Sunday, January 10, 2016

Water Kefir Lemonade

I have been playing around with water kefir grains for the last few weeks. They are not nearly as easy to figure out as the milk kefir. I thought I may have killed them over the holidays but apparently it was so cool in the kitchen they didn't eat all their sugar and starve. I don't particularly like drinking the water kefir plain as I find it too sweet. I am not a sweet tea or soft drink person, so I was mixing it in with my smoothies. The other day I found a lemonade recipe and all I can say is yum-o!! This is going to be my drink of choice on those hot summer days!! The only thing I wish I had done was let the second ferment a go a little longer as I would like it a little fizzier.
I have a little over a half cup of grains. I add 2 tbsp. of sugar to them along with 2 cups of warm water, I let them sit for a couple of days. You can tell they are working because if you tap the jar little bubbles rise up. After a couple of days I strain the water and repeat the feeding part. To the strained water I added about 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice. I capped it in a bottle and let it sit for 2 more days for a second ferment to add more fizz. As I said this time of year with my cool kitchen the next go round I am going to try 3 days. A totally refreshing drink that is good for you!!
If anyone in my neck of the woods would like milk or water kefir grains or kombucha scobys let me know I will be glad to share!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Moving Mama Goats

We have 2 nubians that are due to kid any day and with the colder temperatures decided to get them from Mom's smaller barn to mine. I have enclosed stalls and it is easier to hang heat lamps. Once the stall was cleaned and fresh straw put down we hooked leashes on them and made the trek down the hill. I am sure the neighbors find us quite comical as we walk, waving to all as if we are in a parade. The girls have settled in nicely and now all we have to do it wait!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Today was a nice day, though a bit chilly. It seems mother nature woke up and said "Oh yeah it's winter!!" and so after a month with the windows open, the heat was turned on.
An early morning baking and then off to train the dogs for a while. Ludovic is coming along nicely and starting to track pretty well. I am totally in love with him!
Once back home it was time to feed critters and clean. Seems that is all I do these days. Muddy feet are abundant. As are dirty towels trying to cut down on muddy feet!
 Hubby has been working hard in the basement building new shelves to better organize all of our "stuff" and a lot of that we have. He is also building and designating an area for all the bee equipment. We plan to get bees again this year. I am hopeful that we may possibly be able to keep them longer than 2 years. I love the bees and every time I fail them I promise to work harder the next time.  In my heart I feel my homestead is not complete without honey bees!

Today was also the end of deer season. My brother-in-law, a friend and his young son went hunting on our farm in Virginia. And who got the last deer of the season? The 8 year old of course! Glad I didn't have to ride home with him! Monday will find us processing and freezing the meat. ;-)  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Hard to believe the new year is upon us. We have had an incredibly busy year. The last 2 months especially so! The new acreage we purchased has been partially cleared and planted. The winter rye grazing fields were finally planted and as of last week one was ready for the goats.
After the drought this summer the rains finally came. November broke a record with rainfall and December has been equally as wet. Just this last week we have gotten almost 10 inches. Things are a wet muddy mess. This last rain of 5 inches in one day caused much fence and field damage. There will be much to do once it dries a little. December was exceptionally warm too, with many days in the 70's. The plants are all confused! The daffodils, dandelions and camellias are in full bloom. I am afraid there will be no pretty spring flowers this year.

I am taking today to reflect over the busy year. I do it best while puttering in the kitchen. I have neglected many of my fermented friends! My milk kefir I have kept up with but the water kefir, sourdough starters and kombucha have been patiently waiting. They have all been fed and put back on a regular schedule. The beans are in the crock pot cooking for our new year day supper of hoppin' john soup, the spinach is washed and ready for a large salad and sourdough bread is rising.




Later today I plan to take the dogs for a long walk. I will take a deep breath, enjoy the solitude of the woods and thank God for friends and family. I will bid 2015 goodbye and welcome 2016 with open arms. I hope your day is as good as mine! Once again, happy new year from the homestead!



Saturday, October 10, 2015

The last couple of weeks has brought some much needed rain. About 7 1/2 inches has fallen. Our poor neighbors to the south though have experienced devastating floods and our hearts go out to them. Here on the homestead just the normal damage from that much rain. Washed out driveways and lots of fallen branches. The farm looks green and happy.
Though happy to finally get rain, it has put us behind in getting fields planted for fall and winter grazing. Only one winter rye pasture was planted before the rains set in. One is left to plant but we have yet to even get it plowed. With the hay shortage we are facing for the coming winter we hope to get it done and established as soon as possible. Our crop fields that are to be planted with oats for spring hay need to be plowed as well. It looks like the coming week will be dry so fingers crossed we can get them done.
The new website is up and running! It is absolutely awesome and we want to thank Ronna at Launched Design Firm for all her hard work. If you have yet to see it check it out at www.maplelanehomestead.com .



Monday, September 14, 2015

The End Of A Long Hot Summer?

Today felt like the beginning of  Fall. A long awaited and welcome change. It has been one of the longest, hottest and driest summers I can remember. We are still almost 7 inches below our normal rainfall and almost broke the record for days numbering 90*. The homestead has muddled through though. The garden has suffered but we have still managed to can and preserve a good quantity of vegetables. An early good crop of cukes made pickles, tomatoes, though late, have been bountiful and a good supply has been added to the pantry. There was no corn or onions at all this year but our late peas have managed to survive and have done surprisingly well. I am freezing those and sis is canning. The jalapenos are hotter than heck due to lack of rain but I am just seeding them before canning!

It has been an extremely busy summer. All of the old fencing is being replaced. Another 14 acres has been purchased and added to the farm. Lots of clearing has been done to make way for new pastures and (hopefully) cattle in the spring. Luke has moved back from college and has been a tremendous help but in doing that, Doug and I have had to spend several weekends getting the townhouse in Wilmington ready to sell.

Sis and I have added to the Kune Kune herd. Her hubby has been very busy building the Kune Condos and we had our first litter born.
Mom and Dad are building a house on the compound and Luke and his future bride will be moving an existing house from one of the new properties back off the road to remodel at the end of the year.

A brand new website is being designed and is slated to come out in the next couple of weeks. An Etsy shop is in the works and should follow soon after. If you haven't checked out the Facebook page do so. A lot of quick blurbs of summer happenings!

Some things were accomplished that we had hoped for. Others not, but new and exciting things took their place. It was a hot, busy, crazy summer here on the homestead. but as always a blessed one. I have missed blogging and am glad to be back!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Barn Day

Today was a long barn day. It's time to wean more babies, rotate pastures and do a parasite check. First chore was to go through the dairy goats and give them a good check up. Except for my oldest girls they all looked really good. The older does are really having a hard time with keeping parasites in check. I refilled the mineral feeders and got everyone seperated. As is the usual a new pecking order has to be established.

 Even among the youngsters!
However, once chow came out, all was well.
Next was to bring the sheep up. I guess because we have had so little rain and the pastures have all but dried up, I found no evidence of parasite problems in them either. Oh happy day!
They were sent to a new field as well.
Then is was off to the garden. Lots of basil to harvest. Only 2 plants clipped today. Several cups of pesto were frozen and I tried a new method of preserving. Layering salt, basil and olive oil in a jar, packing between each layer and covering the top with oil is supposed to keep it fresh for up to a year. Yum. Perfect for topping pizza, making an infused oil for pasta and salad dressings, oh, the possibilities are endless!
Will keep you posted on the outcome!