Our Food Year

September is when we start to really see the winter food coming together. Food growing season actually runs throughout the year, but in very different ways.

January is when the seed catalogs arrive, with their colorful covers and beautiful pictures of vegetables and fruit varieties. I save looking at them for the quiet that comes after the holiday season and this year I will sit by our, soon to be, beautiful new fireplace to look at them. Choosing new varieties and comparing garden notes is always fun. I am getting better at taking garden notes, thanks to a farmer friend who enlightened me. It’s also the time that I look at the chick catalogs and make choices for our meat birds and new layers. January also, brings a bit longer days and the Spinach that is in the mini high tunnel begins to wake up and grow a little faster, by March it is looking beautiful, given that the climate inside there is entirely different than outside the tunnel. February and March is tree tapping season. Although I do it on a very small scale, our syrup needs are not frequent, so it is all we need. Mid-March is seed starting in preparation for the summer garden. I start more plants than I need, in part to be sure I have enough of what I want to have, but also to sell some plants so that I can cover the seed costs. March and April are busy with tending to the seeds, re-potting them into their next size up pots, as they grow, and also enjoying the last of our cool weather, grey skies and cozy time. April is also when our meat birds arrive. This requires lots of attention. The more attention they get, the lower the chick losses. Over the last 7 years, I have only lost a couple! Their temperature must be properly regulated and they get fresh water intermittently all day. This is easier to do when you only have 40 birds. If I had a couple of 100 birds it would be much harder to tend to, especially their sensitive issue at 3-6 days old, which requires getting very personal with their care and cleaning! Mid May is time to clean up the garden and prep for planting. When May comes to an end the garden plants are in, and the chicks (our meat birds), have moved to their big outdoor coop and have left the confines of our garage. This is always a big YAY moment, to regain the use of the garage. May is also Morel mushroom foraging time, often we find pheasant back mushrooms and wild ramps as well (these taste a bit like garlic and onion put together). If there is abundance of these, I dry them for later use. June is generally a quiet time, and it is the last quiet time till October! August is time to plant winter spinach, radishes and carrots in the mini high tunnel, which we cover in plastic in October. August is also the time when we process our meat birds, here on the farm. This year for the first and hopefully the last we took them to a processor because of the building project we are involved in, there just wasn’t time to process them here. July through early October is gardening, canning, dehydrating, freezing, fermenting and of course lots and lots of delicious cooking with fresh vegetables! This year, if it is ready in time we will also add root cellaring to our storage methods. December brings to an end, the pig raising year, and at any given time during the year we process 1-2 highland cattle based on their readiness.

October until February is the reward, in my mind, for a long gardening and food preservation season, allowing more time to read about new gardening, preserving and cooking methods. Now that I have learned pressure canning, I use this time, also, for stocking the shelves with soups and broths, and stews. Canning really heats the kitchen up, so this is the perfect time to do this. Also, finally reading a bit of fiction. I love this time of year. This year it will include a fireplace and so I am looking forward to it even more!

These onions finally dried enough, and with the help of my daughter, they are strung and will be hung tonight in the basement and moved to the root cellar when it is completed.

These potatoes have been stored carefully in boxes and will have to be looked at weekly to be sure one hasn’t spoiled. I guess it’s like the old phrase, “one bad apples spoils the bunch”.

These beans are now frozen in 2 cup portions for serving this winter.

My outdoor refrigerator is filled with vinegar pickles, pickled peppers and some fermented pickles. They last a surprisingly long time in the fridge!

The corn is also frozen in 2 cup units.

Some of the tomatoes were monstrously large this year!

Tomato puree in jars for the shelves. This will get used in soups, stews, pasta sauce, and possibly for making more BBQ sauce this winter.

Fermented tomatoes with garlic and basil. This is a new technique, so the jury is out yet. The recipe says to take the tomatoes and the garlic out of the brine and puree them for a fresh sauce. Fingers crossed this works!

I think I have finally found a good, thick salsa recipe. It could have been a bit spicier but I can amend that when I open them, with a bit of cayenne.

We have been eating tomato salads nightly! They are so good. Tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, herbs and a bit of Italian dressing.

Veggies, veggies and more veggies!

This is a progress shot. We actually have a roof and shingles on it now. It is great to see a roof on, and things are drier now, but I have to say that the beautiful trusses look prettier without a roof!

Breakfast for dinner is always good! Everything on this plate is from the farm. Even the dried sprinkled pepper powder and foraged Lamb’s quarters is from the farm. I never get tired of taking stock of my plate and thinking about the food year that went into it.

