Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Friday, August 31, 2018

What to do with all that Lemon Balm?!!!

What do you do with all that Lemon Balm? You plant a small herb plant and it grows. The next year you find it in other parts of your yard or it shows up and you didn't even plant it! The smell and taste of this plant is amazing. 

This post will include a recipe below on a fantastic recipe for a bread that will melt your mouth. I also dry it and jar it for teas as well as adding to other recipes.

Here's an image of the bread I made. I have had this recipe for many years and don't remember where it is from. I keep a couple of these in the freezer in case we have visitors or need to take something to a party. Below is the recipe:

Double Lemon Balm Bread
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
6 Tablespoons Butter (room temp)
2 Tablespoons grated Lemon Peel
1 Tablespoon finely chopped Lemon Balm leaves
1 Tablespoon finely chopped Lemon Thyme (optional)
1Teaspoon salt
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs eaten
3/4 cups milk

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Cream butter, add sugar and beat together. Add eggs. Beat until fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately will milk mixture. Mix until just blended then add herbs and peel, fold by hand. Pour into a sprayed with cooking spray, 9x5x3 inch pan. Bake at 325 degrees for appx 50 minutes.  

Lemon Glaze- Juice of 1 lemon, Confectioners Sugar
Mix glaze until thick but pourable. Drizzle over bread while still warm.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Holy Bearding! It's going to be a hot one!

It's going to be a hot one in Connecticut today! If you didn't watch the news forecast then you can tell by the bees. When bees get hot they "beard". This picture was taken at 6:30 a.m. Even bees will hang out and try to stay cool. Inside they will do all they can to keep the hive cool. They will bring in water to cool the hive as well as fan their wings. We have made sure birdbaths and other water is available to the bees as well as the wild birds. Connecticut is expected to hit temperatures in the 100's today!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Grooming a Wool Beast!

Our "Tawny" is what you would call a "Wool Beast." She has a coat that is twice as thick as any Angora rabbit I have had or bred. I am still waiting to get an offspring with such a lush coat.

It takes 2 days to clip her down with shearing scissors, clipping about an inch to 2 inches at a time. It is daunting and when she has had enough you pick up where you started the following day.

Her staple length is at least 8 inches long which makes it so fun to spin her wool. 

Somewhere deep in all that wool is our "Tawny." 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

An Unexpected Goodbye

Today we lost one of the sweetest rooster I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, our "Tank". I'm still at a lost for what happened. He was the biggest rooster I have ever seen. The ground would shake when he walked, he was always a bit big for that body, and the sad part was he was only 3! He became weak and then just passed. 
We are going to miss his presence and the gentleness he brought to the coop. RIP our precious "Tank".

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Oh no!!!!!

We woke up yesterday after a huge rain and wind storm to find a tree had gone across our fencing and our animals were out in the road! They took the opportunity to go on a walk about! 

As cars made their way around the trees, car parts (yes car parts because someone must have hit it) as well as the alpacas and goats. Not one person stopped to tell us, just drove by...

and the damage could have been worse...

but the best thing about it is that the animals are okay and safe. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Into the Dearth we go...

In the middle of the summer, Nature experiences something called "The Dearth". This is when the early summer flowers have bloomed and are spent or gone to seed while the later flowers have not quite bloomed. This can be hard on bees and pollinators alike because food is scarce. They can go through their reserves and be dangerously low on food.

I found this last of the phlox still blooming...

while early signs of  Joe Pye weed blooming is promising.

Some Queen's Ann Lace here and there...

but the most important of all is the Goldenrod! I was in a meadow today and found just a few but there was tons days away from blooming.

So what do we do during the Dearth? We feed! I made up 3 gallons of sugar water and some essential oils and added them to the feeders...

and needless to say, they were eager for me to fill them! They were waiting for me when I opened the lid! Here in Connecticut we have had an unusually rainy summer so I think this Dearth will be short lived.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Learning new soap making techniques

I have been following the soap making world and am amazed by the new techniques that are out there. Bramble Berry Soap Supply company has kits and tutorials of all the up and coming newest things in soap making. So, last Christmas Tim bought me a kit and I put it away. I kept meaning to get to it and the weather has been so hot in CT lately that on a hot summer day I broke it out and decided it was time!

I went to work using my soap making skills. The hard part, the person who was the author of the recipe left some important tips out. Mainly that the particular NIO(Nature Identical Oil) sets up very quickly and you should not mix too much. There were some other things in the recipe I thought could have been explained better but I continued on.
The key was layering different colors which set up too quick so it was like working with putty.

A few days later I removed it from the mold. My Dragon's Blood handmade soap. Not as much as a hot mess I thought it would be. There are air bubbles and the blend could have been better.

A slice of the soap revealed a little better results than I thought I would have. The black is mixed with charcoal which is good for skin and the layers are different colors. This will be for my personal use however, I'm not looking to pursue this level of soap making any time soon. I will keep watching the trends and maybe give it a go again now that I see what went wrong. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

The right tools make the difference

Grooming Angora rabbits can be a challenge to say the least and the tools make all the difference! I purchased these blunt tipped grooming scissors some months back and the daunting job of grooming has changed to an easier task. I have stopped using the electric shears because they also upset the rabbits and are not as effective with having to stop to clear the shears.

This is "Frankie" before his way over due grooming...

and this is "The Frank Man" after! I did some touching up after I took the picture but he is trimmed. I was able to get a lot of useable wool for spinning. You can even see his beautiful blue eyes! The tool does makes all the difference!