Farming, Life

Busy Season?

Oh, this is supposed to be the slow season? I feel this every year, we should be relaxing into winter, cozying up and spending time together. Instead, we are busy, busy, busy. For us this year it means, still cutting firewood and building a WWOOFER cabin. WWOOFER’s are people that work on your farm in exchange for food and shelter. This was our first year having wwoofers and one thing that was lacking was somewhere warm for people to stay during our winter season, otherwise known as preparing for sap season.

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River has been working on the cabin and it is coming along just fine. a composting toilet, bunk beds, desk area, wood stove, and an area for a comfy love seat is coming together very nicely. The electrical is complete and the insulation is in. The wood stove is in and the doors and windows are ready to go up. Once the door is on, the mudding and taping can commence. I am going for white as the paint color in here, it is a small space.

The boys are excited that they will have a tiny home to stay in if they want when workers aren’t there.

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Where the bunks will be
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The bathroom area

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This is all very exciting and time consuming, I can’t wait for it to be done!

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We used siding off a building we took down that was shorter but then this cabin so we had to piece it together. Use what you have, make do or do without is the old saying I believe…

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Food storage, Meat Animals, Recipes, Vegetables

Duck Broth

A few weeks ago, River helped some friends slaughter meat ducks. We got a duck, yummy, the necks for broth, and the livers, hearts, etc.

River loves liver, usually we invite my grandmother over who also loves liver when we make something like this. The boys and I don’t care for it.

Using my insta-pot, I put leek greens from our garden, parsley from a friend and duck necks in the pot and added water. I don’t usually add salt or pepper until i am using the both in a recipe. I covered my pot, made sure the vent was closed and set it for an hour.

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This will be broth soon!

When it is done, I will strain the broth and store it in 1/2 gallon jars in the fridge. This time of year, I make one or two soups a week. It always tastes good on a chilly day and I heat some up for River and #1’s lunches and put it in a thermos for them, so nice to have a hot lunch when it is cold outside.

Duck necks have a lot more meat on them then chicken necks! I think there were 6 necks in the bag and I got almost a quart of meat from them.

Yummy, nutrient dense, broth in an hour. I had already cooked some pumpkins that were not going to store in the pot this morning and roasted some of them in the oven. On the docket for dinner tonight, Roasted pumpkin and black bean soup. I will be putting the steamed pumpkin in 2 cup jars in the freezer for future pies and puddings, muffins or anything pumpkin!

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Roasted Pumpkin
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Steamed Pumpkin
Food storage, Fruit

Apples!

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My mother should be proud of this photo. We used a prop, we took several shots and everyone is looking at the camera with eyes wide open!

We went apple picking at a local preserve a few weeks ago. Green Point Farm is an old apple orchard that I remember picking at when I was in grade school. It has been closed for several years now and the apple trees were not doing well untended. Over the past few years there has been a push to tend the trees, pruning them and keeping the paths mowed to prevent invasive vines from taking over.

We had not picked apples here before, but it was lovely, ladders needed for sure. We had a great time trying apples on all the trees, deciding which ones would be good for applesauce and eating.

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Everyone is in the tree except me! 
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This fella hung out with #3 for quite some time while we were picking.

We had our big applesauce making this weekend as well. We made about 60 quarts to go with the 25 I had made earlier in the fall.

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                                                        Notice all the different shades of sauce?                                                                   This is from all the kinds of apples we used, each apple has a unique color and flavor. 

 

 

Food storage, Vegetables

Green Tomatoes

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The inside of these tomatoes were so beautiful, I couldn’t help but snap a few photos. 

We had about 40 pounds of green tomatoes from the garden at the end of the season. In the past I have often let them ripen (slowly) on counters, etc. Taking over the house and being in the way. This year I decided not to do that, I couldn’t handle the coverage of every horizontal surface in the house with tomatoes.

What to do with all the tomatoes, we couldn’t let them go to waste, enter Green Tomato Relish and Green Tomato Salsa. I wasn’t sure about using green tomatoes, they aren’t sweet like a red tomato. I have to say the Green Tomato Relish is delish. The salsa is okay. Not as good as the salsa I made earlier this summer.

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Green Tomato Relish, ready to be stirred up in our gigantic pot. 

The spices and add ons in this recipe were very fall looking. And now the relish is ready to be served up with our pork and chicken. Last night we had one of our ham steaks, so delicious!

Come to the farm for your Chicken and Pork needs! We have you covered!

Food storage, Recipes, Vegetables

Filling up the pantry and a Salsa Recipe

This year it is taking me awhile to fill the pantry. I have had an over abundance of summer squash so I have made about 21 jars of summer squash relish. In the past I made zucchini relish, but alas, only one zucchini this year (for real, only one and on a volunteer plant)

I made Mustard Pickles with an old family recipe, it calls for little onions and cauliflour. I did not have either of those so I just made it with cukes, I am sure my grandmother would be horrified by this, sometimes you just have to use what you have and go for it…

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I have celiac disease so I just omit the flour in the above recipe. This recipe is from a booklet of recipes that were given to me when I married Trace’s dad from the Lynch side of the family. Many great family treats are in here, some of the recipes actually say call your Nanny Lynch for additional instructions. All well and good, except that my grandmother has passed on.

