Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nuts!


This year I've been focusing more on finding places to forage food than I have in the past, and, being in Oregon, I've been finding tons of hazelnuts. 

The ones pictured above I found in a local park, and I filled a shopping bag with them. Now I'm focused on getting them ready to eat.
Both my mom and Nonna have an allergy to the raw nuts. After looking into it more, my mom found out that hazelnuts contain phytic acid, just like many other seeds (including wheat), which prevents them from being digested, as well as irritating and causing inflammation in the digestive tract, and can impair the absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc. To combat this, I am soaking all of the unshelled nuts in a salted water solution overnight, and then we will roast them tomorrow and hope for the best. 


While shelling nuts earlier, I noticed that there was a noticeable size difference between the bits I'd collected in the park, and a handful of nuts I'd collected down the street. After researching it, I discovered that the smaller ones I'd collected down the street were most likely from American hazelnut trees, and that the larger ones I'd collected in the park were either European or a hybrid American x European hazelnut. I wasn't aware that there were different varieties of hazelnut trees, although it makes sense. I guess you learn something new every day. 

Fingers crossed that this experiment will work out. 

Hannah ❤️



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Food!




I never realized before how much I really LOVE food. I mean, I've always said that I do, and that I enjoy eating good food, but I'm realizing that my life just revolves around it. I've been a restaurant server, a pastry chef, and now a cook, and I just love creating good food. I read about food, I watch travel shows that center around food, I love experimenting with new recipes, I want to farm and grow nutritious food to share with people, I go crazy looking at all the gorgeous food at the farmers' market, and I take lots of pictures of food. I am passionate about food. 

So don't be surprised when many of my posts contain some food-related topic. 

Happy eating!

~ Hannah Elise ❤️

Friday, September 18, 2015

Homesteading and Historical Agriculture

I have been absolutely terrible about updating this blog. It has been almost a year since I last posted something, and I need to get back into the habit of posting things on here (on a regular basis).

So...Updates... Like usual...

First off, it's almost Autumn, my favorite time of the year (yay!!!), which means soon we will be going apple picking and on trips to the pumpkin patch, and larges amounts of tea, cider, and hot cocoa will be consumed.

Second, I have been working in a bakery for the past 4 months, making yummy croissants and pastries, and I really have been enjoying it.

Third, my schedule was so busy this last spring and summer, and I'm living in an apartment, so I really wasn't able to grow anything. Next year though. Next year it is on!

Also, I just updated the pages on my blog, and now have a new page titled, "Historical Agriculture and Homesteading Skills", which is a list of, you guessed it, historically used homesteading and agricultural skills that I plan on increasing my knowledge of, and putting into practice. I'm sure that I will be adding more in the near future, but I think I have enough items by now to keep me pretty busy. I'm thinking of taking one or two items at a time and really focusing on them before moving on to the next items.

Lastly, here is a picture of pumpkins for your enjoyment:


~ Hannah ♥

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Farmland

 
I just found out that the documentary film 'Farmland' is now available free to stream on Hulu for the next four weeks. Check it out here.
~ Hannah ♥

October!

 
 
 
October is finally here!!!!
 
My favorite month, in my favorite season.
I have had a great start to the month, and I hope that you have too!
I haven't had much time this year to work on any new farming skills, and I wasn't able to garden this year, but I have big plans for next year, and I still planning on widening my knowledge and being as self-sufficient as possible this Fall and Winter, starting with the harvest.
So as a start to my October, the twins and I went apple picking.
 
 
We ended up picking 105 lbs of apples, although 30 of those went to the restaurant, and 10 or so I gave to my mom, so I have about 60 lbs left to use for sauces, and rings, and pie filling.
Now I just have to figure out how to make room for all of the canned goods I will be making.
 
I also was able to spend some time on my boss' farm, learning to drive a tractor, and playing with chickens, and I finally was able to break in my boots.
 
Me holding "Freaky Eye"
 
Be on the lookout for more posts on this blog, and if you are in the mood for a good cup of cocoa, check out my French Style Hot Chocolate recipe on my Bel Sogno blog.
 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Update 7/16/14

It's been a while since I last posted, and I apologize for that. Things have been crazy the last few months, between moving, and work (night shift is a killer), and being a mother, I haven't really had much time to do anything extra, and that includes writing on here. Fortunately though, I have finally been moved off of noc shift, so my schedule won't be all messed up, and I will actually be awake during the day. I also have some great news! I just got a new job at a local restaurant, that I have been wanting to work at since I first heard it was opening three months ago. The restaurant sources many ingredients from local farms, hosts workshops on topics like jam making and worm composting, and has its own lending library, full of books on cooking, gardening, and farming. I am hoping that this opportunity will help launch me into the field I plan to go into. In my new role I am doing everything from waiting tables, to cooking, to inventory, and learning all of the ins and outs of running a business. I absolutely love my new job, and I enjoy meeting all of the new people I've been able to meet, locally and from around the world. I couldn't ask for a better boss, and it's great to be treated like a team member, and to know that my suggestions are taken seriously.

Here's to another adventure!

~ Hannah ♥

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spring!


