Elderberry Season is on us!

O Elderberries, those amazing fruits of the Elder Bush, while they are not safe to eat raw, the dried or cooked berry or juice is amazing for our health. One of the things I have heard time an again is that it takes forever to pick the tiny berries off the stems.

One of the best ways to do it by hand it to freeze the berries first and then rub them off while still frozen and cold, then they can be processed and or easily bagged up for the freezer again for use in future baking, drinks and so forth.

You can of course also dry them, they will cost you a pretty penny to buy a small bag of dried berries, which makes sense because it takes a ton of them once dried down to make up that 6 oz but they add amazing color and flavour to winter teas.

However I don’t typically process smaller amounts, I tend to process 50 to 100 pounds worth of them and I do freeze some because even I at times need to do them later in the winter when I have time as long as I have room in the freezer but when I want to do them fast, the video above while not the best quality will show you how I do it.

I made this wee video on the fly, as in I was talking to hubby while working away and he said, you should put that up and so we took it, it’s real life, the table is covered, and so forth. Maybe someday I will make a pretty version of this but for now.. real it is..

What is your favorite way to use Elderberries?

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Monday.. This and That.

I was going to do a detailed post but I realized that I had to many small updates that it just made more sense to do a this and that post.

So lets get the sad news out the way first.. Its been a very hard summer on my farm cats, we have lost a number of them over the past weeks.  I don’t know what got them to be honest, they are just gone. These two were regular house-yard-croft cats,  stick close to the house up to date on vaccines and altered females.. (no chance of a walk-about looking mates or off hiding for kittens etc)

Both my hubby and myself were sad when blue passed away from the longer term after effects of having been stepped on by the horse as a kitten, but at least we knew what happened.  We find it very hard that we have lost our little Meow-Meow, she was a true sweetheart of a cat and I still find myself calling for her and checking roads and asking folks around me to keep a eye out for her.

The other one that is now on the missing, gone list is our much loved Freckles, I know that folks would have loved to have taken her home, she was a middle aged and knew the farm very well, she never let strangers touch her or pet her or pick her up, she was very much a “us” love bug.  We have also had two more of our “farm” barn cats going missing. Five farm cats in one summer, we have never had a year like this and I want it to stop.

We have been calling all the outside farm cats into the croft in the evening with a shake of a kibble in the bowl and then locking them up at night and calling in the house-farm cats in the house at night as well.  Since we have started the new locked up routine so far we have not had any more missing purrpots.

So my mom who is moving here later in the fall, will be here by oct at the latest took a fall and ended up breaking her elbow, cracking her wrist and also giving herself a hair line crack on her knee (of course the one that is the replaced knee) and is doing well all things considered but it certainly has set her back in a lot of ways. She had a cast on her elbow and arm for two weeks and then got it off, the knee is so swollen that its in a brace an with the walker etc  The doctor says that the arm is healing well but that the knee will take a full year to properly heal.

Hubby’s mom has been having a rough go as well, she has been in an out of the hospital over the past months and is currently in at the moment..  I hope that we hear news soon.

We have had enough rain this year that the pasture keeps on growing and we will get a second cut of hay which is great, not sure on the volume for that second cut but at least its going to happen.

I have been able to get my hay booked for the coming year, its gone up in price (no real surprise there) and this year its going for .10 cent a pound so a 650 pound round bale of hay will cost 65 dollars and a big 850 pound square bale.. yup 85

That’s a pretty good size jump over normal but close to being in line with prices from last year and the truth is that there is a lot of very poor quality hay out there at the moment so even if I need to pay more as long as I have enough, I will take it.

The garden is very hit and miss.. some things have produced very well, all the soft fruits and some hard fruits are having amazing year, but the main gardens.. somethings are at least 4 to 6 weeks behind and only time will tell if the frost’s come early, on time or late this year. I am having really nice pepper crops but poor tomato crops, I have a outstanding potato crop but no corn. I have a few types of squash doing well and I have more doing poorly..

