I really don’t want to be that person that starts a blog entry with, “I can’t believe how long it’s been since I have posted”. What I will say is life has been drawing me and my attention in other directions. Homesteading, or stepping towards it, is no different than any other personal path people decide to take in life. The course is always tempered by twists and turns and lately that is in the form of aging family members and health concerns. These things turn all else on their side. Having said all this, I am brought back to this candle. This beautiful handmade 100% Beeswax candle, was made for me by my friend. I find it very calming.
Lighting it as evening starts rolling in is a nice way to close out the day and transition to night. It feels very soothing in our kitchen and smells just barely of sweet honey.
In farm news, it’s been prairie burning time, as well as sap cooking time, both of which came early and had very short windows to work within unfortunately. We do have a week of weather coming up that has temps above 32 during the day and below 32 at night, so there is a chance I may sneak in another week to tap.
This was a gallon of Black Walnut sap, ready to boil down. The eggs were in the pic because they came in with me on the way back from bucket emptying. All in all it has not been a good year for syrup. It warmed up way too quick leaving only a couple of days of good flow.
The greenhouse is doing great. The greens in there lasted entirely through the Winter with my double layer blanket system. Their growth was a bit stunted at with the double blanket not providing enough light at times, but as soon as the days got longer they shot up. There was actually lettuce that started to bolt on the last day of March! I couldn’t have been happier with it’s performance. Next Fall I will plant the whole darn thing not just a test batch. About 10 days ago we went ahead and planted the rest of the tunnel with radishes, chard, spinach and bunching onions and things are already up! Ironically it is going to snow a bit on Thursday but nothing this tiny but mighty mini high tunnel can’t handle! It’s been so nice to eat fresh salads!
I guess the eggs made it into this picture too… which maybe is just about right, when you look at the next photo!
You might ask what is this? Well it is a few things. It is a steam cooked hard boiled egg, or would that be called a hard steamed egg? I read that if you steam the eggs that they peel easier, and guess what? They do! This egg, I peeled and put into a jar of beet kvass that had fermented with onions and garlic. Once sliced this oniony, garlicky egg was not only pretty, it was delicious!
To finish a few kitchen photos, I will show (with pride) my sourdough hotcakes. Yes they could have gotten a bit fluffier, but I was so excited about this coming from my own starter that I couldn’t have cared less. A bit of butter and some Black Walnut syrup, was a great way to start the day. I have volumes to learn about sourdough! One of the things I need to learn will be how to use the discarded part of the starter when feeding my ‘lil starter. That is where these sourdough hotcakes came from…happy belly.
This is my normal every day no knead bread, but I tossed in some starter to see what would happen. It had a nice little sourness from the starter. Once my starter is really ready, I will do a true sourdough bread, which I hear takes days to make! I’m having trouble coaxing along my sourdough starter, since we have a cold house. It is generally 61-65 in the house so my ‘lil starter has not been happy enough to bubble with joy, over the top of it’s jar. Today I will set it in the oven with the light on, and maybe that will make it happier.
This picture I am including just because it is beautiful. Food is amazingly beautiful. These are carrots and daikon radishes, that I put into a ferment. Speaking of ferments, I had a special treat on my birthday. I got a bit of birthday cash and decided that although I don’t buy produce at the store, I had to feed my need to ferment. It is tough in the Wintertime to feed that need, what with all the frozen, canned, stored and dehydrated foods we eat in the winter. This was a strange experience buying produce, as it has been years. I felt like a kid in a candy shop as I selected my yummy organic cart full of fruits and veggies. Seemed so strange to buy citrus fruits, but they were beautiful and such a treat.
This is sunshine in a jar. Ok, it is not, but if you could put sunshine in a jar, this is what I imagine it to look like. Beautiful lemon slices bathed in local honey. I have used some in my tea and the lemon infused honey has a magical taste. This jar is loaded with vitamin C and the wonderful immune properties of honey, as well as the beneficial value there is in eating local honey! All this and it is so nice to look at in my pantry!
This is what came out of my birthday ferment-a-thon! Fermented garlic green beans, a “ginger bug” starter for ginger beer, beet kvass, moroccan lemons, fermented cauliflower carrot dill mix, kimchee, sourdough starter and lots of purple kraut! Love my ferments! They are so delicious and so pretty too, I love putting them together.
To the outdoors…
My little corner of the barn is cleaned up and ready for a new season.
We had some eggs that got pushed back to the back of the fridge for too long. I used them for target practice. I was having a very hard time with my new (to me) gun. I just wasn’t hitting the target. This is a new to me problem. The sites on this older Colt 22lr, are different then any sites I had every used. I literally was not hitting the darn paper. In total frustration I went to “my people” (Facebook homesteaders) and told my story. I asked if anyone had advice on these sites that I had never used. Someone wrote me back and sent me this chart. My sites are the one on the bottom row. After that? Problem solved. All shots are tightly grouped and I think I just need to adjust it a tiny bit, as they were slightly left of center. I love my Facebook homesteader pals. They always are there with an answer!
We took an anniversary break and went fishing. Hubby caught this amazing bass on his first cast! I got to filet it, and it was the first time I ever fileted a fish that had such substance to it, I am used to smaller pan fish. This was amazing and delicious. Half was for dinner and half went into the freezer for another dinner. It was a perfect anniversary.
Recently, while on a farm walk, I stopped at the old stone cheese factory ruins on the farm. Oh if these walls could talk…
This week is one of the two times a year that I fly solo here. Cattle, chickens, greenhouse, keeping the house warm, it’s all me this week. Having a week alone 2 times a year is therapeutic for me. I have a great list of things to do… I am going to clean through items in the basement to purge and get them on the local FB buy and sell page, clean out the coops, clean out two fridges and organize the two chest freezers, get the garden plan done, write on this blog and of course, work on my granola biz, but it’s taking a back seat this week. If the rest of the family is off on vacation, I decided that basically I am too!
Looking forward to my solo week…