Usually I have this syrup already made all winter long but it is the middle of August and I have a one year old with a summer cold... So time to make our magical syrup that gets everyone's immune system super powered! Ingredients: 4 cups Water 1 cup dried organic elderberry (or 2 cups fresh) 1 cup raw honey (local if possible) 2 inches of fresh raw ginger, chopped 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon cloves Directions: Bring water to boil and add all ingredients EXCEPT for the raw honey. Bring to a boil and cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Take off heat and allow to cool till room temp. strain out solids being sure to press berries to get all that good stuff out. Now stir in the honey and your done! Store in fridge for several months! 1/2 a teaspoon for really little ones to tablespoon or two for adults. Once daily for prevention and every 3-4 hours for cure! Let us know if you add other ingredients? We have added organic lemon before and it was nice too!
Although I haven't posted much in the blog this year I have had an incredible time! We are really farming for real now so I haven't had much time to write many new posts. So here is an update on how things are going! The Garden We started out the year getting ready for a great year of growing! We had a lot of strawberries come in this spring and once we got the chickens away from there we were able to eat a bunch! We started an obscene amount of seed from my heirloom tomato collection. We planted almost five hundred plants and got a very late start getting them in the ground. We didn't get around to staking them or weeding so we have a jungle out there now. It's not pretty but the tomatoes are finally coming in and we are enjoying them now. We started this tomato garden where the previous tenants dumped horse manure for years so it is really growing crazy despite my neglect! Our old garden area is where I planted potatoes, squash, zucchini, eggplant, beans, kohlrabi, greens and okra. The deer ate 90% of this so we will be getting electric fence to put around it before our spring planting. We are learning this property and its obstacles. some improvements and we should be growing better next season. I have realized how difficult it is to stay on top of a garden when you have a 1 and 4-year-old to care for. When I worked full-time and had 8 hours a day with no kids my work gardens were pristine, I miss that but love being with the kids while they are little. I also have learned that 95 degrees is too hot to garden so adjusting my schedule to early and late hours should be better. The Bees We finally added beehives to our farm in early spring. We got two and they are different. One is slow-growing and docile and the other is growing fast and a bit aggressive. I have enjoyed practicing what I have learned in my Natural Bee Keeping class. We hope to expand in the future and get more hives going! We harvested just a taste of honey and left most for the bees. It is the best honey I ever tasted! The Animals Our chickens are doing great, our juveniles are now good layers and we are increasing our flock. We tried to hatch out turkeys, chickens, and ducks but we had a failed hatch, not sure what went wrong but I suspect the incubators lost power for a little while. So earlier this week we rescued 13 chickens of various young ages. We also received 25 chicks in the mail. Hopefully next year we will sell more eggs! Rescue ducklings were added in the spring that I cant wait to get eggs from too. Our foster pig never did end up getting bred in the spring so we didn't get piglets this year as planned. Her family is looking for a home where she can live with them again some day. Last but not least our biggest dream came true! We got GOATS! We now have two does in milk and their two kids are reaching maturity at 6 months. It has been everything I dreamed it would be! The milk is amazing and we have been making kefir, cheese, yogurt and butter! So as you can tell we are behind in blog posts for a good reason! I hope to do some soon and maybe even some videos! So stay tuned and Subscribe for new updates!
