Thoughts & Confirmation on Fermented Chicken Feed: Eggs don’t lie

We’ve been experiencing single digit weather for the past few weeks now, which has made feeding wet fermented feed very challenging as it seems to flash freeze as we put it out for the poultry. So for the last week or so we have stopped fermenting it, and just kept the feeders full of their non-gmo dry feed. Now I am noticing a drastic difference in egg quality, the yolks have lost their luster they are no longer the vivid orange I’ve grown accustomed to. So, in light of this confirming result, I am back at fermenting their feed. I’ll just make sure and put it in a tub so I can bring it inside to thaw if need be. I prefer to throw it on the ground to encourage scratching and pecking, but don’t like how it freezes to the ground and becomes hard for the birds to eat it. I am totally convinced that fermenting it improves the poultry’s ability to digest and absorb more nutrition from the same feed. For 37 chickens I take a bucket, put in 11 cups of dry non-gmo feed, plus 8 cups of non-gmo scratch, then I pour in fresh water, mixing it in making sure it all gets wet, then I put in an extra bit of water till the water is about 1 inch above the top of the feed. Then I pour in a few tablespoons of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and mix that in. Then I let this sit out on our counter overnight. In the morning I bring it down and feed the chickens with it, then refill it right after, letting it ferment for 24 hours, this practice more than triples the weight of the feed and breaks down the anti-nutrients naturally present in the feed making it easier to digest, they get more nutrients out of it, and consume less feed.

Turkey, so much good

This Thanksgiving we smoked a 20# turkey, ate a bit off the top for dinner and then I go to work putting the rest of it to good use. Normally I pack away all the meat that is somewhat easy to remove for sandwiches and such over the next few days, and then grab out my big ol’ cast iron cauldron/stock pot and put all the bones in, cover with water, add in 1/2 cup of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar and let it simmer for 12 to 24 hours to make a real good stock for turkey noodle soup & turkey stew. This one bird will feed us another 5 or 6 times. 🙂

Smoked Turkey

I can’t wait till we are smoking our own home raised turkeys to feast on during the holidays, that is the plan for next year. So for this turkey I rubbed the outside of the turkey with olive oil, sage and thyme, then injected garlic-turmeric infused butter into the meat whenever we’d go out to baste it. Turned out amazing, super juicy, tender and smoked to perfection.

Turkey Stock

This picture was taken right after I picked the carcass clean of the choice meat. The remaining meat and bones when in here, including the neck, gizzard, liver and heart.

 

After picking all the choice meat off the bones I put all that was left in my cast iron stock pot, covered with water, added in 1/2 cup ACV and will let it simmer for 12 to 24 hours. I am amazed at how using the bones in this way makes the best soup stock I’ve ever had, and how since we have moved out here all 6 of us have been enjoying vibrant health. None of us has been sick at all, and that is saying something. When we lived in Oregon, before I learned to do the many nourishing traditions I have learned during this time, we’d have colds, flu and all kinds of bugs sweep through our family several times per year. Now, nada.

 

Sweet Potato Cookie Recipe, and Happy Thanksgiving!

This is our 2nd Thanksgiving in Missouri, and our first at home doing our own thing. I am thrilled to be creating traditions now that will reverberate each holiday season from here on, and hopefully pass down to my children. Here is what we are up to.

Sweet Potato Cookies
makes about 18
adapted from the recipe on pg 530 of “Nourishing Traditions”

1 cup cooked sweet potato or squash (I cook mine in my dutch oven at about 300F for about 40 minutes or till soft)
1/2 cup butter/lard, softened
3/4 cup honey/maple syrup/sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
optional: you can add 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 pecans, I don’t.

Place all ingredients except pecans and raisins in a large bowl, and blend well, then fold in the nuts and raisins if you are adding them. Form into walnut sized balls and place on buttered cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes. After 5 minutes in the oven you can press cookies down lightly with a fork. Let cool completely before removing to an air tight container for storage, or enjoy fresh. They are quite soft, and are more like muffin tops than cookies, but hey… 🙂

Rabbit Stew Recipe (So Good!)

