Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Homestead Happiness, February Week 3

We're still fine-tuning some of the experimental details on our eggshell leavening, but it was otherwise a productive week around the homestead (thanks to some unseasonably warm weather!).  Here's what made us happy this week.

Black raspberry wine, primary fermentation
We got another batch of wine started, this one from frozen black raspberries.  They had been in the freezer since July of 2004!  They say a fine wine improves with age, guess we'll find out if that applies to aging before fermentation, too.  At least, the berries still tasted good!  Also, starting the wine meant Jake could clean up the mess that the berries made in the fridge while they were thawing.  That made Katie extra happy.

Dormant raspberry bush with straw mulch
Outside, highs in the 50s and 60s (°F) made for happy playing in the dirt, including playing musical berries.  We transplanted dormant strawberries out to the garden where we can protect them with the motion detector sprinklers, and dormant raspberries to the place vacated by the strawberries since they weren't thriving in their original location.  Also, 'Musical Berries' is going to be the name of our new family band.

Blue spruce planted in hole from old stump
Also on the yard work list was chopping out the remaining stump from the tree of heaven, filling the hole with dirt, and planting another tree in it's place.  Some of the old stump pieces had termites, which the chickens liked a lot.  In fact, they were willing to brave a battlefield of flying wood chips to get to them, and with 100% survival rate.  We've got ninja chickens! (Never mind, we're going to call our band 'Ninja Chickens.')

Wood ash in Dakota Rocket Silo
In the process of our eggshell leavening experiments, we also made a big pile of wood ashes, which we'll use in a future set of leavening experiments.  The connection between these two will become apparent in the near future.

Rhubarb waking up
The rhubarb is alive!

Chives waking up
The chives are also alive!  It's always nice to know the plants are starting to think springly thoughts, too.  The weather, on the other hand, is very ambivalent--after highs in the 60s on Saturday, we got a nice blanket of snow last night!

Egg tally chalkboard
The chickens are also revving up their egg production--four eggs in four of the last five days.  Keep up the good work, ladies!

What made your homestead happy this week?

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