I have decided to make this little endeavor a strictly social media experiment and keep this blog separate for homesteading and urban farming activities because after six whole days, I realized it is too much work to post here, whereas with one click I can post on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. How’s that for a modern-day problem? Oh, I can’t be bothered to write an entire extra post every single day! Obviously, since my posts here ended on Day 2.
Seriously though, homesteading and urban farming are ways in which I am helping the planet, but I can’t rely on these activities every day for a year for my Earth Day 365 posts. Please follow me on social media for Earth Day 365 and consider joining this movement of one!
Look for baby chick posts coming here soon…
No additives or preservatives.
Every day for the next 365 days, until Earth Day rolls around again, I will be posting a photo of how I am helping the planet. This is not a nationally recognized challenge. In fact, I made it up. But it’s worth doing and it’s worth sharing. In addition to my other blog posts about the successes and epic fails (bush peans for the pole bean fort) of our little farm, I will be posting the photos here as well as on Facebook. Care to join me? #earthday365
Like I said, it was a long winter. I had to get pretty creative with my indoor projects. Luckily at my son’s school they are working on a year-long restaurant project for which they made pickles, so he wanted to try it at home.
I wish I could say that these were cucumbers from our garden, but alas they are organic English cucumbers from Trader Joe’s, not even the variety recommended for pickling, but they were to hand, and good for practice.
This particular recipe called for fresh dill, something I also wish I could say I plucked from my own herb garden, but that too will have to wait. Since this is dried dill it looks like shit ton of it. After two weeks of allowing the microbes to do their work, we produced delicious, if somewhat salty, pickles, of which Alistair is very proud. He considers himself captain of the Microbe Gang. He even knows what they look like under a microscope (Thank you Magic Schoolbus).
I look forward to canning our own vegetables and getting back to fermenting. Next up, kombucha, take two.
We just finished our last sap boil of the season, having produced a grand total of one gallon of syrup. Right, I know this doesn’t sound like much, but it is WAY more than we produced last year in a dizzying array of colors, grades, and colors.
We tapped three trees this year, two taps in one sugar maple, two taps in the silver maple, and one tap in another sugar maple. We used lids on the buckets this year to keep out the snow and rain, although they are not shown here, and filtered the sap many more times during the boiling process, producing a lot less sediment and sweeter syrup. We boiled 8 oz. glass Mason jars and poured the finished syrup directly into the jars, sealing them to give as gifts and keep for ourselves throughout the year. Nate convinced me to switch from honey to maple syrup for my coffee, morning toast, and afternoon tea, and pancakes are a weekly staple in our house, so we go through a lot of it.
As you can see, we got quite a variety. We’re definitely not big producers. We don’t even have an evaporator. But we learned a valuable lesson about boiling sap in the kitchen this year. After a thorough spring cleaning wiping puddles of maple fog off the window sills and baseboards, I think we may have to try our hand at grilled syrup next year.
OK, so it was a very long, slow exhale, but winter is finally giving up. We removed the plastic wrap from the chicken run once the winds of March became calmer, and they immediately began flinging themselves against the chicken wire, thinking they were finally free. As you can see, neither the plastic nor the thermal pad in their coop prevented them from minor frost bite during this bitterly frigid and snowy winter—we received four FEET of frost—but they laid all winter long and never complained. We are removing the thermal pad and the heat lamps from their water fountains this week so that we may use the heat lamp for our new batch of chicks, arriving one day old in May.
This makes the fresh white of a winter’s day look pristine, but fuck am I glad the snow is gone. Happy Spring!