and place it in the bag. Let the banana sit at room temperature for about two days. When your caring for your plant, give it a potassium treat of crumbled banana peel. Mix well in the soil to ensure the roots are fed evenly.
2. Have you been thinking about pulling out that old silver? Well there is no time like the present. Bananas peel can also be used to polish silver. Yes, polish silver. Take the old peels and place them in a blender. You want the peels to become smooth and creamy. Once they have, grab a cloth and small amounts of the creamed banana peel and begin polishing your silver. The shine will be breath taking.


Wild yeasts exist in the air around you and to some extent on the wheat berries. There are wild yeasts on grapes (unsulphured) and apples and other fruits. It is those wild yeasts which are 'captured' to make a sourdough starter. The process takes from 3 to 5 days. I wish I had specific amounts for you, but you could start with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour and mix in enough warm (not hot) water to make a thin paste. DO NOT make it too soupy. That, in fact, is the trick to a good starter, according to the French bread makers, and I think they should know. And after you've fooled around with the flour and water thing, you might wish to branch out into adding those unsulphured grapes, apples, sour milk, etc as a catalyst in order to capture other strains of yeast. Each of these strains has a slightly different taste. In fact if you move to another area, you might end up with a starter that produces an entirely different flavor. For instance, San Francisco sourdough bread is well known and has a distinct taste due to the wild strains in the air there. On day one you mix the flour and water (and add any catalysts to encourage fermentation) and place in a warm spot. After 3 days, the dough should be moist, inflated, and slightly sour. More flour and water is added (mixed in) and left to sit in a warm spot. After 2 days the process is repeated. Then the next day it is done again. Note the order: 3 days, 2 days, 1 day. At this point you should be able to make a loaf of bread using part of the starter and adding back what you took out in the form of more flour and water. Rule of thumb: Use about 10% starter to size of loaf. In the case of a 2 lb loaf this is a bit over 3 oz of starter (3.2 to be exact). For a 1 lb loaf 1.5 oz would be used. A book that describes this process in great detail is The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz, copyright 1993, published by Ten Speed Press, Berkley CA. If it's not still in print, try the used books stores, that's where I got mine. Or try your local library. If they don't have it, they might be able to get it for you. ©2008 by Ernestina Parziale

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