Friday, July 31, 2009

hittin' it raw - milk as it should be

i got my first two gallons of raw milk today and i could not be happier.

this is the real deal folks. better to make yogurt with, better to make cheese with, better to bake with, better to drink right from the jug because it is full of all the goodness milk naturally provides.

sure many of you may say eeiw oh no way not for me and that's just fine - for you.

i am not one of you. i want the real thing. i want real milk. so i searched about and landed believe it or not at a site called real milk. it does not get much simpler than that. the site is a great and good wealth of information.

realmilk.com provides information in regard to


the weston a. price foundation

if you would like to travel around the site on your own
- visit the real milk site map page -
and go from there
* * * * * *
take action and learn where your food comes from

important notes about raw milk - if you read nothing else, read the important notes - the originating source of the following information can be found at
http://www.realmilk.com/where1.html

Important Notes

  1. RAW MILK CONSUMERS PLEASE NOTE: This list of raw milk sources probably represents only a portion of the raw milk producers in your state. For additional raw milk sources, contact your local Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter Leader. The Weston A. Price Foundation reserves the right at its sole discretion to exclude raw milk producers not considered qualified.
  2. RAW MILK PRODUCERS PLEASE NOTE: The FDA and State Agencies have discovered this list and sometimes use it for their own purposes, so exercise caution with your listing. If you choose not to have a listing, make sure your local WAPF Chapter Leader has your name for referrals.
  3. USDA, FDA and STATE AG AGENCIES PLEASE NOTE: Raw milk is Nature’s perfect food and is extremely important for the developing brains and nervous systems of infants and children. Furthermore, in many children not fortunate enough to have started life on raw milk, raw milk given later in childhood has cured autism, behavior problems, frequent infections, deafness, asthma and allergies and other serious health conditions. Please bear in mind that any move you make to stop or hinder a raw dairy operation will actually HARM, not help the infants and children who rely on that milk, and may make it difficult for all children to obtain this milk in the future--including your own children and grandchildren. An interruption in supply can be VERY detrimental to a growing infant or sick child who has no other options. Read for yourself at http://www.realmilk.com/appeal-jun06-testimonials.html. If you are concerned about safety, rest assured. In the farm-to-consumer distribution model, the farmer receives timely and relevant feedback directly from the customers, something that farmers selling bulk milk never receive. Raw milk is actually the safest food around with so much consumer oversight and also with an extremely efficient built-in anti-pathogen mechanism! If you are concerned about rules, then consider investing the same amount of time you’d spend persecuting a raw milk farmer into advocating for supportive raw milk legislation.
  4. PLEASE NOTE also that the Webmaster does not know of other sources and will only direct you to check with the closest local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.--Please do not email the webmaster asking where you can find raw milk. Thank you.
  5. NO MARKETING: The email addresses listed here are not to be used for any purpose other than to contact the farmers regarding the availability of their products. Use of the listed email addresses for marketing or other such purposes is strictly prohibited.
  6. LISTING SOURCES: The listings here are provided by people who discover sources of real milk in their communities and tell us about them. If you discover a listed supplier is no longer providing real milk, please tell us about it by clicking here to email the webweaver . We trust our members and consumers to check out each farm to make sure it is clean and that the cows are mostly pasture fed.
looking for real raw milk in the united states?
click here

looking for real raw milk in other countries?
click here

* * * * *
- a last little bit of information about raw milk -
specific to texas

in order for milk to pass the grade A raw for retail milk permit in texas, a farm's milk must be
inspected every other day by the texas health department.
every other day people!
that is stricter than any other texas milk permit
ponder that
* * * * *
for those of you up in the canadian aire
check out the bovine which follows
timely raw milk news with special attention to michael schmidt's case in canada








Thursday, July 30, 2009

i am about to dance

no freakin' rain
austintown gets rain
the surrounding areas north south east and west get rain
bastroptown - no rain
rain barrels have been empty for a long while now
it is time to consider a native american rain dance

seriously folks if you have information on native american rain dances, send it my way. i believe in the peoples

