Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tales from the Homestead while making English muffins

Joel replaced our laptop screen and joked: now don't break this one! So I'm standing at the kitchen/livingroom divider while Tales from the Green Valley plays on the TV.

My timer says I've got two minutes before I need to start browning my english muffins. Then they'll be in the oven for 15 minutes! Can't wait to see how they come out. You'll probably find out too because I bet I won't finish this before we all dig in. Maybe I'll take some pictures. Maybe.

Well, they are in the oven now. Maybe this will turn into an ongoing post throughout the day. I've really not got any idea what I'm doing. I just enjoy writing in here.

The plan - which may fail - is to enjoy some English muffins when they are done, and then go to the library to pick up the beekeeping books they ordered for me! And then if we are back in time, we'll stay outside until lunch time and mow some of the lawn.

To be honest, I'm avoiding the garden. Lots of things have failed this year. I'm okay with that, but I don't want to weed an area that has nothing of use growing in it. We still have summer squash, zucchini, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, cucumbers, corn and potatoes that seem to be doing fine. That whole Basil (our cat) eating the broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and/or brussel sprout starters was a set back so that area of the garden is being overtaken with weeds... We didn't get any of those wonderful veggies in the ground. We have some wheat growing in the weeds randomly, so I'll be interested to see how that does and am purposefully letting that go. I can always feed the weeds to the chickens. See, tons of reasons not to worry about those weeds. They really are tasty to the chickens anyway, so I guess I should start thinking of them as useful after all... (although the seeds will fall and we'll have more next year.)

Our friends broilers will be done soon. It isn't too awkward to me yet because they don't act exactly like my chickens. So my interactions with them have been more of wonder and confusion as I can easily catch them (compared to ours) and they squack like nothing I've heard before (but maybe it is normal and I just have never heard it). I also can't tell the difference between any of them other than the roosters that are HUGE, and not incredibly nice, so there are no favorites.

I know the difficult part with our chickens will be deciding on only a few to keep as layers. I could select only on size - so I won't have to try to pick them based on personality... but I do want friendly chickens. So on the day that we'll be slaughtering and getting them ready for the freezer, I'll be trying to see which ones are friendliest - and you just know that if I only need two friendly, large laying hens from one breed, I'll find three.

Well, those muffins are out! Noah sat down with his and while my back was turned getting two more ready for Isaac and me, he says "Thank you mommy". And then tells me they are yummy. Man, they are filling! I'll have to double the batch next time to freeze some so we have them for more than two breakfasts! I made 9, but I was also generous on the size not realizing they would get bigger after I initially formed them. (This is another recipe from From Scratch by Shaye Elliott - Soaked English Muffins)

So I think we'll start getting ready for the library soon. Doesn't look like we'll make it back and mow before everyone is ready for lunch and naps. I'll have to show you Noah and I's mowing set up. It is pretty sweet. There is a lot Joel and I are doing this year, including chickens, so I offered to mow as much as I could if we got a reel lawnmower. Specifically a reel lawnmower because I can still hear the kids and we can all be outside together while I mow. We got a Fiscars 17" Staysharp Push Reel Lawn Mower for lots of reasons, but mostly because it works with a chain and gets momentum so that it can cut better and is easier to push if you get some speed before you go over thicker patches or up a hill. Joel found it on ebay for a really nice price. On the first day I used it, I couldn't get Noah to stop hanging onto the handle while I pushed it (because he was helping), so I got him a wooden push/pull clacker lawn mower that looks more like a reel lawn mower. It is pretty sweet to mow the lawn together. I love having a mowing buddy.

Anyway. Off we go.

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