This week is more catch-up!
More from inside our kitchen, the greenhouse and out in the barn.
The farm life is about growth and loss. Give and take. Push and pull.
Learning and implementing a lot in the kitchen and greenhouse – eating with seasons, and how to grow more of our own food is on the horizon.
Handling deaths and preventing them from happening has also been a learning curve, once again. When the seasons change our memory from the previous year seems to be lost.
In-Season Food: Sugared Cranberries.
Eating with the seasons is a lost habit. All food is readily available, albeit it is more expensive and less tasty, still available.
Why buy tart cranberries when sweet strawberries are an easy prep?
Eating in-season food is a mindset shift. Although it can be done in increments, because a simple lifestyle is also a lifestyle about not spending a ton of money.
Cranberries are an in-season food that we did purchase at a grocery store, but plan to eventually grow. They are tart and hardly sweet. We rolled the berries in a simple syrup and let them dry, creating a sticky coating on the skin. The sticky cranberries are rolled in sugar making them slightly less tangy.
A simple recipe helps to bring this winter food into our diets.
I wonder if the in-season foods are meant to provide us with the vitamins and nutrients we need to remain healthy all winter. Think about it, watermelon is in season during the summer when we should be drinking more water. Meyer Lemons are in season during the holidays when a vitamin C boost is beneficial.
Things that make you go hmm? 🤔
Homemade Yogurt: Easier than Pie.
Have you ever made homemade yogurt? Basically THE EASIEST thing you could make?!
Heat some milk, cool some milk, add some yogurt & BOOM, yogurt. Well, you have to incubate it, but you sleep while that happens.
Once you buy plain yogurt with active cultures, you never have to buy yogurt again. You use leftovers from the first batch to feed your next batch.
Overall, the process is super easy and the recipe is extremely versatile. I plan to create an entire post with the recipe, but for now, here is an informal recipe for vanilla yogurt. Omit the condensed milk & vanilla for plain yogurt.
- 1/2 gal milk (we use whole)
- 1/2-1 c Yogurt Starter
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (use less for less sweet yogurt)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Heat milk & sweetened condensed milk in pot until small bubbles form, don’t let it boil.
- Remove from the heat & cool to 110°F.
- Once cooled, add vanilla and yogurt culture. Mix well. Sometimes it helps to mix it with a little of the cooked milk mixture to loosen it up and then combine it with the rest of the milk.
- Place in a covered glass jar overnight, wrapped in a blanket. Let it rest 8-12 hours. The longer it sits, the more tangy it will get.
- Place yogurt in the fridge.
Note: you may strain yogurt with a tea towel for Greek yogurt.
The kids love the yogurt plain or with frozen fruit. I add this yogurt to my smoothies for daily probiotics and morning protein.
I used to make this in the crock pot, but I realized that it was much faster and took less babysitting on the stove. I usually make yogurt as I am cleaning up from dinner around 6pm and Aaron puts it in the fridge when he leaves for work at 6am. It’s a smooth operation that slides easily into our schedule. I just place the blanket yogurt in front of the coffee pot so he does not forget.
Greenhouse Woes and Garden Grows.
First year with the greenhouse and I am learning that there will be a lot of heating problems to troubleshoot. That will not stop me, the operation has been moved inside where my craft room becomes a winter grow-room. 😂
Currently we have lemon-thyme, basil, green onions and ginger growing in there. I am lost the lettuce to the frost in the greenhouse, but plan to start more.
I am not even sure if a heater will keep the greenhouse warm throughout the winter. I think we need to incorporate some insulation alongside adding a heater. As a back-up, indoor grow lights will help to keep plants alive should the greenhouse fail.
Learn as you go – I don’t believe in spending a ton of money, but instead learning what works and what is most efficient.
The greenhouse will definitely allow seeds to sprout come spring. Not a total loss. 😊
One Lonely Duck.
Now, let’s go out to the barn.
I do believe there have been a lot of changes outdoors since the last update.
I forgot this summer we had planned to cover the chicken run so the birds would have a snow-free area outdoors to explore this winter. That would prevent boredom and small confinement, but alas, we forgot. The birds are let out during the day, but only explore when it is above freezing. I will add that to the top of next year’s docket.
Our ducks – Ricky, Lucy & Little Ricky.
Little Ricky was in the chicken coop because the other ducks were not being nice and she got along really well with the roosters. One tragic night Aaron forgot to lock up one of the three doors to the chicken coop and a opossum got ahold of Little Ricky. Seeing as all the chickens roost in the rafters and the duck is on the ground – that was the easiest food for the opossum. 😢 I was pretty upset in finding this loss in the coop.
Ricky & Lucy remained with the sheep and Two roosters – Danny & Todd. During my surgery recovery, Aaron let the water run dry. I am not sure if it was because of this, or the ducks did not go into the barn at night, but Lucy was also discovered dead one morning.
We are down to one duck – Ricky.
The barn and pasture are opened up so all of the animals in that area have access to indoors, outdoors and an outdoor shelter. In that vicinity we have 4 sheep, Ricky, Danny, Todd, Footless Phoebe and the four chicks we hatched this summer.
Phoebe is doing well – she has her own stock tank that the chicks snuggle with her in. The chicks also have free range in the barn and they are using that freedom more often.
With the exception of the ducks – we have had a pretty successful fall when it comes to livestock.
Happy, Naughty Sheep.
Friedrich (ram), Shaun (whether), Annette & Liesl (ewes) are all one big happy family!
For the most part they all get along, but they sure are naughty! Although, because sheep are flocking animals, it is much easier to get them to listen now that there are four.
How are they naughty, you might ask?
While I throw hay for them to eat, they sneak out or the gate and come eat the hay as I throw it. However, they do not go after the hay in the bale, they eat the hay I am collecting to put in their feeder. Not only is it counter productive, but it also makes a huge mess.
Calling one sheep back into the pen will trigger the other three to come frolicking. When there are two sheep, the herding instincts are not as strong.
We have a waiting list for 2020, and are booking for lambs 2021! Please contact us if you are interested in lambs, or have any questions!
I hope you try the sugared crans, homemade yogurt, or if you’d like to get on the sheep list!
We love sharing as we learn and hope to inspire you to try something we are learning.
If you are learning anything we would love to hear about your adventures. Comment below or email us!
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,