What can one person do?… Share

In May I had an opportunity to attend a seminar focused on the global food crises. This was a short, intense, informative and motivating time. There are too many important points for me to to justice to here. Topics includes soil conditions, water crises, global food shortage, call for non-GMO labeling, nutrition, community gardens, locally sourcing food and more. I am thankful to have the main session videos to recap.

Hopefully, someone else will get as much out of this as I did.

For more information on the seminar host visit i61 Ministries.

Bring on the bread

I decided that I want to master the art of bread making. It just seems like a must for a self proclaimed urban homesteader. Inspired by Ian Knauer (The Farm) and Anna Hess (Weekend Homesteader) I have become obsessed with this challenge. Also, I must say Martha Stewart makes it look really easy – but from what I am finding,it apparently takes some practice.

There are so many recipes and I am amazed at how much there is to know. I decided to just jump in with a couple of simple recipes I found.

Attempt #1- One word, yum. This was amazing (and beautiful). A simple French bread and it was AMAZING. So, my confidence was high and turned around to try a molasses wheat loaf.

French Bread

Attempt #2- Huh. It was going so good–until I cut it. It was so pretty but I forgot to dock the top. I’m still trying to figure out if that is all that went wrong or if there is something else? Beautiful on the outside but the inside separated and fell. No tears- just disappointed.

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Onward.

Green Tomato and Apple Chutney

Made this chutney – amazing! Don’t waste your green tomatoes. This is a must!

Potlicker Blog

At the moment Fall is really falling on me! The apples are falling from the tree faster than I can use them and I still have loads of green tomatoes available. I see little grapes and berries drying on other bushes because I just had no time to play with them. My peppers are calling me to harvest them all before the cold sets in. I believe they are calling, in fact, to be made into pepper jelly. Before I can get to that project I am trying to quickly hustle the green tomatoes through the preserving process.

Of all the ways I have chosen to use the ‘greenies’, a Green Tomato and Apple Chutney might be the most versatile. This is a wonderful fall chutney since the main ingredients are in abundance at precisely the right time. This is also fantastically adaptable chutney. I have made 3 different versions. One…

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Farmer’s Cheese

Today we met a guy with a cow- a Jersey.  Amazing raw milk that was crying to be made into something special.  Ice cream, of course; butter, yes.  Cheese!

Ok, so I have tried this before. Thankfully, that attempt was with regular store bought whole milk because it didn’t work. This time, using our precious (and more expensive) raw milk I was taking no chances.

In full disclosure, this is a simple and easy recipe so I was confused by what went wrong. After some brief research I discovered that the milk hadn’t gotten hot enough. When cooking milk it is actually deceiving to gage temperature off of the bubbles forming around the sides.  This time around I brought the temperature way up almost to a boil.  That did it!

The recipe says it will keep for a week- not around here! Drizzled with olive oil- so good! It’s a great treat – mild and creamy.

There are lots of great farmer’s cheese recipes online. I used one with fresh lemon juice rather than vinegar. I love the fresh lemon flavor with my fresh herbs.

I used 1 quart (4 cups) raw milk,  1/2 teaspoon salt and a full lemon for my base.  Finished with salt, pepper, fresh herbs and olive oil.

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Something new

They are finally here…

So, I decided that this year I wanted to try growing my own mushrooms. I was pretty excited about it until I found out how hard it was to find dormant oak tree logs the middle of May. I almost gave up but found a place on Etsy that was able to supply me with a couple of small pre-inoculated logs for my first try. Fruitsnutsandvegetables.com

Mushroom LogsWe have a wonderful shade garden that is perfect for them. Instructions read, watered and put into place now we just wait for the 6 – 12 month first fruiting (and research on identifying edible mushrooms).

Pretty cool!

 

 

You will find me in my garden

The gardens are planted and seeds are starting to sprout. I just finished putting down the straw and it’s everywhere!  But, if it does its job of keeping down the weeds and holding in moisture – so be it.

I have been reading a book called Weekend Homesteader by Anna Hess. It has inspired many weekend projects for Jerad and I. Great book – especially for those of us needing some of the basics.

We have two (and a half) garden areas – getting ready to expand one for more space. Every year we press our luck with the frost. With a short growing season we do what we can April/May but keep the plastic sheets close. I think – I hope – we are past the last frost. So far, everything made it.

Garden 1

Spring brings new life…

The Girls

It’s been a very long time since my last post.  I have missed journaling and sharing, but, a job change, house purchase and move, dead computer, new business, wedding and whatever else life has thrown our way has kept us preoccupied.

Busyness has kept us from not just sharing but actively participating in the things that are so important to us.  We have been doing the minimal cooking, planning and learning – just getting by but not enjoying it.

No more.

Getting back into cooking and exploring ways to broaden our vegetarian diet/health is not only out of enjoyment, but necessity.  And, we have taken it one step further jumping on the urban farm movement.  Yep, even backyard chickens.

It has been a busy and exciting spring.  Transforming lawns into vegetable gardens, building a chicken coop/run, and setting up a rain barrel just skims the surface of my long chore list.  Hard work that is full of purpose and life- and I love it.

Look forward to sharing this journey – lots to learn.

Ahh Asparagus

Spring’s green goodness – I love asparagus.  Each March I look forward to seeing it fresh in the store, or even better, fresh from the farmer’s market.  Buying fresh the color should be very green and the ends should not be (too) dry.  Store the bundle bagged and loose, and, eat as soon as possible.

The fresher the you buy asparagus the better chance you wont have to do much prep.  Still, snapping off the end where ever it decides to break will help make sure you get the tough part off.

One of the oldest known vegetables it is much more than tasty.  High fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, and B vitamins are just another reason to add it to every recipe this spring.

Want an idea that everyone will love – even kids?  Chop into 1 1/2″ pieces and with a small slice of your favorite cheese, roll into prepared croissant or biscuit dough.   Cut each pre-sliced piece of dough in have before rolling.  Even your non-veggie lovers will eat this up.