Saturday, November 29, 2014

This Picture Makes Me Laugh!

How could it not? This is the funniest picture ever! 

It is sooo hard to get a good picture of a chicken!
The above Silkie was interested in the shiny camera, and that's why I got a good and humorous pic. 

The Cinnamon Queen is always friendly, but she is normally blurred in her glamour shots.  

Mojo thinks that if he waits long enough it will be his turn to eat some tasty chicken food.
Ms. White Rock is not concerned. 

 This is the crazy range of egg sizes that we get. Who laid what? 
In order from left to right:
 Silkie, Cinnamon Queen and White Rock. 

Fall Food Fun!!

We went to a pumpkin patch with Glenn's wonderful family, and picked out a nice BIG pumpkin to be a little more festive than we normally are. We had big plans to carve it, and we never did, so I gave it a good washing and plopped it onto the good ol' cutting board. 

It was an awfully pretty pumpkin, inside and out. 

I filled up the dutch oven(thanks Moma G), stock pot, and both oven racks.

Then I pureed them in my food processor(thanks again!)
Running the food processor on solar energy makes me very happy!

bagged them up and put them in the freezer!
Of course I made some chickpea pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and pumpkin pie pancakes, and sweet potato pumpkin casserole with the stuff I didn't freeze, so I'm already having too much fun!

I also made some scrumptious beet and carrot dilly sticks by natural fermentation! Yum! 
Easy as cutting up some raw veggies!

Making a salt water brine at a ratio of 1/2 Tablespoon salt to 2 Cups of water.

I added random herbs that I love plus some lavender, sage, and thyme from the garden

 Once everything was combined, I used some greens to help keep all the goodness under the brine and prevent the garlic and such from floating to the surface. This ensures that you won't have moldy nasty-ness on the top of your yum ferment. 

I could have eaten the whole jar, after it had sat out at room temperature for about 4 days. 
Glenn liked it too, but he only likes it in small amounts. 
Here it is on top of one of our girls eggs! Very yummy combo!

More W.O.M Room Heat

We originally thought that by putting a vent fan in the bathroom that would blow into the WOM Room, we would be able to regulate an above freezing temperature. Well, when we did a test run, we found that the fan actually drew such a draft that it was pulling smoke from our wood stove! We had a room full of smoke before I could even maneuver myself out of the cat-napper! 
So, this still may be an option if we closed the bathroom door before turning on the vent, 
but Glenn already had a plan B up his sleeve.
He decided that the refrigerator fan that pulls air from the bottom front to the back of the fridge might just be enough warm air exchange to help keep it warm in there. 
So, off he went to see what the result was.

First he tore off the cardboard back vent thing, and traced it onto some wood 
to make a new and more supportive one.

Then he drilled a big hole in the wall and fit the duct work into that from behind the cabinets.
 He used a ton of shiny tape to get a good seal on the ducting and the new wood backing.

I slowly pushed the fridge back in place while he guided the duct 
work back to make sure it would not kink. 

Then he climbed out and pushed the fridge in the rest of the way.
He went to work in the WOM Room fitting on the  "anti-back draft flap"? and screen 
to keep drafts and critters out. 

It worked great, so far the WOM Room has stayed above freezing, but with all this cold, we will be VERY lucky if the pipes do not freeze…we are concerned about the trench that we dug…maybe not deep enough from the cistern to the cabin. Only time will tell. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Our 1st Snow!!

Unbelievably, we got our first beautiful blanket of snow on Sunday! It was a peaceful day, although waaaay to early to want to see snow, it's here so why not love it. Although I am in high hopes that it will all melt away soon.

Enjoying a walk through the woods

Can't believe all the fall colors are already gone!

Unfinished geodesic done has another cold winter to endure

Solar array will need a little extra sun to melt this off

Glenn's artwork looks good in the snow too

The chicken run shanty, this is my creation... as if that's not obvious! :)

It is keeping the chickens dry and out of the snow when they want to be

I thought they would all stop laying with it getting so cold, but our Cinnamon Queen is determined

Monday, November 17, 2014

Late post for October

So, things have been moving FAST, and we have been trying to get ready for winter that was predicted to come early, and it did! Winter is already here! That is why I am finding time to post some old stuff, I really can't do much at all outside with the snow covering everything. 

The Aborted Entoloma fungi had me intrigued and bewildered for a week or two. I kept googling things like “packing peanut fungi” and “puffball fungi look a likes” and all kinds of things, but I never stumbled across anything that resembled these things. 
So I emailed some pictures to the department of conservation and the next day my answer was waiting for me.  That brought about more searching and reading and I realized that these little “popcorn” (if only I would have researched popcorn fungi) looking fungi were edible!! 
This is very exciting for more than one reason, but the number one reason is we have a HUGE crop of them and number two there are no look a likes! Number three, I read the description of their flavor as nutty, sweet, and one even said they were similar to the lion’s mane! I could go on but I think we get it…I’m pretty happy and very excited about this new finding. 

So, only harvest the ones that are hard, not squishy or spongy. Only harvest the ones that are pretty clean already, because they are a bugger to clean. Cut off the base or root part while you harvest. And… dry sauté then add oil once juices start to release. Oh and as always with a new mushroom, only eat a little bit to be sure your system has no negative reactions. Sounds simple enough.

I thought I would be finding a billion of them once I started looking, and I did, however most of them were very soft and would almost explode with the amount of liquid they had in them. So, I only picked a few and I cleaned them and cooked them up that night. 

They were good, I didn’t think they tasted like the lions mane that we had just a week or so ago, and I didn’t get much of a nutty flavor either, but the sweetness was a better description in our case. They tasted like a yummy sweet mushroom to me. Glenn agreed, so we eat them a few more times and we eat more the next few times because we felt our system was happy with them, and no bad reactions.  

We also found honey mushrooms (Armillaria mellea), which have poisonous look-a-likes too. More research and spore prints and observing and smelling . I like to be 110% sure of mushrooms identity before trying it. So, I was and I did try them, I suggested that Glenn pass simply because I had read that some peeps did has negative gastric response to these. I had no negative symptoms, so I think Glenn will be trying them next year.
The following information is all according to All That the Rain Promises, and More… by David Arora and my photo’s added to show my research findings.

Key features:
-it grows in clumps on trees, logs, and stumps.
-gills are white to yellowish or flesh-colored but not brown.
-gills slightly run down the stalk.
-stalk is tough, long with a white stringy pith inside.
-veil present, at first covering the gills, then forming a ring on the upper stalk.
-spores white and can be seen on the lower mushrooms in the cluster
Other features:
*medium-sized to large
*cap color variable but usually yellowish to brown with scattered darker hairs/scales
*taste of raw flesh usually bitter
*volva(sack or scaly ring at base) absent
Note: this is the only clustered white-spored mushroom that grows on wood and has a ring plus stringy white pith in the stalk.
I took a spore print just to be certain. :) 

Isn’t that great information! Thank you Nancy for this awesome book!

I eat these honey mushrooms with quinoa and roasted red peppers. Yumm! 

While I was researching these I read a quote that made me smile…
               “There are bold mushroom hunters and
               There are old mushroom hunters –
               There are no old, bold mushroom hunters.”
I want to be and old mushroom hunter someday.