Summer Day 45 – Markets and Such…..

The last day of July and we spent the day at the Sunday Market in Milwaukie, trying to pick up milk at the farm, canning and cleaning.  The milk pick up was a bust, the gal that owns the cow is out of town and her boy isn’t separating the calf from the cow so he won’t need to milk her.

The market was great.  We picked up some beets, onions, green beans, kale, cantaloupe, and parsley.  The apple folks had a few new varieties this week – Early Gravenstein, Akane and Strawberry Apples.  I’m going to make some single variety applesauce with each – maybe just 2-3 pints of each.

The green beans were on special so we picked up four bags – some for supper and the rest were for canning.  I decided to cold-pack them, added hot water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pressure canned them for 20 minutes.


Summer Vacation Day 44 continued – Argan lotion

Argan Lotion Experiment

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c argan oil
  • 1/4 c sweet almond oil
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 2 oz. beeswax
  • 10-20 drops essential oil for scent (I used lemongrass)
  • oil from 5 Vitamin E capsules
  1. Combine the oils and wax into canning jar.
  2. Put the jar into a saucepan and filled with water. It should come up to the level of the oils inthe canning jar.
  3. Heat (slowly) until the oils and wax melt, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the canning jar from the pan and let it cool to room temperature stirring vigorously with a fork every 15 minutes.
  5. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, whip in the essential oil and Vitamin E.

    Argan/Almond Lotion
    Argan/Almond Lotion

Summer Vacation – Day 44 Ginger Beer and Deconstruction

The boys are off deconstructing a fort they found.  DH found an ad for it – no charge so we are getting it to repurpose in to the new henhouse.  I didn’t think I’d be much help getting the roof off, so I stayed home to make a batch of Ginger Beer.  I also had a little time while I was waiting for the Ginger Beer to boil to run out to the back hedgerow and pick a basket of blackberries.  I boiled them with a little water and ginger for another batch of jelly.  The boys do like blackberry jelly.

fort before

A recipe adapted from The Family Save-All (1861)

  • White sugar – 20 pounds (2 pounds = 907 g)
  • Lemon Juice – 18 oz (1.8 oz)
  • Ginger – 22 oz (2.2oz) peeled, sliced and bruised
  • Water – 18 gallons (1.8 gallons)
  • Honey – 1 pound (0.1 lb = 45 g)
  • egg white – 1 (Hmmmmmm????)
  • essence of lemon – .5 oz (lemon zest 1.5g)
  • yeast (this was not in the original recipe)
  1. Boil the bruised ginger in three gallons (1/2 gallon) of water for half an hour; then add the sugar, the juice and the honey, then the fifteen gallons of water reserved (1 1/2 gallon)
  2. Boil and strain.
  3. When cold add the white of an egg, and half an ounce of essence of lemons.
  4. Allow it to ferment in the usual way.  Then in about four days bottle it, and it will keep for months.

    The Ginger Beer is on the Right
    The Ginger Beer is on the Right

Summer Vacation Day 43 – Orange Mead and Orange Cake



Orange Cake – see recipe here

Orange Mead*
makes 1 gallon

  • 2 1/2 pounds raw honey
  • 1 Large orange –  wash cut to fit for later removal from the gallon jug
  • 1 small handful of raisins
  • 1 teaspoon bread yeast  – dies off quickly so the mead stays sweeter
  • Balance water to one gallon


  1. Sterilize a 1 gallon carboy, airlock and funnel
  2. Dissolve the honey in warm water and put into the carboy
  3. Add the orange and raising
  4. Top off with cold water to 3 inches from the top.
  5. Shake the jug with top on, for aeration.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon of bread yeast.
  7. Install water airlock and put it in dark place.

After 2 months or so it will slow down to a stop and clear. Then you can siphon it off and bottle

*(adapted from a recipe by Joe Mattioli)

Summer Vacation Day 42 – ……and the canning begins

This morning I put up six jars of seedless blackberry jelly and six more jars of peach jam.  We picked the berries from the hedgerow over a couple of days, cooked them down with a little water and strained them.  I collected this until I had enough blackberry juice to make a couple of batches of jam.  The peaches came from the little peach tree in the kailyaird. The tree is young and broke last summer under the weight of the peaches and during a summer storm so we pruned it very severely this winter.  We weren’t sure we we going to have anything to harvest but we had six peaches so I decided to use them for jam.


Summer Vacation Day 40 – Spit Roasting by the Fire

I canned a few pints of corn this morning while we were setting up a lamb roast for supper. DH built a fire out in the fire pit while I put the roast on a spit (like on the Tudor Monastery Farm with Ruth Goodman). We bought the hand-forged campfire cooking set a few years ago but never used it so I decided to try it out when I found the clearance roast in the freezer.

It took about 6 hours all together.  We put the coals near the roast, but no under it.  The roasting pan went under it to catch the drippings to use for basting.  This configuration helps to prevent flare-ups.

It was juicy, cooked to a lovely medium and tasted really nice.  We will definitely try it again.

Summer Vacation Day 35 – Only 39 to Go

Things are fermenting all over the place at the Backyard Farm.  We’ve got sourdough, kombucha teas (one regular brew and a try at a continuous brew), blackberry soda, garlic fermenting in honey, apple peels fermenting into cider vinegar, and yoghurt all working away.  I think I’m going to try a kombucha coffee today and look for a recipe for a small-batch mead.  In the mean while, here are some photos of the ferments……