Bountiful Baskets 3/30/2013

Here is our bountiful basket order for today, March 30, 2013. We did volunteer this week, and it was nice to be outside this morning.

Here is the picture of the veggies that came in our basket this week.

 

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Here are the fruits

 

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And here is everything together. This cost me a total of $16.50. This week was most certainly worth it. We had 8 bananas, 1 pineapple, 1 bag of oranges, 8 apples, 1 clamshell of strawberries, 1 head of lettuce, 1 bunch of celery, 2 cucumers, 7 tomatoes, 4 zucchini, and 6 baking potatoes.

 

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I also ordered the veggie lovers – Italian themed pack as an additional add on this week. It included a medium sized eggplant, 3 assorted onions, 1 box of mushrooms, garlic, 2 red pepper, 2 green pepper, basil, oregano, and rosemary. It cost an additional $8.00 or $8.50. Last time I made eggplant, it ended up salty and mushy. I hope I can find a good recipe to use this time.

 

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All in all, it was a great basket. I’m glad I got a basket this week, but I’m also glad I didn’t get one last week. My spring garden is giving us so many yummy greens. Here is my haul from yesterday. I put the can opener in the picture so you could get a better idea of the amount of food that is here. It’s enough for all 5 of us to have a huge salad tonight. Best of all – this organic produce was grown less than 50 feet from my door – every bite has a little bit of love in it.

 

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I’m starting to get a nice little collection of water kefir soda. I’ve currently got 4 quarts on their first ferment. It’s so good. It’s better than any soda. I like adding frozen blackberries to the second ferment. It tastes like a fizzy grape juice. I should write a blog post about water kefir one day. Although, if someone walked into my kitchen right now, they might think I had some weird science experiments going on. I should invest in some vials and freak my parents out the next time they come over for supper.

 

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Here is a recent picture of the bunnies. They are 4.5 weeks old. They are currently weaning from their mom. There are only 5 in this picture, since I took the mom out and put her in a different hutch with the 6th kit. The 6th kit was alittle smaller than the others, and she will help give the mom some relief over the next couple of days.  The mom is due in 15 days, and I want her to have 10-14 days to recoup before she has her next litter. Then, she gets a nice long break during the summer.

 

Aren’t the kits getting big? They want to eat all the time. I put them on pasture yesterday for about 20 minutes. Tomorrow, I’ll let them have another 20 minutes in the run. I have to be very careful with these little guys. It’s tempted to think they can eat just like the mom and dad can, but their tummies need to be introduced to new foods slowly. I hope they tolerate grass well, so in a few weeks, I can take some of the sting out of my feed bill this month. Yikes.

 

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Have a blessed, safe, and joyous Easter weekend!

Fish food

The weather was warm enough last week to harvest some worm casings and do a quick check on my red wigglers.  I thought I would share how easy this is for anyone who might be tempted to get started vermicomposting (composting with the help of worms).

Step 1: Dump out worms and compost in an area where the worms won’t all escape. I dumped them out on my small back porch. I would advise against dumping them out on your kitchen table.

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Step 2: Wait untilthe worms all crawl to the bottom of the pile. While you are waiting, check out the compost bucket you are using and make sure that the holes are all clear. (I used a free 5 gallon bucket that I picked up from the Sam’s bakery. I had to clean out a little bit of frosting, but it was worth it!)

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Step 3:  After the worms crawl to the bottom of your pile, scoop off the top layer of compost and put the worms and everything else back in their bucket. Give them some food. My worms love to eat bananas peels, coffee grounds, garden weeds, and rabbit poop. On this day, I fed them a nice big scoop of rabbit poo.

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Step 4: Mist the remaining dirt with a little water. You want the soil to be nice and moist, but not waterlogged, and not too dry. I put cardboard on top of our worms, to help block out the light, to absorb extra water, and to give them extra food if I forget to feed them one day.

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Step 5: Put the lid back on. I usually just stomp on it to get it back into place. See all the lovely boot prints?

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Step 6: Put your worms in an inconspicuous spot and leave them alone for a few days, or a week, or until you remember to check on them. They are pretty easy going. Our worms hang out under these chairs in the backyard. What do you think our neighbors would say if they knew we had a pile of worms in that bucket? Actually, I don’t think it would surprise them.

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After the worms are safetly back in their home, I take the compost that I harvested and put it around my favorite plants in the garden. Sometimes, I make compost tea out of it. I never get much, but the plants always seem to thrive when they get a little helping of it every now and then.

