Learning to Biscuit and Other Things

Like many things I try out here, often some just don’t go as planned. Currently that would include my garden full of green tomatoes which leaves me wondering if I will have a lot of pickled green tomatoes or maybe get lucky and end  up with loads of sauce. Should have planted earlier! Everything is behind, it’s also been a strange weather Summer. Everywhere.

Biscuits are another thing they don’t go like planned, for me. I’ve never been a biscuit maker, but I’ve always been a biscuit maker wanna be. Mind tend to turn out like little hockey pucks. These biscuits are the culmination of 3 previous failures. Each one was a little bit less of a fail then the time before, and this time they are cheesy, buttery and downright passable. Seems to me if the pioneers could make biscuits, on the trail, beside their covered wagons, that I should be able to make a biscuits in my kitchen, and so, I will keep working at my biscuit technique till I conquer the biscuit by making an amazing, flaky delicious biscuit!

What else is going on around the farm and in the kitchen…

This is Jewelweed.

These are Jewelweed ice cubes made from fresh Jewelweed steeped in water, then frozen into cubes for minor burns and stings.

This is chopped Jewelweed after it has infused in oil.

This is Jewelweed salve. It is good for skin irritations, poison ivy and more. It was made by adding some beeswax to the infused oil. I have been thinking about Winter gift giving and this is one of the items I will be gifting.

Here is another project I am working on for gift giving. I am hoping to make quite a few table runners by Winter gift giving time. I am also working on knitting scarves. I never got past the scarf stage of knitting, but what the heck, people need scarves right?

And back in the garden…

Our potato buckets worked well this year. Next year I would like to do a very long row of buckets. The buckets help reduce pests and to harvest the potatoes, you literally kick the bucket over and this is what you find.

Some of them were huge!!!

The grapes this year are coming in oddly. Some are ready on a bunch and some aren’t while some are dried and falling off. This meant that picking could not be by the bunch as I usually do, but picked one grape at a time. Our orchard is not a big one, so this is possible to do, but more time consuming then the other method, so it was nice that I had help this day!

These beautiful grapes went in the freezer for a future batch of Mead, which is a honey wine. Our honey on the farm isn’t quite ready so I will keep these in the freezer until we get our honey and then start a batch.

The Elderberries are producing huge clusters of berries.

These Elderberries will become Elderberry Liquor…

This year I am making a lot of Elderberry Liquor. More Winter gift giving ideas. At this point this bottle is just vodka, a bit of lemon peel and elderberries. It will eventually be strained and sugar will be added. This and time will yield a delicious Elderberry Liquor.

The kitchen has been busy. Since the tomatoes are coming in not in huge loads, just 5-10 at a time, I have been making small pots of sauce, and freezing rather than processing boxes of them at once. I sure hope eventually I will be processing a lot. Here on the stove I have a beef mushroom soup going with our shiitakes, and broth from our beef bones, a tomato basil garlic soup, all from the garden, and a pasta sauce with our ground beef, tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms and onions. The stove is always working overtime this time of year.

As much as I try, our meals still in some way include some food that we didn’t grow, raise, or forage. This meal here though was collards, potatoes, and beans from our garden, and ham from our hogs with some high bush cranberry jelly on top, from last year’s high bush cranberries. Only the olive oil and was not from our farm! Score!

I am grateful every single day that I can do this, and that I can be surrounded with such beauty in my life. This basket of Elderberry, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Echinacea, Chamomile, Cherry tomatoes, Lavender, and Mint was from a short morning walk.



Lucky calf

Our cow Jill had a calf the other day. The cows were all down in the front of the farm, and it’s a hill climb to get back up to the paddock area. Unfortunately, she crossed the stream before the calf was ready to navigate it, and he ended up in it. It is not a wide stream, more of a creek, but it’s spring fed water so he started shivering pretty quickly. It was a bit of a trick to get the baby out, because Mom was not ok with us approaching her babe, but there was a brief moment where she turned to check out the new hay and hubby climbed down in, and scooped him out of the water and heaved the baby on the bank with Mom, and when she turned around, he was back on our side of the bank. If only you could tell them that you are trying to help, darn it. He was fine once he was out of the stream, because it was a pretty nice day, so all in all we all got lucky, mostly lucky that we knew it happened. It could have happened while we were not near! The next day the calf could fairly easily navigate across the the water. Amazing that they can do that at one day old!

What was the lesson learned? We do recognize the signs that birth is coming in the next 24 hours, what we didn’t do though was check a little T and A if, you will. Now on we will check teats and butts (using a more polite word here)  twice a day. Had this been done, and we saw the signs, we would have brought them up to the paddock for the birth and away from the streams and wilder terrain.

It’s always good to recognize the lesson learned.

Here they are safe and up in the paddock area.

The gardens are on the verge of exploding. The cukes and beans have been doing this for a while but tomatoes will be soon and will keep me very busy! I don’t want to waste any of them, and I have about 15+ plants!

We have a square fenced in area for our birds in the Winter. It is covered on top with netting and it is perfect for them in the Winter. Their coop is attached to it and in the Winter their pop door leads them right to this. In the Summer they use the back door and range, so the fenced in area becomes a perfect garden till about October when they will need it back. This set up leaves me with three 8 foot walls to raise beans on in the Summer. The beans plants are producing beans like crazy. I’ve already frozen about 30 dinners worth of beans for 2 people, and the blanching continues:)

Love these Dragon Tongue beans! They are, believe it or not, incredibly juicy! They are super refreshing to snack on while picking in the sun.

Blanch, freeze, repeat. These are ready to be bagged for the freezer.

Found a new vinegar pickle recipe that I LOVE. Last year I did mostly fermented pickles, but I’ve come full circle and see the virtues of both kinds. These are nice and spicy!!

Hubby found another Chicken of the Woods Mushroom. At top left is the full mushroom he picked, bottom left shows them dried for later use, and on the right they are ready to store in the pantry.

This is a Curtido. A spicy El Salvadorian style fermented kraut. Such a nice way to change up kraut. It’s delicious!

Fermenting to me is a feast for every sense. It’s beautiful to look at, it tastes great, it smells delicious, and occasionally not so much during some particular stages of kraut fermentation, lol. The vegetables are beautiful to the touch with many textures, and finally, the satisfying bubbling noise that I hear, that tells me the ferment is doing it’s thing. All this, and it’s so good for the gut, I know I am doing something good for my body when I eat them.


A pretty post, as a tribute to Mama, it’s been one year.

It’s been one year since Mom has been gone. She would have loved these pictures, she loved hearing about my garden and what was going on in my busy kitchen. She shared stories, over the years, of her Grandmother making Sauerkraut and Watermelon Pickles. Today, I made Sauerkraut and darn it, I just wish she was on the stool at the counter, with coffee in hand, talking to me while I prepared it.

So today, no descriptions, this post is just pictures.

Pictures Mom would have loved.

Oh what I would give for one more cup of coffee with her…

Love you dear Mama.