Daffodils are blooming, frogs are croaking, birds are singing, seed catalogues have been arriving daily, weather is warming, days are getting longer, and the Oregon rain is beginning in earnest. Spring is just around the corner!

Oregon Small Farm Conference 2014

This year I am really trying to actively learn about and get involved in farming as much as I can, and as part of this goal I attended the Oregon Small Farm Conference on the 22nd of last month. I have been meaning to go the last couple years, but something always seems to come up to prevent me from going. This year, however, I made the extra effort and was able to go, and I am so glad that I did.

The day started by listening to keynote speaker Michael Ableman, who is a well known farmer, author, and sustainable agriculture advocate. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him talk about his experiences running an organic orchard on a commune as a young man, as well as his work on his current farm, Foxglove Farm, his urban farming project in Vancouver B.C., Sole Food, and his beliefs about how the food and farming systems should be organized. I was enthralled with his speech, hanging onto his every word, and I probably could have listened to him all day. I think it was hard for me to comprehend though that there were actually people out there who thought so similarly to me and had so many of the same basic beliefs.

The rest of the day consisted of three different sessions (and a very tasty locally grown and catered lunch), during which you could learn about different farming-related topics of your choosing and ask questions. My first session was on the topic of community food systems, and centered around the importance small farms play in changing the way the food system is set up, supporting local economic growth, and in making healthy, fresh food more accessible to everyone. This topic coincided with the topic of my second session, selling directly to SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) recipients, and I found their suggestions and ideas very useful, and many times rather creative. For instance, doubling the amount of produce that can be purchased with SNAP benefits (ex: $10 worth of produce with $5 worth of SNAP funds), and covering the difference with money collected from fundraisers, such as a "pie walk" at the farmers' market.

The third session I attended was on using draft animals in farming, mostly horses, which I very much enjoyed listening to, and through this I was able to finally get contacts of people who are experienced in using draft horses and offer training. I plan on focusing on draft power, as opposed to tractor power, when I finally get my farm going, and I have been trying to find someone who will train me in working with them, so this was definitely a highlight of my day.

The day ended with a capnote session made up of a panel of four farmers,  including Michael Ableman, who answered questions and talked about profitability on the farm. I definitely was able to get some great information throughout the day, that I will actually be able to use on my journey to starting my own farm, and I also was able to get some good contacts for internships and training. Most importantly though, I was able to spend the day among people who were equally as passionate about this way of life as I am, and it greatly motivated me to work more actively towards my goals.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Applesauce

I can proudly say I tried my hand at canning, and it was (mostly) a success. I have meaning to use my canner for the better part of two years, and I finally decided to buy some apples and try it out. I wasn't sure how many to use, and I figured that I should make a huge batch my first time, so I ended up buying around 20 apples to start off with.

 
After barely fitting the apple slices into two large pans, it definitely seemed like I was going to end up with more applesauce then I did, but I guess I didn't realize how much they would boil down.
 
 
I did have to adlib a little here and there. For example, I didn't have a foodmill, so I ended up using a sausage grinder/stuffer attachment on a mixer for this, and it did work surprisingly well. I also completely forgot about my canning funnel, and couldn't find it in time, so I did get a couple burnt fingers when I dropped boiling applesauce on them as I was trying to ladle it into the jars.
 
 
Luckily though, I didn't make any major mistakes and I ended up with for jars of delicious (if I do say so myself), homemade applesauce. I will just have to remember to be a little better prepared next time, in order to save my fingers.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Catching Up

So I haven't posted in a while, but I definitely have things to write about; pictures, and events, and even a tutorial to post, so bare with me as I get it all together and write it down. Looking forward to a new year of things to share! :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Kiwi Picking


 
 So I haven't posted in a while... I had been recovering after getting out of a toxic relationship, becoming better acquainted with myself again, and as a result, my schedule became busier and I always seemed to think of a topic to write for a blog post when I was out and about, away from a computer. Anyways, after half a year, everything finally seems to be falling back into place, and I am so much happier, and just more content with myself and my life, than I have been in a long time.


 
 
 So back to homesteading/homemaking/things-I-created-this-blog-to-write-about.....
 
My friend, Ellen, and I decided to spend a morning a couple weeks ago picking kiwis at a local u-pick kiwi farm. They grow two different types of kiwi there, Hayward (the fuzzy ones) and kiwi berries, or hardy kiwis. I had never eaten hardy kiwis before, but they are just delicious as the bigger ones, about the size of a large grape, and fuzz-less, so you can pop them in your mouth whole. I read somewhere that hardy kiwis are not techniquely kiwis, but I am unsure of the details there.
 
 
Hardy kiwis
Hayward kiwis

After picking a couple buckets worth of kiwis, we headed to a farm stand for some more local fruit (and honey), and then spent a couple of hours making our way through an antique mall.
 
Needless to say, we enjoyed ourselves.
 





 

Hardy kiwi freezer jam
 I was sure that I had overcommitted kiwi-wise, but after Ellen removed her share of them and I started mashing the hardy kiwis up for freezer jam, I realized that I probably could have gotten a few more, because three jars of jam isn't going to last very
 long...
 
