Yogurt is off the grocery list!

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Heating the milk to make…

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Yogurt!

So I am a bit afraid of other ways of making yogurt. I know that you can make it in a Crockpot, but most places I have read that people who do this have the kind of Crockpot that has a digital temperature readout, and mine has low and high. Not being brave enough to tackle the unknown, I purchased this yogurt maker on Craigslist. It was $20 bucks, and I offered $12 and  a bag of my Granola from my really granola business. She accepted the deal and the trade was made.

I wondered, with an excellent local yogurt maker in town here, why was I even trying this? So then I “mathed it out”, and yep numbers win. This yogurt costs 18 cents a cup vs. 95 cents -$1.25 at the store. Even with our wonderful local yogurt in town, their yogurt still had a couple more ingredients then mine, which is MILK, plus 2T of starter yogurt which I now have! So I have yogurt that costs almost nothing, and takes little effort to make, I now have my own “starter” for it, and my yogurt is made simply of milk, period. Additionally I am building up a supply of fruit for yogurt from now till next summer when fruit comes in again. We will have raspberries, strawberries, and rhubarb-strawberry sauce, apple cinnamon and peaches to stir into our yogurt.  All in all I would say a success story. If I ever replace my crockpot I may try the other method.

The gardens are growing like crazy, from all the rainstorms we have had, both the garden variety storms and some wickedly bad storms for which we were luckier than many. We are harvesting Kale, Collards, lettuces, and radishes so far. The green beans will be coming in soon, and I’ve seen a tiny pepper, and even an eggplant, although quite small yet. The picture below shows what I brought in yesterday. Our current hens are really slowing down in production, come Fall these will be stewing birds and we will have 6 new hens coming into laying in the at that time. We may have timed it just right!

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I have calculated the days and the 26 birds we brought here on May 1 will officially be 12 weeks on July 21st! These birds have kept us busy!

 

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Hubby was busy building this “Hoop Coop”, and we’ve both been busy moving birds around. These birds live in a coop in the old run at night but are in the hoop coop during the day. Hmmm if you think about that long enough  you may wonder…how do they get from the old coop and run to the hoop coop? By dog crate transfer! The first time we did this the birds thought we were crazy and completely balked at the idea, but now when we bring the crate to the old coop to load them up they cue up like they are waiting for the Metro. Then we carry the crate to the coop hoop and open the door and they all fly into the hoop coop. Then at night we do the reverse. It will be nice when the birds are in the freezer and we can stop doing this. Next year there will be a mobile coop to go with the hoop, so there will be no more transferring of birds. We may let them go till about the 28th, to give them one more week to fatten up. Hubby is going on a “mancation” shortly after with the brother boys and I sure don’t want to be doing chicken transfers on my own! (oh and the traffic cone [a.k.a. killing cone], is on top of their water because, well,  they perch on it otherwise which results in poopy water, yuk!

Thinking about meat for the year:

We got 18 males for butchering and 8 hens, thinking that if we lost any hens we wanted to still have enough layers, but since all 8 hens made it, I think we will butcher 2 of those as well, so we will have 20 birds in the freezer which with the two of us means 40 dinners. That is almost a chicken a week. I will also get 2-3 locally raised turkeys from the Co-op in November, and then with taking our Steer in early fall to the locker and the hogs in November, we should be all set to purchase NO meat at a store this year (other than said local turkeys at the Co-op).

We will have plenty of veggies in the freezer this year, but fruit for the year is the harder one in the midwest with our short growing season, and cold winters. But we will have plenty in the form of:

Frozen: strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, peaches, (our cherry tree was very challenged over the cold winter) maybe local blueberries

Fresh: wild apples in our neighbors walk in cooler

Prepared: strawberry rhubarb sauce, applesauce, peach sauce,

Dried: apples and peaches

So all this is to say, we are well on our way to another year of delicious food for which we either raised, grew or bartered to get.

A few other farm pics…

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Patiently waiting for a new flush of Shiitakes. Well at least I am trying to be patient!

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Putting in a new pasture for the pigs. Yea, I’m learning to make fence:)

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While I did this Shadow kept a close eye on me, that is if she can see thru her pretty, pretty bangs!

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