Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Worm Farm

I took custody of 1000 worms two days ago. I bought them from a local worm farmer for $33.oo.

They were delivered to work in a Styrofoam box and were covered in peat moss, which when pulled back revealed this squirming mass of tiny worms. They are a mix of three types of compost worm, the names of which I can't remember, and look just like earth worms you find in your garden, only smaller. However, compost worms won't survive in the garden- they live on compost, I've been told.

I have bought them for their castings, which I intend to use for a seedling mixture. I had thought they would make good chook food, but already I am too attached to them to feed them to the chooks.

I have two little black plastic worm farms that I have picked up at garage sales, which are essentially multi-layered boxes that pull apart. The worms can move freely between all the levels. The bottom level has a tap on it so you can drain off any liquid fertilizer the worms produce.

I have read a little bit about worm farming, but things in the book never really make sense until you try them out. So I am not really sure how it all works yet.

The worm dude told me to put food scraps into the blender with water and make a mush, or throw food scraps onto the lawn and run over them with the lawn mower or feed them cow shit...I am going for the cow shit option because it sounds easiest, and I have lots of the chooks eat the food scraps.

You just put the food in the top layer of the worm farm and top it up as required. I will have to look it up in my book as to whether I need to add water. Which I better do soonish....

The children were very excited about the worms...they really love having all the animals This morning they delighted in watching one of the new chooks lay an egg on Bill's grandmother's antique chaise lounge.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pumpkin soup

We grew around 100 pumpkins this year, straight out of the compost. So, pumpkin soup has been on the menu a lot lately and this has given me the chance to try and perfect my recipe.

This recipe is based on home-made chicken stock. See below for info on how to make your own chicken stock- it's really easy.

Ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon
salt 2 pinches
shredded garlic 4-6 bulbs
onions 2 medium
butter 2- 3 tablespoons
2 litres of chicken stock
1 large Jap pumpkin peeled and chopped

What to do:
Use large heavy based pot.
Soften onion slowly in butter on a low heat with the shredded garlic mixed in.
Add chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil.
Add pumpkin with salt and ground pepper.
Add water but do not fully cover pumpkin it should still be protruding by and inch or two.
Gently boil until soft.
Put mixture through blender than return to pot.
Stir on low and add 300mls of cream.

Should feed about 6 people

Chicken stock:
Take the carcass,bones and fat left over after a baked chicken diner, put it all in a pot with about 3 -4 litres of water and boil gently for 3 hours. Drain off the liquid and store in the fridge for up to five days.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Milling flour

Today I milled my own wheat and made muffins for the children. It was a surprisingly rewarding experience to take the food from such a raw unprocessed state to a baked product. The children were fascinated and all wanted to have a turn cranking the hand mill which I borrowed from our neighbors. It was a lot of work for six tiny muffins.

It took about 10 minutes to grind about 1 to 2 cups of flour. I put it on a coarse setting. I made the muffins with yeast and was doubtful they would it would react, but sure enough it did. The children really loved them and didn't seem to mind the texture.

It was interesting to see the amount of manual energy required to produce such a small amount of food.