01 September 2008

Independence Days Update

Suddenly, it's turning into fall! How on earth did it get here so quickly?

Nope ... I think we may be too late for planting things now. I do have hopes of some indoor lettuce plants for winter though, so I'll need to put some thought towards the container I want to put them in.

We've been harvesting beans as we go, collecting enough for a meal ... we continue to get eggs (although the chickens are hiding them somewhere, so we have to do egg hunts on a daily basis) ... and more lamb will be up for harvest in a few weeks. Given the frost of last night, we'll probably be harvesting potatoes and beets soon, but I hope to leave them in the ground a bit longer if I can.
The Boy went out and harvested berries for me: he picked a whole bucket of rose hips and some bunchberries.

This was the big job this weekend: we have apple preserves of all kinds! We have apple butter, apple sauce, fruit leather, and dried apples. We also have juice (lots and lots of it), some sweetened with honey and some plain (which is marvellous mixed with Sprite). I made syrup from the rose hips and bunchberries (not the thick syrup to pour on pancakes, the thin syrup for flavouring things).

The Reluctant Farmer got the dirt base ready for the barn, and we fenced in the last major chunk of pasture with barbed wire. The cow and calf have been turned in to work on the extremely long grass (it's not been touched for oh, four years now, so it is very wild). The sheep have been rotated to another pasture, and we'll be splitting them up into breeding groups very soon ... we better do it soon, or we'll be too late. :)

Managed Reserves
We continued to add to our pantry, with dehydrating and preserving. We also got the wine rack installed in the house and the empty bottles stored there, as well as the new bottles of home made wine. I tasted the white grape honey wine (technically called a melomel) and it is still quite undrinkable, as is the cranberry/white grape/honey wine. This is not uncommon - they take quite awhile to age to drinkability. So, those are sitting on the rack awaiting their time. The honey/currant/maple syrup wine though ... mmmmmmmmm. It is almost ready! That one is resting on the stairs for a month or so and will probably be wonderful by then. I'll definitely be making more of that!
We've mostly been making progress on our inedible reserves - sorting through extra kitchen items, clothing, fabric and other supplies. Dinosaur Boy took a liking to a couple of pencil cases and a lunch box that The Boy no longer needed, and has taken them for his Grade One school supplies. I was so pleased to see him happily re-using things. :)
Soon I need to do a proper inventory on the pantry and see what we have and what we need.

Cooked Something New
The Reluctant Farmer is our chief cook these days, and he is really willing to experiment. He made a fabulous casserole the other night with rice and hamburger and red peppers and tex-mex spices ... there was almost a fight for the leftovers! The apple dumplings were also new - just biscuit dough wrapped around apple halves filled with sugar and cinnamon, but absolutely awesome. The syrups from the berries are new ... they add a nice flavour to water, and I'm thinking they'll be very good added to tea. Oh, he also made a lovely soup from the broth I made up from the bones we saved from our barbecued meat - a bit of milk and some garden vegetables and we had a wonderful cream of something soup.

Reduced Waste
The usual, really ... we are reusing everything we can, composting all the compostable things, making broth from the bones of our meat before disposing of the bones, and recycling wherever we can.

Work on Local Food Systems
Oh, I did mean to do up a price sheet for our lamb this weekend ... but with all the other jobs, that just didn't happen. That's up next. So, sadly, nothing in this category just now. Oh, The Reluctant Farmer did mention that he had done some research into the government programs available to small farm startups ... that probably counts.

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