sustainability is happening

simple signs that hippychick's sustainability adventure is proving positive
  • there is no longer room in the pantry for store bought canned goods
  • veggie garden volunteer plants are popping up every now and then
  • the fruit trees have matured to fruiting age
  • the coop to compost to garden to compost cycle is working great
  • we are making efforts to save seeds
  • we have obtained skills in canning, drying and putting up foods, cheese making, fermenting, baking, cooking, pasta making, construction, chicken care, gardening, plant propagation, beekeeping, soap making and rainwater collection
  • varied creatures visit daily, make homes in our trees and find food and water in our micro-environment
  • i know my farmers and meet more each day - learn where your food comes from folks
  • i hang with a good number of like minded souls - we share - we teach - we visit - care for and sometimes raise each others creatures - we drink adult beverages and eat really really good food
  • folks who visit find the place relaxing and wish to return
  • everyone here at the hippychick homestead is pretty darn happy
future adventures
  • solar cooking
  • brew me some beer
  • get the greywater system in, up and running
  • sew, sew, sew
  • knit, knit, knit
  • advanced cheese making
  • advanced beekeeping
  • advanced permaculture practices
  • advanced rainwater collection - install a big mama collection tank
  • advanced plant study
  • advanced pasta making study
  • make our own iced cream
  • build a small green house for winter goodies
  • get this house painted
  • replace the fence
  • learn how to cure bacon and prosciutto
  • install solar roof vent/fans in each coop and in the garagebarn
  • build a mini farm stand with a little hippychick sign
  • pay off debts owed
  • build upon current efforts to create a direct know your farmer co-operative food share program
  • create hippychick workshops in effort to share learned skills with others
  • the big hippychick dream - run a working farm/bed and breakfast/cottage pub/sustainable skill building institute /local market/gathering place - all with excellent natural lighting of course!
baby steps - baby steps - baby steps

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

productivity, planning & canning

excellent surprise today - - -

i got a call from my secret professional mater farmer today with an offer of three 20lb boxes of over-ripe (a.k.a. perfect) maters for cheap cheap cheap. would i like to take up his offer? heck yeah!

i made sure the girls had fresh water and that bunny had a fresh iced jug of water to sit by before i hit the road. i drove out to the farm, picked up my "grown in a controlled temp green house" maters, (must be expensive to keep that greenhouse nice for maters in this heat woo-eii) paid for the maters and dashed home, stopping at the local store to supplement the canning jar numbers by a good two three dozen. this was no small amount of maters to put up. i was going to be busy for a while.

upon inspection, the maters looked great! sure there were some soft spots, there were also maters that had dark not so pretty spots but i knew i could trim those bits off and still be left with a fine chunk of tasty fruit. i washed them up one box at a time.

i brought out two big bowls of sliced maters to share with the chickeny creatures - we should all celebrate the goodness i thought, yeah? sure we should. my girls were right on top of those maters as soon as their little eyes caught site of the red fruits. happy campers? ohhh yeah.

once the girls were taken care of with mater treats, the fun began. i cooked up stewed maters. i cooked up a large low slow spicy roasted batch for sauce. i sliced a good number for drying. i have more that i have saved for drying once this first drying batch is finished.

batch by batch i prepped the goods, cooked the goods, jarred the goods, processed the goods and finally set them out to cool. lucky me, this batch in addition to the maters i have previously put up ensures at least a year's supply of mater sauce and a year's supply of stewed maters. the stores are looking good. i think i'll be able to eat without worry for ration come spring. that will be a first.

i don't know about you but i love stewed tomatoes. i use them allllllllll the time. their flavor just makes me happy and they are hugely versatile. it's going to be a great soup and pasta year, i can feel it.

so what can a person get from 60lbs of maters?
  • stewed maters - 22 quarts, 1 pint
  • spicy roasted mater sauce - 5 quarts, 1 pint
  • sundried maters - final tally - 4 full gallon sized storage bags - yipee!
pretty cool eh? yes it is.

also on today's schedule was the making and canning of my personal - made it up myself - gingerblue berry jam. i figured since the kitchen was already steamy, i may as well just crank the jam out. boy did it turn out amazing! i went pretty heavy on the ginger this round - oh my oh my oh my - just right - for ginger lovers that is. it has a slight spicy bite to it - yee haw! hmm, i'm thinking crackers with cheese and jam for breakfast in the morning. tre' freakin' yumme' bebe.
  • gingerblue berry jam - 1 pint, 12 1/2 pints
long day!
productive day - the last processed jar was set to cool at 10:15 pm - the pantry is packed. it is now hippychick's happy resting time

the moral of this story...
plan and can - cut your need for groceries later
put up food - fresh from the farm
save bucks

and and and just wait until the weekend. we are making cheese. we will be taking a shot at our very first batch of hard cheese. rock on hippychick universe rock on.


creature comforts


i had the most lovely time with wee niece hazely-z. she is a miracle in the universe that is for sure. i miss the pumpkin already. we took a nice nap together. i was there for her first bath. she smiled, she coooed, she gurgled, she slept, she held tight to fingers, she made faces and she warmed hearts. love her! she's a keeper that is for sure.

i am now back in company of mr. t supercat's warm and cozy heart. he missed me, it was clear the moment i walked in the door. he was on the ankle and in the lap and there was no arguing to be had about it. he's a big softie, a big blue smoke grey and white softie. we have been together a whole lot of years so i understand. he's now much happier knowing his daily cuddles are back on the schedule. i am happier too knowing my buddyboy is near.