Fall will be here officially just days from now, however, when I see an orange pumpkin it’s as good as here to me.

One Day

People have asked me, what is a day like on the farm? Surely that depends on the season and some days are busier than others. Wintertime is slower, but in the Spring most days are busy! Today was a day of spring planting, chick feeding, house cleaning, dinner prepping and good eating. With a well deserved glass of wine in hand, I ran through my head, the details of the day, and here they are…

Coffee with hubs, started the day, then out to the brooder to check on the wee chicks. They are growing while we watch them. We did some connecting on, when should we move them out of the garage brooder, and into their rooster coop, where we house our meat birds once they leave the garage. Then I collected some shiitakes from their shady spot, and grabbed some spinach from the mini high tunnel, and robbed the coop for some eggs. Then inside to make some breakfast for us.

After some dish cleaning, it was back outside to the garden, to get more plants in, and to feed the laying hens, and make some cages for protecting my new herbs from those curious hens. I knew dinner needed to be easy on a planting day, so I had thawed one of our chickens from the freezer the day before. I ducked inside and put it in the oven, knowing we would be coming in that night late, and tired. I threw in some laundry, set a timer on my phone for the chicken and headed out to plant a few more herbs in the herb garden and good thing I set a phone alarm for the chicken, in the oven, or I would have lost track of time!! I set the chicken on the counter, to cool enough to handle, and started more laundry. Once the bird was cooled, I separated out the meat from bones, while saving a bit of the meat for throwing on my spinach salad for lunch, and then dropped all the bones into a pot of water and set them on low on the stovetop and headed back out. It was time to tackle the potato planting, which we were way behind on already. We plant them in buckets, and hubs had gotten all the buckets set up already and we put the cut sections and small whole potatoes into the buckets and covered them up with compost. Then a quick stop at the rooster coop. I swept it out and got it straightened up for the moving of the chicks, and then back to the brooder to check on the babies. Inside, I sorted the last of my plants on the plant rack. I ended up with one more tray to sell, one tray for my mother-in-law’s garden, and then there were the extras. My garden is full so remembering that my doctor said he was excited about a community project raising food for the local food pantry, I gave our clinic a call and they were happy to take the extra plants and grow even more food for the food pantry. Then one more time outside to clean up tools, collect empty coffee cups and water jugs,and it was time to call it a day, and clean up for dinner. Guaranteed not all days are this packed, but the late part of Spring is when everything happens at once!

While this day might just seem like just another day, here, when I reviewed it all at the end of the day, I realized it was exactly what I dreamed of 6 years ago. A day raising our food, caring for our critters, coming in to our plates full of foods, we carefully raised, and going to bed tired and happy. I never forget not even for a day how grateful I am for this farm.

Onions

Almost all the veggies are in the ground. The garden fabric is a huge help in reducing weeding time…weeding is a back breaker and this is the solution for me!

We are back to the catch of the day trays! Today’s catch brought Shiitakes, Spinach, Nettles, Dill, Hosta shoots, and chives.

Nettles are packed with nutrition, and after a long winter with few greens, they used to be considered, and still are by some, to be a Spring Tonic. I have always been afraid of them, because, well, they are Stinging Nettles!!! I brought them inside and put them in boiling water for a minute and a half, because it said they should boil for 30 seconds, ha, ha!

Here are the Stinging Nettles, properly prepared. I only used the leaves, as I read that you only use the stalk if they are still very small, and these were just past that stage.

Here is the beginnings of the Mushroom Nettle Soup.

I added just a bit of cream and it was absolutely great! I am not afraid of Nettles anymore!

So many, many years ago, sitting down to food that came all or almost completely from the homestead was the norm. These days not too many people get to experience a meal that came from a few feet out their door. Although it is a lot of work, I feel beyond fortunate to have such opportunity.

The hens weren’t used to the warm sun yet, they decided to stay in the shade for the day and be bush hens.

Six Years and 8 Days Ago – What have we learned?

Six years and eight days ago, I began blogging about our homesteading journey and decided to name this blog, “Incrementally Stepping Towards Homesteading”.

It’s been an incredible journey and it’s still really only the beginning. Today I am looking back. I read back to six years ago, and the things we talked about doing, did not always turn out to be what happened. Things took different shape but that was all part of learning as we went. Nope, we never raised 4 turkeys named; Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, a feast for every season, as I said we would. We also didn’t put the garden in the old goat yard, as it turned out we ended up putting 2-3 hogs a year in the old goat yard instead. Things I found out that turned out not to be easy? Selling our meat and vegetables. We are licensed to sell meat from our farm, and I thought it would be easy to get people out here, and turns out it is not, so while selling our meat didn’t go as planned, we do sell some, and the money we used to spend on meat is just not spent anymore so it’s still a win.

