Sunday Homestead Update

This week has been full of canning and preparing for County Fair.

Plum Jam and Jelly

We found a great deal on plums this week and bought a case of them.  So we made a bunch of plum jelly and jam.  It turned out delicious!

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Gooseberry Currant Syrup

We have two types of currant bushes that we planted (one Crandall Clove and one Red Lake), and two Pixwell Gooseberry bushes.  In addition, there is a wild currant (Wax currant) that grows all over this area and we have plenty on the property.  The wild currant is not very tasty on its own, and the berries are tiny.  Last winter, as an experiment, Mountain Man and Young man went around the property and pruned several of the wild currant bushes.  We waited expectantly to see how those bushes would do this year.  Not only do those bushes have many more berries on them that are much larger in size than the berries on the un-pruned bushes, but the berries also have a better flavor.  Strange, we weren’t expecting the flavor change.

With only 4 gooseberry and currant bushes that we planted, and with them only being 2 years old, the harvest isn’t very big.  So we decided to mix them with the wild currant berries and see how it tasted.  We have previously tried to make jelly and syrup with the wild currants only and the flavor was not good.

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Wild Currants

Our first batch we mixed about 50% wild currants with 50% our berries.  The syrup was delicious!  This week we tried our second batch.  Sunshine and Little Miss did the picking and went a little crazy with it.  When they came in they had about 7/8 wild and 1/8 ours.

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Wild currants, Crandall Clove currants, Red Lake currants, and Pixwell Gooseberries

I was afraid that was too much wild and the flavor would be bad but we tried it anyway.  It turned out delicious too!

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We are enjoying the syrup on our waffles, pancakes, and ice cream!  Knowing now that the wild bushes can provide us with so much opens up quite a big door for us.  With our 4 bushes we were limited in how much we could make, but with all the wild ones as well we should be able to make not only syrup, but jelly too.  This winter we will definitely be pruning all the wild bushes to help them produce better!

Painting

I downloaded the before and after photos of all the exterior painting we did that I mentioned last week.  The worst part of the house was the porch.  It is in very bad condition, and we hope to replace it next summer, but until we can replace it we decided we needed to go ahead and paint it to try to slow the breakdown process.

Here are some of the “before” pictures.  A lot of the porch barely had any paint left on it at all.  It was terrible.

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Here are the “after” pictures.  Everything looks SO much better!

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And even though the barn was painted just 4 years ago, we decided we should give it another painting to help keep it in good condition.  It doesn’t look much different, just newer and tidy-er.

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Knitting

I have finished two projects lately and I am very pleased with both of them.

This is the Latte Baby Coat pattern by Lisa Chemery.  I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky in the Willow colorway.  I made this for Mr. Smiles’ upcoming first birthday.  It looks SO adorable on him and will keep him nice and warm this winter.

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This is the Farmhouse Shawl pattern by cabinfour.  I used hand-spun yarn from wool from our sheep, Fiona.  This is the first ever project I have made from our own wool!!!  That is SO exciting to us.  Sheep-to-shawl!  While about 98% of projects I knit are for other people I just couldn’t let this one go…it will be keeping me warm this winter…I am keeping it for myself.  🙂

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Those were the main two projects I have been working on for the last few months.  So I am left with empty needles.  Well, not exactly, I do have one pair of socks still on the needles, but for me that is normal…I always have at least one pair of socks on the the needles at any given time.  So it is time to start finding some new projects.  I think I better start working on Christmas gifts now, since I usually knit a present for each of my kids and Mountain Man (for a total of 6 knit presents) and then sometimes make presents for others as well.  So I will be perusing for patterns and looking in my yarn stash so that I can get started on those soon.

 

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