Monday, March 27, 2017

Homestead update

I have not really posted much lately, but it is not because I have had nothing to post about. I have actually been really busy with lots of spring tasks here on the homestead. Some of the reasons I go to the trouble of these tasks are to save money, to supply myself with resources to use in other homesteading tasks, to spare the environment in some small way, or because I just like whatever the resulting product is better than what you can purchase at the store. So I thought I would give an update with some of what we are doing around here...

Every night when I first get into bed, sometimes I read, sometimes I knit or crochet, sometimes I go to sleep when my head hits the pillow. But first I always start a list of what I need to do the next day. Of course I always forget somethings and have to add to my list through out the day, but it always gives me somewhere to start. To me there are few things as satisfying as marking a big black line through a task on a list, showing you got something done! This is the day that I was canning turkey stock, making butter, and making ice cream all at the same time. Haha! I had to snap a picture because this is how things usually go around here. My husband LOVES homemade ice cream and I was finally able to find a recipe that uses whole milk instead of whipping cream or half and half. Both of which cost to much money to make ice cream every couple of days. With this recipe I can make it using our raw whole milk and eggs we buy locally. 

Another us for those eggs and milk, this from scratch baked white pudding cake with apricot filling and Apricot buttercream frosting. It was very good. Yes, that is extra filling dribbling down the side, don't judge me...

I also was fortunate enough to have a break in the rainy weather last Thursday, and I got my whole spring garden planted. It was a long day, but it was also very satisfying. I just need to get some straw to mulch, get my greenhouse up at the other end, and then just wait for the salads to come rolling in! Here are some pictures, and a list of what all I planted...

Shelling peas                                             
Red acre cabbage
Green Acre cabbage
China rose radishes
Easter Egger II radishes
Green bunching onions
Dwarf blue kale
Romaine lettuce
Criphead lettuce
Iceberg lettuce                        
Red Iceberg lettuce
Victoria Butter-head lettuce
Snow peas
Potatoes, 4 varieties

I am so excited to see what happens in the spring garden this year. Last year I grew tons of shelling peas to freeze, and a few green onions and radishes. This years garden is much more aggressive. I really wanted to be able to grow salad stuff without having to buy it. 

One of the things I like to do to stretch my food dollars is to take advantage of sales, and use the same cut of meat for several meals. For instance when I bake a ham, it will become ham dinner, scalloped potatoes and ham, potato and ham soup or Chinese noodles. But usually at least 4 meals come out of one ham. In this case back in November at Thanksgiving I was able to pick up an extra turkey at a buy one get one free sale. So this month I got it out, roasted it for dinner one night with mashed potatoes and gravy. I picked all of the meat off that we didn't eat that night, cut it in cubes, and froze it in 2 cup portions. With the leftover carcass, skin, and little bits of meat, I put it into my Instant Pot, with some carrot, onion, celery and spices, and turned it into bone broth. I then used my pressure canner to can it for future use without using any additional freezer space. From these I can make turkey noodle or rice soup with the meat and broth. I can also use both to make gravy to eat on biscuits. Or I can use the meat to make turkey salad sandwiches or eat it on Chef salad. Regardless, it will make for some easier meals on days where cooking is not my focus but I still want to feed my family from the homestead. 

Well that is it for now, keep watching for other posts on what has been happening on the homestead. I am planning a post for when I rendered tallow from our grass fed beef we had butchered in January. I am planning on using the tallow for soaps and other natural beauty products. I will also be posting about picking cottonwood buds I will use to make into suave to use for burns, cuts, scrapes, diaper rash etc. So stay turned there is more to come.

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