We learned about raising baby chicks, laying hens, roosters for meat, and how to butcher our own chickens.

We learned how to keep hogs, and feed them so they are fat but not too fat (yeah we did that one year).

Hubs had started some Shiitake mushroom logs many years ago, and we loved having fresh and dried Shiitakes so much that we have learned more and now have many, many logs going with them, and we are currently experimenting with several varieties.

We learned how to tap trees, and cook down the sap into delicious syrup…

…and in the Fall we learned how to press cider from our own apples.

My garden 5 years ago, on our first Spring, was much smaller and I am now much better at using the space to it’s maximum benefit. Hubs built an excellent fence around our garden and that really took gardening up a lot of notches. Each year I plan, and think I have it perfected, but I still, at the end of that season, am filled with ideas for the next season.

I learned how to start garden plants properly, and in fact last year I started all but just a few herbs.

I will never be able to believe how all those pounds of foods that feed us, all the rest of the year, came from those rows of tiny starter plants that I start on my plant rack! I have yet to become accomplished in the area of seed saving but it’s on my learn list. I did successfully save pepper seeds and grew those the next year, but they are easy keepers, saving some seeds are more complicated then others.

I’ve learned so much about food preservation! I had water bath canned a bit in the 80s, but had some failures, and the floating tomato and glass soup, after all that hard work, really sent me into a canning spiral. Thanks to a friend, I gave it a go again and have been canning ever since. Recently, I added something new to this area. Despite being terrified of a pressure canner, I started pressure canning, and I love it. I have always depended heavily on my freezers, we have several, but when we process animals we need more space in the freezers and my dozens of quarts of broth and other quarts of finished soups take up crazy amounts of room, and when you want to use them they of course have to thaw. Additionally keeping food in a plugged in freezer that could be stored on a shelf doesn’t make that much sense. I now have more room in the freezer, and soup on the shelf that I can open and pour into a pot to heat up, or to use as a base for other soups. When you raise animals there is never a shortage of soup bones, so there is never a shortage of bone broth and now it’s ready to use, and on the shelf! Hub’s has learned to smoke meat and also built a cold smoker which we need to break into use. His smoked meats have turned out great!

A couple years I began learning about fermenting, and about krauts, kimchi, fermented pickles, kombucha and more. This is a great way to preserve veggies. I make our Krauts and Kimchis in the Summer and they last all Winter in the fridge.

I learned about bread. Let me restate that, I have been learning about bread for 6 years, and I am still learning.

This is my most recent conquest. Unfortunately it was not as tasty as it was beautiful, but I am getting there.

Foraging for food and for learning about medicine…

A few years ago, I felt a draw to become more familiar with what we had here on the farm. As I started learning about the plants and weeds, and found out more about treasures to hunt for, it became a fascinating study. I have jars of at least 40 or more dried plants that have valuable purposes for food or health. I have not made use of all of them yet, I gather them to have them, so that I can spend winters learning about them and I have made various tinctures and salves from them. I have become an Elderberry spokesperson! Don’t say you have the sniffles around me, because I’ll end up on my Elderberry soapbox. The stuff is amazing. Oh and foraging for mushrooms, I can’t forget that. We have always done some Morel hunting, but now we successfully have found, identified and eaten, Golden Oysters, Turkey Tail, Pheasant Backs, Inky Shaggy Manes, Chicken of the Woods, and Puffballs. There are so many others to be foraged for, but this was a big jump in our mushroom foraging education.

When we began all of this, it was a bit of an off shoot from something Hubs started. He got 3 Scottish Highland Cattle 6 years ago. It’s been wonderful watching him get the rhythm of the animals, and learn to communicate with them based on their body language and they way they move. The Cattle were originally purchased to clean up all the scrub brush in our woods. Highlands are great at this, they are browsers and grazers so they clean up the grounds and the brush. When he got our bull a year later, we might have rushed into that, but in the end it turned out well, He and our 3 mamas, have produced many calves for us.

We are still developing the direction of our small beef program here yet, but in the meantime, we haven’t bought beef in years, our woods look much better, and we’ve even sold a couple of calves

We still have a long ways to go, but we haven’t bought meat or eggs at the store in years, and in fact we just don’t buy much at the store. If we don’t have what we need we often get it from local farmers around here. I do of course buy coffee, and baking essentials at the store, and dairy from local dairies as we don’t have that on the farm and of course I definitely don’t see myself making olive oil in our parts of the country, so there are always things we will buy, but it sure is not much, and I never dreamed 6 years and 8 days ago that we could have achieved this level of food sustainability.