My best crop of the year is my bean.. pounds and pounds an more pounds of green beans to put up.  I still am having more then many of the others across the valley, I have gotten lucky, I have not had mid to later summer floods like others have, nor have I had my gardens flattened in the last few bigger storms with hall. so for that, I have been blessed so far.

We are hitting fall temps, low 20c in the day and single digits in the evenings already, which will tell the plants to start switching gears from growing to putting that fall push on.

Well, I had better get back to work this morning.. For my friends in Texas, and area, I am sending you a heartfelt.. stay safe and I hope that you and yours will be safe!

Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged | 12 Comments

Fire’s and Farm Sales..

After chores where done yesterday. It was time for a fire and a wee drink of some fine sherry after it was done we switched to coffee for the rest of the evening. It was truly a fall evening. It had reached 20’s during the day but it is not cooling off majorly in the evenings, only getting to plus 8c last night.

We had sat and relaxed by the fire as the evening darkened, the coy-wolf pack started talking right across the road, three adults and a couple very excited young ones from this year. We took the time to make sure that the flock was safely in the barn, as we had lost a lamb this past week but tracks appear to show that it was a bobcat that time, not the coy-wolf pack. The camera’s are up and hopefully we will get some night shots on what is checking out the barn area for sure. Regardless the flock is getting tucked into the barn at night.

The stars came out, the moon sliver was hiding behind the tree’s and the coals where lovely and in need of roasting marshmallows over 🙂

Today after a bit of time on the farm and morning chores, we headed off to a local farm sale and I was after these amazing stacking bins for holding garden produce in the cellar

Ten of them in total, so well built and just perfect to meet the needs of expanding the space for holding squashes and so forth in the house over the winter..

Farm sales are a hurry up and wait type thing, I found so many fun things that I would have loved to have added this or that or at least bid on it.. but given that my mom is coming with her household, it made little sense to do so..

I had also hoped that maybe one of the shotguns that was for sale would go for a good second hand price but all of them went right past my top price I was willing to pay, the gentleman who got them all thought they got a good deal on them, I figure if they hit the same price as a current new one, then its not such a great price but I expect from what I could see that some of them where collectors an they were older rifles. Some of the others were even black powder ones..

What I did come home with was three new rain barrels.. each one holding 55 gallons of water or use for grain-feed etc. Did I ever get a good deal on them. If you buy a new rain barrel (food rated) at the store, its 80 and up. If you buy them second hand in the city, they are around 50..

I got each of mine for 3 dollars.. grand total 9 dollars, with tax 10.20 Outstanding!

The rest of the day is evening chores and some garden puttering and maybe a second primer painting on the upstairs hallway and then maybe another fire, just because I can and its so delightful.

Hope you all had a productive and also taken time for yourself over the start of the weekend!

 

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The Reno’s are on the go..

There is so much in this photo that I love, I know its not perfect but o my.. so as you can see the shelves are coming along, the lovely pine wood has been picked, the drywall and first mudding is up on most of them, the glass has been ordered, the foyer has the glass pine door in (and let me tell you that was a afternoon of AHH! because the 2 by 4 warped and so it was a lot more work then you would think to hang that door but both the inside an the outside foyer walls are on second mudding and the ceiling is ready for me to prime paint 🙂 the new subfloor is installed and waiting to be tiled.

Then on this side the built in counter is in place as it the new flooring under it, and I was able to save my awesome wooden doors from a different project.. it will be a four door counter, two matching wide and long and then the two you see already. It will hold all my big canning pots and so forth 🙂 No more up and down the stairs to the cellar. The top will be tiled to match the floor and you can see the two tiles, it will be a turned pattern. so I will have a huge new counter to work with as well as all that amazing extra storage.

