Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kevin’s Quality Clothespins Review

First let me tell you, this weekend is all about reviews. I have come across some interesting things that make my life a little better and this weekend I am going to share them with you. Let me start with a small confession (okay two confessions): I prefer clothes that have been hung on the line but I hate hanging them. Seriously, there are times I just don't wash a load of clothes because I don't want to hang them! Go ahead and call me the lazy mum of the year. I won't take offence (much).

The way we dry clothes (yes we have a dryer) is by putting them on the line in the sun during the summer and by putting them on a clothes drying rack next to the woodstove in the winter. During the summer, I have no problems hanging the towels and sheets and other large objects on the line. It is the small baby clothes that take two clothes pins per tiny piece of clothing. I need 100 or more to hang two loads! During the winter though, those little clothes all fit nicely on the drying rack and they dry nice and quickly. The towels and sheets and blankets though all take forever to dry and take up loads of space. So there you have it, my mini-rant on laundry.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Free Watermelon Seeds

http://www.gardenupgreen.com/2014/09/free-watermelon-seeds-for-kids.htmlAfter a pretty rough day yesterday, I wanted to share something nice that someone is doing. Carole over at GardenUpgreen.com is giving away free watermelon seeds, while supplies last, to kids. Do you know someone who wants to make a memory with their kids next year? A child who will delight in the magic of growing something from a tiny seed to a big ripe, red watermelon? If you do, visit her post and send her an email with the children's name and then get planning where you are going to grow those delicious watermelons! Thanks Carole!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chicken Deaths

We have had some sudden unexpected losses today. When I opened the coop this morning (late at 10 am), I found one of our Buff Brahmas dead on the floor of the run. Not exactly a good start to the morning, huh? Well, actually the morning started with a trip to the store because some dead mice in the well had contaminated our drinking water. The chickens came next.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Top Mommy Blogs

www.topmommyblogs.comIf you are a blogger or a mum, then you know that networking is a great thing. Some days it is hard to find someone to ask about that thing you heard/read about while you were at the doctor's/in the grocery/eavesdropping at the playground because you were too nervous to interrupt and introduce yourself. Okay perhaps you have no problem doing that and I will admit there have been days when I am out going and full of courage. There have been other days though, where that is not the case. Those days I would prefer to go home and google it while the kids nap. Some of my favorite mummy websites (read: helpful and/or make me laugh) belong to Top Mommy Blogs so I decided to check it out.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ricotta in the Instant Pot

I recently purchased an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker and I have been using it for everything. One thing I wanted to try and make was ricotta cheese. I have been making ricotta cheese from whole milk using the recipe from Ricki Carroll's Home Cheese Making book for the last year and love it. We use it for lots of things such as lasagna and calzones to Naleśniki.

When I was reading about the yogurt making features on my new Instant Pot, I realized that the temperatures needed for ricotta matched the boil function in the yogurt maker. I searched around online and found no one else doing it so I decided to wing it and see what happened.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Icelandic Goats

How do you feel about goats? I like them, although at this point in our lives I would never own them. In a recent email, Rikki's Carroll's Mooseletter, I learned about the plight of the Icelandic Goats. Did you know that this rare breed of goats has only about 800 goats left worldwide? Did you know that 360 of them reside on an Icelandic farm run by a woman named Johanna. She runs Háafell.

In 13 days, the government plans to auction off her farm and slaughter the goats. She and her family have been working to make the farm profitable for years but have come up against hurdle after hurdle of red tape (no raw goat milk allowed) that has stymied their source of revenue. They have been fighting to allow many of the different products that Icelandic goats can provide (milk, meat, cashmere) however time has officially run out.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker

I was perusing Mother Earth News one morning and read a review for Instant Pot. Have you heard of it? It is an electric pressure cooker. It is the only one on the market that does not use a Tephlon coated insert and instead has a stainless steel insert. Reading the review, I became intrigued. I own a pressure cooker, a stove top large one that I use for canning beans and stock. It is a pain in the butt to be honest. I have to closely monitor the pressure gauge so the idea of making beans or actually cooking in it has never interested me. Learning more about an electric pressure cooker, where like my crockpot I could set and walk away, I was intrigued. I began checking out the new model. Don't tell my husband but I decided to buy it as soon as I saw that it was a yogurt maker. This was prior to reading the reviews singing its praises. I ordered it from Amazon for $134 and tried not to wince at what I was spending on something I wasn't sure I would even use. (Did you read about my $94 chick? My recent spending was cramping my budget.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Tale of the Black Copper Maran

Golden Maran aka Brown Mama
When we first got chickens we got a mixed bunch. Then we tried some amazing eggs from Pete & Gerry - Maran eggs. The following year we decided to add a few to our flock and bought some of the Rare Maran breed from MyPetChicken. Of the four that we bought only one survived. Her eggs were amazing, as were the Welsummer chicken eggs. Still wanting to reproduce the eggs from Pete & Gerry we did some more research. From everything I can find, supposedly it does not matter the breed, only what you feed them. I think this may be true in theory, however I can tell you that the eggs from my Golden Maran are always creamier and a darker orange (not to mention tastier) than the Red Comets and most of the other eggs. Does that mean her diet is different? Maybe. Perhaps Marans seek out something that my other chickens don't. My Golden Maran is not the most dominant chicken in the flock so she isn't getting the best of the feed. I honestly don't know the answer. I do know that because she is a fantastic mama, she doesn't lay lots of eggs either, another good trait (the mama trait, not the lack of eggs one) we would like.  So we decided to add some Black Copper Marans to the flock. And it began.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blackberry Fruit Leather

Every year we pick blackberries. Some years we eat them all and some years we make jam. This year we put two gallons worth or berries through our tomato squeezer and decided to make jam and fruit leather (plus eat as much as possible while out there! I swear to you that one berry that looked a little passed ripe tasted just like a Starburst. It had been a while since I have eaten one of those but it brought back memories.).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bay Tree

One of the many things that I use in the kitchen is bay leaves. They are great in stock, soups, even macaroni and cheese (at least my recipe calls to add a bay leaf to the milk while you warm it). The one thing I never remember to pick up at the grocery store? Bay leaves.

Bay leaves are simple to harvest and use so I finally decided to bite the bullet and order one. An Internet search for organic bay trees provided many results but The Tasteful Garden's trees looked and sounded the best. Plus they would ship immediately. Price wise, they seemed to be in line with other retailers, although there were a few that were cheaper. I know the saying about judging a book but I found their site pleasing, straightforward and so I ordered the same day.