The worms have already quadrupled in numbers, so I hope that I can move them up to a larger container this time next year. I’m also hoping that we can use some of them as bait once they stock the local catfish pond. Trading a few pieces of rabbit poop for a giant catfish sounds like a good deal to me.

First Week of Spring

 

 

 

I was very tempted to start planting my summer vegetables yesterday, but I’m glad I didn’t. It got down to freezing last night, and it is supposed to be just as cold tonight. Brrrr! I cannot wait for the first homegrown tomato of the season. And summer squash. And watermelon. And sugar snap peas. Yummy.

Rabbits – Look how big they are getting! I can sex them now, but it’s very hard to remember which ones I’ve sexed and which ones I haven’t when I pick them up one at a time. I’m going to separate them within the next few weeks, so I’ll sex them all then. 3 of the 6 have the californian markings on their ponts that change color in cooler weather. The other 3 are pure REW (red eyed white). I might keep one of the does from this littler, and I might try to trade one doe for another doe from a different blood line.

The mom is pregnant again and I’m expecting her to kindle on April 14th. It seems like I’m breeding them really close together, but I have a reason for that. During the hotter months, the bucks become sterile and pregnant does are miserable. We regularly get 100F temperature, and during the hottest part of the summer, we see weather that is closer to 110F. Ideally, Polly will kindle her next litter and have them weaned before it gets too hot. Then she will get a nice long break before we breed her again when the cooler weather starts this fall.

The rabbits are having a great time eating Swiss Chard leaves. The babies aren’t supposed to have any greens quite yet, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. Luckily, the mom is a good mom and she keeps them away from things that aren’t good for them.

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We have a couple of realtors coming next week to give us their opinions about the value of the house. I have a laundry list of things to do, but it’s really hard to get motivated. I feel like we are in limbo. I want to pack up everything except the essentials and live as minimalistic as possible while the house is on the market, but at the same time, I’m scared to put our lives on hold while we wait for the house to sell. I have to find a happy medium and it’s hard.

 

Busy Little Bumblebee

Our dream of moving to the country is becoming more of a possibility every day. We have a few realtors coming the first week of April to do a house walkthrough with us. They will give us their opinions about what they think the house is worth. I have a (very realistic) number in mind, so we will see how close I am to their suggestions.

If it all works out, and if one of these realtors seems like a good fit for our needs, we could have the house on the market as early as May.

There are houses in my area that have sold in days, and there are houses that sit on the market for over a year. I just hope ours sells before the end of August,  so the kids can get settled into a new school before this fall.

I have so much to do in the next few weeks. I need to paint, declutter, start packing, clean, landscape, hold a yard sale, keep up with the spring garden, plan what we are planting for summer, ect…

After taking two steps backwards last fall, it’s nice to feel like we are taking a step forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bountiful Baskets 3/16/2013

Here is our bountiful basket order for March 16, 2013. I only took one picture of our one basket today.

We got 1 head of lettuce, 1 head of brocolli, 1 head of cauliflower, 2 bunches of asparagus, 1 yellow onion, 7 bananas, 2 grapefruit, 2 lemon, 5 apples (pink lady, I would guess), and 5 oranges. There were a few mangoes as well, but the lady that runs our site remembered that I am allergic, so she kept them out of our basket this week. (I feel spoiled rotten, it was so sweet of her to do that for us.)

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I ordered another Thai Add on pack. We loved the one we had last week and I am looking forward to making a shrimp curry again this week. This add on included 1 coconut, 1 head of cabbage, 1 bunch of oregano, 1 bunch of basil, 1 bunch of green onions, 1 red onion, 1 container of mushrooms, 1 bag of chile de arbol peppers, 2 stalks of lemon grass, 10 small limes, 1 head of garlic, 1 piece of ginger, 2 carrots, and 1 parsnip. This was $14.

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The baby rabbitss are getting big. They are 2.5 weeks old now. I took the nestbox out of their hutch two days ago, and now the kits spend their days trying to chase the mom around so they can nurse. Mwah haw haw. The mom hates my guts right now. She keeps trying to shoot laser beams at me from her eyeballs. Luckily, she has not suceeded yet.

Aren’t the little fuzzy nuggets cute?

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This one wants me to dye it pastel colors with food coloring and use it as a living prop for Easter pictures with my kids. I hate to crush his dream, but it’s not going to happen. Last time I picked him up, he pee’d on me. Little bugger.

