Welcome to Fruit Tree Hill!!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Missouri Mushroom Hunting!

It's a Missouri tradition! The morel mushrooms are popping up and lots and lots of people are tramping through the woods looking for the gold!

We were blessed to be able to go to a beautiful place last night to take the kids mushroom hunting for their first ever time! It was chilly and drizzling out, but we had so much fun!

And of course the finished product!!!! YUM!!! We made a batter with fresh eggs from our chickens and whole wheat flour and then we dipped the mushrooms, and fried them in olive oil! YUMMMMMMY! :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Tonic!

The other day it was time for the chickens annual spring tonic! Pumpkin! I didn't have access to any fresh pumpkin but I read that using canned pumpkin ( not pumpkin pie filling, just regular pumpkin) is ok to use also!

Now there are many conflicting sides to the whole pumpkin and pumpkin seeds etc for chickens.... some people claim it is a natural de-wormer, I'm not sure, but I know they love it and it is healthy for them. In the fall when I have access to pumpkins and squash I just cut them in half and the chickens go crazy for them!!!

 But they love the canned pumpkin too :) I love how the yolks of their eggs look so pretty and bright orange from the pumpkin. They just look happy too :)

Lola is telling me to step off her pumpkin!!!! She is so funny! They loved it though. So what do you think ? Have you ever used pumpkin as a de-wormer? Do you think it works ? I read a great article from the Chicken Chick ( I LOVE HER!) and she really went in to great detail about the whole pumpkin seed debate... you can read the article HERE
It also has a great recipe for a pumpkin mash type thing... looks great for the chickens!
Happy Farming my friends!!
Don't forget im on instagram now! @fruittreehill  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Holy Shiitake! Inoculating some Shiitake logs!

We have had such a wonderful 2014 so far, getting to learn new things! This was a fun sunday with friends and we learned how to inoculate shiitake logs! A good friend taught how to drill the holes into the logs and then you take the spawn/spores that you purchase online ( here is the kind he used.... he said it is excellent for your immune system ) :
You take the spawn and you use a neat tool called an inoculator.... and you just squirt it into the holes!
And here is what it looks like with the spawn in it....
Just keep it nice and neat, and then you take hot wax ( we used cheese wax! ) and you just dab it over the holes. That keeps impurities, etc out of the spawn. :)
We made a fun assembly line, ate some pizza and had a great time working and chatting. We finished about 200 logs in 4 hours! As payment for working so hard, we got to learn the process and we got to take home 6 logs for our little urban farm!!!
Here they are! We keep them covered with a couple 99 cent burlap bags from the farm store. They just need to stay in the shade.... soon there will be shiitake mushrooms growing all over the logs and they will continue to produce once or twice a year for about 8 years!!! Such a great thing for your little farm! :)
Hope you are having a wonderful week!!! What kind of neat things are you up to at your farms ??
Love, JL~
ps- follow me on instagram at fruittreehill  !!!! I love instagram and love making new friends on it! I just started! :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Maple Syrup Time at The Hill!

This is how it begins! A beautiful sugar maple tree, a plastic tap, a good ole milk jug, some rope, and bam! You've got the beginnings of the most amazing maple syrup you've ever had!
This year I was so blessed to be able to learn how to do this! Some friends of mine that I grew up with have access to an amazing old "sugar shack".
I'm not sure when it was built, but I know the man who owns it now, used to go to the sugar shack with his grandfather! So we enjoyed hearing the stories of how he would fall asleep on a bench at night while everyone finished cooking the syrup when he was a child. We had a blast, turned up the folk music, made some amazing eggs and sausage and pancakes, topped with maple syrup. My friend Jordan earned the name " the pancake man" for his creative way of making pancakes!
It was a wonderful day all around. So here is the process, the best way I can explain it. You tap the trees. There are many websites that have good prices on the equipment to do this.
You just dump the sap into a food grade bucket ( they got theirs from a local grocery store ) and once it is all collected, you put it on to boil!! It takes about 6-8 hours for it to boil down. You just skim the top to make sure the impurities get out. :) Of course this is not a complete awesome tutorial, just a fun post of a neat activity we did here at the hill.
Here's a pic of the sap boiling on top of the outdoor wood stove. It smells amazing!
Once it boils down, they usually take it home and boil it down and test the sugars etc on their kitchen stove. :)
Put it in a jar and there you go!!!!!! This one is a gorgeous amber grade and oh my heavens it is soooo amazing!
All in all it was such a fantastic experience. Especially being in the woods with good friends, listening to good music and eating good food! What a fun activity!
Happy Sugaring! :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fox and the Hens......

