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!