Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Milkweed Cordial

Our home smelled wonderful this morning while making this!
~Milkweed cordial~
6 cups of milkweed flowers (stemsw trimmed)
4 tablespoons of lime juice
2 cups of sugar
6 cups of water
Rinse flowers after stems have been removed.
Place them in a large pot with the rest of the ingredients.
Bring to a light boil over medium heat. Let boil for about 40 minutes or until it reduces by about a cup.
Strain the cordial.
Can or refrigerate.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The arrival of Una-Mae & Gem.

We have been preparing for our first baby goats.
Mira, one of our three Nigerian dwarf goat does, was nearly ready to give birth.
With the due date fast approaching, Andrew and I have been working to prepare for the birth and arrival of new kids.
On Sunday morning, Andrew put together the frame of a birthing pen in the covered space between our two goat barns.
Every day I've been watching, looking for signs of Mira going into labour, but not much had been changing.
Her udder grew large about a month ago and she was very round, but there hadn't been any new changes lately. The due date was another week away.

Yesterday was hot, so in the evening we decided to go to our neighbours for a swim. We had a great visit and refreshing swim before we headed home around 6:00pm to do evening chores, starting with the goats.
I went around to the goat barn behind our home and there Mira was cleaning a fresh little baby while she was pushing another out!
I called to Andrew and the kids and then started to help clean the first baby.
Auren ran for some towels.
Mira was birthing standing up so as she pushed out the last baby I lowered it down to the ground.
What a feeling!
I was so excited and happy, I just wanted to cry.
And all three of our own kids got to watch Mira birth the second baby!

I set the second baby in front of Mira for her to clean.
She did such a great job with the first kid that I didn't want to interfere too much.
I sat with a towel and helped dry the kids off.
As soon as both babies were dry they started searching for Mira's udder and were both nursing in no time.
Mother Nature astounds me.

Andrew finished putting together the kidding pen so that Mira and her new little ones could settle in for the night.
~ Gem ~
~ Una-Mae ~


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Easy Spelt Dutch Oven Bread, by Kira

Easy Spelt Dutch Oven Bread
Two cups of warm water
1 tablespoon of yeast
2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup ( you could also use sugar)
1 tablespoon of salt
6 cups of light spelt flour (this will work with a bread flour or a mix of wholewheat and all-purpose)
In a large bowl stir the honey into the water until it has dissolved. Add the yeast and let it rest for about 5 minutes or until the yeast becomes foamy.

Slowy stir in two cups of flour and the salt; mix until combined.
Add the remaining flour small bits at a time.
Once the dough is too hard to stir with a wooden spoon, use your hands (this will be a little messy and sticky, but that is ok).
Once the remainder of the flour is mixed into the dough, cover and let it set for at least 3 to 4 hours ( longer is better on cool days).
There is no need to knead the dough for long.
Just long enough to incorporate all the flour.
As the covered dough sits on the counter, the gluten will develop.
When you are ready to bake your bread, preheat your oven to 425°C with your Dutch ovens inside.
I have been using a Dutch oven for years to bake my bread and they are wonderful!
They help hold the moisture in for the first half of baking and make the bread perfect.
It gives you a perfect crumb on the inside and a crisp browned crust.
While the oven is heating, spill your dough out onto a floured surface.
Separate the dough into two.
Work the dough into two soft rounds.
Don't knead too hard.
You don't want to break all the air bubbles inside.
Once you have the dough shaped, let them rest.
When the oven is up to temperature, score the tops of the loaves with a sharp knife.
You can get fancy here or keep it simple with a few lines across the top.
Carefully remove the lids from the Dutch ovens and place the loaves inside.
Place the lids back onto the Dutch ovens and put them in the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes remove the lids and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes until dark golden brown.
Remove the loaves from the oven, let cool, and enjoy!