Saturday, January 22, 2011

makin sodie pop

I have been in a soda making kick the last couple of weeks. Today I bottled up some lacto-fermented grape soda, and got ginger ale to fermenting. I then decided to try a little bit of a different type soda since I had all the equipment out and needed something to fill some time this afternoon. Ginger soda is not your only option when making this type of soda. I made the recipe below as well as a batch of experimental flavored peaches and cream soda.. I followed the recipe for making a simple syrup from fruit then added the vanilla until it tasted good to the mixture and added water to equal the proper amount.
Ginger ale

2 to 3 ounces of fresh ginger root

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

3⁄4 cup of sugar

4 quarts of water

1/8 tsp Yeast- bread yeast will work, ale yeast is better

Chop up the ginger root. Simmer ginger, juice, and sugar in 1 quart of water for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Mix brew with remaining 3 quarts of water. Let it all cool to lukewarm. In a small jar, stir in 1/8 teaspoon of yeast in with 1⁄4 warm water (not hot!.) Let sit 15 minutes then add the yeast solution to your brew. Mix then let sit for 10 minutes. Bottle it up!

Make sure you use clean bottles. Put 2 tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water. Clean out bottles inside and out, rinse and air dry. To recycle plastic bottles: Pour soda in and twist the caps on tight. Squeeze the bottles and notice how they give. Every few hours, squeeze them and see how they are giving. They will get harder to squeeze. When they no longer give any more, put them in the fridge (1-2 days depending on warmth). If you use glass bottles, put them in the fridge after a day. I have seen many warnings on exploding bottles, both plastic and glass, using this method. I am not sure if it is a common problem or not but do be careful when bottling. Recipe makes 8, 16 ounce bottles.

Here is another variation of this type of soda.

lacto-fermented soda.

part one

part two

part three

Friday, January 21, 2011


Went out to do chores this morning and Chloe did not come to greet me so knew we had babies up in the shed. I hollered her name and she answered me with her sweet little bahhh to let me know that indeed we had kids. They still were not dry when I took these but they were both up, nursing and heading outside when I went to check on them all and they look very healthy. I think they are both little girls for a change but won't be too sure for a few days or weeks. I don't want to count my does before their nuts fall. I am sure Abby will be following in her footsteps very soon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a bit of green...

The snow is finally melting away after having been on the ground for near two weeks. I know, for the Northern folks, two weeks is not a long time but for down here it is rather unusual and I am no longer used to 5 months of full blown winter. Today, All that remains of the snow is piles where the drifts were, ridges and bumps where shady spots are(and there are plenty of those around), and blobs of snow people parts. There is however, lots of mud now so things are looking pretty brown and ugly. Since it was near 4o this morning and not raining, I went out to get my green on and take a few pictures of what is surprisingly, to me, still alive and waiting for some milder weather to grow again.

Walking around the herb beds, many are still green. Fever few, chamomile, savory, sage, walking onion, garlic, leeks, oregano, catnip, parsley, mint, mtn mint and lemon balm are all able to be plucked and used. Chick weed and dandelions are also everywhere.

In the gardens: the cabbage, kale, turnips, spinach, lettuce, mesclun, and chard as well as mustard, turnip, and collard greens are all still very alive. Many of the older leaves are dead and need to be trimmed off but there is still living green matter and they will grow back. These have all been left to the elements with no coverings or green house over them.
In the green house everything is doing well. Growth is slow and steady but nothing has died all winter in there with the exception of the mouse that fell in my water pail. The only protection I have given the plants in there is a layer of plastic over the tops of the beds, containers and tables on the very cold nights. There has been no heat and there is no fan to inflate the two outer layers of plastic to hold heat in. I do have a bit of slug damage in there that I have to get under control, buggers chewed a few of my plants pretty good but all things considered, I think things are fairing quite well. I know after wandering about for a little while and getting my green on I certainly felt a little better than I have been lately.

Monday, January 17, 2011

trying to get in the mood...seed ordering

I am having a terribly difficult time getting the garden spirit this year. Perhaps it is gardening year round that is taking the excitement and fun out of plotting and scheming this years gardens. Maybe it is the piles of snow that are still everywhere and refusing to melt. I am not sure what it is but I know I don't like it. Heck, up until yesterday I had not even bothered to look at a seed catalog. Truthfully, I still haven't because I came to the conclusion that I didn't need to.

I am trying to grow more of what we readily eat rather than fancy and fun stuff. It is not that I do not like fancy n fun stuff to grow but we are trying to keep things simple and basic. Besides, after sorting through my seeds the other day, I discovered I had A LOT of seed stock and was beginning to look like a hoarder and would probably be in our own best interest to use some of the older stuff up. If I was to sit and thumb through the pretty catalogs, I would end up ordering more stuff that I do not need just because I thought it was neat. What I did do was order a few things from an online company and will source any others I decide I need to have locally and hopefully I can swap a few seeds to satisfy my fun and fancy fetish.

Last year I acquired some seed from hometown seeds. After having very good success with the seed I grew from them, I decided to use them for my seed this year. Prices are good, customer service is great, and they use non gmo seed sources. I also discovered that if you like their facebook page you can get a code to receive a 10% discount on any order placed by the end of January. If you are looking for a seed source give them a gander. You won't be disappointed.