My first Rabbit Stew was incredible! The kids were begging to have the left-overs for lunch today 🙂

One 3.75 lb rabbit made a stew that will feed us 3 times, I was able to store 2 meals worth of stew in the freezer for future dinners after eating a big helping the first night.

Recipe: I started first thing in the morning, took my big stock pot, put the dressed rabbit (bones and fat intact) in the stock pot, filled the pot with water and 1/4 cup of raw apple cider vinegar, and one coarsely chopped medium red onion and about 10 cloves of garlic, chopped and smashed. I put the flame on med-high till it began to boil, stirring occasionally. Then I turned the heat down to low and let it slow cook all day, half the day with the cover on. By early evening (around 4pm) the meat was falling off the bones nice and easy, so I picked out all the bones, added chopped carrots, celery, chopped potatoes, a cup of rice and some noodles. Then I added salt, pepper, turmeric, parsley, a pinch of rosemary and let the noodles and rice finish becoming tender. Then I threw together some from scratch biscuits.

I read many recipes for rabbit stew and all of them called for chicken stock, well I wanted to taste the rabbit, not chicken so I made the stock from the rabbit bones. DELISH! I can officially say, Rabbit Stew is my favorite! Still tastes a lot like chicken, just slightly different. Hard to put a finger on how it’s different, it just is. lol

This time of year homemade soup stock is so healing and great for the immune system, I love homegrown!

 

Here is a picture of the stew I made out of the rabbit soup.

Rabbit Stew & Dumplings

Fodder: Experimenting with Weight

From what I have read about growing fodder, is that it doubles if not quadruples in weight upon sprouting for 7-10 days. So I decided to do an experiment.

I took 1 cup of wheat berries and weighed them, then again after soaking 24 hours, then again each day, up to day 5. I didn’t go past day 5 because the sprouts draw flies, so I moved the experiment outside rather than the counter inside. This climate change seemed to adversely affect the sprouts, so I’ll have to start over again and try to make it to at least 7 days.

Here is the info I collected over the 5 days.

1 cup of dry/dormant wheat seed = 7.5 oz or 0.46 lbs

Sprouting day 1, After 24 hour soak = 12.02 oz or 0.76 lbs

Sprouting day 2 = 12.7 oz or 0.79 lbs

Sprouting day 3 = 13.8 oz or 0.86 lbs

Sprouting day 4 = 16.2 oz or 1.0125 lbs

Sprouting day 5 = 14.7 oz or 0.918 lbs

So the mat of wheat berries lost a little weight on day 5, but I hadn’t watered it yet, so that may have made a difference. Plus I don’t think the wheat liked the container I had it in. I will update this post after I have more data.

 

 

Fodder: Refining my system – Update

Continuing to learn and change things. Using the screen trays is a no-go. The little rootlets get stuck and make it a nightmare to harvest. So I’m switching to my solid bottom trays. Still hoping to get a sprouting room up and running before winter hits.

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Fodder: Refining my system… I need shelves and a sprout room

Fodder: Day 5

Fodder Day 5I’ve been reading several different blogs on Fodder today and see that many homesteaders are getting off pellets and store bought feeds all together and feeding 90% fodder, and the remaining 10% consisting of hay, black oil sunflower seeds and a salt lick. I am inspired to also make this transition, as it will greatly lessen our feed costs for our rabbit herd and our flock of chickens. Chickens can be raised on fodder, grit and calcium like oyster shells. For the chickens I’ve begun fermenting their regular crumble feed, as I’ve been reading that this makes more nutrients available to digest and improves the health and egg laying ability of the flock.

Fire Cider

Fire Cider

Fire Cider

For for the past week or so my foot has been in such flaming pain! Yesterday was REALLY bad, by the end of the day I could hardly walk at all. My oldest son, Paul had an eye ache, kinda looked like pink eye coming on. So we did the Fire Cider challenge. 1 tablespoon of Fire Cider, mixed into 1 cup water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. It tasted very pungent and potent, but good too, super garlicky and hot. This morning Paul’s eye is back to normal and my foot feels SO MUCH better! I am in awe!

