Saturday, July 24, 2010

baby bunnies

These little guys were born 4 days ago. It has been so hot here they are not in their nest box or a nest at all. They just lounge around the cage with momma. This was a small litter this time around only four babies. Well, there were 6 but she ate two, guess they  were sickly or something.

Monday, July 19, 2010

saving seed-cucumber

I found  a cucumber that got away the other day and upon picking decided that it would make a perfect candidate for saving seed.
Many people find saving seed to be a difficult thing  when it should not be. It is really a simple thing to do and it saves money over the years because the seeds come more than 30 to a cucumber. This one cuke will be enough seed for several years. When selecting any veggie for seed saving  I try to keep seed from my healthiest and better producing plants. Letting the fruit get too large and over ripe is part of the process. While this bad boy in the picture  is just starting to yellow, it's sister that I found  was much riper and became my sacrificial lamb.Unfortunately I forgot to take pics with her  so junior here agreed to be my model, he was actually used for some cuke sorbet.

To get the seed I simply slice the cuke in half length wise and scoop out the pulp and seeds. I then pull out the large chunks of pulp  and give the seeds  a rinse.They will still have a lot of pulp around them but no worries as the next step will take care of this for you.Put the seeds in a bowl or container and cover in water. Allow them to sit for three to five days. They will look nasty and gross  and may even grow some mold on the top of the water. Again don't worry as this is supposed to happen. 
When the  water looks sufficiently disgusting and you decide you have had enough of looking at it drain off the top portion of water and any floater seeds. Give the seeds  a good rinse off and all the pulp and slime  that was surrounding the seeds should wash right off. Drain the seeds, pat dry and place on a paper towel to dry. Allow to dry for 2-3 weeks, they should snap in half when  dried properly. Package, label  and store in a cool dry place.  It really is that easy. Cucumbers, most melons and tomatoes are all done using this  same method.

around the homestead-chicken butcher day

Today was the day the chickens we purchased a couple few months back were butchered. We did 18 of them in about three hours with the three of us. Myself, the manthing and our partner in homesteading crimes got busy  and while the job aint never much fun, it went very smoothly with the exception of  a couple that went rolling on down the hill. This was the first time we have ever left the bird whole and not cut them down which is fine with me as it makes things much easier and quicker. We always skin rather than pluck so that also cuts the time down some. All in all for a job I don't like this was a great butcher day. If  all butchering days went like today did I probably wouldn't mind doing it  more often.
 I am including a couple links to sites that I find helpful  and that I know do a good  job  on tutorials for those that  have never butchered chickens before.  In this first link is Frugal  and although they use a cone to kill and also use a plucker the tutorial is very good. The second link is from Backwoods  Home  and is more like how we do our birds here at butchering time. A third good tutorial is  from the modern homestead  .

Sunday, July 18, 2010

peach "honey"

I found myself with another half milk crate full of peaches off the tree  yesterday. So, today I decided to try a recipe I ran across the other day while browsing the internet and looking for things to make from all these peaches I have found my self with. We are butchering 20 chickens tomorrow and I have finals this week and I have tons more peaches on the tree so I had to use my free time today to preserve some of them so they do not go to waste. I thought peach "honey" would be something that would be not only tasty   but something that we would actually use over the course of the year. I also liked the fact that I could  use just the peels in order to make the recipe and that in doing so there would be no part of the fruit wasted.

I used the recipe for the peach honey from peels, although, because I have an abundance of peaches, I  used the entire fruit and followed the directions (mostly) from  here.  My only deviation from the recipe was that I did not strain  the mixture through a jam bag after boiling the fruit(peels) as  I like the little bits of fruit in the honey. The recipe is very easy to follow as it is only 2 ingredients, the link has a good picture tutorial to go with the recipe and as far as food preservation goes it doe not take that long to whip out a batch.  I love the color it turned out to be and can't wait to try some on a stack of sourdough pancakes.

silent sunday

eggplant flower...they do not look real  even in person