I also have our five quarts of peaches, I am still annoyed by the lack of peaches on the shelf, they have already been earmarked for birthdays, I actually wrote names on them so there would not be any confusion.

I have also canned 25 quarts of applesauce. We have already eaten some of this so clearly we will need more. Saturday is supposed to be apple picking day for us. Hopefully we will get all the apples we need for another 75 quarts of sauce. 100 quarts is our goal this year as we didn’t have a lot of peaches or blueberries.

I got a fantastic recipe for salsa from Eli at Mahalo Farm, it is the best salsa I have ever canned, yummy! I canned 21 pints of salsa, we also ate quite a bit of salsa that I didn’t can.

The original recipe was from a cookbook, I just have a photo copy which Eli and I have both modified to make a super tasty snack.

Basic Tomato Salsa

Makes about 4-1 pint jars (obviously I made about 6 times this recipe)

6 cups tomatos (about 3 pounds)

2 cups yellow onion (about 2 medium onions)

1 cup chopped red bell pepper (1 large pepper)

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/8 cup sugar

3 jalapeno peppers

4 garlic cloves

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 cup fresh cilantro

I put everything that needed to be chopped into the food processor and pulsed it. The kids love that part. The original recipe is to just chop it all. In a small batch that is okay, when you are making a big batch it.takes.forever. save yourself some time and agrivation and use the food processor,using it on pulse makes it a little more chunky.

Combine all ingredients except the cilantro in a large pot and bring to a boil. The original recipe says to simmer for 10 minutes. Both Eli and I found that we needed to simmer it for much longer to get all the flavors to combine nicely. I would say simmer and taste until the texture and taste seem to be what you are looking for.

I am not going to give all the canning directions here, just the time in the canner, the recipe calls for a 15 minute water bath for a pint jar.

I forgot to add sugar to my second batch, the salsa is still good, but it is lacking a tiny bit of the pizzaz the first batch had.

Enjoy the last bits of summer and the cooler nights! Can on friends!

What is your favorite thing to can?

Food storage, Recipes, Vegetables, What’s For Dinner

Roasted Pasta Sauce

I made my first batch of pasta sauce yesterday. I usually have more than this made by this time, my tomatoes have been ripening so slowly that I have been cutting them up and freezing them until I get a nice big batch.

This batch I made with fresh tomatoes and red peppers that I bartered for from Eli at Mahalo Farm, she wanted summer squash so she could make fresh ratatouille to freeze. Since we are tired of eating summer squash at this point I was happy to make a trade! We have many peppers coming along, but we have only had one red one so far and the red ones are far tastier then the green ones in my opinion.

A few years ago i discovered that I did not need to boil away my sauce, I could cut the veggies in big chunks, roast it, pour it all into a big pot and use the stick blender since my boys prefer smooth sauce to chunky sauce. This tasted so good that I have not tried to make it another way since.

Since I am a fan of using what we have and not having to buy what we don’t, this batch of sauce had tomatoes (a mix of heirloom, paste and whatever else was ripe in the garden), Mahalo Farm red peppers, garlic, basil, a little balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. I gave it all a rough chop and tossed it in the pan, stirred to distribute the olive oil and put it in the oven at 450 for about an hour, stirring every 20 minutes to prevent burning.

Ohhhh the house smelled so good. When I have lots of tomatoes earlier in the summer, I use the back porch kitchen so the house doesn’t get too hot. This time of year, having the oven on feels really good, we have a small house and just making the batch of sauce today warmed it right up.

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Seconds! Because I forgot to take a picture of the firsts!

I didn’t even bother canning this batch, we had pasta for dinner last night and I am going to make the rest into tomato soup for lunch today by adding some milk and cream. So delicious! River said it was so yummy he didn’t even miss the meat. That is saying something lately as I have been very distracted and my meals have not been up to my usual standards. I actually burned baked beans the other day folks….that took some doing let me tell you!

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This is after we ate dinner, there was a lot more sauce in the pot.

How do you make your tomato sauce?

 

Greenhouse, Vegetables

Saving Spinach Seed

I am trying to save as many seeds this year as I can. I have saved spinach seeds, some seeds from mescluen mixes and I will save some leaf lettuce seeds too.

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After drying…

To save the spinach seeds, I let them get a little dry in the garden, then hung them on the porch. When they were dry, I took all the seeds (they are the nodules on the stem) off over a pan. When I planted my garden this year I had two kinds of spinach and I didn’t plan to save seeds so my seeds are a mix of what worked in the garden this year.