Home & Garden

Morning chores on the farm.

Morning chores on the farm.

Every morning I have to take fresh water to our little flock of laying hens.  Occaisionally my daughter, Jane will join me.  I cherish these special times with my daughter.  Sometimes a teaching opportunity shows up but mostly we just enjoy being together.  That's what I like about my farming hobby.  It gives us common goals which also presents us with  more opportunities to do things as a family! 

Apple Pomanders Part 1

Apple Pomanders Part 1

When you make apple cider one of the byproducts is apple pulp or pomace.  A good use for this pulp to make something called a "pomander".  That's a small round ball of perfumed material that is tied up in fabric.  This can then be hung on a Christmas tree or around the house where it gives off sweet fragrances.  So we mixed cinnamon, clove, and ginger into the pulp and then shaped it into balls.  Then we rolled the balls in yet more cinamon and have set them on a pan to dry.  We've got the pan under our wood stove at the moment and it makes the whole living room smell wonderful!  As you can see my daughter, Jane really enjoyed making them!

Making homemade cider!

Making homemade cider!

We just made some homemade cider and it was delicious!  I do not have a proper cider press but I did have a home made cheese press that I decided to try to use as a cider press.  It worked quite well!  First I cut up the apples into quarters.  Then I put them into a food processor with the metal blade and chopped them quite fine.  It almost looked like applesauce but more coarse.  Then I lined a cheese mold with cheese cloth.  A cheese mold is basically a cylinder of food grade plastic with no bottom and holes on the sides.  With the cheese cloth inside the mold I added my apple pulp.  Then I folded the cheese cloth over the pulp and put the follower in.  Then I put the top of my press in place and put rocks on top of that for weight!  Underneath the cheese mold is a plain old disposable 8x8 foil cake pan that has a hole poked in one corner.  That way all the cider flows to that little hole and down into a bowl.  And t

How to make Apple Pie from scratch!

How to make Apple Pie from scratch!

I like to make pies!  Years ago I learned how to make a pretty good crust by watching my Grandmother.  When I talk to most of my friends about making pies it seems to me that the biggest obstacle to making a home made pie is the crust.  I agree that at first it can be daunting, but with a little practice it can be done.  So I thought I would do a video series in NATE'S KITCHEN on pie crust and also on apple pie.  The first video is in the player above but to see the rest of them you'll have to go to my YOUTUBE channel by CLICKING HERE!  Enjoy!

Western Maine Resort Towns, Downeast Coast Displaying Peak Foliage

Western Maine Resort Towns, Downeast Coast Displaying Peak Foliage

AUGUSTA, Maine - Peak foliage color has reached Rangeley, Farmington, Bethel, and the downeast coast, according to the fifth 2011 fall foliage report from the Maine Department of Conservation (MDOC).
 
Maine fall foliage conditions for Oct. 12. Credit: Maine Department of Conservation.
Currently, Maine Forest Service and state park rangers are observing peak leaf color, or at least 75 percent color change, in the western lakes and mountains region, covering the towns of Rangeley, Kingfield, Farmington, Rumford and Bethel. Peak color is also being reported along the downeast coast from Bucksport to Eastport and in interior Hancock and Washington counties.

Laying hens out on the grain field.

Laying hens out on the grain field.

We just moved our laying hens out into the grain field!  This means that we can let them out of their coop since the grain field is fenced.  This is their first taste of freedom ever!  It's such a pleasure to see them scratching, digging and flapping.  They will be working hard until the snow flies cleaning up after the grain harvest.  They will find almost every last scrap of grain that may have fallen in the harvesting process.  They will also eat weed seeds before they get a chance to work into the soil.  Part of their foraging process is scratching.  They take a step forward and scratch once with each foot.  Then they back up one step and bend down for a look!  Sometimes they find seed and sometimes they find a bug!  Of course during all this they are also dropping nitrogen rich manure onto the earth.  I've read that this technique, which is normally done with hogs, is called "hogging down" the land.  I think we sh