Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chicken Prep, Colds, Changing Seasons & Fermentation

We all came down with crappy colds again. THANKS BAYLEIGH! ;-)
I think Ember made out the best. A little crusty, but nothing like the rest of us dealt with. YAY for MAMAMILK!!
Papa took the young girls to Discovery Gateway.


They had good times and mamma got some sleep. WOOT!

"Real" internet is on the way, so I am hoping to have better updates and pictures soon. As it is, it takes me a whole day to upload just a few pictures, and then my phone broke, so I couldn't load at all. I've just been waiting, since it's such a pain to try to get a few pictures online. ANYWAY...
This is the spot I am thinking of putting the chickens:


Had a few decent weather days and busted out a design for the chicken coop. I put the design together and dragged up the materials. He sawed boards and drilled screws.


All the materials we used on this were left over "junk" and wood recycled from our yard/property.


It's really quite heavy. A bit of an eyesore, but we still have painting and enclosing with screen to do.


If we add some wheels to one end, it will be easier to drag around the back 40. It's amazingly close though! Oh, and chickens. We need chickens. We eat a lot of eggs and I love having chickens. We bought nothing for this project. That is a feel-good realization!

More around the homestead front, I was given a SCOBY early in the month. This gelatinous, jellyfish like thing called a scoby is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. STOKED!!!
Ewww! You say? How can I possibly be excited about anything to do with bacteria and yeast?! Well, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to brew and ferment, that's why. And I can't make Kombucha without a scoby. I am the proud mother of a scoby:


If you want to brew your own Kombucha, let me know, I will gladly share scoby grandkids!

Kombucha in the first ferment:


Kombucha in the second ferment, after bottling, with pomegranate seeds added:


I tasted one today, still 3 days shy of refrigeration. I have to say... still sweet, very bubbly, light and delightful to the palate. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!
FERMENTED TEA?!?! WHY!??? Quite a list. I think you either love or hate Kombucha... the jury is still out, but I absolutely loved THIS ARTICLE about it.

I gave Bayleigh a taste of one. "What the HELL IS THAT!?" She was disappointed that it was SO MUCH LIKE an alcoholic drink, yet didn't offer the alcohol. No one in my family likes Kombucha *cry* Well, 'cept for Ember. She likes everything. :-D

I made yogurt the other day that turned out odd. I don't know if it was kept warm unevenly, or if the Kombucha culture living in my house had an affect on it... I have made beer, wine, mead, yogurt, sour cream, farmer cheese and now Kombucha. I am patiently waiting on a KEFIR culture. GO NATURE-MADE, LIVING FOODS! Now I hope they don't kill me. ;-)

How 'bout them elections, huh? Well, I hate politics, so although I vote (being an american shouldn't be a spectator sport)
I don't stay immersed in the media (we don't currently have a tv-it's awesome!). Sagan's interest in the goings-on of this Presidential Campaign and elections, but also how government affects us on an even more local level has been on the front burner of "what did you do in homeschool today, sagan?". What caught her eye early on were the campaign signs of local propositions to both save our aviary and fund new areas of the zoo. Sagan, being the animal lover that she is, noticed the animals on the signs, and then asked what they were. We discussed them, she read about them, and then when it came time for me to vote, she went with me to the polls. She got to see the entire process from start to finish and ask questions all along the way. Later on, we went to the bookstore. Inside the children's section, there was a big display of books about the elections, the government, the presidential candidates. Sagan bee-lined to those books and sat there reading and learning. She asked me later if we could watch the returns. I laughed a little. Someone brought us a tv, and Sagan watched history be made and her future unfold.


Certainly more interest than I had at that age. Or this age even. ;-)

The milk carton project last season was a boat. You know, the kind you float around in puddles after a hard rain? Sagan started with a little paper one, and worked her way up to the watertight milk carton. Worked pretty well. For this season's milk carton project, we moved straight to the big guns... no fooling around with paper versions.


Seems the only birds brave enough to attempt the CatFeeder 9000 so far, is the North American Flicker. It was bigger than the feeder... and the cats.

Next season's milk carton creation? TBD

I realize I am a month late, but October is/was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This comes up now particularly because someone I love very much has recently been affected by domestic violence. It really does affect us all. A horrible thing to have to go through, this is a topic that is worth taking a moment to consider. ONE in FOUR women. That's a lot of pain.

November, of course, is National Baby Wearing Month. I wear my baby. Probably not as much as would please her, but I highly recommend it. Especially for cranky kids. It makes her happy. Goal for next blog: picture of Ember being worn. Cake.

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