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! :)