Sunday, January 24, 2021
Sunday, January 10, 2021
This year all my family got a "Make Your Own Grape Soda" kit for Christmas. It was really grape flavored kombucha. I thought it would be a fun activity for my nieces and nephews to make.
I started making kombucha for myself a few years ago in an attempt to reduce my Diet Coke habit. Kombucha is fermented tea that originated in China or Japan. It is made by adding bacteria, yeast and sugar to tea and allowing it to ferment. The bacteria and yeast is a living symbiotic colony and is called a SCOBY. Some bacteria gets into the kombucha and provides probiotics in the drink. The tea is also rich in antioxidants and other nutrients. There are lots of benefits to drinking tea.
I have a a continuous brew system. I take out the brewed kombucha from the bottom and add fresh sweet, tea to the top each day (the sugar in the sweet tea helps to feed the SCOBY). Then, I add flavoring (which is usually left over jelly/jam) and put the kombucha through a second ferment in a closed bottle to make it bubbly. Here is a pic of my set up. I keep it on top of a water heater so it stays warm.
Every 3 months, I clean out the whole system and re-start it. I cut up the SCOBY and usually just feed it to the girls. They love it!
Here is another gift I gave out this past Christmas. Eggnog truffles! I thought they looked cute in the little egg carton!
Did you make any homemade gifts this past Christmas? I have already started some for this next Christmas but need some ideas for 2022...
Sunday, December 27, 2020
Joshua and Fall Farm Update 2020
Joshua got COVID. We got the call last Wednesday from his counselor. He was put into their quarantine unit for 10 days. We were told that he was not displaying any symptoms. I guess a couple of the teachers tested positive over the weekend and so they decided to test all the boys and Joshua was the only one in his unit that tested positive. We were also told that he could still call us but we have NOT received any phone calls from him. We were really looking forward to talking to him on Christmas! We were also told that IF he did develop symptoms, someone would call and let us know and we have not had any calls saying that things were worse. I guess Joshua was actually happy about going to quarantine because there is no school there and they get to play video games all day.
On a positive note, he continues to do great with school and his treatment at Benchmark. He is really maturing and is looking forward to completing high school a semester early. He wants to graduate in January 2022 and come home at that time. Yes, that is another year. He continues to work on his therapy goals. This is NOT his favorite thing for him to do but he is trying hard to get it completed. I did get a call from Telligen last Wednesday (Telligen has contracted with the state of Idaho to provide mental health services) asking about his discharge date of May 2021. Mark and I were busy with egg deliveries so I did not have a chance to answer the phone and this information was left on a voice mail. SO, I am not sure exactly about what is going to happen with this situation (May 2021 vs January 2022 discharge) but I will keep you posted when we know more...
I ordered my garden seeds for next year in September. I just didn't want to take any chances with there being any seed shortages. We added another raised bed to the garden this fall and filled it with chicken/duck compost! We usually make one new raised bed each year. Last year, we made one for the strawberries. I am REALLY looking forward to some strawberries this year! Finally! I have tried raising strawberries for the past 3 years and have not had any luck but I know that they are finally going to make it! The new raised bed is on the right in this pic...I am going to put broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes in the new bed!
More egg laying ducks and chicks!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Sunday, December 13, 2020
In the Kitchen
This is going to be a list of the items I put up this past year. It is really just for me but I like to put it in the blog so I can refer back to it year after year. I just finished canning right before Thanksgiving! I didn't think the garden was going to do well but I was pleasantly surprised by everything that I got put up. I did have to buy some hot peppers this year because mine were just really lagging. Also, there was no corn, broccoli or cauliflower to freeze this year. Other than that, I think we did pretty good. I bought a shelving unit and put it in a closet in the basement and loaded it up with quart jars of food (the pint jars are in a different storage area).
Canning:Several jars of chicken and beef broth...I just make this up as we go through the year
3 quarts grape juice (thank you Wendy!)
33 quarts seasoned tomato sauce - I was actually shocked (and happy) we got this much tomato sauce. Believe it or not, the Beefstake tomatoes totally outperformed the Amish paste. I almost didn't plant them but I had the seed so decided to go ahead an put a few in. So glad I did! They will be a staple in the garden from now on!
19 pints (red) salsa
11 pints green tomato salsa
20 pint and a half applesauce
13 quarts applesauce
16 pints hot apples
16 pints pears (thank you neighbors!)
23 pints cream of celery soup
23 pints green beans
10 pints Rotel
11 quarts of Green Tomato Enchilada sauce
4 pints pickled red onions
We also dry lots of things. We dry a lot of fruits and vegetables to make some goodies for the chickens and ducks during the winter. I am going to put that process into a different blog post. It will probably come out in January. Here is a pic of Mark helping me to harvest some apple slices off a dehydrator rack.
Herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage)
6 jars apple juice
5 quarts Apple pie filling! What? We need to eat more pie!
3 pint and a half pickled cauliflower
5 pints pickled beets (yum! one of my favorites)
1 pint beets (storing in root cellar now - way easier than pressure canning)
2 quarter pints Candied jalapenos
10 half pints of beet ketchup (I use this when I make meatloaf, I guess we better eat a lot more meatloaf)
Sunday, November 29, 2020
More learning opportunities...
1. Be flexible with your business plan. Our entire business plan revolved around selling at the Moscow Farmers Market. With the COVID-19 taking over in the early spring, the start of the Market was delayed and completely reorganized to allow for social distancing and we were drowning in eggs! Doing a delivery route was Back up Plan #3 but it became our main selling strategy. The bonus is that Mark LOVES doing the egg delivery! It allows him to have a more active role in the business. Having an online storefront was not even ON the business plan and now we have one! In fact, I was terrified at the idea of a website to sell eggs but we HAD to put one together to be a part of the Motor-In Moscow Farmers Market and now I love it! Also, we are getting everything lined up so that we can sell the duck eggs at an actual storefront, the Moscow Food Co-op! AND we provide eggs to a local farmer for her farm stand! Grateful for new opportunities that turned out to be successful for the egg business!
Sunday, November 15, 2020
Being Grateful for Lessons Learned
2. Buy more poultry than you need. Those first 3-4 days are hard on newly hatched chicks. We wanted to have 25 ducks and 75 chicks. We received 26 ducklings but 5 died in the first 3 days. We received 78 chicks but 8 died in the first 4 days. It was pretty discouraging to see them dropping like flies but after those first few days, things went much better. Next time, I think I will order 30 ducklings and 80 chicks. Grateful that we only lost one hen during our first year (until the raccoon came last week and now we are down another 3 chickens)!