Friday, July 06, 2012

Good Yeast
Boil a handful of hops in 3 pints of water; add 3 mashed boiled potatoes; strain, and mix with a cupful of flour; set aside to cool, and then add a tea-spoonful of sugar, and bottle up for use. A more permanent ferment is made by boiling a quantity of wheat-bran and hops in water; the decoction is not long in fermenting, and when this has taken place, throw in a sufficient portion of bran to form the whole into a thick paste, which work into balls, and afterward dry by a slow heat. When wanted for use, they are broken, and boiling water is poured upon them; having stood a proper time, the fluid is decanted, and in a fit state for leavening bread. 
[Maine Farmer's Almanac, 1852]

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

From The Five Principals Of Preparedness

Self-Reliance is, in its simplest form, being able to create or provide all needed things as the result of labor using a developed skill or talent and being able to provide resources as a result of a judicious practice of storing needful things. Therefore, becoming Self-Reliant is the actual process of developing skills and talents while putting away resources.

Phil Burns, American Prepper Network

Monday, July 02, 2012

Eating and Planning On Real Food

My post on "E" has been delayed over and over again, and for that, I apologize.

Those of you who read here regularly may be aware we'll be getting chickens next spring. The goal is to get as many of our own eggs as possible. This has led us on an interesting adventure of comparing coop designs, breeds, free range vs. penned and so on. We've tossed the idea at the boys that perhaps they may want to sell some of the extras, but considering they're city kids, we'll see. But all that got me thinking, at what point do we decided what is extra? All of us eat a lot of eggs, never mind what goes into baking. Do we eat and use whatever we want and then sell the eggs that are left over? Which then begs the question, how long do we wait to determine what is extra? 2 days? 4? How long is an egg fresh? All of this will also determine how many birds we get. 15 have been suggested but I'm new to chickens, and I don't want to get over my head right away. It's one thing to say we'll get 15 birds, but another to build a brooder for and keep 15 little fuzzy peepers alive. So I'm thinking 12. Crawl before we walk and all that.

One of the elements to my plan is to be more proactive with our health. Part of that involves growing our own echinacea. Some of you may know that echinacea is commonly known as coneflower. Many say this plant can shorten the recovery time from the common cold and flu. Others say that the herb can relieve urinary tract infections. I know through personal experiences that instead of suffering 7 days with a cold, I felt less miserable and more able to cope when I was taking echinacea tablets. I can only imagine how much better I would have felt if I had been drinking homegrown echinacea tea. I'm looking forward to growing some next year.

Another part of my plan involves building elevated garden beds instead of growing in traditional rows. There are a few reasons for this. I'm a big fan of intensive planting, which involves planting seeds or seedlings closer than most seed packets recommend. It doesn't harm the plants, increases yields, reduces exposed soil and erosion, cuts down on potential pest problems and makes more sense on smaller lots such as we have. As a side benefit, I'll be able to implement a crop rotation plan, which I've written about before in the blog. Elevated beds are of more benefit to the small scale homesteader than traditional rows, and are worth the effort.

So that's just a few thoughts on what's to come. Next time on the blog, adapting in place.