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Tanning Rabbit Hides

 

Last Monday, one of our rabbits Bandit-doe, was acting lethargic and not eating. She died later than night. We were all sad that she died, she was a great rabbit. RIP little buddy.

 

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We decided that before we disposed of her body, we would skin her. It might sound a little morbid, but she died of natural causes, she is livestock, and it’s silly to waste her fur because I’m feeling a little squeamish. So, DH (dear hubby) skinned her and I did my best to tan the hide and make it useable for us in the future.

Here is how I did it.

First, I obtained the hide, laid it fur side down outside, and covered it in salt.

 

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The next day, I started peeling off the dried skin, meat, and fat from the hide. It sounds much more gross than it was. It was sort of like peeling off a layer of old glue. Every now and then I had to use a knife, but I mostly just peeled pieces off, little by little.

 

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After I got as much meat, fat, and skin off of the hide as I could, I took it inside and laid it out. I also prepared a tanning mixture, using 4 egg yolks. You could also use an animal brain instead of egg yolks, but… yuck.

 

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I smeared the egg yolks on the hide, trying to avoid the fur as much as possible.

 

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Then you cover it with a wet towel and let it sit overnight. The purpose of the wet towel is to keep the egg yolk mixture moist. Make sure you don’t use hot water, you don’t want to scramble your eggs.

 

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The next morning, I washed off the hide really well to remove all of the dirt from the fur as well as the egg yolks from the hide. It took me about 3 washes to get it really clean.

 

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See how clean it is now? It’s still really wet though.

 

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Then I hacked it with my scissors. No really, I did. I cut off all of the raggidy bits. Make small cuts or you will end up chopping the whole thing to pieces. You can use the smaller pieces as cat toys. Cats l.o.v.e them.

 

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Then I got out my trusty tanning helper (aka the rolling pin). This looks like I’m rolling out the weirdest cookies ever. I rolled over the hide for 5-10 minutes every hour until I got it nice and soft. If it started to dry, I just got it a little wet again and kept going.

 

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At this point, you need to smoke it for 15 – 30 minutes to waterproof it. Otherwise, it will get hard again every time it gets wet. I haven’t done this part yet. That’s okay though, now that it’s tanned, I can store it and finish it the next time I have the fireplace going.

 

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I’m trying to decide what I’m going to do with it. It’s so soft. I’m sad that Bandit died, but I’m glad that we were able to honor her death in this small way and keep a part of her that will be useful to us, even in her death.

 

Bountiful Baskets 3/9/2013

Here is the fruit portion of my bountiful basket order for March 9th, 2013. It included 4 lemons, 1 container of strawberries, 10 bananas, and 3 mangoes. I donated the mangoes to someone else, since I’m allergic to the oil that is on their skin. (The oil in the skin of mangoes is in the sumac family.) 4 of the bananas were extras because the kids and I volunteered this morning.

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There were a lot of green veggies in the vegetable portion of our basket. There were 2 heads of bok choy, 1 bunch of salad greens, 1 bunch of radishes, 4 green peppers, 1 head of celergy, 2 heads of garlic, and 2 bunches of asparagus.

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Here is the fruit and veggie portion of our basket together. This cost a total of $15 (plus an additional $1.50 for processing every week).

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This is the Thai add on pack. It cost $10.50 and it included a coconut, 1 head of napa cabbage, 2 lemon grass, 1 bunch of green onions, 2 limes, 1 container of mushrooms, 1 head of garlic, 1 piece of ginger, 1 bunch of basil, 1 bunch of cilantro, 2 carrots, and 1 bag filled with a few dozen chile de arbols. I’m making coconut shrimp curry tonight. Yummy.

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The juice pack was an extra $8.00 this week, and as usual, it seems to be a pretty good deal. There was 1 bunch of celery, 2 carrots, 3 lemons, 2 limes, 1 piece of ginger, 3 apples, 1 cucumber, 1 bunch of swiss chard, 1 bunch of parsley, and 1 beet with attached greens.

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Here is my entire order with everything. Today’s order cost me $38.50. Sorry for the blurry picture, the 4 year old was attempting to use me as a living jungle gym as I was taking it.

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And last but not least, here is the obligatory baby rabbit photo. All 6 are doing well, they look more like rabbits than rats now, and their eyes are starting to open. It’s really, really, really hard to tell the sex of baby rabbits, but I *think* we have 3 boys and 3 girls. Don’t hold me to that though.. I’ll update you in a few weeks when I found out for sure. Don’t they look happy?

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