27 months after the deadline....

Discussion in 'Homesteading' started by cathleenc, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. cathleenc

    cathleenc dirty. good dirt.

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    I finally got my goals for january 2008 done! LOL. I stopped setting those types of goals after that month of not making a single one....but still, am delighted to finally cross them off my to-do list.

    What did I do? I made my first batch of beer and my first batch of soap!

    We moved to the farm in October 2007. I set the goals of learning 2 new homesteading skills a month then - and kept up with my plan for November and December. Since then I've been a bit more humble in my aspirations and let the skills come as time and opportunity and budget allow. It's darn hard to fit anything in beyond the essentials when we're milking/doing chores/milk handling for an average 2 hrs a day!

    Here's the big beer plan: today's batch was made from a kit my brother gave us for christmas. Future plans, starting next month with a bit of luck, are to move to full grain brewing (no extracts or concentrates) and brew up 10 carboys worth of beer (a carboy is an airlock tank that holds 5 gallons) and store them in our spring house, consuming them as need demands. Our spring house was build around 1890 and has a constant strong spring bubbling up in it, year round - was built to cool/keep milk for the original farm dairy. We can tether the carboys inside the spring house, keeping them chilled to 42 degrees regardless of the outdoors temp - then hoist one up and bring it inside when we want.

    As for the soap, my first batch was a lovely palm/olive/coconut recipe - hoping to move to more animal fats next time as I've been saving and rendering tallow from the larger animals we butcher. Talk about local! And I like trying to use as much of the animal as possible as a way of honoring its life - so making soap from the fat feels right to me. Hoping to make a batch of goats milk soap as soon as I finish/catch up with the garden.

    and boy am I glad to not have assigned myself more tasks for every month!
  2. MissNairne

    MissNairne All new, with added NAK!

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    Congratulations! Deadlines/shmeadlines! You did it!! :woohoo:

    We (mostly dh) brew our beer and I make the wines (still owe Storm a lesson!) We haven't gotten completely away from extracts, and have yet to grow our own hops, but it is definitely a learning experience. Take your time! It is so well worth the yummy results!

    Speaking of wines, elderberry is our fave so far, but dandelion and apple were divine and I am about to try rose. Ah the pesky patience required for the results! LOL
  3. cathleenc

    cathleenc dirty. good dirt.

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    Beth, we just racked 5 gallons of elder-red wine last night, have 3 gallons of parsley wine ready to bottle, and another 4 gallons of various plum/plum-apple/sweet elder wines yet to finish racking. Am hoping to start 5 gallons of elderflower-white wine as soon as the flowers open and maybe try some mulberry wine, depending on the harvest. But nothing really tried yet - I'm following the book and planning on bottling for 6 months and then drinking - which puts the first grand bottle opening at the holidays, which sounds fine to me. I'm using a red grape concentrate in the elder-red and hope to use a white grape concentrate in the elderflower-white as sometimes fruit wines taste so thin to me... I'm a grape wine drinker in non-grape territory. lol.

    And yes, the pesky patience! well put.

    I do have a 1/2 gallon of dandelion cordial steeping (vodka, dandi flower heads, sugar, lemon peel) and made a qt of violet flower syrup. So fun to play with the fruits and flowers of the land!
  4. mamabear

    mamabear ~*~smile~*~

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    Super fun! :)
  5. tara

    tara Amity's Focus Member

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    Wonderful! Major accomplishments.

    Can I ask about your spring house? How does it fare when the temps are subzero? I guess I am wondering how the water bubbling up in the spring keeps from freezing.

    Tara
  6. cathleenc

    cathleenc dirty. good dirt.

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    the water moves so fast that it never freezes. In -40 degrees it has a dome of steam hovering overhead and all the trees/bushes get covered in ice from the steam - pretty magical. When it's that cold out (not too often) waterbirds will congregate on our pond - it's like a nice warm spa! The far edges of the pond will get a thin lip of ice, but that's it. We can never ice skate on it nor swim it it - a constant 42 degrees.
  7. chrissymama

    chrissymama Amity's Focus Member

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    You are my hero!
  8. mammakat

    mammakat harpy

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  9. mamagael

    mamagael Moderator Staff Member

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    You rock! My only goal at this point is to keep the weeds from completely taking over, and grow something, anything!!
  10. MissNairne

    MissNairne All new, with added NAK!

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    Sounds fabulous! I love to walk around my own land and find food or foodstuffs. So deeply satisfying! It really helps keep me going even when other life crap and general difficulties get in the way of being a "real farmer".

    As soon as my elders mature, I will be making elderflower wine and tinctures. I am hoping in two more years I will get some blossoms. :cross: Meanwhile, my berries are either from Mt. Rose or the local brew supply store.
    I am also thinking of trying a peach wine since we have peaches galore on our tree this year. It will be a limited batch because it's only one tree, and I want to can and make preserves plus eat fresh and make ice cream batches. :) Poor little tree~ has so much pressure to please! :lol:

    How long do you steep your cordial? That is something I haven't tried yet, but I have a new bottle of vodka just itching to be used for such a thing!

    I am deeply envious of your spring house. What a blessing to have on your property! And your description makes it sound breathtaking as well as practical. Aah..
  11. annethcz

    annethcz New Member

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    That is fabulous! Isn't how funny the way life gets in the way of our plans? I had these great plans to be as self-sufficient as I could when I moved to the country... and yet 3 years later I'm driving more than ever.

    The beverages sound awesome. We've been brewing beer for a few months now. We just bottled our 4th batch, but we still buy kits from Northern Brewer. It's been fun to taste the differences between the different batches. Making wine sounds like so much fun, but I LOVE good wine and I'd be so afraid of making something undrinkable.

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