opera kitty is pretty darn happy too. he is currently napping on the big bed - a favorite spot when then temps are high and the day is long. he even changed his evening prowling schedule to hang a bit longer with mama this early morn. his usual prowl time hits between 1:3oam and 2:ooam but lingered all the way to 4:ooam this morning sweetpea that he is.

even the chickeny girls were welcoming - all searching for scratches and cuddles of their own. it was nice. bunny bunny jumped right over and put his nose to my touch - cutiepie.

to my good fortune, each and every one of the creatures was more than well taken care of by my most incredible neighbors - truly amazing folk. i could not do what i do without them. they are special folk.

the garden suffered a bit - no rain to speak of - temperatures still soaring into three digits - dry and hot is a tough combination to withstand over any long period of time. yet even with the heat, much is doing well. the sweetpotatoes do not look bothered a bit and the papaya tree is really taking off. the cucumbers are eeking their way but production is low low low. the amaranth is looking lovely and the black eyed peas are setting pods. the eggplants are struggling this year in way i have not seen them struggle before. the aquamelons are taking off and i impatiently wait for them to set fruit for early fall picking. the basils are doing fantastic - so much so that i whipped up another big batch (six pints) of pesto this morning.

i gifted the creatures with a treat of amaranth, chard, melon, cukes and herb munchies today. i do not expect to see any leftovers in the coops later today. greens for goodies, who would turn that offer down?

the wee chicks are growing fast and many are soon to travel to their new families - cutiepies that they are. the meatie girls are growing slow and steady. i think they may be around for a while. hmm how clever are they exactly?

the middle chickenychicas should begin laying any day now. they are at twenty weeks. several cuddle real close to me when i enter the coop which in my experience has been a solid sign of a soon to be laying girl. they search out a bit of comfort and assurance before the big day. once they begin to lay they regain their independence. maybe they'll stay cuddly this time... for now, i'm on the lookout for wee first eggs. the first one is always exciting - for me it is.

the kombucha survived the week in the fridge - boy oh boy i am hooked on the stuff. i love it when it gets all sparkly like a soda all on it's own. the sour dough starter lost some of it's uuumphf so i decided to give it new life and turn it into a fresh batch of zuchinni-basil-rasin- molasses muffins. they turned out great - super yummy. nothing like eating your veggies in your breads. i'll be mixing up a sweet creme cheese frosting to top off the muffins once cooled. nummie nummie

on the docket - blueberry ginger jam

til' tomorrow...

Monday, July 27, 2009

never fear hippychick will soon reappear

been out on a vacation folks

i am visiting with little z the sparkling shimmering cutiepants pumpkin wee niece in my universe. i give her my attentions full out. no regrets for moment lost - oh no

blink a few times and i will be back. i have a story to share of a jam gone candy. oh well, you cannot win them all. for now it's back to baby z!

see you soon!
hippychick

the photo - my grandpa holding one of his own wee ones back in the good ole' minner-soter days

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

tuesday brunch


why not a brunch on tuesday?

veggies with eggies and fetta cheesie

home grown squash
home grown onion
home grown green pepper
home made bread toast

nummie nummie

to make your own collect these goods
  • 2 small summer squash - smaller are sweeter
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 small or 1 large green pepper
or other fresh out of the garden goods
  • 2 handfuls of your favorite cheese
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • 4 large size eggs
  • herb and spice as you are so inspired
slice onions, peppers and squash into bite size bits - i like mine a bit chunky

heat cast iron pan on medium high
add enough olive oil to coat pan
add veggies and slow cook until tender

once veggies are cooked - 5 to 10 minutes - add a dollop of butter and stir to evenly coat veggies

turn heat down to medium/medium low - cook for 3 to 4 minutes while pan cools just a bit

beat 4 large eggs (farm fresh preferred) add them to the pan, pouring gently over the veggies

add a handful or two of crumbled cheese over the top - i like feta. add spices if you wish. i used a bit of fresh cracked pepper.

place a cover over the top of the pan and cook until eggs are set. do not raise the heat or the eggs will burn before set. in fact medium low heat is the way to go.

in ten minutes plus or minus you will have a fluffy baked nummie your tastebuds will not soon forget. i let mine cook for a slow 15*.

homegrown, homemade happiness - ain't nothin' better.

*slow and low -heat- equals fluffy
- fast and hot - heat- equals burned eggs
eiiik!

Monday, July 20, 2009

the smashing story -lacto-fermented sauerkraut- part two

three short days later and the sauerkraut is ready! i guess in this heat, the process speeds up considerably. i was expecting a few more days needed for fermentation but not so. hey whatever works - it will keep curing and flavoring up in the fridge. this is a food stuff that only get's better with time.

beautiful golden color - a few fennel seeds scattered about - personal flavor preference
pack the kraut in the jars and mash it down just as you did in the fermentation container
pour off equal amounts of the juicy juice into each jar and cover
you are done!

