Spring is Here!

Spring is officially here! While it was nice to get one last snow, I’m ready for consistently “warmer” weather. This past month we’ve had a lot of odds and ends going on, but since the weather hasn’t been cooperating… making progress has been tough. So lets get you all up to date!

First off, we were given this super cool, really old, egg grader! A good-old-boy was telling Keith about how his wife used to grade cases and cases of eggs each day (can’t imagine, CRAZY !) and that he might still have the egg grader she used. unnamed (12)Well, he did and called us up, two hours later we had that ancient grader cranking away. While doing research on the grader to get it up and running we found that they still make this grader, and it functions pretty much the same. The price tag on a new one, around 6,000! Moral of the story, tell people about your hobbies, you never know who might have gems like this to help you out. This old-boy just wanted someone to put it to good use.

We also pruned the fruit trees, blackberries, and the landscaping. Unfortunately, our plum trees started blooming right before our last, hopefully last, snow and hard-freeze. We covered them, but I doubt we’ll end up with any plums. The kids had a whole new experience playing in the snow with a 4 wheeler. It’s moments like these I’m so glad to have girls, I’m only slightly concerned about it!

Our spring garden plants needed to be transplanted and have now taken over our storage room!

We quickly outgrew (literally!) the first light and needed to order a second. Keith started work on our first greenhouse. We were hoping it would be done in time for the spring seedlings, but again the weather hasn’t been cooperating! Our plan for this greenhouse is to grow through the winter. We’ll also use it in spring for starter plants and through the summer for our lettuce varieties. It should be small enough to heat easily, that’s our professional opinion with no experience. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this particular project! Fresh winter produce, yes please!

Our Lionlop baby bunnies turned 8 weeks old and moved on to new families as inside pets. Therefore, Studmuffin has stolen the show around here and is getting all the attention. I’m not so sure he’s excited about that!

Still on the agenda for this year is raising our own hog for meat and possibly getting a milking goat. I decided we should make sure we even like goat milk, so we placed our first order with a local farm. Turns out, it’s great! We’ve ordered raw cow milk, goat milk, yogurt, butter, sour cream, heavy cream, and cheddar cheese, all made with raw milk.unnamed (19) We found that we actually prefer the goat milk. I would highly encourage you to buy these products and others from local farms. You can’t beat it! Tour the farm, ask questions, make sure it is clean and reputable, and then get as much stuff from them as you would buy elsewhere. Nothing beats local. Knowing where your food comes from is the only way to ensure you’re getting quality fresh food. It may be more expensive, but it’s well worth it; for the health of your family and community investment.

Keith also tried his hand at making homemade brats for the first time with my brother. They turned out awesome and will now become a yearly endeavor! He made jalapeno/cheddar and onion/green pepper brats.

Lastly, we bought a grain mill attachment for our kitchen aid. We can now mill our own wheat berries fresh for making bread and other items. unnamed (14)Once wheat is milled, it loses it’s nutritional value within 2-3 days, unnamed (6)which is why the flour from the store is always “enriched”. By milling our own, we can consume these nutrients naturally. Though I have to say, we will have to get used to the consistency! I’m still researching how to recreate my awesome white flour bread recipe in some way, shape, or form with this new mill. I’m sure it will be a lot of trial and error.

Stay tuned! There will be so much more on the way soon.

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