Farm To Table: From A Few Doors Down Is Really Local

Farm To Table

We have yet to get our raised garden beds in, and the summer’s waning…but we’re lucky to have a nice neighbor on our road who is also a Master Gardener. She grows all kinds of wonderful vegetables and fruit, and generously shares her harvest with others.

We recently picked lots of blackberries, which we made into many bottles of delicious and beautiful blackberry water kefir, as well as blackberry milk kefir and blackberry-infused kombucha tea.

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Goodbye, 2016…Hello, 2017!

2016 Photo CollageIt’s that time again – this year is coming to its end. We like to look back at the year because you can forget how much you learned and during that period. We also like to recognize our accomplishments, as well as identify needed improvements. We characterize 2016 as our year of learning on the farm.

Chickens

2016 started on a sour note, with about half of our small flock of layers lost to predators. We implemented deterrents and learned about the importance of having a vigilant rooster (or two) to keep watch over the flock. We hatched 4 groups of chicks and learned about integrating new chickens into an existing flock. We processed roosters, treated injuries, and let a (surprise) broody hen hatch some eggs.

Ducks

We started with a small group of Muscovies going into 2016, due to some predator losses. We were thrilled when the ducks began laying, and wanted to expand our flock. Continue reading “Goodbye, 2016…Hello, 2017!”

Today’s Entertainment: SCOBY Decimation

Pecked SCOBYIf you’ve read earlier posts, you know that I make (lots of) kombucha tea. With each batch, a new cellulose pellicle is formed, starting as a thin, cloudy-looking film and growing bigger and thicker with each successive batch. The Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) isn’t strictly necessary to properly culture a batch, if sufficiently strong tea from a previous batch is added to “inoculate” the brew…but it looks really cool in a jar (scare your friends!).

A few huge discs had formed in my 2.5 gallon kombucha vinegar jar and were taking up too much space, so I pulled the thickest ones out and put them in the refrigerator. They sat in a big bowl for a few days until I remembered them and tossed them out for the chickens and ducks. These things are meaty, rubbery mats, but the chickens will peck them apart without much effort. Sometimes the ducks even get in on the action. Continue reading “Today’s Entertainment: SCOBY Decimation”

Eaten Alive…By Biting Bugs

Plantain_Steeping

Summer has brought out the biting bugs. Not just mosquitoes; everything out here seems to want a blood meal, even things so small you don’t see them on you. These bugs are shameless, too – they will crawl up a shorts leg or down a shirt. They’ll bite you on your eyelid and it will swell up like you were punched in the eye. Not pretty.

Short of covering yourself from head to toe in clothing (too hot) or repellent (smelly, sticky, and even chemical-laden), you will be bitten tending to animals on the farm. Despite smacking the living daylights out of flies and other biters (and occasionally, ourselves, when the slap comes too slowly and the bug flies away), we are pretty chewed up. And these bites are accompanied by that itch.

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