2 medium sized cabbages put up a good 3 well packed quarts and a snack size 1/2 pint bit for later. off to the fridge they go

yummy yummy

you can do this - anyone can do this -
it is cheap - it is easy - it is really really really good for you

if you missed part one - never fear, just click 'here'


Saturday, July 18, 2009

canning local organic peaches





peaches in jars

beautiful

ode for a bit of relief

a blessed 73˚degrees this fine morning - ahhh the relief is unbelievable. funny how this morning's break has made me aware of a tension i prep myself with daily before heading out of the door. today upon opening the door i allowed that tension to release - that was the first time i recognized it's presence. farewell heated tension i wish you long travels away from this home. i will be looking out for your return. i may suggest you travel further, travel longer, travel oh away from here.

i have opened doors and windows - mr. t and i enjoy our morning 's waking together on the screened in porch - the chickeny folk are romping and jumping and playing, they too are thankful for the balmy morn - wabbit wabbit is hopping - oh for fresh air wafting through the home, through the coop, through our hair and on our skin.


fresh air fresh air fresh air
a gift one must never take for granted

yes it will quickly climb into the 90˚s today but even then the climb not so high as in past days. maybe today - no a.c. - sounds lovely
i am off - more windows need waking


Friday, July 17, 2009

lacto-fermented sauerkraut- the smashing story!

and now to bring you the smashing story of lacto fermented sauerkraut
you will need
cabbages - i used two medium sized
whey - from organic whole milk is best
salt - i use kosher flaked salt
a smasher - i use my potato masher
a large food grade bin with an airtight cover
a large plastic bag
water

you will be slicing your cabbages into thin shreds. you can do this by hand or with the help of a processor. today, i'm using a processor fitted with a slicing blade.

remove the top four or five outside cabbage leaves and place to the side - you will be using several of these down the line. remove the cores from each cabbage and discard for compost. (worm food!) chop your cabbage into slivers or into sizes large enough to fit into your processor's shoot.

feed the cabbages through the shoot. it took me four rounds to get through the two cabbages. i placed the finished cabbage in a large bowl to the side as each bit was processed.

then you begin the smashing and mashing. place about 2" of cabbage into your bin, sprinkle just a bit of flaked salt over the top, pour in two tablespoons of whey on top (i eye all this) then start mashing and smashing with your potato masher until juice emerges from the cabbage. this is a workout folks!

repeat this layering process until you have smashed all cabbage into your food grade bin. the above is what it looks like once smashed. yup it's true all that cabbage smashed down to half the volume of this container.

once smashed, layer two or four clean cabbage leaves on top of your future sauerkraut. then place a large plastic bag on top of the leaves, wrapping the edges of the bag over the edge. make sure your bag does not have any leaks. fill the bag with water. this weights down the cabbage keeping the cabbage submerged in the juice created through the mashing.

once the bag is filled, fit the cover onto your container. you need an airtight seal. the water fills all the interior space and the cover ensures a good seal. leave your cabbage in this container in a dark location (away from direct sunlight) for 3-5 days, it may take longer if you live in a cooler climate. remove any scum that forms on the top daily by removing the cover, the water bag, skimming off and then replacing the water bag and cover.

you will see bubbles once the fermentation process begins - this is good! i will be back in a few days to show you the progress of this batch. and then again when i jar it up.
super easy easy easy

there you have it - a smashing story!
cheers

more to come...



hippychick's pantry is lookin' mighty fine!

even with the intense heat we've been having, there are farm goods still coming in keeping me busy eating, freezing, pickling and preserving. just yesterday my neighbor gifted me with a great supply of previously used canning jars. they will go to good use, that is for sure. not a single jar goes wasted in this house.

