Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fun with Yogurt

I made too much goat milk yogurt last week for just me and Papa Bear.  Grandson was supposed to come spend the weekend but we got trumped by Mickey Mouse.  I can't blame him, daughters SO who is processing out of Orlando was given family passes to Disney World for the weekend.

Needless to say the yogurt didn't go to waste.   

Kermit dove into it.

So did Miss Piggy.

 Being pigs after all, they couldn't decide which pan tasted the best.

 You got any more?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Experimenting with seeds and roots

A couple of weeks ago I found a great sale on strawberries.  I put several quarts in the freezer and dehydrated several quarts.

These strawberries were dehydrated in my Excalibur at 135 degrees for 13 hours.  When I took the trays out to put them into jars,  I noticed a whole bunch of dried seed on the table where I had placed the trays.   I decided to experiment.  

I dampened a paper towel, raked the seeds from the table onto the towel, folded it up, placed it in a closed Ziploc bag and put them on top of the refrigerator. 

I didn't really expect anything as I thought 135 degrees would kill a seed but look at this.  They are very hard to see but I have about 6 or 7 teeny, tiny strawberry plants.  I'm going to place the entire paper towel on the top of a pot with potting soil, keep it damp and see what happens next.

My next experiment was with some popcorn that was vacuumed packed with my Food Saver in 2008.  I had originally purchased the popcorn in a huge bag from Sam's Club to put away for snacks and I also read it makes great corn meal when ground.

I did the same thing with 10 kernerls of corn as I did with the strawberry seed.  Today is the 4th day and 2 have sprouted so far.  One rolled under the refrigerator so I have 9 experimental seeds now.  I don't know if the one I dropped sprouted.  

 Cute little future popcorn from 5 year old seed!

This past fall we bought peanut hay for our goats.  Some of the bales still had peanuts still clinging so I saved a ziplock bag of them.  This morning I shelled them and got about 8 ounces of seed.  I'll get these planted in the garden today if possible and see what happens. 

My other experiment was with onions.  I am like mmpaints at Self Sustained Living..... Why didn't I think of this?  I've tossed roots of things like onions, celery, carrots and such in the compost pile.  At times if they are on the outer edge they will begin to grow.  I usually turn them back under or pull them up for the goats and chickens.  I never thought about letting them grow so now I am reclaiming my onions and as soon as I buy more celery...I will be using this method as well.

When you cut the root area off of an onion.  Make a spot in your garden and gently press it into the soil.

Cover with soil
I am putting my onion roots in my back to Eden garden so I pulled wood chips over the top.  I'll post on this again when I see some action going on.  You can read the entire process at Self Sustained Living.

Are you reclaiming any of your food?  Experiment now and see what works for you.  You may need it later!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

We Remember....We honor all of those who have fought for our country's freedoms.

Friday, May 24, 2013

How Awesome is This!?!......

Yesterday the big brown UPS truck pulled into our drive.  I couldn't remember ordering anything recently and Papa Bear said he wasn't expecting anything so this was a surprise..and what a surprise it was!

The other day my baby boy who is still in the desert (Afghanistan) had called to see if I had received a package yet.  He said he was sending me an early birthday present. I had not received anything yet but was expecting it to come in the mail not UPS.  

UPS unloaded 2 big boxes addressed to Mom and then my name.  They were from Mann Lake, the place where I order some of my bee supplies.

Baby boy must have really liked the honey I shipped to the desert because he has sent me a new, complete hiveIt has the bottom board, two brood boxes, 2 honey supers, an inner board, a telescoping cover and entrance reducer.  I can actually make two hives from this one as we are in Florida, we only need the one brood box.  I already have a couple of bottom boards and telescoping covers made so I am all set.  I just need to catch more bees!

I was going to start naming my hives and baby boy would like this one named "CHAD"  This name has letters from his three children's (our grandchildren's) names.  So as soon as I catch another swarm, The CHAD Colony will be set up in the Apiary.

This is how you do it....

Earlier this week when I got up to check the Marine I found his new puppy"Baby" in the bed with him.  I thought Papa Bear forgot to put her in her bed.  She usually sleeps in her bed which is located under the Marines hospital bed.  She is so tiny,  we were worried that she would injure herself if she tried to jump from the Marines bed to the floor so we have always made sure she was on the floor before we went to bed.

