Tag Archives: Food Security

Getting Ready!

We went to one of those cool events that just sort of ‘comes together’ in the winter.  A seed exchange.  This year was a trial run, and we are hoping to grow (no pun intended) it every year.

It was a wonderful time with some good friends, sharing local gardening knowledge, coffee, seeds, and stories.

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Flashy Troutback seed.

Anyone else starting to think about their garden yet?

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Vinegar. Our vinegar.

So, this will be interesting.  We still have a bunch of apples to process (from my folks), but we are done with the pressing of all the windfall apples I was able to gather up.  Now I need to chase the mice out of the shed where they were being stored.  Sigh.

In other pest news, we are pleased to note that if you have a fruit fly problem, making your own cider vinegar in an out of the way corner, is a great way to ‘relocate’ the fruit fly population.  Instead of looping in drunken holding patterns over the sink, and compost tub, they are now gathered around the jars of fermenting vinegar like kids at a teen idol concert.  Happily, we all like the smell of the vinegar, as it’s a faint odor in the back part of the kitchen.  This is our first time making it, and I’m not exactly sure how to tell when it’s done, one resource said ‘when it tastes right’.  Humm.  I’m not a big vinegar swiller, so I’m not sure about that one.  The sediment has settled out even more than in the photo below, and the fluid is clearing.  There is also a lovely mat of goop on the top (the mother I suppose).  We did not  buy a starter, or add any raw to get it rolling, and I’ve read that you can get ‘off’ flavors if you let it run wild.  We’ll see.

Has anyone else done home made vinegar?  How did that work out for you?

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Update! The ACV was great!  It did bubbled for a few weeks, and then started to clear.  Once it seemed to have stabalized (no more clearing or bubbling) we strained it through a milk filter, and poured it into quart jars.  It’s been a year now, and we are almost through the batch from 2012, with more going this fall (2013).  It’s been great!  No starter either time, and although it can take a week or two to get rolling, it smells great while it’s ‘brewing’.

Our Turn!! Hooping it up at Adalyn Farm.

I got the coolest Christmas present from my wife this year.  The box was about 6×6 and an inch thick.  Inside were 12 flexible drinking straws and a chunk of plastic wrap, and a note.  “your own hoop house, just add water”.  I’ve been sinning thinking of the hoop house over at my folks farm.  Sin is bad, and with my wife’s help, I will overcome it 😉  I’ll try to remember to take some photos, but so you can see what we are in for, here’s the post from a couple years ago at my folks place…

August 2009
It was really fun last weekend!  My folks had some milestone birthdays and a whole pile of folks showed up for food fun and hoop housing!  Lots of people I didn’t know (that doesn’t surprise me) and lots of folks I did!  It was a great success!  I’ve managed a work party or two, and unless you are used to coordinating tasks and materials for 15-20 people it can be a bit overwhelming.  It really did go well, with all but the front door done and the plastic over the top!  Here are a few shots….

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Goat milk….

So this really is just another part of the dream coming true.  One of our primary goals in living on, managing and having a farm is to be able to provide the safest, most wholesome, humanly treated, lovingly cared for food we possibly can for our family.  Yes.  We take it seriously.  Well, except for apologizing to each and every carrot we pull out of the ground.  Everything from the economics of getting a chicken from ‘fuzzy’ to freezer, in feed cost and time commitment, to the value we place on knowing how they were treated…

Some of the animals on the farm are more pet the livestock.  Really, until a month ago, the goats fit that bill.  Fiber is fun, but neither Farmer ‘J’ or I knit with any diligence.  Enter Ariosa.  We are ‘borrowing’ her at the moment, and she will return home by the end of July (for fair season).  She is a fiber goat, not a dairy breed, but she does well despite this ‘flaw’.  Our biggest hang up with transitioning from a ‘work for money, buy food’ to ‘spend time, harvest food’ has been the impact on our schedule.  We both grew up in ‘the White Ghetto’, and the flexibility to run here, and there, and back over there again is deeply engrained in our subconscious.  Dairy animals have a way of impacting that.  Even if you leave the kids on mom for a few months, you still have to be there, once a day, at the same time, to milk.  It’s kind of like having another job.  We weren’t sure how well it would work for us, and after several weeks, the novelty has worn off, and really, it’s cool.  We all like the milk (even the baby, who will tell you “No” if you ask her, but at the moment she can only say “No”, unless it’s candy).  We have made some yummy yogurt, and once we’ve gotten back up to a gallon in ‘reserve’ we will run a batch of feta and see how that comes out.

We are only getting a shy half gallon a day, and could use more, but we’ve heard of dairy goats giving up to a gallon per milking..  So we’ll just see what comes.  Next up is saving the $ for a good bottle raised dairy goat.  We’ll get her freshened in the fall and be counting the days till next spring…

Oh, and as far as the raw milk (gasp!) thing goes, read up on it if you want to pick a fight.  I still think what we bring in from the goat yard is safer than the half gallon of organic milk we buy from the store.  I know what the goat is eating, how she’s feeling, how the milk was handled, and soooo much more.  In my mind, pasteurization is a band aid for a lack of trust and faith in our food system (probably well placed).

So here it is.  One half gallon half gone, another one behind, and the morning quart chilling in an ice bath.

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