the pantry shelves are looking pretty darn full. i think i have put up more food this year than ever and that's a great place to be. with the pantry filling up at this steady rate, it is about getting creative with the shelf space available. here is how it plays out at present.
  • i keep one shelf for baking goods - all my various flours (buckwheat, whole wheat, white, pastry, semolina) and my sugars (brown and white) along with my self mixed bulk baking goods (for pancakes, scones and corn bread)
  • i have two shelves for pickled and preserved goods (tomatoes, peaches, okra, cucumbers, beans, prickly pear, etc.)
  • i keep one shelf for seeds, hard grain (amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat) peas, legumes, oats, popping corn and various types of rice
  • i had a full shelf for store bought canned goods but the need for such items is dwindling and the preserved peaches have moved in.
  • i keep a shelf for my homemade breadcrumbs and any chips or crackers that enter the house. this is a very small shelf but it works.
  • down at the bottom of the pantry closet i keep a few bottles of water in case of emergency, canning jars and shopping bags
  • as far as storing the pesto - i keep my ready supply (4-5 jars) in the fridge - the rest go to the freezer for good keep.
and all this despite the heat - pretty hard to believe. the slow the but steady goods still coming in include the following.
  • basil
  • summer squash - the first ever successfully grown in my texas garden
  • long red bean
  • sweet pepper - very small this year
  • red mild chili
  • okra - the queen of summer goods
  • cucumber - fighting hard
  • black eyed peas - a.k.a. cow peas
  • mint - struggling to stay cool in the hot
  • oregano - slowing down greatly
  • amaranth - growing taller by the minute
  • sweet potato vines going strong
  • eggplant - slow year but almost there
  • papaya tree - growing growing no sign of fruits yet
already i'm thinking about the fall garden and i'm thinking i better plant drought tough varieties because our lack of rain is no joke to tell. rain is just not happening in our parts. they will also need to be tough pest fighters too as this relentless heat keeps the bad bugs going strong - it is one of the daily chores now - stink bugs, squash vine borers, leaf jumpers, spider mites - the squishing of them and the spraying of them for control. but i digress, after much thought - this is what i've decided for part of the fall planting. you can find these goods at territorial seeds i anticipate adding a few more goods to the list most likely from native seeds.
  • Adelaide Carrots
  • All Season Daikon Radish
  • Apollo Broccoli
  • Fizz Kale
  • Green Deer Tongue Lettuce
  • Italienischer Lettuce
  • Javelin Parsnip
  • North Pole Lettuce
  • Touchstone Gold Beet
the sweet potatoes, okra and eggplant keep their place in the garden until late fall. the herbs always have a home in the garden. i think i may just need to invest in a load of off site organic compost as this heat is just eating up the goods i have made efforts to keep in. you can only challenge nature so far before you have to feed your greatest commodity - the soil. in that case you get what you give and then some.

time for me to head back out before the heat hits its high for the day. wishing you balmy days, morning rains and sunny afternoon skies.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

next up lacto-fermented veggies

onward the hippychick travels on the adventure toward more sustainable foodstuffs. today a way to use more whey.

up next - lacto fermented sauerkraut

my inspiring mentor - sandor ellix katz - the author of wild fermentation. below follows an exerpt directly from his book. click anywhere on the experpt to visit sandor's wild fermentation site.

me - i'm getting ready to get my first batch of lacto fermented sauerkraut ready for transformation. i've got me some cabbages, i've got me some carrot, some onion too. the whey is in the fridge, the salt on the counter. time to clean the jars squeaky.

more to come... for now enjoy the read

What's So Wild About Fermentation?

Wild fermentation is a way of incorporating the wild into your body, becoming one with the natural world. Wild foods, microbial cultures included, possess a great, unmediated life force, which can help us adapt to shifting conditions and lower our susceptibility to disease. These microorganisms are everywhere, and the techniques for fermenting with them are simple and flexible.

Wild fermentation involves creating conditions in which naturally occurring organisms thrive and proliferate. Fermentation can be low-tech. These are ancient rituals that humans have been performing for many generations. They are a powerful connection to the magic of the natural world, and to our ancestors, whose clever observations enable us to enjoy the benefits of these transformations.

By eating a variety of live fermented foods, you promote diversity among microbial cultures in your body. Biodiversity, increasingly recognized as critical to the survival of larger-scale ecosystems, is just as important at the micro level. Call it microbiodiversity. Your body is an ecosystem that can function most effectively when populated by diverse species of microorganisms. By fermenting foods and drinks with wild microorganisms present in your home environment, you become more interconnected with the life forces of the world around you. Your environment becomes you, as you invite the microbial populations you share the earth with to enter your diet and your intestinal ecology.

Wild fermentation is the opposite of homogenization and uniformity, a small antidote you can undertake in your home, using the extremely localized populations of microbial cultures present there, to produce your own unique fermented foods. What you ferment with the organisms around you is a manifestation of your specific environment, and it will always be a little different. Do-it-yourself fermentation departs from the realm of the uniform commodity. Rediscover and reinterpret the vast array of fermentation techniques used by our ancestors. Build your body’s cultural ecology as you engage and honor the life forces all around you.

The prized cultures of a San Francisco sourdough, or the finest Bleu cheese, have their roots in wild fermentations that took place in someone’s kitchen or farmhouse long ago. Who knows what compelling healing flavors could be floating around in your kitchen?