Kiwis ready for ripening
 
 The Hayward kiwis were hard as rocks when we picked them... and two weeks later they still were. Luckily, on the back of the farm's business card there were directions on how to ripen them, so they are now sitting in a brown paper bag with an apple for a few days.



 
 
 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Goings On

So I haven't posted in a few weeks, but it's because the weather has been so nice lately that I've been trying to spend some more time outside and the heat just seems to zap your energy. Anyways, updates...

This year, again, I am doing container gardening, as I don't have anywhere to plant in the ground. So far though, I have 9 small tomato plants, snow pod peas, kale and lettuce seedlings, and pickling cucumber and zucchini seedlings sprouting up. I also have planted beets, bush beans, 4 containers of potatoes, and I will probably be trying to get some more planting in soon. Of course, added to this I have herbs and flowers and kiwi vines, etc that weathered over from last year, which adds some color to my little container garden. I'll have to make sure that I take some pictures later of my seedlings and post them.

Lately I have also been trying to dehydrate as much as I can, and I have to say, I love the electric dehydrators! They work so fast and you can really fit a lot onto those trays! I'm planning on getting some of the sheets to use with fruit leathers, so that I can try making some for my kids, as I would much prefer them eating snacks that don't have a bunch of crap added and are 100% healthy.

What about everyone else? Any gardening updates or any other goings on in your lives that you'd like to share?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Long Day

It's amazing how much walking around in the heat can wear you out! I spent the day at the Oregon Ag Fest with family, and man am I tired. The twins conked out as soon as we got home and seem to be out for the night. The Ag Fest was great though, and I'm glad we went. Even though it's aimed at children there seems to be tons of information useful to adults and all of the free seedlings that the kids get to plant and take home are definitely a plus!

After getting back I was able to harvest the rest of the leeks that overwintered and try them out in my new dehydrator. I have a feeling this is going to be my new favorite tool and I'll be going dehydrator crazy as new produce starts coming into season. I can't wait to try making jerky though! Yummy!

Tomorrow I plan on spending lots of time planting and doing yard work and will post pictures of my tomato starts. I love this time of year!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Blossoms



 
I just love all of the blossoms in spring, don't you?

The Self-Sufficiency Road to Retirement



 
Just thought I would share a new blog with everyone and encourage you to visit. The Self-Sufficiency Road to Retirement is actually written by my Mama and, as the title says, it will be detailing the experiences that she and her husband will be having in their journey towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle, and eventual financial independance in retirement.

Enjoy!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade



 

Although slightly cold, the sunny weather and clear skies that we've been getting off and on lately is making me think of the warmer weather and days spent in the sun. Because of this, I thought I'd share a recipe for a hot weather drink: Strawberry Lemonade.
 
Really, it's extremely simple. The only tools you need are a lemon/lime squeezer (like the one pictured below), a knife, and a quart sized mason jar. Your ingredients will include 2 lemons, a handful of strawberries, sugar, water, and about a cupful of ice.
 
 
So first, you just need to prepare the fruit by cutting the lemons in half and rinsing the strawberries and removing their stems and leaves. Then you simply juice each lemon half into the mason jar with the lemon squeezer, followed by the strawberries. Yes, I actually juiced the strawberries this way, and it seemed to work really well. You can then drop the flattened strawberries into the jar with the juice, and it seems to add extra flavor. Next, add the ice to the jar, and then fill the jar with water, until there is about an inch and a half left room the top of the jar. After this, you add sugar to taste, and shake the sealed jar to mix everything up. You may end up using about a 1/4 cup of sugar, but some people like their lemonade a little sweeter, and it really just depends on your preference.
 
Enjoy!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Just Around the Corner...

 
Although only mid February, there definitely seems to be a noticable change in the air. Tulips and daffodils are sprouting up everywhere, the weather is getting warmer, the sun has been peeking out more often, the frogs in the field are croaking at night... I'd say it's starting to feel a lot like Spring! This change in the weather is really getting me in the mood to start planting, and I've been trying to look through my seed catalogues to decide what to plant this year.

There's a problem though....there are too many choices to choose from!!!!

I never had any idea there could be so many varieties of beans or other vegetables, and it's making it extremely hard to really decide on anything! I know I want beans for both eating fresh and drying, and definitely some greens and tomatoes, and that I'll have to get seeds that do wel in containers or in small spaces, as I won't have much room to work with, but I am having the hardest time deciding what I want. Of course, I'm sure part of it is my own fault, as I did order several different seed catologues, which makes it that much harder, as each one makes it that much harder, and now I have to deal with the consequences. Oh darn. ;)

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to figure it out, and in the mean time, at least I've got some interesting reading to keep me busy. Do any of you have the same problem this time of year? If so, how do you narrow down your choices?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Magazine Offer


Thought I would share this offer I found over at One Hundred Dollars a Month! Discount Mags is offering a year's subscription to Urban Farm Magazine for only $4.50, with the coupon code 2479, as opposed to it's listed price of $15! Hurry though! This offer expires tonight at 12:00am EST!