My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, www.rosemary-ridge.blogspot.com ... thank you!

Milking Goat coming home

CM2, our milking nigerian dwarf doe, is ready to come home. (Pic to the right.) This coming Sunday, if we can get the goat house torn down and rebuilt by then.

So last night, after Hubby got home from work and we had dinner (pasta with leftover frozen tomatoes from 2008 harvest and dried onions/garlic), we took a deep breath and started. Hubby used the drill to unscrew some of the millions on screws. The Kid (moving ever so slowly!) took out the hay and took down the tarps. Then we took off the roof and one of the sides.

Made a little progress.

The second pic to the right is the goat pen. Took this morning, just at dawn, so the pic isn't top quality. Sorry. But you get the gist ... we took it apart! Well, a little.

Chicken coops on hold until we get this done. It's time we started making goat-milk yogurt instead of spenting almost $2.00 per yogurt cup for the Kid each day. Hmmm.... and craving some ice cream!

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The pictures to the right are in my green-room / garden-room upstairs. As you can see, my tomato seedlings are VERY ready to be planted outside. We decided, because the soil is so bad, that we'll do mostly container gardening this year while letting the chickens fertilize the fenced-in area this summer. We'll build the raised beds as we have time, and fill with what we muck from the goat pen. At the end of summer, we'll cover with newspaper and hay then plastic bags, and let it percolate during the winter. By early Spring, we'll have black gold!



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Even tho our harvest won't be as big this year as next year (hoping!), I'm in the market for a new dehydrator. A high capacity, with no BPA on the screens/sheets. I've requested an Excalibar catalog, and while I had the rep on the phone, asked about BPA. She emphatically said that NONE of their products have BPA. I said even the screens? She said "none". Good. I was concerned about the screens and the fruit roll-up "tray". Now... assuming I can scrape up the money, I'll probably get a 9-sheet dehydrator.

I don't can much. You know... pickling and making jams, etc. I'm not very good at it. I **am**, however, great at dehydrating. I also make fruit roll-ups altho the Kid doesn't care for them (I know ... probably the only kid in the world). I don't usually blanch beforehand, either. I still have some dried tomatoes from 2008 harvest that show absolutely no signs of moisture or molding, and those I stored only in plastic baggies.

This year forward, I'll be storing in tightly sealed canning jars. I don't need to worry about the BPA in the lids, tho, because the dried food won't be touching the tops. Leave about a 1/2 inch of headspace when filling.

I don't know. Maybe I'll vaccuum-seal in my seal-a-meal the majority of our harvest, and fill the glass jars as needed. Just found this out: ... FoodSaver and Seal-a-Meal vacuum bags are both made by Jarden Consumer Solutions who says that "all of their 5 ply vacuum bags are made from poly nylon plastic. They explained that the bags are a polyethylene/nylon blend and all bags are BPA-free. And they are made without PVC and phthalates as well. This is great news for folks who buy their food in bulk and freeze extras for future use!"

Good!

Storing dried food as opposed to canned or frozen takes a lot less space. Yes, we'll need water to rehydrate, but we have well water so we'll be fine.

Any recommendations from those of you who dehydrate a lot?

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