 He's cute isn't he. Wily. Sneaky. Charming. Deadly. The fox. The fantastic fox. Sigh.

A few months ago here in the Midwest, we had a horrible storm... some say a tornado ( me being one of them, the trees on our property twisted...) some say straight line winds. Either way, we lost two huge pine trees that gave us shade. We lost some big old trees in the "forest" behind our home. Our trampoline landed on top of our shed and we had no electricity for nine long days.

During this time, one of the giant trees in the forest fell over, pulling up giant pieces of mud and earth. While the neighborhood worked together to clean up the debris, we all took turns walking down our back hill , covered in black raspberry bushes, and we dumped the branches on top of the massive tree, and the big mounds of dirt and earth.

A few days ago, we learned that we had created the most fabulous fox den. We learned this the hard way. We have now lost four chickens to the fantastic fox. One of them being our sweet little birchin cochin roo Elvis, known for his love of sitting on the eggs and protecting them. He had finally found his love. A brown leghorn named Brownie. They passed away together, we found the trails of feathers, and they led right down to the den. A big pile of feathers sat in front of the hold that leads in. My husband, so sad and hurt for his kids who are madly in love with all of our chickens, took a big branch and poked around in the den. Nothing happened, but for now we are setting live traps. Three hens that laid daily, and a sweet protective roo is quite a loss.

How do you deal with predators?  And why in heavens name is there a fox den in the middle of town. Yes it is a perfect little patch of trees and flowers and berries and a beautiful creek that runs thru.. but we are seriously in the middle of town. Which is why we call our home a "little urban farm".

Love you Elvis, Brownie, Rachel, and Rose.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BunBuns for Sale at Fruit Tree Hill!

It's that time of year.. time for a bunny sale here at the Hill. We have our beautiful babies from Violet and Sebastian, they are $20 a piece. They will come with a care sheet, a picture pedigree of them and their parents, and a small bag of alfalfa and food.

And then we also have some cutie pie juveniles for sale.. breeding age etc.

We have Foxy Cleopatra... she is double maned lionhead who has had two litters..

Not the best picture... she didn't want to pose for me : (   lol!

We have Silver... He is a cute inquisitive little lionhead/ netherland dwarf

We have Teddy Bear.... who has been a father to 27 beautiful babies. :) That was with one breeding... three moms... super Teddy Bear!!!  $10
and last but not least, we have one of Winter's babies, a buck, he is half lionhead, half netherland dwarf, and he is CUTE!!!! he has a Mohawk!  $10
You can get ahold of me at 573 795 9735 :)
Here is what bunbuns had for dinner last night.. along with their regular alfalfa and pellets.. they are so spoiled!!!
Yummy, kale, broccoli, and carrots :)

and just for fun, here is a silly pic :)

Have a super day!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Heigh Ho from Fruit Tree Hill !

Heigh Ho Silver! Our cutie pie lionhead boy named Silver say's hello! :)

Just doing some updating to the blog... I have so many cute pictures from around the Hill.... So this post is going to be a little .... random... but hopefully it will be fun!!

Rachel is checking out the peaches... she likes to hop on top of the big coop to get nosey... LOL !

Here is a new friend... a beautiful dragonfly came to visit me while I was tying up a tomato plant.

Shingling the big chicken coop! Dylan was a big help... thank goodness he was there to help :)

Kevin and Kate, our resident Polish couple have knocked over their feeder again... don't they look innocent tho ??

Hello Little Bear! He must've had to use the restroom.... he's on the wire... he's such a cutie!!! I love him! :)

Here's daddy resting in his new hammock he got for Father's Day !! Doesn't it look comfy ??

Chris and Pat, the two ducks here at the Hill, enjoy their swimming pool!

Another beautiful Missouri sunset :

And in July we had a beautiful thing happen.... say hello to mama Violet :

and introducing her beautiful babies!!!!!!

NINE beautiful babies!!!! Purebred Lionheads :)

And last but not least.... we are finally getting all different colors of eggs, White, Brown, Light Brown, Pink, and Green! YES!!!!

How has your summer been dear friends ?? :)
Love, JL~