Friday, June 21, 2013

1st Day of Summer = Blueberry Picking!

My 4 girls and I took the early afternoon and spent it at a blueberry farm right down the road!  All the fresh blueberries you can pick for $10 a gallon...pretty good!!  Today was the first day of blueberry season in our area.  It is also a beautiful first day of Summer...glad we spent it outside!

 Fun memories made with sisters (Ellie was pouting and wouldn't stand up for the picture).

Friday, June 14, 2013

NEW farm product! Goat Milk Soap

Yay for free, raw goat milk...especially when you can use it to make nourishing soap!!  I love our new soap!  Made by the girls and I in our kitchen.  The milk is fresh, not frozen.  The coconut oil and shortening are organic.  The herbs, calendula and chamomile, are organic and added for their soothing properties (and they smell sweet!).  The essential oils of lemongrass, orange and lavender are added for scent.  3oz bars.
 Thank you Latte!!
 Buy yourself some handcrafted goat milk soap here.  Nourishment for you, support for our farm  :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly ~ Garden Update

Let's start with the Good, shall we?!
Most everything has sprouted and is rapidly growing!  We've already eaten several zucchini, green peppers and lots of green beans, and the snap peas never even make it to the house...we eat them up on the way in!

These babies were so exciting to see hiding under the vine's leaves...the kids were beside themselves when they picked them!!  One weighed over 3 pounds!!  The other 2lbs9oz
Lots and lots of green beans to be picked.  So thankful to have diligent helpers!

 Now on to the Bad...
Does anyone know what kind of eggs these are??  We have found them all over our zucchini and yellow squash.  I'm assuming they're bad bugs so we intently look for them and squash them!
 And the Ugly...
What is happening to our zucchini?  As much success as we are having with them, we are having this happen!  It's also happening to our yellow squash.  Any thoughts?  
 And more Ugly...
What is rotting our green peppers?  Some are healthy, vibrant and yummy and then we have these all over too.  Is this a bug?  A bacteria?  Too much water?  I have no idea.
We have a farm binder that I created when we moved here to keep track of all yields and all expenses to help track our gains and our losses (or investments).  Everytime we bring something in from the garden we weigh it and record it.  At the end of the season we will add the weights of each individual vegetable up to see how much of our own food we grew and save money on!  
Everything on our homestead has a section in the binder...egg production, hen hatching/deaths, goat milk, bees, meat birds, rabbits, even dogs and cats.  It's a bit tedious in the beginning, but once you get used to pulling out the binder every day, it's now become a habit.  We also have kept ALL receipts for farm/garden/livestock related things to keep track of yearly expenses.  It has been very helpful to see where money is being put, and maybe where we should step back a bit...the bees for instance, are a wonderful addition, and in our opinion a must-have with fruit trees and a garden needing pollinating, but they have been the most expensive addition to our farm yet!  For those of you with homesteads that have several different things going on that need record keeping, I hope this inspires!  It was very easy to create once I knew what information I wanted to record.  I'd be happy to email my blank documents to any of you that want a copy for your own homestead!
I still can't get over the size of this thing!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I am by no means an expert at posting recipes, but I keep getting questions on how to use a whole chicken!  So here is an excellent soup that uses not only the meat from the bird, but the broth that was created when you cook the chicken!  And I'll tell you how to recook the chicken bones to create nourishing stock!

First, chop a whole large onion and a few peppers (we had green from our garden, but you can use any color pepper!).  Add them to a large stock pot with a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Along with the onion and peppers add a bunch of fresh garlic, chili powder, cumin and crushed hot red pepper.  Turn stove to med-high and let cook.
While that is all cooking, start tearing your cooked chicken apart.  All we did was put the whole chicken in a pot of water around lunch time and cooked on medium for a few hours.  Don't dump the broth!!
 Add all your chicken meat to the pot of veggies and spices.
Next, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and a can of Rotel.  Rotel is just chopped tomatoes and green could use fresh if you have it.
 Then add 6 cups of your reserved chicken broth.
To give the soup added protein, add some beans.  We had black beans, but you could use any kind you like.  Let it all simmer on low for 20-30 min to allow the flavors to blend.  That's it!
We like to top ours with shredded cheese, cilantro and corn tortillas cut into strips.  Avocado and sour cream are other  great toppings!  YUM!
All the leftover chicken bones can be cooked again to make nourishing stock.  Here is how easy it is:  Put them in a pot of cold water with a splash of apple cider vinegar (this helps draw the nutrients out of the bones).  Add any veggies you have for nutrition and taste...onion, garlic, carrot, celery, etc.  Simmer on low for a minimum of 24 hours.  I like to let mine go for 48 hours.  Remove all bones and veggies (feed the veg to your chickens if you have some!!) and strain the stock.  Store in glass quart jars in the freezer for future soups!  It's that easy and it's full of nourishing goodness!!  And if you think about it, you're getting 2 meals out of one chicken!!!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 large onion chopped
2-3 green, red or orange peppers chopped
1 tbspn chili powder
1 tsp cumin
5-6 peices of fresh, crushed garlic
pinch of red pepper flakes
4-5 tbspns olive oil
meat from 1 chicken
6 cups chicken broth
1 can Rotel or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 tbspns tomato paste
4 cups cooked beans

This post linked to The Homestead Barn Hop #114