Sunday, March 24, 2019

Not Too Pretty..But Hopefully Productive

We have been impatiently waiting for enough dry weather to get our early spring crops in the ground. Sis has been lovingly tending several types of broccoli, cabbage and purple kohlrabi in the greenhouse. It is past time to have planted because these plants will simply not make anything once the weather gets hot and they need time to grow. Earlier this week I checked on the small sandy plot we have on top of the hill.Though wet, it looked like we could possibly plant by digging between the rows left from last fall. Our thinking is once it is finally dry enough we'll just till the existing old crops in the ground. So that is what we did!
Using a shovel we dug holes and planted around 215 plants. We'll keep you posted on this experiment!
Purple Vienna Kohlrabi

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Finally some nice weather has arrived. Today one of the interns arrived to help deal with the berry patches. First we cut all the old canes out of the blackberries. They should have been long ago pruned but that just didn't happen. We will just have to see what happens this year.
Next we weeded to raspberries and transplanted quite a few that had hopped out of the row. They will need to be staked up very soon.
I had hoped to get to the blueberries but we ran out of time. They are covered with blooms. Mother nature willing with no more heavy freezes, we should have another good crop this year. I hope so since we are down to two bags in the freezer.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Three Little Pigs...Oops I Mean Goats!

The bottle babies are growing like mad! They have also been escaping and though everyone that comes over fawns over them and says how cute they are, for me their cuteness factor wears off around 8 P.M. after the last feeding. That's when after 3 or 4 times of chasing them back to the barn when they insist on following me to the house my patience runs a little thin!
Well hubby has fixed that! He overlapped another panel along the bottom of the fence and it cut the holes they were able to sneak through in half.
My sanity has been restored... for now.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Clabber Milk

The new love of my life is clabbered milk. It is basically an old form of letting raw milk naturally ferment. It is a bit tangy, a little like kefir but easier to do in my opinion since you can make on an as needed basis and not have to feed it constantly like kefir.
My first jar took about 4 days to clabber, I used that as my starter jar. Sometimes the first round can be a little strong. I used that clabber to start the next round that clabbered in about 36 hours. This was much sweeter smelling and quite delicious.
Taking a spoonful of the second round I stirred that into a half gallon of raw milk and put in in my laundry room because that is the warmest room in the house.
It was ready in 36 hours. I poured in in a bag and allowed to drain for 24 hours.
I then added salt and let drain another 24 hours. After that I rolled the cheese into balls then Italian seasonings and drizzled with olive oil. It was divine on crackers and warm sourdough bread! For long term storage I dropped the balls in a jar and covered with olive oil (making sure all the cheese was under the oil so it won't spoil!) It will keep several months this way either in a really cool place or the fridge. 
I am now keeping several jars of clabber on hand for using in the place of buttermilk, yogurt and of course for making more cheese!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Picking Up The Pork

The pork is ready. Mom and I hopped in the truck and headed up to the processors mid morning. I payed for it and we loaded 11 large boxes and headed back home. Sis was waiting for us when we got back to help sort and count packages. We had 50 pounds of bratwurst, 50 pounds of sweet Italian and right at 200 lbs of breakfast sausage. There was also 3 large boxes of bones and 2 boxes of whole pork belly. Dad wanted the pork belly to try making some smoked bacon. The bones were for stock. I palmed slapped my forehead when I realized I forgot to ask for my leaf lard fat. Grrr...
We divided the number of packages not including the bones or belly and came out with about 3$ per pack for processing. That's all we cared to get back just enough to cover that cost. Sis and I kept 20 pounds each each of breakfast sausage and Mom only relieved us of 15 more miscellaneous packs. That left and awful lot of pork to place!
Sis turned out to be a great pork pusher and almost all has been sold. Bones are simmering away in the roaster making a lovely stock to can in a few days. All of the freezers have heaved a huge sigh of relief! ;-))

Friday, March 8, 2019

Canned Collards

I just got around to cooking the collards we pulled earlier this week. This is quite a chore. First you have to wash the collards. Wash I did. Piles of them.
Then you have to cook them. And then you can them!
The biggest problem is I can't stand the way they smell when cooking! I don't even eat them cooked down in ham broth. I'll eat them raw or blanched as a sandwich wrap. So, yes I love my boys very much!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

More Canning and Collards

Tuesdays are dog training days. Lately I have been working 2 dogs for an hour each and then Saber is doing a nose work class. Since my trainer is an hour away this takes the better part of the day. It's all fun but there is still life on the homestead!
Today's chores were to can the soup from yesterday and to harvest collards from sis's lower garden. If by some chance we ever catch a break in the rain she needs to get her soil turned and ready for the spring. At this point we are beginning to wonder! We were able to turn ours a couple of weeks ago but that is about it. Mother nature has been soaking us with copious amounts of rain each week.

After getting the soup canned, I finished my chores. I headed next door to sis's. She, mom and I pulled collards. And pulled collards and pulled.... soon enough the back end of my truck was laden with LOTS of beautiful greens. We also picked a bunch of broccoli and since tonight's temp is going to dip into the low 20's we had to haul all of the tender plants from the greenhouse to her basement.
There is not near enough fridge space for all the greens so I parked my truck in the unheated car garage for the night. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow?

Monday, March 4, 2019

Yesterday evening late we loaded up 4 Kune Kune Pigs to take to be processed today. We left this morning at 6:15 and made the hour long trek to the plant. These pigs will be made into sweet Italian sausage, bratwurst, and breakfast sausage both mild and hot.
Once home I plundered through the freezers and confirmed that other than breakfast sausage we are good on pork and don't really need anything until the next go round which will be in about 4 months. My freezers are overflowing and thankfully we have people wanting to purchase most of this pork. However, I still needed to make room for the breakfast sausage. I pulled out several packs of deer for stew and some hot Italian sausage for more Zuppa Toscana soup to can and shaped the sourdough bread that had been rising all night.
Unfortunately, I realized I needed carrots for the stew so I tossed the meats in cold water and made a grocery store run. I had only planned to get carrots but then I discovered lots of mushrooms marked down. I seriously had a long conversation in my head debating whether I had time to do the stew, soup and mushrooms. Canning the mushrooms make them about 60 cents a jar making them less than half the price of what store bough cost plus the taste is so much better. Frugality won out and mushrooms were tossed in my cart. Sigh.

Once back home I started the soup. I used our sausage and some beautiful fresh kale from the garden. This is one of my favorites as I've mentioned before, I make it and once I open the jars I heat with a dollop of heavy cream. Oh my! Now I can use the heavy cream from Miss Violet making it even more delish.
Next I raw packed the deer stew with carrots, potatoes and onions. Once they were processing I started on the mushrooms and popped the bread in the oven.
Soon enough I had 4 quarts of stew and 7 more jars of mushrooms ready to put on the pantry shelves.Since it was past time for barn chores and milking The Zuppa and sourdough will be tonight's homestead supper and the rest will be canned tomorrow!