So this is the other half of dining room, so the back wall of the foyer and the new walls around, the little wall on the left is the front wall of the new pantry, you can see the new flooring that will go in it as well. The freezer will be put on rollers and moved into the pantry area and then shelves will be built on both sides to the roof and above it as well for lighter items and then there will be sliding doors in front of it.  the ceil is on final touch-ups and then I will prime painting it and then final paint 🙂

Half the walls are on second coat and a few are still on single coat but soon enough (next week ideally) we will have the painting done and then we just need to finish the floor in there and that room will be done.. someone is coming to put in the new thermal window panel which is the only thing that window needed for fixing.

We have also been working on the deck and its a good thing that we got enough done for the new fridge-freezer combo to be delivered and the still newish (but not working well older fridge to be taken away) Its bigger then my other one was and I know that it will be a good thing to have the smaller freezer in the bottom as well.

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | 2 Comments

Homesteading Event – Quick View

After doing a reno work morning and early afternoon, I ran around getting the last bits of this and that together for the big homesteading day event.  While we had X amount of seats booked, only about a 3rd of them showed up for the event. Most of the time folks where seated on tables around me, but the nice thing was for some things I could get them come in nice an close to see the cheese forming in that class.

Regardless the day was great! everyone had a good time an the information, laugh and learning flowed which is always the goal for me!

Rabbit 101 was a huge hit and while everyone went home with a copy of my Personal favorite rabbit hutch design, and lots of tips.. we also had some good laughs when I was using my stuffie rabbit to show a few things including a proper fall off LOL

Big Thank you to the ladies that all donated to the door Prize table.

 

 

Posted in Life moves on daily | 1 Comment

This and That Post.

Hello Folks.. Way to long since I have had time to sit in front of this computer and connect with my readers. This is a this and that post, I will put a hour each day this coming week booked to get my last months reports out for the canning, gardening, and farm updates and report, I am not going to try and catch up the other days  but those other three days post are on the MUST DO LIST.

So Where do I start.. my mother has sold her rental house and she now has her home up for sale at this time, just going on the market and already has viewing this week, so I expect that it will not be on for long.. its a outstanding home.

This means that we have started on the reno’s in our house and it has exploded, as can often happen in older homes, you start with this plan and then suddenly you figure out that you need to pull this and that out, and then suddenly you need this repaired and or redone because while it’s open, lets get the professional’s in and get this up to code (yes, I am grateful that in many cases things are grandfathered in) but I figure if you get the chance and choice to upgrade, upgrade but it all add’s time and effort an cost because many of the upgrades need a contractor to make it happen etc.

So my main contractor is a amazing gal and the deal we made was that I would be the helper, the gopher, the worker.. so while I say that I have a contractor and I do, I am working full time beside her and under her teaching and guiding hand.

It turns out that running the farm, sort of keeping my house clean, everyone feed and adding in 6to 10 hours a day hands on work means that I am falling into bed when my day is done.. I get up, do chores, just get the house stuff done and my reno work day starts at 8, which means my blog post writing time with a coffee normally done around 8 to 9 am is not happening!

I had thought that I would try and write in evening but I have a few times just looked at the screen, so tired and no writing mojo..

I had this weekend off! but I also had my yearly Romance Readers and Writer Con and I had said to both a dear friend and my hubby, I think I will just hide in my room for a whole day and do nothing  but get caught up on writing and blog and so forth and I got a strong round of NO!! this is to be break.. so hubby asked that I leave the computer at home which is what I did.. no camera, no computer, just the cell phone

I got home yesterday and was so tired, hubby said go to bed and I slept from early sunday afternoon till the alarm went off this morning.. ok then, I might have needed some sleep LOL

I have today off the Reno job and I am working today on two main things.. one getting this blog post out for you all and working on my coming homesteading Convention this coming Saturday Aug 12th.

I sat today and took papers and pages and gathered this and that and started making the final lists, the project items for each one, and then started doing the bullet points for each talk.. thankfully it is all there in my head and in my gear but I need to tighten it up.