Excerpted from Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Chelsea Green, 2003) by Sandor Ellix Katz aka Sandorkraut



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

trading up for health

-i am on a path i never thought possible -
the path toward less coffee, a lot less coffee, a lot less

the above photo is credited to spooning online mag

i know i know this hard to believe from a coffee-holic like myself. my chill day intake might cover volumes of 2-3 heavily iced pint filled glasses. on a busy day, i easily drink 3-4 pints of thick brewed heavily iced chicory/coffee with milk a day. on days that are really crazy, i might drink more.

after one of my longer hectic schedule stretches that may cover a month's time i feel pretty dragged out and the coffee stops working. then when i pull back the headaches come and they come in heavy and hard for a good week. i suck up the headaches. i know the headaches are the body's form of payback/withdrawal from the mass coffee consumption. the headaches are no fun but not terrible enough to keep me from downing more coffee the next time a schedule crunch kicks in.

the reality is i like coffee.
i like it's taste, flavor and smell. i like coffee iced cream. i like coffee hard candies. i like coffee mole sauce - boy that really kicks it - mole sauce with both chocolate and coffee - ohhhh baby now we are talking.

on sleep
i don't sleep all that much - sometimes i do sleep in - and honestly i am finding sleep more appealing as i age. the reality... sleep and i - we come and go in spurts. i do better with sleep these days only because my ability to pull the almighty all-nighter is dwindling as each year passes. if i could keep going i think i probably would. the idea that life is too short lives constant in the forefront of my mind. there is so much to try, to learn, to fail at, to observe, to share before turning in. i am a do-er. i am not a sit-ter. though when given a choice, i prefer to turn in early so that i am still able to enjoy my early mornings. i love my mornings.

mornings are quiet
mornings are creature time
i spend my mornings out of doors
mornings are clear thinking times for me

so what does the path entail?

the path entails trading up to kombucha and trading out coffee. i am a huge kombucha fan. i experienced my first kombucha via pure curiosity. i was immediately hooked. i like the bubbly, slightly acidic, not too sugary, cross between mild cider/soda pop characteristics. the stuff is pricey so my intake was limited to special occasions - post exercise treats - at which i noticed a good lift after drinking and the lack of crash as time tic'd on. over time, i found myself craving the stuff and decided to try a little test. i was out of town on a show with a pretty tricky schedule.

kombucha all week - no coffee - journal the resulting effects
i felt great all week!
i did miss my coffee flavor a bit but on the alert, awake front, i was trucking. i knew then i had to learn how to brew the stuff myself. so i started the research.
  • what was this stuff ?
  • how long has it been around?
  • what are the effects good and bad on the body?
  • how the heck do you make it?
  • when can i get started?
  • is it safe? what precautions should i take?
i found there are a whole lot of other folk out there sharing my experience. the following are links that provide a bit of insight to the above questions.

the daily table - adventures in fermentation
justin c mcintosh - excellent kombucha photo blog
cliff bar - what the heck is kombucha?
feel good eats - kombucha tea
food renegade - grow a scoby - - double fermentation - - health benefits
len porzio's - kombucha and the balancing act
organic kombucha - kombucha tea warnings
wiki - kombucha
make zine online - how to make kombucha

here is another great site brew dog blog
the below photo is credited to the brew dog

or you can perform your own search by trying the following
kombucha tea, scoby, kombucha health benefits, kombucha health risks

it is important to remember to always use incredibly clean utensils and containers when fermenting goods at home. educate yourself first - know the difference between changes in the natural scoby mother and the growth of mold - in this case knowledge is health! do your homework.

back to the path
- -- - ---- - --- -- - - - ------- - -- - -- - - ------- --- - - -
nothing i have ever experienced is easy or steady at first start

i imagine my path for trading out coffee and trading up to kombucha will be a path that rambles and falls and drives forward given my just do it type ways. i do not imagine to ever give up coffee outright. i see no sense in that considering how much i enjoy it's flavor. the goal is to drink less and like most humans, i am trading vice for vice. best to be honest eh?


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

a little humorous play, positivity and smiles all around

facebook is what you make it - i am convinced

if...

- you enter the fb universe intending to fight a cause then get ready for a bit of push back, a bit of off-handed humor and other serious thinkers prepared either to support or challenge your point of view

- you enter fb looking to be the center of attention then get ready for the day when you are not - enough said

- you enter fb looking to find old friends then get ready for other folk to find you too - like it or not

- you enter fb to share, laugh, lighten up and play then get ready for a whole lot of other folk wishing for the same

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

i for one have experienced a whole lot more humor and laughs in my life since connecting with friends via facebook. some of the folk i've known for ages, others are friends of friends who discover common interests or opposing interests or who just turn out to be cool to watch.

i find folks get more creative, more honest, more humorous, more direct and more silly as time goes on. the folks i frequently converse with are pretty darn good at making fun of themselves, have no problem admitting they are not embodied perfection, are pretty darn intelligent, carry great wit and style, cut to the chase, can be highly critical and care about family and community.

i see a lot of folk looking inside of themselves, looking outside of their own privately experienced lives, searching for ways to make positive community impacts

this, to me, is exciting
this gives me great hope
this i foster

people do wish to do good - we all struggle in the learning of how

i also see my friends all grown up, parenting, traveling, working, playing. i am able to bask in the beauty of their family photos and family stories - wee ones growing up and damned if they don't look just like mommy and daddy. i am able to catch up with my own family. i experience great writing from folk gifted with wit and insight.

