In Preparation

I don’t even want to say it, but here it goes……winter!

We have been busy preparing for the winter months ahead of us. I really am in denial about cold weather this year. I find myself doing stupid stuff, thinking that it will remain 70 degrees every day. For example, I left thirty gallons of prepared juice (for wine) in the garage thinking it would start the ferment process because well it still is summer, right?

Yesterday was most likely the last day I will be able to go bare foot so I made sure not to wear shoes whenever I could. (That is not a bruise on Hannah’s foot. She got into some wild berries on the property. They ended up all over her shirt too:))

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I spent some of the day preparing the top garden for the horses who will arrive here this weekend.

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Over the weekend Brook and his brother filled the hay barn for those horses to have some grub this winter. The forts and wild shenanigans have already begun to take place in there.

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Wood has been cut, split, stacked, and covered. I am so thankful for a warm house on these chilly nights.  Not to mention a hard working husband to make sure his girls are warm and cozy.

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The piggies and cows have gone to the butcher. The last of the chickens will soon fill our freezer.

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The last of the canning will commence with sour kraut. That is, if the chickens don’t eat all the cabbage before I tend to it.

Craft supplies were just bought today to stock the art cabinet. This mama has to be prepared as we will soon be spending more of our time in doors.

Such a bittersweet feeling. The tug to come inside met with the pull to be outdoors as much as possible. Oh to find that balance.

Enjoy these last few days of August   I mean October.

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This-n-That and a Garden Recipe

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It has been full of life around here. Crazy busy with garden and farm work with a splash of fun. We spent our 4th of July celebrating simply with family, food, and fireworks. We visited the place we keep our piggies and all declared how big they are getting.

In the evenings we all grab a container and head to the berry bushes. We rotate between the blueberries and raspberries. The garden is coming along slowly. Nothing is ready for harvesting yet but I did pick up some fresh produce from a farm down the road. I have been hungry for zucchini bread. Grace and I experimented with a recipe I had and made it gluten free. It was perfect and not to sweet either. 

Gluten Free Zucchini Carrot Bread

3 eggs

1/2 c coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. raw sugar

2 c. grated zucchini

1 large carrot grated

2 c. GF oat flour

1/2 c. brown rice flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

Oil bread pan with more coconut oil, preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, until light and thick. Add dry ingredients and fold in the zucchini and carrot. Bake for one hour and 15 minutes. 

Slice and top with raw honey and fresh blueberries. 

 

Chicken Trouble

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Oh these chickens! Remember the coop that Brook built for me? The one that you could move so they could eat the fresh grass. Well it was not working. We had too many chickens for the given space and they started pecking each other. Either that or the original three chickens from last year were beating up on this year chickens. 

So to fix the problem, Brook moved the coop to the top of the hill and made a permanent home for the flock. He clipped their wings and made a small pasture. Well, those original three chickens led by Sneaky the Americana still managed to escape. Once again Brook tried to fix the fence by making it taller. For sure they would not be able to escape. Wrong! Now Sneaky has a following and they are all escaping. So for now we have given into the fact that “what will be will be.” We are finding random nests around the property and enjoying the egg hunts we get to go on everyday. So much for the reliability of finding our eggs in the same spot. 

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Zephyr

Meet Zephyr. The newest addition to our family besides the turkey, quail, and rabbits. We got him last week from a friend with intentions of keeping him as a barn cat.  Right now he is staying cozy in the garage until he is older and more adjusted to his surroundings and his new family. We all love him, yes I think even Brook.  There is no doubt this little kitty is going to be a great mouser in a few weeks.  “How do you know?” you ask. Yesterday we caught him with two quail that he decided to have for lunch. Guess it was time to move the quail chicks to the barn. 

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Chickens

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Remember our peeps? Well they are young chickens now and need a home of there own. They have been spending there days in the barn. I have been asking begging Brook for a chicken coop for quite some time.  In years past we just let them roam around the property. That works okay until they wander to the neighbors or lay their eggs randomly around the property. Brook worked hard all week to have this beauty finished just in time for my birthday. We get each other the strangest gifts. This year I got Brook a gift card to Field and Forest so we could start our mushroom garden. I will save that for another post.  Back to tI he coop, It can be pulled with the tractor to give the girls fresh grass. There are roosting bars, four nesting boxes, and a built in feeder inside the coop.  I wish I had plans to share with you, but Brook built this on his own with no plans. He amazes me everyday. It also cost nothing to make. He used all scrap barn wood and material that we had in the barn. Did you see the tin on the peak of the roof? That was found in the barn too. You know I love gifts that are useful and I do believe this is one of those gifts. 

Planting Time

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The excitement of planting season is upon us. Brook has been working hard in the gardens the past few weeks planting the second row of fruit trees, transplanting the blackberries to a different row, trellising the raspberries, and planting another row of strawberries. All while I sit on the porch rocking Sawyer. I am so eager to get out there and help him but the doc says a few more weeks of healing. I am counting down the days. These gardens take a lot of time and energy and we did not even start the vegetable gardens yet. Brook recruits anyone who comes to our house to visit. Thanks Tucker for helping him with planting the trees.

We always ask each other if it is worth it and where we need to draw the line. We both know that once we start to reap the fruits of our labor it will be worth it. There is nothing like knowing where our food comes from and teaching our children about wholesome real food. Last year we did not have a garden because we moved into the house in May. I did not can or freeze in the amount that I normally do. I bought more processed sauces and vegetables at the store. So when Brook asks me if we really need the garden I exclaim YES!  Believe me I had a relaxing summer last year, but I all winter long I dreamed of shelves stocked with our own salsa, tomato sauce, beets, pickles, and the list goes on.  Bring on the warm weather, dirt, sun, and the beauty of the planting season. Weeds not welcome:)

Do you recognize those peas? Read how we started them here. Brook and the girls took the bottom boards off and planted them in the ground. They have some blooms and we are waiting for fresh snap peas any day!

Happy planting.