My Fire Cider Recipe:

1/2 cup shredded ginger
1/2 cup shredded horseradish
1/2 cup shredded turmeric
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup crushed garlic
3 cherry bomb peppers
3 habanaro peppers
1 lg sliced lemon with rind
1/2 cup crushed calendula flowers
1 handful of chopped sage
2 sprigs rosemary (4″ long)
Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

Put all the ingredients into a large jar, pour ACV over all of it, cover about an inch or so above food, cover with a plastic lid, or put a ziplock bag over the top before screwing on a metal lid, vinegar is corrosive to metal. Set in a place where you remember to shake the jar every day or so. After about 4 weeks strain it out, compost the chunks and enjoy the vinegar! Use it as a tonic, salad dressing, or in recipes. This stuff is delish!

Our Orchard Begins

We are so proud and excited about our progress toward sustainable farming, and here is a glimpse into what our Orchards will become! A Rainbow of Nutrition for Vibrant Golden Health! ❤ HOORAH!

Homemade Barbeque Sauce

BBQ Sauce My base recipe comes from here: www.simplyscratch.com/2011/09/homemade-barbecue-sauce-part-1.html

I made a few modifications, it turned out delish, but still needs some fine tuning. Here is my recipe.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed {this step is crucial so the vinegar is balanced}

1-1/4 cups Organic Ketchup

1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar

1/4 cup warm Water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

2-1/2 teaspoons Ground Mustard

2 teaspoons Chilli Powder

1 teaspoon Garlic Powder

1-1/2 teaspoons Real Sea Salt

1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions:

I put the packed dark brown sugar into a large bowl, then added the warm water and whisked it till the sugar was dissolved. Then I added in the ketchup, and the rest of the ingredients and kept whisking it till it was smooth and looked right. It tastes amazing, but I plan to continue to experiment and tweak the flavor.

This was a quick make, and I had everything I needed for it in my kitchen or food storage. It made about 3-4 cups, we used this batch on some sliced pork roast and steaks sliced thin, then smoked it. Turned out delicious! Plus I know everything that went into it, and it has zero high fructose corn syrup! Can’t wait to make more.

 

Mullein Magik!

I’m officially in love with Mullein! I’ve been reading about it for months, and was blessed with finding a few plants here and there. Our friend from down the road, Christel had one growing in her yard and pulled the whole thing roots and all and gave it to me. So thankful for such generous neighbors!

Yesterday on our way out to Osage Beach (to pick up items needed to complete our grey water system), I saw so many Mullein plants and expressed a wish to Tim to let me pick some on the way home. Well, I found a patch on the way home of HUGE Mullein plants and pulled 3 of them out by their roots and brought them home. I feel SO BLESSED! Now it’s time to dry all my treasures and prepare them to be made into salves, oils, tinctures, vinegars and infusions! 

beautiful first year rosette of the sacred, beloved Mullein Plant!

 

http://www.naturalnews.com/033990_mullein_medicinal_herbs.html

http://www.herbcraft.org/mullein.html

http://www.makeitmissoula.com/2011/08/mullein-heals-the-earth/

http://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/herb-to-know-mullein-verbascum-thapsus.aspx#axzz2VMGjN9QB

Updated: Our Mushroom Garden is Born – Science–Earth Science-Mushroom Garden, Digging Ponds & Making Leaf Mold

We are so blessed to have invested in a mushroom crop that is sure to please! We received our order of 10 varieties of scrumptious mushrooms.

Nameko

Tiger Sawgill

Turkey Tail

Chicken of the Woods

“Iceman” Polypore

Brick Top

Black Poplar “Pioppino”

Brown Oyster

Brown Shimeji

Today we spent a few hours out on the land inoculating our first 4 logs with “Chicken of the Woods”(Laetiporus persicinus). Our logs are all about 4 feet long, and for each log we are drilling around 25 holes in a diamond pattern at a 6” spread all over the log, hammering in the inoculated dowels, and sealing the holes with wax.

