January 28, 2017

Wild Turkeys Sightings in Winter

I saw a flock of wild turkeys walking down the road in front of our house.  They looked as big as a large dog and there was about ten of them.   I grabbed the camera and took some good photos when they flew up into the neighbors crab apple tree. They hung around the house for a couple hours.

Wild turkeys perched in crab apple tree

 This is when our Australian Shepherd noticed the turkey activity and started barking.  All the turkeys took off.  I didn't know they could fly so well.

Wild turkeys take flight from top of crab apple tree

My husband spotted this one while getting firewood from outside at dusk.  This turkey is in the top of one of the tallest trees in our backyard forest.

Wild Turkey perched high in a tree at dusk.

January 22, 2017

Fourth Year on the Homestead: Accomplishments and Plans for 2017

Accomplishments for the Fourth year on the homestead (2016):

Installed fire wood loading window.  This has made a huge difference in the amount of effort required to bring the fire wood inside and to beside the wood stove.  Now the window beside the wood stove is opened and one person outside pulls the wood off the wood rack and hands it to a person inside who puts it on the small rack beside the wood stove.  This is done once or twice a week.  It looks like we'll be able to get by this winter with the left over firewood from the previous year plus the firewood we cut from our own property in the summer.

Built larger chicken coop.  Five hens were raised from chicks this summer and were integrated with the existing hens.  The new coop has plenty of room for all the ladies.  This winter poly panels were added to two sides of the coop and the roof to keep the snow out. The other two sides are sheltered by the deck.  The coop is no longer easily mobile and is tucked in beside the back deck.  I found that it isn't necessary for the coop to be mobile because they free range every day.  Also, It's really nice to have the coop close during the cold winter days to easily collect eggs.

Planted fruit trees. Two plum trees and two dwarf cherry bushes were planted in the spring.  In the fall, when nursery stock was on sale,  a third plum tree, service berry bush, a mini kiwi vine and a willow, were planted.  Digging the holes took several days because the ground is about 2 inches of topsoil and then rocks and clay.  Also, some plant guilds were added at the base of the fruit trees.

Expanded the veggie garden to more than twice the original size by a combination of no dig and lasagna gardening over a patch of front lawn.  Also a fence about four foot high was added around the perimeter with a gate.

After three years of making our home a homestead, the garden areas are well established and we no longer need to do any project related to the wood stove, except cut or order more wood.  Our plans this year, 2017 are to:

1.  Make and install wooden shutters to the front windows to match the roof colour.
2.  Improve garden beds for carrots.
3.  Plant apple trees.

January 8, 2017

Low Histamine Shepherd's Pie

Lower your histamine input by eating low-histamine foods and also try to eat gluten-free.  This shepherd's pie is low in histamine and gluten free.  Use very fresh or freshly frozen ground beef to reduce the development of histamine in the meat. 

Make this on the weekend as a special meal and freeze the extras in mason jars to make cute individual meals that are easy to warm during the week.

1 large package ground beef (very fresh)
1 bag organic corn (to avoid GMO)
1 bag peas
5 large potatoes
1 sweet potato 

1/2 cup milk
Sage (a few leaves)

1.  Fry ground beef with sage until meat is no longer pink, then drain fat.
2.  Steam corn and peas.
3.  Peel and boil potatoes.  Then mash with milk.
4.  In casserole, layer ground beef, then corn/pea mixture, then mashed potato.

5.  In four wide-mouth 250 mL mason jars, layer with remaining ingredients.
6.  Bake casserole, covered in 350F oven for 60 minutes.

7.  Add lids to jars and freeze immediately to avoid histamine development.

Thaw jars in hot water, remove lids and microwave to warm.