Thursday, January 28, 2010


It's clear and cold today!  The thermometer outside the kitchen window has been hovering around 0F all day, and the wind chill is not one to play around with.    Tom and Ed wanted to go to town and, lo and behold, they found that the van was frozen to the ground.  Tom had to use the truck to bump the van free from the ice.  That was a first for us!  The temperature inside the chicken coop is around 10F, so after keeping the door open for a few minutes to air the coop out while I checked feed and water and collected eggs, I shut everybody back up since I knew they wouldn't go outside anyway -- they hate the wind and they don't like the snow.  I have a nice big window in the coop that let's the sunshine in and all the chickens hunkered on the roosts, their feathers fluffed out, and basked in the sunshine.  The hens appreciated the fresh warm water, too.  I am still geting about a dozen eggs a day.

I ordered some kefir grains from the Kefirlady and received them today.  I promptly put them in a clean quart canning jar and gave them some milk.  I can't wait to taste the kefir tomorrow.  I have been wanting to find some real kefir grains for some time now and am SO glad I finally was referred to the Kefirlady.  I am hoping I can convince Tom to drink it, too, or at least eat the extra grains when they start multiplying.  Along with the grains, the Kefirlady sent a nice booklet of recipes, FAQs, and an order form for other products she sells.  (I didn't know you could make cheese from kefir!)  If you want to grow your own supply of probiotics, the Kefirlady is a good place to start.

For those of you watching the progress of AB229 in the Wisconsin legislature, the bill passed the Senate with one amendment the requires that the following sentence and information be part of the label: “This product was made in a private home not subject to state licensing or inspection.”, and a list of ingredients in descending order of prominence. If any ingredient originates from milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, or soybeans, the list of ingredients shall include the common name of the ingredient."  With this amendment, the bill must go back to the Assembly for approval before it can then go to Governor Doyle for signing.  AB229 is a bill that would allow people to can certain foods in their home without a state license.  Foods permitted would be pickled vegetables, most canned fruits, canned tomatoes and salsas.  Passage of this bill will certainly help farmers market vendors and people who sell from their farm make a little extra money.  I suspect that the State DATCP (Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection) will want people to take the approved canning course before selling any items.  Fortunately, I already have taken the course (that course I told you about last June).  It is a one day course (I think I paid $75) and you learn alot about safe canning.  The course is definitely worth your while even if you are a seasoned canner because many canning recommendations changed around 1994 and procedures you think may be safe are no longer considered so.  It will definitely be nice to sell jams and jellies at the farmers market -- I hope this bill is signed into law soon!  I think there is too much regulation of everything, but don't get me started . . . .

Well, stay warm, Everybody!


  1. Great news about the bill and I hope it passes soon! I took a canning safety class a few years ago at a Women in the Outdoors event and learned some up-to-date things.
    Cold here in PA! Really cold - hard to believe after the beautiful day we had last Saturday. I've got my 3 year old grandson this weekend so it will be nice to spend the time inside baking and cuddling.
    Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend and enjoy your kefir!

    Beth aka oneoldgoat

  2. Hi, Beth -- hope you're staying warm! The pic you posted on your blog last month of little Phoenix sleeping on the floor was just adorable. I bet you spoil him ;) I'm looking forward to trying to make cheese from the kefir.
    I like the way it tastes, and Lara does, too, so at least I won't be the only one drinking it.

  3. Hi Joyce - I can't believe it's been so long since I've visited your blog. It's so wonderful and I'm so jealous that you're still getting eggs even during winter! I'll have to tell my chickens there's no excuse, lol.

    We're not good at dealing with snow like y'all are there. I haven't tried to go anywhere since it came in - not sure I can. We don't have snow plows or salt trucks on the rural roads and it's 6 miles to pavement from here.

  4. Thanks, Roxann, I'm glad you like the blog -- I really like yours, too. When I saw those pictures you posted of the "glacier" across your road, I thought then that you might be what we call "snowed in" if you got any heavy winter weather. I hope you have that beautiful pantry you made stocked up! Say, do you sell ginseng plants?