Our first trip ice fishing was a success! We were dressed in many layers and I had pocket warmers in my mittens and socks, and between the two and the not bad temps, we managed to be out there about 5 hours.




Every Wisconsin event needs Brats, right? And of course, I brought my fermented Kraut! By late afternoon we headed home, started up a fire in the house and got to fish cleaning, which we were doing for a while! There are now quite a few frozen fish meals set aside. All in all a great day!


In the last entry I showed the lettuce mix I am growing in the greenhouse. With the extra blanket that I drag over the plants on the inside, they have kept growing nicely, despite the temps. They are getting bigger now..


Green is amazing to see at this time of year.


We made a trade of beef for bacon, with a farmer friend. This night dinner was fermented cabbage, our friend’s bacon, our eggs and fermented radishes and carrots with sprouts grown on the counter. If this were served at a Farm to Table restaurant, I believe it would be a repeat item on the menu!


One last bit of food porn… bartered bacon, homemade bread, sprouts grown on the counter and topped with Watermelon radishes from cold storage.

At this point in the year, it is time for a list. What are our plans for the cattle this year, how many pigs will we get, discuss chickens for meat and eggs, figure out where to make more garden space, decide when we will prune the grapes, apples, raspberries, and more… Soon it will by syrup season, and then it all begins again. A year of food starts with Syrup in the Spring and ends with Pumpkin processing in the Fall.

Other areas of attention

I’ve been making frequent trips to Chicago to see my parents. Life is getting harder for them, and so this area of my life has been getting much of my attention. How lucky and grateful I am to have my sister to do this with me. The two of us have been taking turns spending time with Mom and Dad as well as coordinating needed services and other needs they have. It’s tough to see how quickly things are changing but I feel grateful and lucky to have parents at my age. Many of my friends lost their parents years ago, so while this may be hard, it comes from good fortune.

This all has made keeping up with my business and keeping up with our routines here a bit trickier. Hubby has picked up a lot of the Chicken chores for me, while I’ve been trying to catch up on work, and also because he knows how much I love doing chores in sub-zero temps. The trade off is that when he comes in from doing my chicken chores, I have hot coffee, a fire going and a breakfast for him, so as always it’s divisional labor, and it always works out.

I’ve been making pot after pot of soup these days, and have been enjoying having loads of beef bones to work with, they make such rich stock! A freezer full of beef and beef bones, whole chickens and a local turkey, is a soup makers dream!

beef soup

Soup. It’s what’s for dinner. A lot.

snow tree

It has not been a very snowy Winter, disappointingly, but we’ve had a few pretty mornings. This particular morning, came after I had been away for a week with my parents, and this was the first morning back. It was quiet and still and exactly what I needed.


…and while all that was going on, these little ones are still slowly getting bigger. It is now the third week of January and there are greens! My “blanket” system for the mini high tunnel seems to be working well. It pulls over the plants in addition to the hoop itself that protects them. I wish I had planted them earlier…next year. We just traded some beef for bacon and although we don’t have tomatoes, we will make Bacon, Lettuce and maybe radish sandwiches, with lettuce grown here, in January.

This is new. I’ve been making Fruit Kvass, which as far as I gather is when you put 1/3 quart fruit in a quart jar and fill with water and 1-2 T of honey. It sits for a few days, and goes through a fizzy phase. When it was about done I strained it, and we used the fruit on homemade yogurt. The Kvass is good on ice, or in a cocktail too. This one used last summer’s local strawberries and our rhubarb, and it tastes like Summer!

fruit kvass

The Chickens have been hanging in there with the cold, and we are getting about 10 eggs a day. I’m working toward getting the word out that we have eggs here, mostly just friends are buying now, but it will be nice when we have more customers, for now we’ve been eating hard boiled eggs, egg salad, and this weekend potato salad:)

We are eating well, between our beef, chicken and eggs, and, bartered pork, and veggies and fruit supplies in the freezer are holding up well, I find that when I go to the store it’s the same thing…milk, butter, rum and coke (having a hard time letting go of that one), flour, coffee, and a very few other things. It fits in one bag and then I’m not back for a while. If we had dairy on our farm, it would cut off a big chunk of our small list!


Soon we will head out to Portland to visit our Daughter and her family. This very pink item is for my 2 1/2 year old grand daughter. She loves PINK! This woven mat can be used for picnics with her new tea set and her dollies, or a mat to sit and read on or as a doormat in her room. It will be fun to give it to her in person! Time to start a new weaving project. It’s fun to pick out the colors. My daughter, who lives in town, saw on the local buy/sell Facebook page that someone was selling fabric pieces, this was perfect and added to my palette of colors. I have so much to select from now!

new ferments

New ferments are always fun. When I first thought about setting up ferments I thought it was about tasty foods with probiotics, which they are, but it’s become so much more for me, it is creative, they are beautiful, and here is the really sappy part, the process of making them, I find soothing, even peaceful. I love the process, I love the product and oh yes they are tasty and filled with probiotics!

This weekend we will try ice fishing for the first time. Hubby had put some fish in the freezer about a month ago, that he had caught, and when we cooked it up, the other day, we realized how nice it was to have fish for a change. Hopefully we will catch a good amount to put in the freezer. We’d already decided to go one more round with our leaky pond that we want for a fish pond. This dinner pushed it over the edge. We’ve purchased a pallet of Bentonite Clay to put on all the exposed sidewalls of the pond, and spread over the surface of the pond so it will sink and get drawn into the leak, all sources say this should plug the leak right up. Fingers crossed! We really want our own fishing pond!!