Thursday, April 21, 2011

Preparedness

I hate to keep being doom and gloom but their is an urgent need in me to become as prepared as possible. Their are signs all over. We must heed them. Their are many countries silently preparing for things to come. World leaders know something is coming. We need to be ready and be  ready long enough to ride it out and hope of prosperity to follow.
I urge you to learn how to grow things, preserve things, cook things, store things, fix things, heal things. Learn about herbs and weeds that can heal you and how to prepare them. Even better, learn how to eat healthy and live healthy so you don't get sickness and disease.
There are so many resources on the web to help you get started. If you have any questions orneed help in getting started in finding something please let me know. Next week, I plan on writing on a topic at a time about things that pertain to preparedness and  self-sufficiency.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Homemeade Pizza

We had homemade pizza last night and it was about as homemade as you can get. The crust was made with our own grown and ground wheat. The pizza sauce was made with our own garden tomatoes and raised herbs. The vegetable toppings were from the garden (zucchini slices and broccoli frozen last year). The cheese,  garlic and herb, was from a new store in our area that is run by Mennonites and was made with unpasteurized milk and rBST free. The Italian sausage was from our local meat market and came from pork raised locally. Next year, or perhaps this fall we will have our own pork.

It was very tasty and filling.
I am very concerned today about news of our economy. It seems that Standard & Poor, who make credit ratings, is going to downgrade the nations credit rating. Then none of the debt buyers are going to buy US debt. Our money will be worthless. The US is going down and I would urge everyone to prepare yourselves. There is alot of info on the net about preparedness so I won't go into here but I urge you to consider it and get started right away. Store food and water. Get your finances in a row. It might already be to late for that but do what you can.
The radiation fallout from Japan is also another reason to get prepared. Pres. Obama says not to worry about it and not to prepare BUT he has a fully stocked fallout bunker that he and his family and all of the Washington elite can live in for a long time. He doesn't care about the rest of us peons!
On a side note, I was asked what my favorite bread recipe was and right now I don't have an answer to that. I am currently using my bread machine recipe that I use all whole wheat instead of half whole wheat and half white flour like the recipe says. I just let the bread machine mix it and then I take it out and let it rise in the pan. I don't have a  mixer at this time and I don't have the time or the patience to mix and knead by hand. I can do it however, if I have to. The draw back to this is that I can only make one loaf at a time. When I get a mixer then I will be making three loaves at a time and I have several recipes I will be trying out then. I need to get one soon as now that spring is here I am going to be very, very busy and outside most of the time so I will not have time to bake one loaf at at ime. I am looking into getting an antique bread maker online. It is like a mixer but you do it by hand so I could grind wheat with my hand crank grinder  and mix bread without electricity if I had to.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Here is a great giveaway from Food Renegade.
http://www.foodrenegade.com/giveaway-ghee-ghee-ghee-and-more-ghee/#more-2759
They are giving away Ghee from Pure Indian foods made from milk of grass fed cows. Golden colored Ghee is prepared by melting and simmering unsalted butter until all the water evaporates and the milk solids settle at the bottom. The remaining butter oil is very stable, giving it a high smoke point which makes it an excellent choice to use for frying and sautéing and it can be stored without refrigeration for several months. It is also knownas clarified butter or drawn butter. As long as it is made from grass fed organic cows milk it is very good and healthful for you. Ghee is one of the best oils for cooking. It stimulates digestive fire (or Agni) according to Ayurveda. It has a very high smoke point (~400°F) and its chemical structure does not change at high heat. When you cook with ghee, there is no hissing, popping or splattering. It produces sweet aroma when heated. You use less than half of other oils and it enhances the flavor of food. Ghee is a nutrient dense food and contains healthy fat soluble vitamins which aids in the absorption of nutrients in foods and are essential for good health.
The many beifits of eating grass fed meat is:

More Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA):
Pasture-grazed cows have more CLA in their milk than grain fed cows and our lab tests show our ghee has more CLA than plain butter. CLA is an antioxidant and essential fatty acid that has been getting a lot of attention lately. In animal studies, it reportedly exhibits anticarcinogenic and other beneficial physiological effects. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/ScienceForums/forum03/E-04.htm
Ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fats
Research indicates that if the ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 in your food exceeds 4:1 then it may not be good for you. This ratio is around 3:1 for grass-fed animals and over 20:1 for grain-fed animals, since grass is rich in Omega-3 and grains have higher Omega-6. So eating more grass-fed products helps you maintain the right balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Are Grassfed Products Safer?
Most of the conventional cows are fed large amounts of grains (primarily corn), soy and other supplements to increase milk production and decrease cost. They are kept in crowded feedlots and don’t get the opportunity to roam freely and peacefully in the sun and eat high-fiber green grass. This makes them vulnerable to various diseases, so they are often given antibiotics in their daily feed to prevent this. Read more here.http://www.eatwild.com/foodsafety.html
Go Green
Grass-fed dairies are generally small. They promote harmony between the land and the animals. They support biodiversity and reduce waste. They work in a sustainable manner and are good for our environment.
So support your local small farms and eat some grass fed beef today!!!







Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Culinary Herbalism

Today I watched an excellent video brought to me via John Gallager from herb mentor.com. He has a new site called culinary herbalism and he has a show on their called John's Herbal Reality Show. Here is the link to the video: http://www.culinaryherbalism.com/funnel_events/9787 You have to sign up which is easy but it was worth it and I cannot wait until he comes out with more shows.
The premise behind culinary herbalism is to eat your herbal nutrition. I am sure there is a more technical  way to describe it but this is the way I think and understand things...simple! In the video he had  K.P. Khalsa, who is the president of the American Herbalist Guild, a holistic practitioner for over 40 years, author of over 30 books, on the senior editorial board of the Harvard Natural Standard, former chief formulator for the Yogi Tea Company, and a professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Bastyr University of Naturopathic Medicine.
He cooked two dishes that sound absolutely delicious and are packed with good food medicine and nutrition. One of the dishes used burdock root. For those of you that are not familiar with burdock root it the plant that produces cockle burrs that stick to you when you walk in the woods. The roots are very nutritious and also help cleanse and tone your body. This is one wild edible that I have eaten for a few years. The roots resemble parsnips. They are very hard to dig and some people actually grow them in their gardens for ease of harvest. I thought about doing this also for the last few years but I know they are even better for you if found in the wild and we have plenty of them growing here at Sheep Hollow Farm. The other wild food I eat a lot of is Stinging Nettle. Yes, I do. It is very good for you and it has more vitamins and minerals than spinach. I use it in dishes just like I do spinach. I also save the water which I blanch it in before freezing for adding to my tea or I give it to the chickens. After it is cooked it has no prickly, burning compounds left.
I will blog more about these nutritious foods and many more in future blogs.
Happy wild food hunting!
P.S. I can't wait for morel season!!!


Those dang cats are at it again. One found its way into the chicken coop during the night before and ate three of my little chicks. So I spent the day yesterday cat proofing my baby chick pen. First, I made it so that the babies couldn't get out of the pen because than mom can't protect them and then I made it so the cats cannot get in. What gets me is the cat that was in their wasn't even one of ours! We have a female cat in heat and I have counted 6 different tom cats here in the last week. We are kind of far away from neighbors but those animals sure do figure out when sumpin is up at the neighbors!!!
I also spent the early early hours of yesterday replanting tomato plants and planting all my vine crops in the house.
Today I am going to plant a few more things and then clean up where the chicken house was and clean up all the branches that we cut off the fence line. It won't be long and I will be putting lots and lots of fence!!! Anybody wanna help???

Monday, April 11, 2011

Busy Weekend

Wow, what a weekend. We spent all day Saturday moving our chicken house. It made sense to do so but what a job. It was situated right in front of the sheep barn so if we want to get more sheep it was taking up space for livestock. I am going to expand the sheep pen and make a small pen on the end for a few beef steers to raise for meat. This will be their winter pen. The chicken coop sits on four stringers. The coop was originally a hog barn that was at his daughters place just down the road. He drilled two holes on the end of the outside stringers and put a bolt through it and attached chains to the bolts and drug it down the road and brought it here. This was probably 10 years or so ago. We hooked onto the bolts, gave her a tug and broke the end off one of the stringers! Guess they rotted over time. So, we drilled holes through the center two stringers and hooked on to them. Same thing. So, we tried the one good middle one and the one good outside one. Broke the middle one! So, we ended up going and getting all the chains we had and hooking onto the back of the stringers and running the chains underneath.
First try.
Finally progress!!! Until we got to the huge puddle!!!





So, we get stuck and cannot move any more. We get another tractor and try to pull the first tractor with the tow strap. We break the tow strap. So, we hook both tractors up side by side at which point I had to drive one and couldn't take pictures anymore! So, we are pulling the building tandem style. All was going well except I didn't realize how close I was to my new fence post and took it out and the small door with the ramp that the chickens go in and out with. So, I have repairs to do today. It took us all day to unhook the electricity and ready the building for moving and moving it and it will take a whole nother day to swing the back end of the building over to where I want it and rehook up the electricity. I will be taking pics of where it sitting now and all the damage we did getting it there!
I also had 6 baby chicks hatch out that a hen was sitting on. I have two more sitting. My poor hens don't know where their house went to so they are roosting in the sheep barn on the hay stack but we will get them straightened out!
We got a 1/2 inch or so of rain on Saturday night and even a thunderstorm and then it misted and drizzled all day on Sunday so we worked in the shop. We tore the starter out of the skid loader and cleaned it and tried to find out what was wrong with it. This was no easy feat as the starter is under the engine and you can only get one hand down their at at time. We had to take the seat out and one of us had to kneel where the seat was and one of had to assist on the side with one hand. We determined that it just needed to be cleaned as the solenoid was so greasy in side that it wasn't working properly. So, we cleaned it and put the starter back in. Nope...the solenoid is bad so out it came again. My arms are all black and blue and sore from reaching down in that thing! Today, I will be chasing parts!
I am forgoing my usual Monday cleaning and washing day to be outside as it is suppose to be sunny all day today and cloudy and rainy tomorrow. I want to get the crab apple tree trimmed up and see if I can get in shape so I can get some apples off of it this year. I also have lots of clean up to do from moving the coop. Their is a whole bunch of cement blocks to dig out of the mud where they sank. At least the coop should not keep sinking in the ground where it is moved too.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gorgeous Day!