I feel like my hubby in a way, when he became a professional writer, it greatly improved his ability to write at work.. the different presentation I have done this year means that as I am coming into preparing for these talks, I am able to tighten up certain parts and that I am doing certain parts talking out loud to get a feel for how long will that take time wise..  and so forth.

The reno job starts back up Tues-friday but we are calling it a early day on Friday so that I can switch mental gears for the homestead event day.

Now added in there is that the farm is thriving, babies are growing, sheep are being sheered, new litter of rabbit kits are being born and the gardens are in full production and so food production happens daily..

Example.. help on the reno day but in a lull, I was snapping beans tip and tail for processing later in the day..  so even when I get a small catch your breath, it heading into picking beans or rashberries or pea’s .. you get the idea 🙂

I am also trying to keep up on the herbs that need drying as they come into their peek times.. I am keeping my head above water.. and man so much is getting done.. I just have to figure out how to find time to share it with you all

Ps, for those kind enough to send me a note or email to check up on me.. HUGS! you are so sweet and I am grateful..

Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged | 8 Comments

Honey Whole Wheat Bagels

I was making a batch of Honey Whole Wheat Bread on Monday and thought.. why not make half the batch into a loaf of bread and the second loaf in size into a nice batch of bagels.

Sure its a touch extra work but not much and its such a nice change to just the sliced loaf of bread!

As you can see, the bread was made and allowed to rise, this is after its doubled in size and its ready to be worked with, I poked it just to give it some texture to get a interesting photo 🙂

Split your dough and make your one loaf as planned, let it rise and then take your other loaf and cut it into as equal as possible pieces

On a lightly floured surface, roll your piece into around a six inch rope

Clearly as even as possible, which is not what mine looks like LOL but I did thin the thicker end and plumped up the thinner end, roll into a circle and pinch-half twist the ends together.

Let them rise for 15 to 20 min and in that time, you will need to pre-heat your oven, get your bowl of toppings ready if you are using them and get your large wide pot of boiling water ready.

Mine was able to do three per batch, one min per side with the water kept hot and going.. I dipped mine and put a touch of salt on the tops and into the hot 400 oven they went for 12 to 15 min till cooked though and golden brown. Mine are very nicely brown on the bottom I could have let them go another three to five if I had wanted the rest to be as brown.

By the time I got them all done and on the cooling racks, the bread was ready to go in and start baking.

They were outstanding as my fresh Egg Salad Sandwich for lunch today! So consider next time you have a batch of bread on the go.. it’s just a bit of extra steps to treat everyone with a different bread item and the chewy texture is a nice change then regular loaf bread with that bite of salt and flavoured top

 

 

Posted in Baking | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

And the Heat has arrived..

On Sunday, I knew I had to get the Maude Sheared and boy was I right, the heat has come and I can’t even say a thing about it. After all it is July 18th and everything needs it. Things are behind locally by a month or in some case’s more.

The corn that should be knee high in a lot of cases is six to eight inches, the fields around me are hay and beans, the bean crop is poor, I would guess that at least 30 percent of the seed rotted and never came up and it’s at least a month behind in size.

The hay fields which I walk the edges for some of my foraging makes me want to cry.. waist high hay that is slowly but surely over aging but can’t be cut with a combo of to wet land to get the machines on and the never ending rain..

If! the weather folks are right, we might have a four day window of humid hot heat with no rain (well they say a 40 per cent chance of showers on afternoon day 3) for four days, which will be the longest possible dry spell we have had since we started our spring-summer season.

While my own personal pastures are holding for my grazing needs for both horse’s Sheep Flock, Goat herd and the geese flock for which I am grateful indeed.  I am working with a friend to get me a load of small squares as a back up for the sheep flock over the winter. I am still holding out hope that my regular local supplier will get hay off but at this point it will be course full first cut horse hay.

Which is good for the boys, and will be a great base for the flocks but I will need better quality for the sheep-goats when its baby time and milking time here on the farm.

