Sunday, March 30, 2014

Milk Kefir Troubles

Over the past months I hadn't made milk kefir.  I simply left my grains in the fridge and changed the milk every once in a while in hopes the grains would survive until life settled down and I had time to make it daily.  When left in the fridge the kefir grains go into a type of hibernation.  If left in the cold too long they will lose this ability to culture properly and will eventually die.  I finally got around to wanting to make my milk kefir on a regular basis but my grains didn't seem to want to come back to life.  I had taken them in and out of the fridge a few too many times and so my milk kept spoiling.  Rather than the sweet smell of kefir it would smell like horrid sour milk.  It wouldn't thicken properly and simply separated rather than becoming thickened first.  It also would have a yellowish colour on the top.  I pitched my grains and got some more that I had given my Mom.  SHe had also left hers in the fridge but had never taken them in and out as I had.  At first the grains didn't want to culture properly.  I decided it might help them activate if I added some existing healthy kefir.  So I purchased some from the local store, which is what I had been doing while they sat in the fridge all those months (what a waste of money).  I added my grains to the store bought kefir and also added milk.  My measurements were approx 2tsp grains (3 average size grains) to 1/3c store bought kefir and 1/3c organic milk.  Within a few batches it smelled beautiful!!  It was thickening nicely and tasted as it should.  I am now getting about 2c of milk kefir every 24hrs.  I do believe that the store bough kefir helped the grains get back to their regular culture.  They are growing rapidly and I am back into full swing!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Harvest of 2013

Throughout the summer of 2013 the new garden provided much nourishment for me and the kids.  From beets to zucchinis, we grew quite an array of produce and the gardens did quite well for our first year here.

Mustard Greens, spinach and musclun mix and baby chard.

                 Spaghetti squash

                                                                                                             fresh basil

Brandywine tomato

              This is a golden midget melon!

Well into the fall I was still able to harvest some lovely goodies!
FYI: Green tomatoes when picked will continue to ripen when left out on a window sill in warm temperatures.
NEVER throw away your unripened tomatoes!!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The beginning of a new Era

I purchased my home which is on a small lot but with a decent about of gardening space.  I moved in at the beginning of march 2013 and was able to get my gardens growing in spite of how crazy things were in my life.  Gardening brings me peace of mind and I find it very cathartic.  Here are just a few pics of my gardens from last year.  I won't go into much detail about things because it was last year and I am currently in full swing with my seedlings and planting for this year!  

Cukes, Zucchini, tomatoes, mint
lettuce on the rise.
 Strawberries (which over winter were destroyed by the dog.  :(
 Pease and Beans
2 varieties of spinach