Homesteading Skills

August 24 – Another humid one today.  I’m staying in the house because I hate humidity.  Those of you on the east coast are saints when it come to humidity, I turn into a grouchy, horrible, nasty person.

So since I’m trapped inside I decided it would be a good day to spend in the kitchen.  After a quick run to the grocery (needed sugar and oranges) I made three loaves of zucchini bread.

I’ve also decided that each month for the next year, I’m going to teach my oldest son the skills I think he needs before heading off to college, those things I never thought about showing him.  Today is the beginning of “How to Cut up a Chicken and Make Stock” month.  We cut up three whole fryers from the grocery – they are on sale for $.79 per pound and each had a $1.00 off sticker on it.  I was able to pick up all three for $8.73.  We should be able to get three chicken dinners and a nice bit of stock from that.

I also started the Fig Wine and, after starring at the hydrometer for almost an hour, looking up hydrometer reading on line and finally calling Steinbart’s, determined that this hydrometer is not meant for wine making.  The readings only go up to 20 brix and I’m to start the fermentation at 22 brix. Ah ha!

In the afternoon I put up 8 jars of Fig and Orange Preserves.  They have ginger, and cloves, and cinnamon so it smells like Christmas.  I made this triple batch on the stove, but you can make it in the microwave as well.

My last project of the day was a loaf of sourdough from my own starter.  I’m still trying to perfect the recipe and process, but todays was an improvement.  My starter is frothy, not bubbly yet, but it smells right.  I put the cup of starter that I removed into the bread machine, added 1/2 cup of water, 3 cups of flour, 3 T sugar, 1.5 t salt and 1 t yeast and set it on the Dough Setting.  I took it out and proofed it in a linen lined basket and baked it on a pizza stone with a cloche on top.  I think the oven was a little cool (400°) as it seem to take too long to cook. I think I’ll try 425° tomorrow.

Joe decided to start a batch of Stout with Oatmeal this evening as the Almanac says it’s a good time to brew.  His Anchor Steam-like beer was ready last week and he tells me it’s good.

August 23 – We woke up to rain today and it was 87° by 4:00 so it was an unusually humid day here in Beavercreek.  I made a couple of batches of cookies before Joe and I headed out to Steinbart’s Home Brew Supply for some beer making and wine making ingredients. Joe wants to make another batch of beer and the Farmer’s Almanac says that the 24th and 25th of August are the best days.  I bought some things to make the figs I harvested yesterday into wine – I’ll dry some more later and also make some fig/orange preserves.

After Steinbart’s, we stopped at the Portland Urban Farm Store for a few chicks.  We bought three Buff Orpington’s and Two Austrlorps.  Next year we’ve decided to get some more Plymouth Barred Rock’s and the year after some Cuckoo Maran’s.

August 22 – We got our first zucchini today!  Finally, all of the others have been tiny, never growing beyond about 2 inches.  We also harvested 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes, 2 1/2 pounds of blueberries for the freezer and 5 pounds of figs.

We also picked up a few more zucchini, some cabbage, peppers and broccoli from a neighbor that was giving them away. Thanks, I sense zucchini bread in my future.

August 21 – Today I cleaned out the coat closet.  I was able to donate 3 coats, 3 hats and a Santa ornament that is just not all that special for our family – shhhh, don’t tell Santa.  I’m going to try to tackle a closet/cupboard/room each day this week so I feel better about going back to work.  I think I’ll also set up a morning check list so that I remember to do all of the little tasks that need doing each morning.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s