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!