and
i laugh out loud a lot
more than i can remember

so for all you folk avoiding the fb - that's cool - but if you do decide to check it out, decide first what you want your fb experience to be - then be that.

it's just like everything else - you always have a choice.
you surround yourself with who you are
be observant of the mirror

another thought
try the same in your daily life
amazing the changes you have the power to influence

me?
i choose humorous play, positivity and smiles all around

and for folks who don't play that way
simple
they don't get my energy
you have a choice
practice


Monday, July 13, 2009

sleeping in - a hippychickenfarmer luxury


hippychick did not roll out of bed until 7am this morning.

the sun was up, the layer chickeny chicas were already chatting up the morning news, cars were rolling by outside of the bedroom window and i lay - stretching legs, stretching toes, stretching arms, opening eyes, closing eyes, feeling the silky sheets, the fluff of the pillow, observing the light bounce upon the wall all until the big yawn which often triggers my will to get up and get moving.

it felt nice sleeping in - a short vacation - a comfortable luxury i do not often allow myself in light of the creature needs. supercat was ready for waking too - he joined me as i ventured toward the makings of my iced coffee. he stopped at his chow, i stopped at my own.

once up, still bleary, i donned my rubber boots, opened garage door - hey! you're all sleeping in too. there they were, the dark cornish meaties (mostly ladies now) all lined up and sleeping on their roosts - plenty content with my later wakening. i opened the door allowing them passage to their run. not a one rushed to the call.

maybe it's the moon, maybe it's the day but sleeping in is a hippychick universe luxury not only i enjoyed this early morn.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

mater rube coloure

dried mater dried mater
shall i keep thee in a jar as you are?

shall i bathe thee in oil of olive fruit?

it is hard to believe the pleasure i presently take in the preparation of home grown dried maters. i revel in the intensity of color, depth of flavor and the wafting aroma they fill the kitchen with.

this i find a bit odd since i cannot ever remember appreciating store bought dried maters on any level. in fact, i have for years avoided store bought sun dried maters, sandwiches with sun dried maters and or dinner specials with the kind. so how is it this sudden shift?

i think it comes down to that which has been most obviously clear in many other like minded endeavors

those goods, organically home grown, raised by your own efforts, cared and babied for by you, the grower, the gardener experienced or new taste better. it is just that simple.

----------------------

lots already accomplished for the day
  • water all chickens
  • feed all chickens
  • melon treats for chickens and wabbit
  • put away the dried maters
  • blend down extra melon, add honey and store in the freezer
  • can up the final bits of prickly pear jam
  • clean up the kitchen, put away cleaned dishes
  • stack up the pulled supers and frames from yesterday's beekeeping
  • emptied out the bird bathes after spotting pesky skitter babies swimming

lots yet to do
  • complete the lighting design for a show
  • homey lunch and/or dinner
  • work at a pace steady not frantic
  • enjoy the journey along the way
cheers!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

bite my julep!

i feel the first wave of wishing to slow the pace a bit
pondered a mint julep
just can't leave well enough alone
had to mix it up
after all recipes are merely suggestions as far as i am concerned
mint
bourbon
mint mint mint
simple syrup
sip
test
too wimpy

mint mint
bourbon
sip
test
almost there!

bourbon
bourbon
ice
sip test
ohhh!
yeah baby - there she blows!
still needs a bite

ginger
a bit more sugar
ginger
ooooooo - k
genius!

yeah yeah
i know what you are thinking
ginger is not officially in the recipe
don't get all twisted up about it - we'll call it a new drink
hush up already
ginger mint julep
nah, not sassy enough

julep with a bite?
nope - too literal

"bite my julep"

better than the original
that's for sure

hey next time i plan to throw a cucumber in the mix
don't say i did not warn ya.
eh, a girl's got to have fun every once in a while

note - hide your car keys from yourself before trying this at home...



helping da' beez when no rain = no flow

we have had terribly dry weather, no rain for weeks and weeks which means no nectar flow for the bees.in this case, there is no need to load extra supers on the hives. it's also a good time for an inspection to see how the buzzing babes are doing.

here are the goods
hood - hive tool - bee brush - smoker - matches - jar with sugar water - bee gloves
white board for stacking supers - frames - top board and such while i am working

lighting the smoker
notice that i have elastics around my wrists - this keeps the suit bee free

pouring sugar water in my sprayer
- candy for the babies -
keeps them occupied while i am working
readied in the top left of the picuture you can spy a small grease patty. ingredients inlcude - sugar - eucalyptus oil - crisco. the eucalyptus oil fights off the small hive beetle of which i have spotted lurking around my hives. i will place this on top of the frames in the top super.

securing the hood - very important
my sliced finger is healing up nicely - it's not perfect but working plenty fine for me

hello in there!
smoking each level before moving in
my gloves are wayyyyyy too big!