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The boys helped us take our choice logs and put them up on smaller logs to get them up off the ground, in nice neat rows. This helps limit competitive wild fungus from taking over the log before our inoculated dowels have a chance to dominate the log. The boys were having a lot of fun helping to carry the smaller support logs from a nearby pile, Paul would lift the bigger logs so the Gage could push the small log underneath getting our selected logs off the ground. They made a great team, they helped us enthusiastically the whole time Tim and I worked on this project. They really liked teaming up on drilling and hammering. Tim would help Gage drill the holes, then Tim would use a hammer and pound the top of the drilled hole with a big allen-wrench to open up a little notch for the melted wax to seal it off, giving our desired mycelium a good chance to take the log from the inside and be able to inoculate the log for productive fruiting in 6 to 9 months. I love setting up these long term projects that we put a lot of effort into the beginning, only to let nature do Her thing and then with minimal effort thereafter in the form of watering and quarterly soaking and for our efforts are rewarded for years and years to come with 3 to 4 abundant fruitings per year. Knowing that we will learn a whole lot from this, and only get better at it and grow, gives me feelings of gratitude and pride in our choice to include these aspects into our dynamically diverse farm. It’s fun to see how much the boys enjoy this project with us, they were a great help, and adorable. I am looking forward to seeing them enjoy helping us more tomorrow.

We also plan to soon start the first step in our web-of-ponds that catch rain and irrigate our mushroom garden and hugelkultur gardens. With all this rain has come a great blessing as we have been watching where the water runs, and how it moves on the land, so we know where and how to enhance the natural potential of the land. Plus we have been talking about making a super absorbent soil amendment with all the fallen leaves called leaf mold, its much like peat moss. To make it is ridiculously easy, it just takes raking them into piles, or send them through a multcher and pile them up, and leave them sit for 2 to 3 years. It breaks down into a pleasant earthy smelling spongy material that you add to mineral rich compost and it helps keep the compost wet longer.

 

*Update* 2014-04-03

We left the logs laying on the smaller logs all summer and winter, and this spring we have begun digging holes about a foot deep and burying the log about a quarter of the way, to have it standing vertical (except the piopinno, these will be partially buried horizontally) to absorb water from the ground and begin fruiting. Here are some recent pictures of our progress. 19 down, 22 more to go from the 2013 inoculation. Then we just received our new order of dowels to inoculate more logs down by the wet weather creek. We’ll be getting started on those soon. We are going to add some fungus to our garden collection, more Brown Oyster (as seen above), Reishi, Shitake and Maitake.

Great Blessings in Small Packages

Simplicity=Bliss

I love this space!

I love this space!

As I sit here and appreciate my many blessings, and see my adorable little tidy kitchen, I am reminded of pioneers of the ol’ west who crossed the Oregon Trail going west to freedom and a new start. We are reading the Laura Ingalls-Wilder Series and have gleaned lovely visuals of what daily life must have been like for these pioneering families, for the mother and father to take care of their brood and carve a life out of the wild. As I feel we are modern day pioneers, going back to our roots and rediscovering a simpler more fulfilling, sustainable, responsible, independent life for ourselves, to show our children how to live with the land… I think of how hard life must have been for those mothers, the tools they must have had out on the plains or in the mountains…. My kitchen is tiny, but amazingly convenient, with a stove, oven, sinks and counter space…. Comparing that to living out of the back of a wagon, I feel pretty darn blessed. I love my tiny home, I love keeping it cozy and clean, I love nourishing my family with such wonderful modern day conveniences.

So Blessed ❤

2013-03-30 Building our Bee Box, indoor fun on a rainy day!

What a fun activity this was for daddy and the kids today Smile

I missed the first box as the boys were helping more, the kids were so cute today. We really wanted to make it out to the property today, but it rained all day. It’s stopped now, but it’s already after 6pm… better luck for tomorrow!