All this learning and lifestyle change, has changed me in ways I didn’t expect. The more quiet around me, the more I need more quiet in my life. I find going to the city to be overstimulating, overly loud, and that it lacks the quiet moments I need. My trips to the city for things has been paired down to only 1 time in a month or not even, in some months. I try to get it all done so I don’t have to return too soon. There are weeks where I leave the farm only once, and I love it. Farming has also brought us closer to our community and neighbors. We enjoy trading goods and sharing knowledge. I have a friend who is wonderful about trading her forage finds and I trade her some, of mine in return. I have another friend that came out after a snowstorm to help me drag wood on a very cold day. We have neighbors we would do anything for night or day, and they would do the same for us. This lifestyle has brought me peace and comfort, and unending gratitude for being able to do what we do here. No, we are not off-grid (hoping to expand into solar this year), and no, we don’t live in a tiny house. We definitely live a modern homesteading lifestyle a hybridized version for sure but it’s our definition and it allows us to provide our food, eat close to home, know where our food comes from and be more dependent on ourselves.

It’s been amazing 6 years, and I look forward to continuing my education, everyday is another day to learn.

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.

Beautiful.

 

Garden Touring

One of the things I love about our farm is the layout of our gardens and livestock. It is similar to the old small family farm, which really was a goal of mine. These farms didn’t specialize in large scale livestock, instead they focused on raising a varied diet that could feed a family year around, as well as, hay to support their livestock in Wintertime, and to raise enough extra here and there to trade for things that were needed that weren’t raised on the farm. Our layout of the gardens, the pig area, the cattle paddock, the chicken coops, and the mushrooms is based around the home site. While we do have a small orchard area, we put in, that isn’t by the home site and of course many forage foods all over the farm, the rest is focused close by with the exception of the cattle grazing the hillsides on the farm.

Our “big” garden, it is not huge but is very productive. It currently has cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, swiss chard, lots of tomatoes, and peppers, plus onions and, what will be, a good supply of cucumbers.

This garden near the house has Elderberry at each end, Currants, a Goji, Lemon Balm, Sage, Spearmint, and some Rhubarb that is just outside the edge of the photo.

These are our grapes. There are a variety, including champagne, table, seedless, and a few others. Next year training the grapes properly will bump up on the triage list.

My first Aronia bushes. Starting small scale. Aronia’s are said to pack a higher antioxidant punch than blueberries and even the acai berry. Someone let me harvest theirs last year and I made Aronia syrup. Hopefully we will get berries this year on these new bushes.

This garden already had a nice violet patch so I left that and added lavender, 3 small rose bushes and in the front 3 chamomile plants (in cages so the chickens won’t dig them up).

Our Raspberry garden. Yes it needs clearing out, there are old canes to pull. It’s on the agenda this weekend. Also on the agenda is picking some of the young raspberry leaves for tea this Winter.

This is our blueberry bed. It’s a bit of an experiment, we have been amended the soil to be the appropriate ph for them, but blueberries in our zone are new for me, I like to start small and learn about things before I try a larger amount of plants.

This is our mini high tunnel. In the Wintertime it has plastic on it and grows Spinach year round, although slowly during the coldest months. It sits on top of a hay bale wall all the way around. This makes the tunnel tall enough for me to walk in for planting and harvesting. In the Spring the plastic comes off and here it has lettuce, some overgrown Spinach that got pulled shortly after this photo and some beets that just went in, as well as some lettuce that is providing us more salad than we can keep up with so far.

Our neighbor shared some of his rhubarb plants with us, and so this is a newly planted area.

This year we moved our garlic to a new bed up the hill behind the grapes, and near to the compost pile, squash garden and melon garden.

 

Potato growing in buckets. The buckets are food grade, and it helps to prevent potato beetles, as they can not climb up the smooth sides of the buckets.

Seems funny to weed a compost pile but since we have so much growing on them, I thought why not? The front left of the photo shows a nice potato plant. All volunteers and all appreciated.

Mushroom area. These logs are pre-inoculated for next year. I am hoping to sell these logs next year to backyarders who might want logs that quickly produce after purchasing, rather than plugging their own and waiting a year. Hoping these will sell well on a pre-order basis next year, it will also be a good way to get people out here to see what else we are selling.

