Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bartering and Canning

One of the Easter Eggers enjoying the fresh grass.
So this week I managed to barter some more mint (however, we are not sure if its peppermint or spearmint - so a little research is needed) and the only thing it cost me was to let our friend, Jen, take pictures of our chickens (I think I got the better end of that deal!)  You should check out Jen's blog over at  We also managed to trade one of our roosters for a flat of strawberries!  Can't beat that ... our neighbor (down the road) had extra strawberries and we definitely had an extra rooster.  A flat of strawberries is a lot when you already have jam and jelly canned ... but we managed to give 2 pints to the neighbors, used 5 pints to make strawberry lemonade concentrate, my hubby probably ate a pint or two, and I am freezing the rest to use later this month (I wasn't really ready for strawberries this week).  I know that we will have to make a shortcake (maybe next week) but with the warm weather this weekend I decided just to get the berries froze so they wouldn't go to waste.

It was a busy week in the kitchen. As far as baking went I made 2 loaves of Honey Oatmeal Bread (from scratch not with a bread machine) and Cupcakes. I also put Jen's mint down to make an extract and also started a cinnamon extract. Canning was also a project for the week, I put up apple-mint jelly (I'm pretty sure this was an epic fail ... Todd yelled at me to come help him catch the dog before she ate the chicken that was loose while I was in the process of boiling it.) and strawberry lemonade concentrate (was suppose to be just lemonade concentrate but with our flat of strawberries it changed).

Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate Canned
Cooking the Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate

My husband and I also watched the documentary "FRESH" ... it was an eye opening experience.  I am not naive, and I knew that production animals (cows, hogs, chickens) were not kept in very good conditions while they were being raised and were being fed horrible food ... however, after watching this I got a view on just how bad it is!  I don't want to give anyone reading this the wrong impression ... we are not "environmentalist", however, as a parent I think its important that I make good choices on what my child is consuming.  After watching this I feel that my husband is also more on board with buying local and knowing where (and what conditions) the food we are consuming is coming from.  I feel with my husband more on board it is going to also be easier to cut out (gradually) the processed foods that we are consuming.

"Day-Use Only" Area that we set up this week.
We also did some changes and added a "day-use only" area to our chicken coop ... it basically is a 3 foot fence that is movable so they get the free-range value, however, they won't be in my flowers or end up at our neighbors (they are pretty close even though we are in the country!).  They are pretty close to the house so hopefully any daytime predators will stay away ... once again country living.

The chickens getting to use their new area.

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