Wild Moon Cottage is a small working homestead in the pristine Ozark Mountains. We have dairy goats, poultry, organic herb and vegetable gardens, a start of a tiny fruit orchard, several black walnut trees, wild berries and fields of wildcrafting goodness. We raise our own milk, our own eggs, much of our own medicine and food. I do laundry by hand, make my own vinegar, candles, soap, bread, cheese ........ For a living I am an artist and herbalist. My goal for myself and our homestead is to be as self sufficient and self sustaining as possible.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life, Dandelion Jelly & Fast Food

Another gray day but warmer and less damp.

Did a bit more laundry today to be hung out in the morning.

We almost completely finished an extra run area to the small goat pen at the barn. It will be added onto as I can get the fencing. I found several small trees that I believe to be some sort of fruit trees. They have little blossoms that could be cherry. We also have an abundance of Dogwood and Redbud :)

I got more seeds started a few days ago. Mostly peppers and a few herbs.

California Wonder Green Bells (mostly for market)
Emerald Giant Green Bells (mostly for us)
Golden Bells
Toro Rosso Red Bells
Sweet Banana Peppers
Cayenne Peppers
Jalapeno peppers
Chili Peppers
Paprika Peppers
Pimiento Peppers

Roma Tomatoes

St Johns Wort
Sheep Sorrel (already coming up)

I made some Violet Jelly last week and it is delicious! tho not quite as good as what my friend Joyce sent me. The Dandes are up now so I'm gathering some for a little batch of Dandelion Jelly. This was my first time making Violet Jelly but I've made Dandelion Jelly twice and it's a very fine thing :)

Here's the recipe I use, I cannot remember where I found it but I'm trying to remember to do that these days :) ...

Dandelion Jelly
4 cups Dandelion petals (petals only)
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Bring water to boil, remove from heat and pour over petals until just covered. Cover and steep at least 8 hours (I steeped them overnight).

Strain all the petals until you have clear liquid and add enough water so that it makes 3 cups total.

Add Dandelion water, lemon juice, package of pectin and sugar to a large saucepan and boil until jelly covers the back of a spoon. Pour into prepared hot jelly jars and seal with lids and rings.

You can probably properly can it but I'm new to canning and don't know much about it. Ours didn't last long enough to can properly.

I was wanting to get some baking done for the Market on Saturday but may not. I worry that we won't get a place and won't be able to sell it. I could freeze them tho. We'll see. I'm also trying to find out about a possible other market nearby, in Gainesville. We could certainly use the income from selling at market.

When we were packing to move I found a small box of some excellent old books I don't remember getting. They were the perfect addition for our lives here and like an incredibly special gift.

Fireplaces and Wood Stoves - TimeLife
Other Homes and Garbage - Designs for Self-Sufficient Living - Sierra Club books
Home Cheesemaking with goat milk - Dairy Goat Journal, Columbia Mo.
Butchering, Chevon and Goat Hides -
Butter from Goat Milk -
Goat Products Cook Book -
Rabbits - An Albers Plan for Raising Rabbits
Raising Geese - US Dept of Agriculture
Growing Raspberries in Missouri - Missouri State University
Mother Earth News Sept 1997 (I had almost 5 years of MEN but sold them a few months ago including this issue, which has a special section on stocking up.)
How to build your Cabin or Modern vacation Home by Harry Watson
Build Your Own Solar Water Heater by Stu Campbell
Sun Spaces For Living and Growing by Peter Clegg & Derry Watkins

Groceries are harder to come by these days but we have plenty and eat very well. I used to buy most of our meat from the local packing house in Ozark, Ozark Mountain Meats. Very nice people. Thankfully I was able to stock up pretty well before moving.

We like fast food, especially when we've both worked hard all day. So I always keep fast foods around, like homemamde fast food burgers, buns and fries.

One of our favorites is burgers. You can make them by hand (I have a little plastic burger press), then freeze them on a cookie sheet until frozen through. Then just pop them in a good freezer bag and take out what you need. From freezer to grill, pretty easy. I lightly oil the cookie sheets so that the burgers come off easily. I never add spices or anything before freezing but anything can be added while cooking. I try to get 5 burgers per pound of ground meat but they get so small.

I make most of our own bread and that includes burger buns. I just use my favorite bread recipe (any sort of flour or combination works fine) and divide it into buns before the last rise. I generally make 6 buns per 1 lb of dough. I make bread bowls the same way just larger and deeper. The baked buns freeze very well and I freeze them just like the burgers, individually then add to a good freezer bag. I slice them before freezing.

Frozen french fries are very easy and, like the burgers, go right from the freezer to the oven. You just wash (peel if preferred) and cut up into fairly uniform wedges or sticks (so they cook pretty evenly). Boil them for 5 or so minutes, until just tender, then allow to drain fully on a towel. Spread them out of a cookie sheet and freeze. When fully frozen you can add them to a big, good quality freezer bag.

When you're ready for burgers just take out the buns and set them aside to thaw. Take out the burgers and start them cooking on the grill or stove. Take out some fries and spread on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with a little oil, sprinkle a little salt (or spices, taco fries are very good), give them a shake to coat them and oven fry at around 325F until golden brown. 

Fast Food ... a quick and easy burger and fries, all from scratch. And quit possibly, all from your self sufficient home.


Traci Hendrix Hart said...

Well, I love Dandelion Jelly almost as much as...anything else. I ADORE it. Tried to make it once, and it was a dismal failure. Do you sell your Jellies?
I live in Springfield, but I would be a regular customer if you made it to sell...
It is so nice to see you thriving in your new homestead...I enjoy imagining how life is opening up in new and adventuresome ways every day.

Stacie said...

I just bought a bunch of hamburger and am freezing my patties now...thank you for sharing your homespun tips for freezing...I also bought a bar of lye soap today from a local soap maker....