Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Moved to new blog

I have neglected this blog for quite awhile but I have now taken up blogging again...join me over at Homesteading Radio!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First full day of Spring!

Today is the first full day of Spring and I got my first little harvest from the garden! 

Microgreens thinned from the arugula and lettuce under the quick hoops (Baker Creek Seeds) and Egyptian onions (bulbs that I won last year from Anna and Mark at The Walden Effect):

Those went on our salad for lunch, and then more onions for a quiche for dinner:

Recipe adapted from "Spring Quiche Trio" in Simply In Season

2 cups shredded sweet potato
1 cup shredded turnip
3 tablespoons coconut oil

Mix together and press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese to bottom of crust (raw colby cheese)

Brown 1/2 lb ground sausage in a skillet, then add the follow veggies to saute:
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green onion (from the garden!)

Saute for 5-10 minutes and then add 2 cups chopped fresh spinach (from Breezy Hill Farm!), cook until the spinach is wilted

Mix in a bowl:
1/2 cup milk (fresh local milk)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Add the sausage/veggie mixture to the crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup cheese on top and bake at 425F for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350F and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until browned. Yum!

I'll leave you with some pictures of Jonathan and the Legos he got for his 4th birthday this week...it's been a long time but dad still enjoys playing with Legos too ;)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quick Hoops

Here I am again after a long absence! I've been doing plenty of farming and homesteading, I've just been too busy to blog about it.

I used some Christmas money to buy row cover material and quick hoop supports from Gardener's Supply Company. We've had a very mild winter, and I decided to try several different experiments with the quick hoops. The first tunnel I set up on January 1st! After reading The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman I decided to try planting ahead of the freeze in the hopes that the seeds would germinate extra-early under the hoops. I planted a test-plot of 10 different cool season veggies. Here's the tunnel 7 weeks later:

And here are my little arugula and corn salad (mache) seedlings:

I've had a couple problems with this tunnel. I took off the plastic cover on a warm day and forgot to put it back on before it snowed, and 4 inches of snow makes the row cover material sag quite a bit! I also am going to think about getting some PVC pipe to make the supports instead of the fiberglass supports I bought from Gardeners Supply. They work well except under the snow load.

My 2nd tunnel I set up on February 2nd:

I transplanted some 4-week-old broccoli, kale, and cabbage plants on February 2nd, and most of them are still alive, although  not really thriving. We did have some temps in the mid teens after this, and part of the tunnel also collapsed under another 4 inch snow. I'll have to see how these are doing in a couple months, but I probably put them out just a little too early.

That's all for now. Thanks for visiting!

This post has been entered in the Garden Life link up at No Ordinary Homestead - check it out!

And I've also linked up to the Homestead Barn Hop!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


On the journey toward eating more healthy, real food, I've read a lot of references lately to soaking beans, nuts and grains. I've skipped over a lot of it because it sounded too complicated. Well it's not. This post from Modern Alternative Mama today and several recent discussions with my wife was enough to make me take the plunge. It's really quite simple - soak in salt water, then dry in a dehydrator. This reduces the phytic acid which inhibits digestion and absorption of nutrients. Here's a list of soaking and sprouting times for common nuts and grains.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hillbilly Cream Separator & Making Butter

I've been working for a few months on a way to separate cream without buying an expensive gadget. I read that it is easier to drain the milk off the bottom than to try to skim the cream off the top, and after one failed attempt at buying a second-hand glass jug with a spigot at Goodwill, I decided to go very low-tech:

After several tries where I ended up spraying milk all over the place,
the trick seems to be to stab, twist and pull the knife out in one fluid motion:

If you look close you can see the line where the cream has separated from the milk after sitting in the fridge for a day:

Today I decided to put the cream right in the mixer and make butter:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another chicken coop project

The heat lamp will have to wait for another day. Today I decided to install a wood floor in the chicken coop. The old floor of limestone rocks was getting to be too much of a hassle because the girls would scratch around in their pine shaving bedding and then get bored and start digging through the rocks (notice the mini crater).

I dug through my pile of scrap wood and found that I didn't have any pieces of plywood big enough to cover the entire floor. I guess I'll just have to make do and cover it with several smaller pieces. First I cut several pieces of 4x4s and 2x4s to act as floor joists:

Then I pieced together the flooring:

Fresh pine shavings:

 Penny comes inside to check it out!

I hope this will make cleanup easier and not harder. 

Thanks for stopping by today!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chicken Lighting Update

Here's a long overdue update on the chicken lighting setup. Our hens now have artificial light in the evening instead of the morning. (The 4:30am wake-up call was encouraging too much noise when neighbors were likely still sleeping.)

As Anna Hess of the Walden Effect suggested they would in her comment to my original post - the girls usually hop up on the roost before it's actually time for 'lights out' so there has been no problem just popping in and turning off the light at their appointed bedtime (8:30ish).

The next project for the chicken coop? I'm thinking about maybe installing a heat lamp for winter, even if our Buff Orpingtons are already winter-tolerant with their mass of fluffy feathers.