On the other hand, the gardens are exploding in growth! The pumpkins and squash have put a massive put out over the past week, as have the beans and more, we are picking raspberries daily now and by this weekend, beans, pea’s will join that daily garden picking, the potato plants are huge and doing well.

I have been having trouble with a very cheeky Fox and so my chickens are having things brought to them and are getting time in the compost piles only while I am out with them.

No matter how much we clean the pens, the never ending rain means that it’s mucky, so we have created hills that dry out for them to climb and dig on, we have added extra roosts outside so they can get up high.  I wish I had a picture, we had been digging out muck (again) and we had a wheel barrel full to be hauled away and in it and on it was a whole flock of chickens sitting on the edges and the raised bits that had dried out sunning themselves.

My company that pulled it was laughing so hard, here I was trying to haul it away, trying to dry out the pen, putting out yet another layer of straw that will soon compost down into muck again 🙂 and the birds having some free time.. did they sit in the bright green grass, did they use their roosts, nope they were all in wheel barrel with the muck.. it was funny!

I have moved the purebred flock back into their own area as I have decided to do one more fall hatch. The rabbit kits are growing like mad!  Well, I had better get back to it, I have honey whole wheat bread on the go today..

Cheers and have a great summer day.

 

 

Posted in At the kitchen table | Tagged | 2 Comments

This and That post

It was a good day..

This morning we sheared the remaining woolie sheep on the farm as they say the heat is going up later this week and it really needed to be done, the hair sheep are nicely shed out and some are as sleek looking as goats.

We did extra chores and cleaning, we worked on the big pen that is in the shade and tree’s as we are going to be splitting the flock into two..  The adults will go into the big pen with shelter and shade and will be let out at evening chore time and graze all evening, night and early morning. at which point they will be put away for the day and the lambs will be let out to graze the day time hours and will be put away into the big Barn for the evening and night time.

The lambs will be fully weaned and while we will need to feed a touch of hay, they will be out with lots of pasture grazing time.

I slipped off the farm to our local Club’s Range for their once a year Ladies Day and meet up with a few friends and we got to spend trying out new makes and models. I will not be sharing any of their photos here on the blog..  I really liked the Rifle above, it was a five out of six balloon first time with it.  I promise it was the only tricked out Pink at the event, but there was some cute bling’d ear muffs 🙂

 

More chores after we got home..  I never even got my pork roast until it was to late for supper, it got taken out around nine to start cooling, I raided my fridge and we had a leftover supper night.

I am doing my daily post at almost ten.. where did the time go.. Busy day!

 

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Local Homestead Skill’s Day.. Message me for more detailed info

Myself and a few other amazing ladies will be hosting a Homesteading Skills Day on Aug 12th (its a Saturday)

From 9 till 4

9-coffee-meet-greet
9:30 -protein from thin air (chicken feed)
10-edible landscaping
11-Rabbits 101 Talk (no live rabbits but there will be a stuffie)

noon-lunch=break (bring your own lunch) Water, tea and Coffee and fixings will be provided.

1-1:30- Rennet-traditional animal an plant

1:45- Basic Cheese-Making, yogurt, soft farmers cheese-paneer (I will be bringing Samples from a provincially approved local farm of fresh curd’s and yogurt)

3:40 Door Prize Raffle( you must be there to claim the prize, nothing will be shipped)

Full list of sponsor’s will be shared at the event- etc.. wrap up and done

This is a donate Scaled event, if you can afford to do so we ask you put something in the donate tin per person coming but you do need to be on the invite list. We do have limited seating and space.

No Pets, Its a Dry event and there will be no child care available.

It will be a fast pace event with a lot of information being shared, while there will be some limited hand-outs, bring your paper and pens.

If you are interested, please let me know either by Commenting (its moderated)

I will take up X amount of names and then I will if needed take a waiting list (because someone will always cancel the week before 🙂

 

Posted in Life moves on daily | 2 Comments