 

Homemade Granola Cereal: Horse Chow: Family Favorite!

Almond Honey Oat Granola2

This is my super simple, family approved homemade horse chow! Let yourself be inspired! This is delicious, nutritious and so customizable! You can make this simple recipe, or add in all kinds of yummies, from chocolate, dehydrated fruit and any nut or seed that you can think of! Have fun, be creative, Nourish Deeply!

Simple Granola Bars / Cereal / Horse Chow

(the perfect substitute for all those boxed cereals)

Serves: makes 3 lbs

Ingredients:

:dry:

  • 3½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw ground chunks of almonds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

:wet:

  • 1 teaspoon refined coconut oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Also need – parchment paper

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  • Cover a rectangular baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix the dry oats, almonds, & cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Heat the butter and coconut oil till melted together in a small saucepan over low heat.
  • Once the butter melts stir in the honey, vanilla and salt.
  • Pour the hot liquids over the dry ingredients and stir together with a rubber spatula until evenly coated.
  • Spread mixture onto prepared pan in one even layer. Bake for 75 minutes.
  • The granola will become crisp as it cools at which point you can break it up into small chunks by pounding it in a zip lock bag.
  • Store in air tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Delish Slow Cooked Black Beans with Cayenne & Lime

BlackBeanMarleelee

:Black Beans:
read all directions through before starting to make the recipe.
2 cups dry black beans
(pre-soaked 12 hours, rinse, and soak the beans for another 12 hours)
Upon the second soak mix in fresh squeezed lime juice of a whole lime, add a few generous shakes of Chili Powder (approx 2 tsp), a few light shakes of Cayenne Pepper powder (approx 1/4 tsp), a couple light shakes of Black Pepper (approx 1/4 tsp), mix into bean water and let sit for the 2nd 12 hours. I normally start mine in the morning, then, that night before I go to bed I rinse the beans and refill the bowl with fresh water and then adding the peppers and lime juice for the second soak to let those flavors seep into the beans.

The next morning, after breakfast prepare:
1 onion, chopped fine
1 garlic bulb, smashed and minced
Olive Oil, Grape Seed Oil & 1 tbs butter
So as your beans are ready the second morning, I like to get my slow cooking well before noon. Preheat your oven to about 300 F, a nice low heat to slowly warm up the cast iron. All good things are worth the time and effort.

So I take my dutch oven, I use my 5 quart cast iron lodge, pour in the oils and butter, throw the chopped onions and prepared garlic, put the lid on and let it sit a while in the oven.

*When you smell the onions and garlic sauteing and fuming strongly, go ahead and grab your oven mitts and take the dutch oven out and set it on a safe surface and open’er up. Add in the pre-soaked/spiced beans. Allow to slow cook in oven for about an hour, and add in a few/handful of Tomatillos, stir in and put it back in the oven. Come back and stir occasionally. It takes a while for them to get tender. If I get mine in before noon, by around 2 to 3 the beans are ready and tender. Then you can set the pot of beans out to cool, and fine tune the flavor to your liking. Then I just put the lid back on, put the oven down to warm and let it sit in there till dinnertime, they continue to thicken as they set. Then I turn them into black bean tacos or black beans and rice. Delish! I love cooking by intuit. 🙂

 

::Trees:: The Foundation & Cornerstone of our Farm

444

Tilia americana-spring image-flowers

I’m compiling a list of Trees I would like to include in our designing process…. Trees are the centerpiece of the farm, the rest of the farm spirals out from the needs and generosity of the trees.

  • Linden (apparently Missouri is covered in Linden Trees! YES!)
  • Apples
  • Greengage Plums
  • Italian Plums
  • Almond
  • Peach
  • Avocado
  • Lemon/Orange/Citrus Tree

Other plants/herbs/shrubs:

  • Nettle
  • Oat Straw
  • Clover (red and white)
  • Chickweed
  • Comfrey
  • Allums
  • Cabbage Family
  • Raspberries (red and gold)
  • Burdock
  • Dandelion
  • Violet