Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rainy Day Blues

Actually I'm not really blue, but it has been raining all day and I have a bad head cold. So I'm taking it easy today. Husband I went out this afternoon and did our grocery shopping plus looked around for a crock with which to make Sauerkraut and Kimchi in.

Tomorrow I'll be making mincemeat with our green tomatoes to can for future Christmas baking. I'll also be making dilled carrots and then freezing the what is left of the carrots. And preparing the cabbage for sauerkraut. We have not yet built a cold storage room so right now everything is still in the garage which it cool, but it is definately not an optimum produce storage area.

During the week I canned cherries, canned pears, made dill pickles, made nectarine jam, canned corn off the cob and baked 2 fresh peach pies. Husband was in the Okanagon and brought home several boxes of fruits which don't grow in our area, so I had to get busy.

For my birthday Husband had bought me a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer which I love, and today we bought the extra attachments to go with it (food grinder, pasta maker, fruit & vegetable strainer, slicer & shredder)! I couldn't believe our luck as the package of attachments was on sale for $100 off the original price!

This is my mixer above - the Kitchen Aid Artisan in silver.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

As most people with gardens, I have an abundance of zucchini that I need to use up.

We like zucchini bread and I wanted to make a chocolate version, but I couldn't find any healthy type recipes so I kind of made up my own. It is really good and not too sweet. This recipe make 4 loaves which I need for my family as they eat it like crazy. So without further ado, here is the recipe....

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 c sugar
5 duck eggs (I realize most people don't use duck eggs so use 6 chicken eggs)
1/3 c oil
1/3 c apple sauce
4 T water
2 T vanilla
5 c shredded zucchini
3 c flour
2 c whole wheat flour
1 c unsweetened cocoa
2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
2 t ground cinnamon
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease four 4x8 loaf pans

In a medium bowl beat together sugar, eggs, oil, apple sauce, water and vanilla until well blended. Stir in zucchini.

Add dry ingredients and stir until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter between the four pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick near the centre comes out clean.

Cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove from pans. (If you don't let them cool first the bottom of the loaf will rip off when removing)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Sly Fox

I love to watch the wildlife in our area and since we have been living here we have often observed a fox coming to visit our property. We know that she/he has a den across the road from us and it usually comes to check out the compost, but we haven't seen it for a about year or so.

The other day as we were working on the pole barn, Son came with a wheelbarrow full of gravel to pour into the holes. As he dumped it, the hens and one of the roosters came running towards us. We thought that they must have figured to was food that we were dumping - that is until Daughter yelled "A FOX!" We looked up to see the fox standing 20 meters away from us with one of our ducks in its mouth. We ran at the fox brandishing our shovels and screaming like a mob of angry villagers.


Luckily it dropped the duck and ran. She appears to be okay other than walking with a limp. We put the birds immediately back into the henhouse enclosure. That night I realized that I didn't remember seeing one of our hens (she stands out as she is a very silvery colour). The next morning I checked and sure enough she is missing. The night before we also had a hen die which had seemed fine all day - perhaps the fox had tried to get her and she managed to get away. I had looked her over and she seemed fine, but perhaps had internal injuries or died of shock?

Now the fox just keeps hanging around. The other day it walked up the driveway, sat down and scratched at its fur. It then walked over to our kitchen window and looked in at us. The dog was barking and going crazy, but the fox seemed completely unperturbed. He continued on along the side of the house and at this point Husband ran outside to scare it away. He was yelling, a shoe was thrown, and the fox just trotted away not frightened at all.

Later that same evening as Daughter went to feed the birds, she saw him hanging around the hen house. She grabbed the water hose and sprayed him full force!


The day before yesterday he was back. So cheeky! He came up to the front walkway only 10 feet away from our front door, sat down and again scratched at his fur and began grooming himself. Daughter ran out and scared him away.

I'm beginning to get a little frightened as this is a wild animal with obviously no fear of humans. I don't know too much about fox or if they can become aggressive towards people, but I think we may have to do 'something' about him.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Erecting Poles for the Barn

Husband has been wanting to build a pole barn since we finished building the house. Finally, the long wait is over and construction has begun.

Yesterday he rented an auger for the Bobcat and dug the 2 meter holes (6 foot) that the poles will sit in. Today he used the Bobcat to maneuver the poles into place. Unfortunately, this morning Husband found a hen in one of the holes - she was totally covered in mud after spending the night alone in the pit. She gladly jumped onto the stick that Husband put down for her and seemed none the worse for wear as she was lifted to safety (other than being really dirty).

The videos below document the erection of one of the poles (I had to split it up as I needed to move around the equipment). The back of the barn will attach to the hen house (the off white building in the background) and the barn will house equipment, travel trailer and such.

In the video Husband is driving the Bobcat, Son is moving the poles, and you can catch a couple of glimpses of Daughter as well.

Now that the poles are all in place (12 poles in all), they must be levelled and the holes filled in with gravel. The poles have already been pressure treated with wood preservative so that they don't decay in the ground.