Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thistle for Rennet Part 2

The thistle is slowly drying. Some is looking good, some, unfortunatly, are turning into white cotton, meaning they will not be usable.

Hopefully, there will be at least enough dried thistle to make the process worth while. Then again, this is my first try, so maybe practice makes perfect?

Stay tuned for (hopefully), the next step after the thistle is dried and ready.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Saving Ground Cherry Seeds

I have been wanting to grow ground cherries for quite some time, but never go around to sending for seeds. So, when I was at a market in Penn Yan, NY and saw ground cherries for sale, I decided to just harvest them myself, and bought some. I found that stripping the seeds out in small batches works the best.

The harvesting of the seeds is really quite simple. First, you need to remove the paper casing.

Next, squeeze and drop the fruit into a bowl of shallow water

Let sit in the water and allow the seeds to float out. If need be, you can safely manipulate the seeds out of the fruit with your fingers, into the water, without damaging the tiny seeds.

Remove the meaty parts, leaving only the seeds. You will notice that the seeds will go to the bottom. Should any seeds be floating on top, discard those individuals, as they are no good.

Next, carefully pour the water off of the seeds. This is easier than you think, as the seeds will remain behind if you pour slowly and carefully.

You will now be left with the seeds.

Let the seeds dry thoroughly, then either put them with the rest of your harvested seeds for packaging when you are done, or package immediately.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Collecting Thistle for Rennet

The other day, my friend Martha was talking about making rennet from thistle. As it sounded interesting, we decided to begin harvesting the purple flowers (before they dry and explode with seed, at which time it is too late, I guess). This is the first bunch that I harvested here at the 1840's farm.

According to directions, they need to dry for about 3 weeks before we can go to the next step. In the mean time, more flower heads should be blossoming soon. The thistle plant is so pretty, that I hate to cut the heads off.

Stay tuned for the progression of rennet making with thistle. (It should be noted that it is said that this rennet should be used with goat or sheep milk only as it can make cow's milk cheese bitter. )

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


I did some simple pickling the other day using a few cukes that I had to pick. I made a simple brine using white vinegar, sugar and cloves to taste, brought to a slight boil then poired over slices cukes, along with a few cinnamon sticks and a sprinkle of mustard seed in the jars.

Because I only made 2 jars of pickles, I did not bother to do the actual canning process after I filled the jars. Instead, I refrigerated the them after they had cooled.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tree Frogs

I love it when the tree frogs come out at night. They also like to hide in the umbrella during the day. Once in a while one will climb on my hand or arm and just sit with me. So cute!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Avacado Update

In April, I made a post about the avacado pit that I planted and was finally sprouting. It was coming beautifully too. Then, while I was up in NY, my parents checked on it, and found it obliterated.  Something ripped it apart. There wasn't even anything left for a picture.

Oh well.....just have to try again later! And we still don't know what...or who....ripped that pit and seedling apart.

Getting Artistic

Once again, I have been playing with some awesome photography software. This was a picture that I took in a friend's garden a few years go. It is a fav of mine, but I was curious as to what more could be done with it.

This is the result of "play time".