After the initial day of finding her in his bed, if she is not running around playing or outside doing her business....she is in the Marine's bed with no assistance.  I finally saw how she was getting up and managed to snap some photos last night. 

From the floor...

 To the footstool ....

To the chair....

 Standing on the arm of the chair.....
 Crawling through the bed rails.......

Snuggling in.....I think she knows who she belongs to.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Some of you have probably read this.  For those who haven't, grab a cup of coffee or tea and take a few minutes to read. 

On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Saturday, May 18, 2013

and the winner is......

We have two soldiers (AKA great nephew and Grandson) spending the weekend with us.  They agreed to have the drawing for me.

I printed off everyones name.

 Great Nephew cut out the names

Grandson folded them

and put them in the hat Great Nephew was holding

 Grandson drew a name....and the winner is



Sci email your mailing address to and I will get your sweet Florida goodness mailed to you.  Thanks for all who participated in my first blog giveaway!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Last Chnace for Honey Giveaway

Today's the last day to get your name in the hat for the fresh wildflower honey giveaway!  Go here for the details!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Back to Eden Garden Project

This year we are trying to set up one of the smaller gardens as a "Back to Eden Garden"  Money sitting in a savings account is not earning interest so we are buying items to make life a little easier on the homestead.  In March we purchased a Stanley Chipper Shredder to start making our own wood chips for the garden.  Many localities can have the tree trimmers drop off wood chips on your property but we are not one of them.

We started out by laying 4 layers of newspaper down.  A light sprinkling of soil will hold the paper down if it's windy.

 We could not collect enough newspaper for our project so we went to the news paper office and bought the ends of their rolls for $1.00 each and you get a lot of paper on each roll.

Next we added mushroom compost mixed in with some garden soil. 

 You can barely see them now but onions were planted in this row.

The wood chips are now added.

 The tomatoes and peppers seem to love this stuff.  I've gotten the wood chips around the plants.  In between the rows I have hay with goat poop down.  I'll add wood chips on top of this as I can.

The tomatoes are beginning to bloom.

I have only watered twice so far in 3 weeks and we've had a couple of light showers.  When you pull back the chips, the soil is dark and damp beneath.  The true test will come when we reach the 90's and 100 temps.

The very few weeds that have sprouted pulls out of the ground easily with no digging required.

 I had to get the peas and beans in the ground so it is not done Eden style yet.  Our crazy weather pattern has me over a month behind on the garden.   The chickens used this section of the garden since last August so it is fertilized and weed free for now.  I will lay paper and chips down as time permits.

I've started pulling the pineapple out of the greenhouse and planting.  I'll come back with the newspaper, manure and chips later.

 One plant couldn't wait to get started and has already formed a baby pineapple.

Hopefully all of this labor intensive work will eventually produce me a garden of Eden instead of a garden of weeding!  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's all good!

Last week found us really busy with some fun time mixed in.

It was the Marine's birthday.  Grandson helped his Uncle open his gifts.

 We couldn't wrap this one!  The Marine's Bichon was stolen several years ago.  We finally decided to replace him.  We got him a Rat Terrier.  The Marine has named her "Baby".

 She loves to stand up and push the swivel chair in the Marine's room and make it go round and round.
 I think she is going to make a good companion dog for him.

The weather finally cooperated for the Marine to have his beach day so off we went.  Our niece held on to him while we 
went down the bumpy road.

This year we went to Sharky's.  The Marine enjoyed a few sips of a frozen strawberry daiquiri. 

 I didn't have the camera with the group shot but there were 10 family and friends who joined us.

 Earlier, we harvested our first honey from one of our hives.   First you uncap the wax.
 The frames are placed in the extractor and then spun.

 The beautiful golden stuff begins to flow.  I am giving away a jar of this sweet goodness next Saturday.  You can go to Our First Blog Giveaway to put your name in the hat.

The week ended with a beautiful bouquet of roses from the Marine, a sweet card from my daughter-in-law and  calls from my daughter and younger son.  I hope all of you Mom's had a great day as well.

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