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The Farm Kitchen

My kitchen is never clean. Not in the way that you may think. Yes, things are wiped and all that, but if you look carefully, you will see things bubbling, steaming, working, growing, fermenting, in every corner of the room. I leave my crockpot out to throw things into as I harvest them. I have a gallon jar of Kombucha fermenting all the time, sometimes two!
My cast iron frying pans are never put away. You never know when you have to throw something together for the kids. And there is nothing worse than pulling out a pan and having it be slightly rusted from not being totally dry when  put away.
Then there is the wormbin. Yes, I have thousands of red wigglers growing and thriving on my counter. I cant say that it is tiny, the thing is 2 ft square and at least two feet high. Good thing they compost quietly and with no odor, or guests would never come into the house.
How about the stove? It is a restaurant style, with 6 burners and a huge griddle. I have to keep the griddle clean because it is impossible to clean otherwise (that and it’s gross not to), but the stove itself is stainless steel. Whomever thought of making anything shiny silver, is a dolt, in my opinion. It is never shiny or beautiful for more than a day after you take the time to shine and buff it. Lame
Today, I am going to make kombucha. This is a fermented drink that tastes sort of like sweet apple cider. I make it 3 quarts at a time, and it never lasts long around here. In fact, when served ice cold, it is the first thing anyone asks to drink. Kombucha  does have a little alcohol in it, less than the equivalent of 1 beer in a gallon of kombucha, but it is something you should know.
Here is how I make it:

3 quarts cold water
1 cup sugar
6 black tea bags
1 SCOBY pad
½ cup Kombucha starter
In large pot, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn off heat, add the teabags and cover tightly
Steep 15 minutes
Remove the tea bags
Cover tightly to keep impurities from falling into the pan
Cool the tea to room temperature
Place the scoby into a gallon sized glass jar
Pour the Kombucha starter over the SCOBY
Pour the cooled tea into the jar
Cover jar with a coffee filter and hold it in place with elastic band.
Let sit until it smells like apple cider vinegar. It takes about 7-10 days in our house.
Pour the finished Kombucha off into a clean jar to use and keep about ½ cup in gallon jar along with the SCOBY, to start another batch.
The scoby can be peeled apart and shared after each batch of Kombucha is made.
Back in the day, I made kombucha for a customer who also bought my raw milk.   Once a week, I would carefully drive down the mountain, with coolers full of milk, kefir and kombucha. It was quite an exchange. I was sort of like the milkman, only I delivered eggs, milk, and other cool foods.
Fermented foods are so important to our diets. I am surely preaching to the choir, but I truly believe that there are good bacteria in them that our bodies really need, in order to digest whole foods like we should. 
So there you have it. My kitchen may seem quiet, but it is actually hard at work, making healthy things for our family. You have to appreciate that. 

Such A Great Conference

This weekend was such fun. Dh, myself and the two youngest, all headed to Columbus, NE for the Healthy Farms Conference. It was just full of organic suppliers, farmers and families that were interested in the dozens of topics revolving around sustainability.
I was lucky enough to have an hour to blather on about herbs and using them with livestock. The room was pretty full, and I apparently didn’t do too bad a job because no one booted us out afterwards. 🙂

Sebastian had a blast in the kids’ room, where he made dirt/seed balls( Ala Guerilla Gardening style), a terrarium, various seed necklaces and homemade paper. They had healthy snack sessions and even a class on vermiculture for the kids. Since he has a worm composting bin on the counter at home, Sebastian felt he was an expert and got right up on the table to examine what sort of worms were in their bin. He ripped up newspaper and handled the worms like a pro. It was cute as heck. I was going to take some photos, but there were a lot of children all gathered around the table, and I know that not everyone is a fan of having their child’s photo pasted on the internet.

I made many new friends, and was reminded of how much fun it would be if we lived a little bit closer to Lincoln. There certainly is a LOT of super Granola-crunchy-organic-sustainable type stuff going on in that area. ~insert sigh~

Thanks to anyone who bought soap or other things from me. I appreciated every  ounce of positive energy you shared. It was wonderful for me, and for the kids, to be around all of you.

I look forward to next year!!