Planning: Now the fun part, Planning! If you read my previous Soil post to get here or the other three before it, congratulations! We are almost there! You will have the garden of your dreams in no time, I promise! But first you must have a plan! Read more »
So you read my last post about Bed Preparation and you are ready to get started! So now comes the most important part! Soil! Soil Building Turning your soil into some of the best growing medium takes some effort usually. Very few areas have perfect soil for growing in. Regional differences can change your soil dramatically. Don't worry, you don't have to do it all in the first year. Improvements can be made every year, all year-long. There is no wrong time to fix your soil. Read more »
So once you have read the first posts in this series, about Site Selection, and asked yourself the questions and evaluated your yard, you are ready to start building your garden! If space is limited you can use pots for container gardening! Read more »
So my last Blog post, Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 1. Why start a vegetable garden?, may have led you here. Or you just got lucky and found this on your own! Either way we are glad you have joined us. So you are ready to start a vegetable garden. I am going to walk you through step by step and make it real easy! Feel free to ask any questions along the way. Read more »
Why? You may be asking yourself, "Why would I start a vegetable garden?" With all the grocery stores available to you these days, what is the point of growing your own food? Is it worth the effort of getting dirty and sweaty? You may be asking yourself, will I even succeed at growing anything? Some of my reasons are below. Yes, it is worth it and yes you will succeed, with me helping you along the way! Read more »
Everyone loves popcorn! It is the perfect snack food that can be really good for you. But let's face it movie theater or microwave popcorn is not healthy! Here is how we make our popcorn that tastes great and is healthy too! Ingredients: 1/3 cup organic popping corn 3 T organic coconut oil Liquid Aminos (to taste) Nutritional Yeast Seasoning (to taste) Optional: garlic powder, grated Parmesan cheese, crushed black pepper, cayenne pepper, etc. (to taste) Directions: Heat oil in heavy bottomed large pan on medium, stainless steel or cast iron work well. Put three kernels of corn in and when all three pop, remove pan from burner and carefully remove popped kernels with tongs. Then quickly add your remaining kernels. Wait 30 seconds while you swirl them all on hot oil. This allows all of the kernels to heat up to nearly popping. Then return to still hot burner on medium and pop till it slows to almost stopped. Remove pan from heat quickly to avoid scorching. Pour popcorn in large bowl and sprinkle with Aminos and Yeast along with any other flavor add ins your family enjoys. Now enjoy your healthy snack with the family!
"Now that you have all the specifics of where and how to choose seed comes the fun part! What does your family love to eat? What do you buy from the farmers market and grocery store the most? What do you use daily, weekly? What do you have the room for? What is too hard to grow in your region? Do you have the ability to start seed properly? Is it better to purchase certain plants as starts instead? These are the questions you need to ask yourself and narrow down your list of what you will grow this year. Really these questions could be a whole other blog post… Remember there is always next year to try something else!" See more at: http://wholesomeroots.org/seeds-so-many-choices-how-to-choose-the-right-seed-for-your-garden/#sthash.lpYViPNS.dpuf Time for that other blog post! So spring is right around the corner and everyone is reading, dreaming and talking about seed choices! What vegetables are you growing this year!? Choosing what your family loves to eat is your first step. Interview your family members, from parents to toddlers. Getting everyone on board with choices gives you better chance of them helping you with the weeding, watering, and harvesting. It will also help you realize what you need more or less of. My family eats more tomato and okra so I need those on my list but they don't really eat much arugula so it might not make my list. Make sure you save this list to review next year and see how desires change. So with this list in hand you can now narrow down based on other factors. Space: Do you have room for everything or for things that take up a lot of space? Some plants produce low yields or sprawl all over, like squash. If your space is limited it would make more sense to grow other things and buy these items from local farmers. You can grow a lot of greens in a very small space but tomatoes require some room. Research your plant choices and see how much room they require, how big they get, and row spacing. If you have room for them move on to next step. Remember local farmers and farmers markets need your support so buy from them before heading to grocery store for things you don't have room for. Ability: Some seeds can be direct sown into the garden like peas and lettuce but other vegetables should be planted as plant starts, like tomatoes and peppers. Research which vegetables on your list are recommended to be direct-sown or from starts and see how many need to be started from seed before planting. Seeds easily sown in ground are usually fast growers like leafy greens and root crops like carrots and radish. If something on your list is better off planted as a seedling then you need to decide if you can practically start the seed yourself? Do you have the space, heat source, light source, and time to care for seedlings for 6-8 weeks? Sometimes it is easier to buy the plants depending on your circumstances. Regional Preference: Look around locally and find out what varieties and cultivars seem to do well in your area. Check with local extension office, farm stores, and garden centers. Ask your neighbors and friends that garden for variety recommendations of what you have chosen to grow. Don't be afraid to try something others say they can't grow but know what reasons before you try a new adventure. I had people tell me they couldn't grow many things at the garden I used to manage, I tried anyway and succeeded! Local knowledge is usually your best bet still! Especially if you find seed that someone locally grew and saved! So get that list going! Narrow your choices and begin shopping! Picking out varieties of each choice is the fun and easy part so enjoy looking through catalogs and online, don't forget to check your local feed and seed store! Tune in for our next post to help you along! Subscribe for email updates so you don't miss anything!
