Sunday, June 24, 2018

Cherry Cobbler

I am lucky enough to have parents that love gardening as much as we do and always has fruit and veggies to spare.  One thing they have a ton of is cherry trees.  The kids and I went over there late last week and came home with probably 20 quarts of sour cherries!  I had told her that I wanted enough to can 2 quarts...well, I ended up canning 4 quarts plus 10 pints!  I also have plenty of cherries leftover to dehydrate and juice leftover to make homemade grenadine.

Another thing that I decided to make?  Cherry Cobbler.  Cobbler is such an easy dessert and this was tart, sweet, and delicious!

Cherry Cobbler



1 Tbsp soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar 
1 cup flour 
2 tsp baking powder 
1/2  cup milk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 pint (2 cups) sour cherries 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
Boiling Water


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and 8x8 pan, and drain cherries reserving any liquid.

2.  In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, milk, and salt until a smooth batter is formed.  Spread batter in prepared pan.

3.  In the same bowl (no reason to dirty another!), combine the sugar, drained cherries and almond extract.  Add enough boiling water to the reserved cherry juice to measure 1 1/2 cups.  Add to the cherries and mix well.  Top the batter with the cherry mixture.

4.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the batter rises and begins to turn golden brown.  Remove and allow to cool.  Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Moving the Chickens - Part Two

After being moved to the run in their own space for about a week, it was time to integrate our newest flock members in with our remaining two original chickens - Libby Mae and Bork.  I had some 'supervised visitation' with all of them for about 30 minutes one day and, well, it didn't go great, but it wasn't terrible.

We knew we had to do something because it was just a matter of time before the little chicks figured out a way to fly up and over our 8 foot tall fence into the garden or the yard.  Once we walked in and found them on top of their makeshift coop and roosting on the door, we knew it was time.

We were cautiously optimistic and decided to move the little chicks into the coop with Libby Mae and Bork at night while they were roosting.  Once we got them in and shut the door, there was a little squabbling, but nothing to be concerned about.  The next morning, all was long as the chicks kept their distance from Bork.  Ha!  She's a feisty little b.... if you know what I mean.  

As long as I threw out lots of treats, the chickens could semi-cohabitate together.  Again, as long as all the little ones (and, who am I kidding - Libby Mae too!) gave Bork plenty of space.


We were hopeful that the little chickens would follow the two bigger ones into the coop at night.  This was a pretty silly thought on our part considering they were scared to death of them!  Needless to say, that didn't happen.  When we would go out to check on them at night, they would all be up on top of the kennel/coop (we had it closed so they wouldn't roost inside of it) all huddled together.  So, just like we did with our first flock, we had to put these chicks on lock down inside the coop.

So, in the coop they went and in the coop they stayed for four days.  This trains them that this is their home, their safe place, and where they need to return to every night.  Now, we did not want Bork and Libby Mae to be locked in with them so we locked them out of the coop and turned the small chicken coop/kennel into their coop for a few days.

It's been a little over a week since the coop training and I'm happy to report that all of the chicks are going to the coop at night.  Yay!!  They still aren't BFFs with Bork or Libby Mae, but they are definitely cohabitating better.  Well, as long as they stay away from Bork's food!

~ Sara :)

Friday, June 22, 2018

Strawberry Picking

I don't know about where you live, but here in Michigan, it's strawberry season!!  Our strawberry patch is pretty small on our little homestead and I desperately needed to make lots and lots of strawberry jam this year.  So, the kids, my mom, and I went strawberry picking!


I found a U-Pick Farm about 20 minutes from our house and it was so much fun!  The kids had an awesome time walking through the rows of strawberries.


The highlight for the kids might have been when the farm dog came over to say hello...then proceeded to follow the kids everywhere they went for the next five minutes.  What can I say?  We're dog lovers!


Other than Redmond taking one little break towards the end, the kids were troopers for the whole hour and a half we were picking.  They were quite proud of their hardwork, too!


So, we headed home with 16 quarts of strawberries!  My mom kept four and I brought home the other 12.

I spent the rest of the day hulling strawberries, making three batches of strawberry jam and hulling more strawberries.  I use this little tool to hull my strawberries.  It works great and gives you little waste.


Other than the jam, I also canned 5 pints of strawberries in syrup.  Hoping that these will bring a taste of summer to the cold winter months!

I also made Strawberry Shortcake for mine and Jason's wedding anniversary.  It was so delicious!

Happy Strawberry Eating!

~ Sara :)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Chive Blossom Infused Vinegars

Did you know that you can use those fluffy purple chive blossoms and create a tangy, slightly oniony infused vinegar?  It's super easy!  All you need are chive blossoms, any type of white vinegar, a jar and some patience!

First step is to gather your chive blossoms.  You can either use scissors/clippers, or just pop them off with your fingers.  Once you've gathered your blossoms, you'll want to soak/rinse them really well in water to make sure you don't have any creepy crawlies hiding in them.  A salad spinner works great for this.


Once the blossoms are cleaned, place them in a mason jar - I used approximately 1 cup of blossoms in each pint jar.  Cover the blossoms with your choice of vinegar.  You'll want to use a light colored vinegar because the blossoms will transform the vinegar into a beautiful shade of pink.  I did one jar with Champagne Vinegar and one with White Balsamic.  I had a cup of the Champagne and just over a cup of the Balsamic.

Seal the jars and tuck them away for 7-10 days.  You'll see that after letting the blossoms infuse, the vinegar color has been transformed and the it will have a slight onion scent to it.


Strain the vinegar(s) through cheesecloth or a coffee filter into a jar or bottle.  Be sure to squeeze the blossoms to ensure you get all of the chive flavor.

Use in dressings, marinades, or anywhere you'd use vinegar.  Enjoy!

~ Sara :)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Early June Garden View

We have been busy busy with our garden this year.  Most things are looking great!  We have had a lot of rain this spring and that has definitely taken a toll on some of our crops.  Our beets never sprouted, out of 24 Yukon potatoes, only 7 sprouted, one batch of pole beans did not sprout well and our corn suffered as well.  But, everything else is thriving!  I wanted to take a few photos of the garden now - beginning of June - to compare to photos at the end of June and into July and August.  So, here's a peek into our happy place :)

This is the when you walk into the main entrance of the garden - the northwest corner:

Here is a view from the northeast corner of the garden:


This view is from the back (south) side of our garden.  When I took these photos, neither the carrots or fingerling potatoes had been weeded because they were still sprouting:

Still facing north in the garden, this gives you a vision of everything behind the cucumbers:

And, a view of everything in front of the cucumbers:

A view from the southeast corner:

It's our first year growing Jerusalem Artichokes and they are doing amazing!  This is the southwest corner of the garden (the bees are behind the Jerusalem Artichokes):

There is a small peek into our garden!  Looking forward to comparing these photos to new ones in a few short weeks!

~ Sara :)