Day 4 :: Ducks are the New Chickens

Dear Hettie: I would like to have backyard chickens. Is it really as easy as people say?~ Adrienne Well, Hettie says, "Haven't you heard? Chickens are out. Ducks are in! You should really get yourself some Ducks!" I know what you're thinking, of course Hettie prefers ducks - she IS a duck. How do I know she's not being partial to her species? Well, that's where I, Krista, come in, caretaker and guardian of dear Hettie Quackers. I have learned first hand the benefits of ducks over chickens especially in an [...]


What is Permaculture?

Q: Dear Hettie -- I love organic gardening and want to do more. I want to be more ecological and self-sustaining. I've heard the term "permaculture" used by like minded acquaintances, but I can't really pin-point exactly what people mean by it. What is permaculture? Can learning about it help me do more for my family and the earth? A: Well, says Hettie, In 1978 Bill Mollison and David Holmgren coined the phrase “Permaculture” to describe a set of agricultural principles that mimic the way Mother Nature sets up her gardens all over [...]


Backyard Mason Bees

Dear Hettie, What's the difference between Honey Bees and Mason Bees? I have been focusing on planting edibles in my yard and think I should have honey bees since they actually produce something I can use - honey. Why would I want to add Mason Bees anyway? Answer: Oh, my.... quacks Grandmother Hettie (yes, Hettie is now a wise old grey-feathered Duck), "Mason Bees are a wonderful addition to any garden!" Here is why: First of all, here is a little basic info about Mason Bees. They are solitary bees [...]


Plant Your Entire Garden While watching Mad Men . . . on the couch (no joke)

If you're like me (Mama Soul) you have the best of intentions for planting a garden, but even when the weather is right you tend to procrastinate. It's partly because your too lazy to bend over to do the planting, and then you have to count 2-3 seeds and dig holes of certain depths for each variety. It's enough to make you want to scream, especially if you're a beginner. It also has to do with that sore back or creaky knees you seem to be able to ignore most [...]


It is All in the Lard, Lady

Dear Hettie, I love the soap at Tierra Soul. Is the recipe a farm secret? Lori (a Farm-Stay Guest) It is all in the Lard, Lady! When we passed this question on to Madame Hettie, she didn't even skip a beat before answering. She's right, Lard is our secret, and now it can be yours! Of course we teach a whole segment on this topic called Urban Apothecary: Soaps Salves Tinctures and Tonics in our Lazy-Lady Living program, but we want to give you some tips right now so you [...]


Will Your Carrots Grow if Theyre Not In A Row?

Dear Hettie, I am an urban farmer, but recently heard about wildcrafting and wonder, is it is compatible with what I'm already doing? ~ Jennifer Well, says Hettie, You really should know about a thing called "backyard wildcrafting." Let me explain: Urban farming is all the rage. in our hometown of Portland, Oregon. There are small scale agricultural projects all over the place, in backyards, in restaurant side-yards and vacant lots. It's exciting, and also a little frustrating. For the most part they look like this: "That's pretty," you say. [...]


Hunt For Fertility

Dear Hettie Quackers, Has living on a farm and connecting with the earth helped you understand the meaning of Easter? ~ Dawn This time last year I had a huge epiphany. As Easter was approaching I had been pondering the season and feeling rather uninspired. I didn't feel like forcing myself into a false celebration and I just couldn't find any point of connection with the Easter Holiday. I had found deeper meaning in many contemporary cultural festivals, and deeply involved in teaching others how to honor the seasons and [...]


Ghosts at the Dinner Table

Ask Hettie Quackers Q: How do I celebrate Day of the Dead in a way that makes a difference? A: Hettie says, tell them about the altar.... and the Feast. Well, we here at Tierra Soul started building our Day of the Dead altar yesterday. I went down to the basement and brought out the box marked Fall, and we chatted about each item as we placed them on the altar. There is Xoco's birth-bell (he is a Fall born baby), our Halloween masks from 2009, crumpl-ey paper lanterns from [...]


Oh No, Sour Milk!

Dear Hettie, We can't drink all our milk before it goes sour. It's so precious, what can I do to prevent it in the future? ~ Heather Well, Hettie says, sour milk is not really something to prevent. Rotten milk is and that is really only a problem with bad or pasteurized milk. Really, she assures you, souring is just the first stage in raw milk's alchemical transformation into one of nature's perfect foods: cheese. Cheese (as long as it's made from quality fresh raw milk) has everything you need [...]


Rotten Egg Test

So, here we are on Easter morning . . . ... with our forty-one eggs, ready to make our Quiche and crepes. Problem is that because they were collecting over time in our girls secret spot, we have no idea how old they are and if any of them are rotten! We could blow each one (in preparation for dyeing and decorating for our symbolic fertility hunt) and use our sniffers.... perfectly fine. But then we thought, why don't we just ask Hettie?! Hettie, how can we know if these eggs [...]