We are excited now for a big move for the cattle! Hubby has now expanded the grazing areas to the front of the farm where we have a stream and great valley land, it was a vision of his for a long time, and now the fence lines are ready!

It will be a very special moment seeing them wander down to the valley together for the first time.

Here is a well deserved, homemade Kombucha, toast to our 2017 gardens, may they be productive and successful!

Sometimes it takes extra hands and heart

February came in like a very muddy Lamb. Our driveway is squishy and sloppy, the chicken eggs are muddy, and the cattle are excited by the warm temperatures but are wondering where the beautiful Spring green grass is that usually accompanies these warm temps. I don’t know where Winter went, it is mid February and I am not ready to give it up! Still hoping for more cool temps and even snow. It is just too soon for Spring yet. The buds on the fruit trees are going to get all confused and I don’t want it affecting our harvests, this Summer and Fall! Despite the fact that it is currently 60 degrees at home right now, while we are out of town meeting our new grandson, and that it will be in the 30s and 40s all this current week, when we return, this was the scene just two weeks ago… 

All this crazy weather that we are having doesn’t change the fact that Spring planning is top of the list these days. There are Shiitake logs to inoculate, seeds to pick out and start indoors, picking out chickens and figuring out where to find more garden space to accommodate us even better this year than last. I reviewed some of last years notes and am focusing on more quantities of what we need/want for the year of food, rather than on the unusual or trial items. I would like to grow enough potatoes, carrots, onions and squashes. I have to read up on how to keep my kale, collards, brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli safe, since I had a bad bout with bugs last year and lost a lot of these veggies. Last year apart from the veggies mentioned, we had a great garden, with loads of beans, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, onions, basil, thyme, cilantro, parsley, potatoes and more. We had so many cucumbers that we still have fermented dill pickles in the fridge from last Summer!

While I am thinking about this, I am also looking back to last year. At this time last year it was a difficult time with Mom so ill. My family was wonderful. While I was frequently out of town, for a week at a time, over the course of most of last year, they picked up the pieces. They tapped the trees when I was out of town in February and March and foraged for Pheasant Back Mushrooms, and Morels in late Spring. As Summer came they made sure not one sour cherry went to waste and while the green beans went crazy in late June, my daughter was freezing them as fast as she could. Sometimes it takes more hands to get things done, and I felt the love deeply as I saw how they honored the homestead and my hopes and pulled together to get things done. Last year was a long year. It was difficult, and it was life changing. It cultivated new depths to relationships as we all worked though it together with Mom. This is the first year that I can’t tell Mom about my Spring plans, Summer harvests, and Fall pig butchering, she loved listening to all of it. Sigh. She is so missed.

In other news, I attended the Garden Show recently and learned some details about Straw bale gardening. We will experiment with this. It seems that if you follow the prescribed method you can’t really go wrong. Well that’s what they said anyhow. I am not ready to invest my whole garden in the method, but think I will start with the Dragon Tongue bush beans. I don’t like putting bush beans in the garden because they use up so much space. This is why all other beans I do are pole beans, but we do love the dragon tongues. Pole beans require much less squatting while picking too! Oh and on an amusing note, I will grow mostly yellow beans, I decided the green are too hard to find and the yellow ones stand out so nicely in the green foliage. Hmmm, less squatting…easier to find…seems like someone is accommodating the garden to their age, lol!

I hear often from people, who find out that we do not buy much at the store… “don’t you get bored of the same food all the time?” We have freezers full of pork, and beef, all the eggs we can eat, some senior hens that will be stew birds soon, and a large variety of garden produce, cider and juice and neighbors that are always willing to barter. As I put this dinner on the table I thought, nope, we never get bored

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This pizza was called “roll with the punches pizza”…

I prepped all these great foods from the freezer for pizza, and hydrated the mushrooms (the mushroom broth from hydrating them went into beef soup the next day). I was well prepared to make these pizzas.

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The dough was perfect and so I got started. Suddenly, i realized that each time I looked at the oven it kept saying 100 degrees. It took me a minute but I finally got it that the oven just wasn’t working. I was just way too prepared for these pizzas and I was not going to give up! I decided that I would try cooking the pizza dough in my cast iron pan on the stove top and then put on the toppings and slide it under the broiler because although I couldn’t bake , it still worked to broil.

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The pizzas turned out so well that I might just do it again this way!

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The next snowy morning this was breakfast. No there is no boredom here, and it is for a couple of reasons. One reason is because we have so much food here, and because there is such satisfaction in the fact that it, for the most part, is all our food…food that we gathered, grew, raised, prepared, froze, dried, or preserved in other ways. It is an amazing feeling.