Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy homestead - what's going on this week

This time of year is filled with days where we are trying to enjoy the last warm moments outside. We've been taking time for walks to the park, and eating picnic meals outside as much as possible. Luckily there is plenty to do outdoors to complete the harvest and prepare for winter gardening as well as next spring. In the garden we've been harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, basil, zucchini, kale; we've dug up the garlic and are getting ready to plant our next year's garlic; drying herbs and preparing our herb shares (making tinctures, salves, medicinal oils, and tea blends for our herb share members); and of course saving seeds for next year. We've also started flats of new greens for the fall cold frames and to be planted in the greenhouse - photo above shows them sprouting nicely.

It's also canning season, so the last few days we've been working on a bushel of pears that is being turned into pear sauce and pear-custard pies...we make loads of pear and apple sauce, and love to use this on everything from breakfast to main course to dessert in the winter months. I've also been doing a fair amount of bread baking the last few days, as a friend and I will be baking weekly for a local CSA pick up that takes place in our neighbourhood. We've been experimenting with an organic wholegrain sourdough recipe that uses a "biga" made several days in advance, using locally milled organic flour from Grassroots Organics and Oak Manor. There is nothing more satisfying that fresh bread from the oven, made with wholesome simple good quality ingredients. What I love about bread, and especially sourdough, is that is never quite comes out the same twice - so much depends on the environment it's baked in - the house temperature, the exact amounts of flour, wild yeasts, the mood I'm in, the other foods cooking around the dough at the same time (I like to think this sourdough took on subtle notes of pear as it was rising beautifully next to my pots of pearsauce on the stovetop). I hope to experiment more with our outdoor wood-fired oven as well, once I get this recipe worked out. After the CSA is over, we may continue to bake for our neighbourhood or the local barter community. Here are a few photos of our busy homestead this week...

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