time to take a look
prying out a frame - bees incredibly calm today
excellent

this frame was nearly full with honey - no brood here
i decided to leave it in the super so that they could feed themselves when needed

back into the hive

two pulled supers and the queen excluder
still a few bees flying around - i tapped them out once all was said and done
remaining bits of sugar water - i'll drench the hive so as not to waste it

peeking in at a center frame
this is a nice strong hive - lots of bees moving about

this frame is full with brood and pollen stores
baby bees in the making
- good - good - good -
i have got to get smaller gloves, clumsy fingers just don't work well in the hives

- everything back together - less house to keep clean -
- happy beez -
- happy hippychick -

Friday, July 10, 2009

putting up of foods continues

i picked up another great batch of over-ripe maters and peaches today.

i did not have canning on today's to do list but you want to put up your foods when they are at their freshest and today is that day - so canning it is.

the last round of mater soup pints are boiling away as i write. the day's result is good!
  • 13 pints of smokey tomato soup
  • 5 pints of sliced stewed peaches - sharing size
  • 8 half pints of sliced stewed peaches - individual size
there were plenty of maters so i decided to load the dehydrator with a batch of dark red mater slices for drying. these babies were amazingly tasty fresh upon testing - one always has to test - i can only imagine the intense flavor they will carry once dried - ooh eei happy days at the hippychick place.

that said the yard work is still in waiting. the grass is far too long and looking shaggy. the fence line needs trimming. the old tomato vines need cutting back and disposing of. the gutters need emptying yet again. the poor live oaks keep dropping leaves due to the fact that we are so very short on rain. i've got good for the compost pile. i've got a coop that needs cleaning. the garage could use a good going over... shall i go on?

the challenge is the three digit heat we are under the palm of. it makes most any task a tough one. i'm going out there just the same. i have allowed the yard to go just as far as i can stand.

off i go - i'll be back to fill you in on yesterday's super-fantastic - more than great meeting with a fellow local beekeeper and my new friend, mr. ft.

sweatin' time - it all pays off - after all, hard work ain't hard work because it's easy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

cookin' cannin' shippin' and sharein'

today started off as most weekdays have so far this summer - watering the creatures, ice for bunny bunny, check through the garden, ready the self and off to the morning class in austintown.

this morning's garden granted me a great harvest of basil, red long beans and a few two or three hand fulls of okra. click went the brain - pesto! click went the brain again - pickled goods! yihaa -

i took a look in the pantry to see if i had enough jars - nope - got to get me some half pint pesto jars - pickle jars on the other hand check, check and check - we are good.

i decided to head to austintown a bit earlier than usual to allow for a stop at wheatsville the local food co-op to pick up my non-homegrown pesto supplies - olive oil, italian parmigiana cheese and almonds. they did have jars there but not in the size i was looking for. i knew they had them in bastroptown so no worries there.

already the day was exciting. class went well, students were great and frankly i'm a bit sad that tomorrow is our last class day - had a few meetings after class then headed home.

on the way home i stopped by the bastroptown producers market to pick up my long awaited kombucha babies - finally oh finally i begin to brew my own. i'm telling you folks, i am addicted to the stuff - gives me zing like no other.

i picked up my pesto jars and zoomed my body home. i gave bunny bunny a fresh frozen jug of water, checked on the girls and headed into the kitchen. pesto time!

hippychick's almond pesto - a really really big batch - not kidding, really big batch
  • *2 cups+ almonds
  • *10 -14 lemons - fresh not lemon juice - it makes a huge difference
  • *4 heads of garlic - yes you read that correctly
  • *parmigiana cheese - i used between 1/2 to 3/4 lb - don't buy the cheap stuff!
  • *basil - i filled a 1/2 bushel basket half full - fluffy, not pressed down
  • *virgin olive oil - as needed - i always eye this but probably 3-4 cups
everything goes in the processor, whip, zip, adjust for flavor, done!

*frankly the idea of exact measurement should not even be entertained here. i go handful by handful and/or i eye the consistency for best results. adjust flavor for your tastes.

next up - the season's first - pickled red long bean & pickled okra
  • i made this batch bread and butter style
  • i used honey rather than sugar
  • excellent!
the best part of all this is that i've now got my bestest favorite garden preserved staples loaded up in the pantry and the season is not yet over - this is good
  • mater sauce
  • pesto
  • pickles
  • sauerkraut
  • preserved peaches
  • sun dried maters
  • dehydrated leeks
  • green mater pickled relish - think hot dog relish - that's the stuff
everything else - bonus!

in regard to the shippin' and sharein' bit of the title. folks asked if i would ship. then more folks asked. then a few more. so... i decided to say yes - baby steps - this shippin' thing is a test - we'll see how it goes.

tomorrow i head out to see a beekeeper about a used hand crank honey extractor. i'm really looking forward to it. at long last, bee geek time with a more experienced keeper - woohooo!

bee geek - bee geek - embrace your inner bee geekdom!