Saturday, November 22, 2014

Meals In a Jar #1

I ran across this book recently and am really excited to try several of the recipes out. This one "Muffins 4 Ways" was by far the easiest and I think in addition to making lovely hostess gifts will be a quick and easy breakfast. I baked a batch to see how they tasted and they were good.
Certainly real eggs and real milk would make them richer tasting but for a quick fix, camping or a hurried trip to the mountains they would be perfect. Everything is in the jar including the oil (in packets) so all you add is a cup water, An excellent addition to our emergency food stores as well since they are vacuum sealed and the shelf life is long.
After that little experiment a good friend arrived and we headed to the garden to weed the spinach. Heavy rains due in tomorrow will make garden work a messy job so I wanted to get that done before hand. After that, she helped set up a Facebook page for the farm. I am not schooled in the way of social media, so she is holding my hand in this venture! Anyway, I guess I am supposed to say, "Like us on Facebook?!!)

Friday, November 21, 2014

The crock pot has simmered 24 hours a day since Monday producing large amounts of rich stock. The last bones went in the morning. This week I have frozen 7 luscious quarts of stock and have consumed at least couple more.
The kitchen has smelled incredible.
The freezer shelf is full of stock and waiting for a large pot of soup to be made. Making stock this way is so economical, healthy and easy! You can make some yourself I have posted instructions here on my eating blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

 It was with fear an trepidation I uncovered the lettuce today. Oh happy day! It survived last night which for us was the coldest night on record- a frigid 14*. The kale did not fair very well and looks pretty bad. It will rebound, I just don't know how long it will take. Surprisingly, the spinach looked unfazed and I was able to pick a large bag once the temps warmed a bit. We are on a weather roller coaster and though the next few days will have below average temps there is nothing in the forecast like last night.
I am so pleased with the performance of the row cover I plan to order more to have for future use. If I had only covered part of the kale we would have had plenty to use until the other recovered. Lessons learned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trying To Save The Lettuce

I had to work today but was able to get off a bit early. The main reason was to check the critters, though Mom had filled all the water buckets, and cover the lettuce. The temps are predicted to go down into the low teens. I am not ready for this!!
And so with 4 layers of row cover, a layer of greenhouse plastic and several blankets I did a "please don't die dance" headed to the house and hoped for the best. We will see what tomorrow brings-

Monday, November 17, 2014

A long day in the kitchen. Processing three deer was quite a job. We have a system worked out with Jill and I cutting up the meat and Mom vacuum sealing it. Still it took 6 1/2 hours. A couple hours in I started the crock pot with bones, onions, garlic and mushrooms to cook down for stock. With the amount of bones we have there will be no need to purchase any store bought stock for quite a while, if at all this winter. At the end of the day over 100 packs of meat were ready to go in the freezer. Jill and I split most, Mom took a couple of packs as Dad doesn't eat it....well, not knowingly ;-)
Around 4:30 Mom and I left to tend our critters and I needed to cover the lettuce. Tonight is going to be in the low 20's. So far we have managed to keep it alive. It's been a tough battle though. We are experiencing January weather in November. A wild start to the winter here on the homestead. It certainly makes us wonder what the future holds!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Though cold outside, sis and I spent a while in the warmth of the greenhouse potting up the blackberry bushes and grapevines. We planted them in recycled 1 gallon pots and will wait until spring to put them in a permanent place outside. Normally here in the sunny south they could go in the ground now but we are having unseasonably cold weather and I fear they would not survive that so early in their planting. So, for the winter they will hang out here where they are protected.
We also planted a large flat of lettuce. And check out that beautiful pot of parsley in the middle of the pic! It's ready to harvest and add to the stuffing on Thanksgiving. Yum.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Luke was home from school this weekend and he and my brother in law went to the VA farm to hunt. Home they came with 3!! deer. Monday will definitely be a busy day cutting up and packaging it all. It took the boys the better part of the the day to get the deer cleaned and quartered so I spent most of the day cleaning and organizing. I had to rearrange some freezer shelves to make room for the large amount of meat we will soon have. So exciting! 
Our Internet has been extremely spotty lately and after a second long phone call finally "convinced" our server that a tech needed to come out. An hour later I received a call one was on his way...gotta love the power of persuasion! We are now fixed and good to go. 
A quiet but productive day here on the homestead.