What a beautiful day! We are suppose to hit 70 today. Well, my canner seems to be working fine as I canned 7 quarts of carrots yesterday. I plan on squeezing in 7 more today even though it is so nice out.
Last night for supper I made potato latkes. This is a very good way to use your late stored potatooes that may be getting soft. All you do is mix in an egg or two in your left over mashed potatoes and fry like a pancake. I use at least two eggs and yesterday I boiled up some soft potatoes just to make these for supper. I mashed them with milk but no butter and they turned out great. I season them in the pan with Lawry's season salt or garlic powder or cayenne pepper or sometimes even ginger, whatever I am in the mood for.
Today I transplanted my tomato plants. When they get there first two true leaves I plant them all the way up to the leaves. This grows strong plants that have roots all the way up. Depending on when I get these started I may do this 3 or 4 times before they go out to the garden. When I plant them in the garden, I dig a trench and lay the plant in it sideways and cover. I didn't start my tomato plants early enough this year so I am transplanting them in a big hanging pot that I only filled half way with dirt and I will continue to fill it as they grow. I am also planting my vine crops today, inside of course.
I need to go out and finish my chick starting pen so the cats can't get in there. I peeked under the one setting hen and she had a few chicks hatched. Last year I ordered 50 chicks, received 54, and then lost all but 11 to the &*%$#^ cats. Never again!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Canning in April

In MN???? Yes, canning in April in MN. I have three half barrels of carrots in sand in my cold room. One of the barrels rotted on me. I am not sure if I damped it too much or if their was bad one that spread its badness. Thats one thing about storing them in sand is you can't go through and check on them. Next year I am going to only store varieties that are long keepers and only in a single layer instead of the three I did this year. I am also not going to store so many as I hope to dry alot of stuff this year also. Anyway, back to canning. Last time I used my pressure canner I thought I had problems with it. I haven't used it for along time and couldn't really remember so I thought I would can up some carrots and see whats up. I am waiting for the jiggle right now.
Another thing that is going to be differetn in this years garden is: THINNING!!! My carrots are huge and all odd shaped so they were very hard to clean and cut up. My wrist is sore. How big you say? Well, one carrot filled up 2 quart jars...yes, I said two!!!! Much to hard to cut up!  Over the winter we have had numerous roast dinners with one carrot and one potato and still had leftovers. Thats how big my potoates were too. I had one carrot that looked just like a big fat foot complete with toes and toe nails. I put it in the sink with the rest to wash and  then I was going to take a picture of it for on here but of course I forgot. I forget alot.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Radioactive rain

I had written a blog post last week and then two days later deleted it. I thought I was being silly and doom and gloom but I should have left it. I was depressed. I had read a report of not to be outside in the rain without having your entire body covered up because of the Japan nuclear thing. You should cover up with a plastic raincoat as this can be washed off and take a shower afterward. Well, I thought I was overreacting the other day when it was snowing and I had to go outside so I deleted my overly depressing post. Turns out the radiation has reached MN and it was raining out last night. Now, I am back to being depressed.
There is no safe amount of radiation and the goverment that tells us that it is in safe levels is lying to us.
http:/www.nukefree.org has a good article to read on this and also some action steps you can take to help get rid of nucear energy...if it isn't already to late.
I am becoming most concerned about growing my garden and raising our meat this year. Will our soil be contaminated???
Tommorow and maybe for a few days I will be writing about Monsanto and the very evil of GMO and how poor our food supply is as far as nutrients goes.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wheat

I was asked by a few people how we go about raising wheat for our bread making. It all happened quite by accident that I started grinding the wheat and making bread so I guess some background is in order. My bf milked cows for many years and upon quitting that went to being a crop farmer until three years ago. He sold all his big equipment and most of his land. When I moved in here he was just farming a few acres and working of the farm. We wanted to go back to farming the way it was done years ago and purchased some small machinery like he grew up with. We planted oats and wheat and we cut hay of our meadow land. I wanted to grind the wheat and make flour and bake bread so I started to do Internet searches on grinders. I saw a picture of one that looked just like something that someone had given me years ago. I had no idea what it was until I saw the picture. It was the Family Grain Mill and I am very happy with it. We have since rigged up a way to motorize it. I can purchase a motor for it but that was kind of spendy. So, I took it out of storage and started cranking!! Lo and behold, I started making bread. My bf eats tons of bread and now he won't go back to store bought for anything!
We had planted five acres of wheat. We have a small seeder and bought a small combine. We cleaned the grain with an old Clipper fanning mill and saved two 55 gallon plastic barrels, which I keep in my cold room. The rest we sold. This will probably last us a long time as there is usually just two of us here.
The bread baking is an ongoing learning experience. I have gotten rid of my aluminum bread pans for health reasons and have purchased 2 Old Mountain cast iron bread pans off of Amazon, which I am very happy with. I love cooking with cast iron and that will be my next post!
I hope this answers some of your questions.