Brewing Booch I've been brewing kombucha tea for a couple of years now and have given away more SCOBY than I can count. Kombucha tea is a great probiotic beverage full of beneficial yeast and bacteria. It has many benefits that range from improved gut health to increased energy. the whole family enjoys it as a beverage. My original SCOBY was a gift from a friend who I get my goat milk from (and hopefully some doe kids this spring). It is a very hearty strain! It takes a lot more abuse and neglect than any of my other fermented beverages (milk kefir and water kefir, click either to read more) and produces big fat healthy SCOBY's for faster fermenting and sharing! You may be asking, what is a SCOBY? A Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. It is the starter culture required to start making your own kombucha tea at home. It looks like a big mushroom or jelly fish, not very attractive. Really it is all you need to start brewing. You can buy one online at Cultures For Health or get one from a friend. Some people even have luck at making one from plain store-bought kombucha. Once you have a SCOBY, what's next? Ingredients: 1 gallon chlorine free water 8 tea bags, black or green tea 1 cup natural cane sugar 1 SCOBY 1 cup starter kombucha 1 gallon glass container, to keep it in, with no metal parts touching it (long-term contact with metal can corrode and ruin your tea). Directions: Boil your water and add tea bags to steep. Steep for a minimum of 10 minutes or longer if you desire. I like it stronger so I leave tea bags in right up till the end then remove. Tea should be black or green tea. Herbal teas or flavored teas often contain oils which will cause your Booch (kombuch nickname) to go rancid or mold. Add sugar while still hot and stir till dissolved. Wait until tea reaches room temperature and add starter kombucha and SCOBY. Cover with coffee filter (or paper towel, etc. something breathable without letting in fruit flies) with rubber band around it and wait... It needs to remain at room temperature and out of direct sunlight, my kitchen counter works great.You will be watching the surface of your liquid for a skin to form. This is a new SCOBY baby forming. When it is about a quarter of an inch thick is usually a good time to taste test. Just pour some liquid off or ladle some out and taste it. If it is still too sweet wait a day or two and taste again. If it's already too sour you will want to wait fewer days next time. Usually it takes 7-10 days on average. I have had new SCOBY form in as little as 3 days in summer. I've also had it take two weeks in winter. Temperature definitely plays a role. Everyone has a different taste preference so get to know yours by tasting daily when you start brewing. If it gets too sour don't worry it is not a waste! Kombucha vinegar is delicious and it is just over fermented kombucha! It makes great salad dressing and marinade etc. Also, it makes a great hair rinse, leaves hair soft and conditioned. When it is done you can pour all off except one cup and start process over or do continuous brew and just add sweet tea to it as the level comes down. You can also do a second ferment where you can flavor it and add fizz! Just add fruit or juice to finished tea and cap it and leave a few more days to flavor and hopefully fizz. Fizzy ferments are usually from a good cap and added sugar, ginger seems to encourage fizz also! This makes a great substitute for someone giving up soda! There you go! Now each time you brew it again you will get a new SCOBY! Who will you share it with!? Don't forget to subscribe to email updates so you don't miss out on any new posts!