Monday, December 31, 2018

Year End Homestead Update

I'm not sure if time is moving faster or I'm moving slower. Me thinks it's me...

I can't believe the year is almost over! It's has been (as always!) a crazy busy year. In addition to the normal routine of critter tending and garden work we moved a house from the center of a field to a corner on the far side of the property. Not only was it taking up needed pasture space it was built over an area that stayed constantly wet and was starting to cause structural issues in it. Hubby and my brother in law have spent the better part of 3 months remodeling it. The house is absolutely precious now and we are renting it to my niece. Welcome to the compound J. :-)

Just prior to that Hubs had some minor surgery that put him out of commission for several weeks.

We added a new family member. This is Saber. He is a now 11 month old solid black German Shepherd. 
Ludovic and I trained hard all summer and he finally earned his BH and is now training for his IPO1 title sometime next year.

The boys have been busy hunting and sis and I have cut up and packaged 6 deer so far. The freezers are in nice shape for the winter as is the pantry since I've started canning meat in addition to freezing it.

We are letting our garden rest for the winter but we planted sis's garden with a wide variety of greens, broccoli and cabbage. It is looking good! 

We have dealt with 2 hurricanes and a heavy snow already. Wind brought down a few trees not damaging anything but making a mess for sure. It is wetter than we have ever seen it since building our homestead. We ended the year almost 20 inches above normal! 
Our soap business is booming and we are blessed with lots of happy and repeat customers.
And that's a quick year end update. We are looking forward to a great 2019!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Mushroom Jackpot!

Today while at the grocery store I stumbled upon a mushroom jackpot! Organic shiitake mushrooms had been marked $3.00 off making the packages 1.29. And they were sliced too! Double jackpot! I was greedy and grabbed all they had.
Once home, I rinsed them and tossed them in the dehydrator.
 A short time later I had 2 quarts of dried shiitakes. For long term storage I put in quart jars and vacuum sealed them. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Time Flies! Veggies Tales

Its hard to believe almost 2 months have slipped by without a homestead update. It has been a very productive summer. Canning daily has kept me very busy! My newest addition to my kitchen has been a Carey Canner. It is electric so it is perfect for canning things that take a long time, soups, beans and meats for the most part here. I have so enjoyed it!
Using it I have added canned chicken, canned beef chunks, breakfast sausage for gravy, vegetable soup and canned dried beans to the pantry.

The garden was hit and miss but we did end up with quite a large green bean harvest and the crowder peas did well. Dad's old timey "yard peas" (seeds planted from my grandmother's stash from at least 50 years ago!) did well too. All were lovingly canned and stashed for winter enjoyment. Lots more pickled peppers were canned since we are eating them almost as fast as they are canned!
Chopped peppers (for adding to cornbread) and eggplant Parmesan were frozen.
 The dehydrator has run almost non stop with yet more peppers, fruit slices for adding to water and hot tea and powdering for homemade vitamin C powder and my new love eggplant jerky!
Details on jerky to come and farm tales posted soon!

Friday, August 3, 2018

"Stocking " Up

Last week we committed to buying half a cow from a friend. With my freezers already about to overflow with the chickens we processed this summer and 3 pigs yet to go to slaughter I knew we were going to be short on space. I started doing some rearranging and defrosting and realized a lot of space was being taken up by bones. Lamb bones, pork bones and 40 pounds of chicken parts. Yep, time to make and can some stock!

So while the canners were running full time so were the turkey roasters. The first 2 rounds were 1 each of lamb and pork bones. They each simmered for 3 days. The next 5 rounds were chicken bones. I let them simmer for 2 days. Now jar after lovely jar of stock line the pantry.

The meat arrived today. Guess what came with it. Uh huh, more bones!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

And Still More Maters

The canning has continued. Another large basket of tomatoes was gifted to me. This time I canned plain chunks and sauce. There were a good many yellow tomatoes in the batch so I did a single batch of yellow salsa. It turned out so pretty!

It has been a rainy week here on the homestead with over 7 inches falling the last few days. Outside chores have been put on hold except for feeding and milking. I decided a little organizing in the pantry was in order since all my pretty jars were starting to fill the shelves. I have a collection of old blue canning jars so I washed them up and filled with various beans and grains. So much more pleasant to walk in my pantry these days!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

A Busy July- Preserving The Harvest (Part 2)

Then tomatoes started to ripen. Our harvest was not what I had hoped for so my friend from the farm where I used to help out started sending me her unsaleable ones. Bushels of unsaleable ones.

And of course the corn would come in about that time! My kitchen looked like a veggie bomb had exploded in it. It was constant semi controlled chaos for 2 solid weeks. Right about that time my dishwasher died. The poor fellow was trying to work on it amongst the dehydrator running, jars jiggling in the pan and pots simmering on the stove. He finally said," mam I can't hear if I got it running." Sadly he did not and it was another week before we got the part.
I froze bout 40 quarts and sis froze 38. We ate fresh corn until we could eat no more. I dried several trays of corn silks for tea and made a batch or corn cob jelly. Yum! 

 As for the pantry, 63 jars of salsa and 28 jars of spaghetti sauce were placed on the shelves. My sister brought me a bag of fresh black eyed peas and after eating a huge delicious pot I canned 8 pints of those.
Going to be some good eating around here this winter!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

A Busy July- Preserving The Harvests (Part 1)

Though I have been absent from blogging life on the homestead has been a flurry of activity.
We have been busy preserving the harvests. It has been almost 3 solid weeks of canning, freezing and dehydrating, not to mention keeping up with the other chores.
The cucumbers and jalapenos were producing like crazy the first part of the month, along with the blackberries and blueberries. There was also a large harvest of Roma tomatoes.
The cucumbers and jalapenos were pickled. Blueberries were frozen for eating and making syrup later this Fall when things slow down a bit. Blackberries were turned into jelly. Roma tomatoes were sliced and dehydrated.

So far 9 jars of jelly, 4 quarts of blueberries, 13 pints of pickles, 17 jars of jalapenos and 7 quarts of dehydrated tomatoes have been tucked away for winter enjoyment.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Sad Harvest

Well we dug our potatoes today. A sad harvest for sure. Just a couple of bushels and tiny to boot. This garden year has been extremely difficult on the homestead. A wet cold spring that jumped head on into a hot dry summer has stressed our garden to the max. On the bright side, they may be little but they are delicious.
We can only hope the sweet potato harvest will be better.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Salt Brine Pickle Success

We as promised I said I would let you know how they turned out. Success! I liked the flavor of the ones that had the horseradish leaf in the jar better than the grape leaf and I think they are crisper too.
A hint of dill and a bite from the red pepper flakes. YUM!
This will definitely be a fridge staple as long as the cucumbers keep producing.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Pickle Time

Sis is out of town for a week and her garden is way ahead of mine. Mom has been overseeing it and yesterday plopped a large basket of cucumbers on my counter. Today I canned 8 pints of a combination of spears and slices.
 When done I still had a pile of slices left so I decided to try and make old fashioned salt pickles.. Apparently cucumbers are bad to mold so we will cross our fingers they turn out. In one jar I put 2 grape leaves (for added crispness) fresh dill, garlic and red pepper flakes. The other jar is the same except I put a fresh horseradish leaf in. I used a 5 % brine made with pink Himalayan sea salt. A 5% brine is supposed to make a "full sour pickle".

Now they will sit covered for 7-10 days. I will let you know!