Monday, September 11, 2017

A good harvest

Growing your own food is something that we all should do, we do not need a huge area in which to grow nor a garden plot at all. These days you can get a lot of variety in the small edibles bracket that can be grown happily in containers or window boxes. It is not only satisfying to the soul but great for our bodies and well being. I say to all give it a go, no matter where you are.
Here in Nova Scotia on our homestead we do have a rather large garden, there are a few of us and I love the work. It is harvest time and we are seeing great results. The heirloom tomatoes are producing huge amounts.

We have had a wonderful harvest from the greens and whites. Some things like spinach and beetroot failed. I feel they need more nutrients which our soil is lacking.  It will improve.

All in all we are very happy with this years efforts and looking forward to next year when we plan even more.
So, next gardening time grab a few packets of seeds (non GMO ) buy a few veg plants in the sales and give it a go. You will not regret it!

Thursday, September 7, 2017


A few months ago we decided that the empty paddocks needed to be filled. So, in stepped Jeff an Ayrshire steer. He has been here for a good couple of months now and growing, although he is not a meaty should I say as a beef breed he will provide us with some delicious grass fed, garden scrap fed beef.

The clock is now ticking, we are already into September, the deer hunting season is only a few days away and planning the date for Jeff's final day will come forth over the next few weeks. It will be the first time we have processed such a large animal (other than deer) on the homestead. There will be mixed emotions leading up to and on that day. It has to be remembered though that when that time comes he has had a great life and we can rest assured that the meat we eat will be the best possible.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Dehydrator going strong

Our dehydrator has been working well and we are pleased with our efforts so far. We have dehydrated lots of kale, apples, herbs and zucchini. Today I put some green and pole beans in, it will be interesting to see how they turn out. The beans need to be sliced in half longways in order for them to dehydrate properly.
I also want to try tomatoes, and various other leaves such as amaranth and chia.
Watch this space!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Vegetable and cheese pasties

It is the time of year when we go through a meat shortage, we are coming to the end of last years meat and this years meat is still a couple of months away from freezer camp.
However, our garden is bursting with beautiful tasty nutritious vegetables that are used in many ways.
We turned a few zucchini's, some new potatoes, tomatoes, parsley and grated cheese into some awesome pasties.

The vegetables were diced finely, the potatoes were blanched until slightly tender and the whole mix mixed with grated cheese and seasoned with salt and pepper. The pastry was a simple flaky pastry made with 1 pound of white flour mixed with 8oz of super cold grated butter and then formed into a pastry with chilled water.
Three tips for making this pastry extra good, always use very cold grated butter and handle the pastry as little as possible. The third tip, split the pastry in two and roll out each piece the exact same shape and size, usually a rectangle. With a knife mark 8 sections on one of the rectangles but do not cut through. Fill these rectangles with filling, brush around each segment with milk or egg to seal and carefully using a rolling pin to help place the second pastry rectangle on top. Press down around all the pasties. Cut into 8 and bake on 350 degrees until golden brown.
Rolling two same size and shape pastry pieces eliminates the re-rolling that causes the delicately made pastry to become less flaky when cooked!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A few birds

We have quite the mix of birds this year on our homestead. The place looks very crowded especially when we sit out to eat our BBQ supper. The birds think that their supper dinner bell has been rung!
Currently we have 38 young chickens made up of, pure lavender orpingtons, pure black orpingtons, some new blood for our layer flock and the remaining our very own homestead hatched heritage meat birds.
We also have 8 turkeys, an adult layer flock of chickens, four juvenile guinea fowl, 1 ring neck pheasant and 5 adult guinea fowl with 24 babies among them. Phew, busy birds!

Dried Apples

Our new dehydrator has been busy since its arrival. I dehydrated a whole bunch of apples but unfortunately they tasted so good that we ate all but one quart jar! However, not to fret as today I have put in another five trays of apples along with three trays of sliced zucchini (courgette) and one and a half trays of sliced banana. I still have a ton of apples coming in so I am sure we will be enjoying dehydrated apple for some while to come. This mass amount of apples has come off only one of our five trees.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Buried in apples!

We seem to be having an early crop of apples from one of our tree's. I think sadly the tree has been badly affected this year by Codling Moth attack and most of the buckets of apples we have collected have been wormy.
This does not stop them getting used. The really bad ones are fed to Jeff our Ayrshire beef steer who likes them a does not mind the extra protein. The second worst are processed into jelly, minus the worms and bad parts and the best of the bunch will be put into our dehydrator or turned into puree for use in pies and baking, again minus worms and bad parts.
We follow a use everything rule so all the bad parts and worms will be either composted or fed to the livestock who will happily gobble them up!

I shall post on the dehydrated apples when they have been done!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Orange and Lemon Peel Jelly

When we have oranges or lemons I always throw the peels in a bag in the freezer, as I do with apple cores and peelings. The latest bag was more lemon and orange peel so I made some delicious jelly. The peels and apple cores are covered with water and boiled for an hour or so to get out all the flavor. This is then passed first through a sieve and then through a jelly bag, the sieve takes out the larger pieces that will jam up the jelly bag in no time which is time consuming.
Once all the liquid has strained compost the peels/apple cores and add enough sugar to your taste. Boil down until jam stage when a small spoonful will form a skin on a plate.

It did not make a huge amount but it is excellent and saves on food waste :)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bursting with fresh flavor

Our garden is in full production right now. Currently the zucchini's and bush beans are at full swing. I am picking and picking and picking which is great. We may not have as much crop as we did in Manitoba but for our first year of growing here in Nova Scotia we are doing well.
There is nothing more satisfying than heading to the garden, picking a bunch of fresh herbs and vegetables, quick frying it all up and serving it on hot homemade toasted bread with a sprinkle of cheese :)

Kale, zucchini, radish pods, radish, beetroot leaves and wild greens went into this mouthwatering, nutrient dense lunch.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I have been away for a while!

Well folks, I am back. It has been quite a few months since my last blog on here although I do blog often on my Facebook sister page. We have been very busy here since our move just over a year ago. Our garden has taken a lot of our time and we are proud of the progress so far. We are eating well from it. Our livestock situation has changed too, we have grown more on the poultry front and added some lovely birds to our homestead.
Sadly, we had to sell our milking cow Mookie as the issue of her suckling herself became to problematic and we were losing a good portion of the daily milk quota. It was sad to let her go. Maybe next year we will look at a small herd of dairy goats.
Our next project is to start on building the greenhouse, and to build some more poultry enclosures.
Keep tuned!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sugaring time

After many months of anticipation sugaring time has arrived and for the past three days we have been collecting Maple sap and boiling it down to make Maple syrup. It is a very hard and time consuming effort as the sap to syrup ration is roughly 40-1, meaning that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. Yes folks, a lot of sap.
Once we have made enough syrup to last a year and made some Maple sap wine we will turn our attention to the Birch tree's.
All go guys in a very tasty way.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thoughts of gardening, beekeeping and maple syrup making

Well folks, the months have once again slipped by. We are now turning our attention to the joys of gardening and what we will plant this year. The garden will remain small as the soil is poor and lacking many nutrients so we will need to put Mookie's dung to work!
We are turning our hand to bee keeping this year and we will be purchasing our first hive at the end of February.
Another new to us project will be the tapping of our many Maple and Birch tree's. We have quite a few on the property so we are hopeful that we can make some wine and syrup.
Exciting times ahead so stay tuned!