Spring! Glorious spring!! It has finally arrived here at the Homestead. It’s been such a long time coming here and we are rejoicing in it. Of course, its supposed to be 86 degrees on Friday here and I’m not looking forward to that this early in the year…but, with the winter we had, I won’t complain about it. We’ve even seen black flies and mosquitos and I’m not even complaining about them yet, that’s how you can be assured what type of winter we had here.
With the advent of spring, some different things are popping up in our grocery stores here. I found some pretty organic strawberries, so we had the first of many strawberry shortcakes for the summer season the other night. I was also able to make a batch of strawberry ginger Kombucha as well. Can’t wait for that second ferment to bubble up so I can give it a try! What the heck is kombucha you ask? Well, it is a fermented tea drink that contains an amazing amount of beneficial bacteria that feeds the good stuff in your gut. It helps with digestion, but has been linked to all kinds of great things for your body. If you’d like some in-depth info on it, google the benefits of kombucha and you will be amazed. For 22 years, I struggled with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), sick and not willing to take medication with horrible side affects. After reading up on this, I started myself on a regimen of fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) and kombucha. And after a 22 year battle, within two months, no more symptoms. Gone, completely. So, I am a big believer in the benefits of fermented foods in our diets.
My sister-in-law invited me to join her for a class on making kombucha at home. Now, if you’ve been someone who purchases it, you know how appealing that is. This stuff is liquid gold and quite expensive to buy. The 1 liter jar you see above, when I originally bought it was $8.99. I kept the old bottles because they are perfect for making new batches from scratch. Many brands will charge $3.99+ for a 16oz bottle of it! So, I was paying those prices because it is necessary for my health. I am now able to make organic kombucha at home for about $.50/liter! At this class, we learned how to make the concoction on our own, and the instructor even gifted us with our own “scoby” to take home. The scoby is the “mother” to the ferment. It contains the beneficial yeast and bacteria that continues to grow and change and ferment the tea.
This is the scoby, along with some reserved kombucha. I know, it looks gross, and it’s kind of scary at first. It’s slimy and grows in layers and can cause you to pause if you think about it too much, but all I know is this magical little substance makes my body very happy. So, I think of it like a layer cake…and when you get too many layers, you can share them with friends…or chickens…or the compost pile. I got my hubby hooked on kombucha before he saw this, and honestly it’s a good thing. It’s rather unappealing in reality. He saw me making a new batch one day, took one look at this mass in the bowl and said “What is THAT?”. I told him the magic scoby, nothing to see here, move along. If you want to have a healthy body biome, the ferments are crucial. If you’d like more info on this, you can comment below and I will refer you to some of the many sources I have researched on fermented food and kombucha. I highly recommend adding it to your self-care, it’s good stuff.
Are you wondering what you are looking at here? A wall of vines, a new crochet project I’m working on, or perhaps the entrance to the West Gate of Moria? No, this is the horrible, snarly, blood inducing wild rose vines that cover a good portion of our property. The boys and I spent a good chunk of their school vacation this week beating some of this into submission and reclaiming some of our back yard. It looks great now that we have put many hours into removing it. My husband actually began to tackle this particular patch of it just this morning after finishing a large patch behind the chicken coop. It really does rip the crap out of your skin as its covered in thorns and on some of these plants that are older, there are huge thorns that will rip a serious gash in you. I know, this sounds like so much fun, you can’t wait to join in removing it, right? This is only made better by the icing on this particular cake, the poison ivy that intermingles with a lot of it as well. My oldest son forgot not to scratch his face with his gloves (despite many reminders not to touch bare skin) and he now has a face that looks like it’s flaming with acne but it actually covered in poison ivy. Poor kid!! And I managed to get it on my legs and the itch will drive you into insanity. Especially at night when you’re covered by the sheets that, for whatever reason, seems to irritate it more than even pants do.
We have much more to remove, it will be an ever-present struggle because if you see the picture above, beyond the fence is our neighbor’s property. This lot is covered in these vines. Which will forever want to make its way across that fence line to re-infest our side of nirvana. We’re up to the challenge, bring it!
This year’s experiment for me in the garden will be these new potato boxes. I have purchased indeterminate types of potatoes to plant in them, which should start a new set of spuds in each layer of dirt that is added to the box as it grows up. When the greens start to be about 6 inches, a new layer of soil is added and a new board to the sides. By the time the potatoes are ready to be harvested, the boxes will be 36 inches high and hopefully contain a lot of potatoes!
The Wee Three as I like to call them. I’m hopeful that trying to get them to grow vertically instead of horizontally will work out of us. We don’t have a lot of space for a garden here, so I’m trying to embrace the planter and container growing where I need to. I have another great idea to grow my harvest that needs trellising, like cukes and beans and peas in large planter boxes that with the trellis will allow us some privacy in the backyard. We currently have none, and as I have explained previously, we live on a fairly busy road that is a pass through from one community to another. We always said we would not live in another house on one of these roads, but you have to go where the budget allows and so here we are, determined to make the best of it.
I hope that this spring is finding you happily ensconced in your own projects and dreams. Soon, an update on the garden and perhaps a new deck in the future as well. Until then, be well, be kind to each other and blessings to you all.