Homesteading, Updates

June Update

Hello Everyone! 

I hope you are doing well during this time. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. The last I had written anything I had halted jam production and got some chickens. Since then, I’ve made some big changes, in a good way. Check out my little video for the update.

If you don’t feel like watching…

I’ve moved! My partner and I have moved into an adorable little cabin in the Texas Hill Country that sits on seven acres, has a fenced-in run for our girls, and a workshop. We’ve been insanely busy nesting and setting up shop. Since we’ve moved in, there has been chicken coop constructing, unpacking, bee and butterfly garden building, and vegetable garden planning. Did I mention there’s space for all our fruit trees and more? 

With all of the things going on, I’ve been trying to focus on all of the things I am grateful for and taking time to think about the direction I want made by laura lee to go towards. It is my hope that once our garden is up and running and producing enough food for us that I can begin making jams and pickles from food items solely from the Homestead. It will take time but very doable. 

I will be posting more regularly now that we are settled and have internet. I’m looking forward to sharing with you all things made by me, Laura Lee. I hope you are all doing well, safe, and healthy. Thank you for your continued support. 

       XOXO

    Laura Lee

Garden, Homesteading, Updates

Meet My Babies

I would like to take the time to formally introduce you to my new babies. My chicken babies, that is. Three weeks ago, ten little chicks from the New Braunfels Feed Supply Store made their way back to the homestead. The line of people at the store was out the front door at 7:30 AM. I guess Texans want the chicks!

The first thing everyone asks is, “Are they for eggs or eating?” These girls are for their eggs, just their eggs. In fact, we strategically picked the breeds for their laying ability.

  • Red Sex Links
  • Gold Sex Links
  • Buff Orpingtons
  • Black Sex Links
  • Polish Crested

Ok, the Polish Gal is more for show with her feather tufted cap, but the others are going to be good layers.

When we first brought the girls home, they were little balls of downy fluff. Three and a half weeks in, their feathers are pushing through, they are getting gangly and awkward, just like a teenager.  Their personalities are evolving and their curiosity is exciting. I’ve never raised chickens from just two days old and this is proving to be a learning experience. Forming a bond with them has been quite rewarding as well. While you may not think a little chicken can bond with a human, they certainly know who we are. Rosie always runs to my hand first and Vicky always to her daddy.

This is just the beginning of our chicken story and I’m looking forward to sharing more of our journey as we learn, raise, and collect eggs from our girls.

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes, Updates

Fermentation Friday

I think it’s been a whirlwind of a week, just the last few days even. As you may have read on my last blog post or the made by laura lee newsletter, I am suspending food production for the next few weeks.  For the time being, I will not be experimenting with fermented foods either.

It breaks my heart.  Really.  Why am I not experimenting as well as not selling?

I feel like holding off is the best-case scenario on selling jams, jellies, and sauerkrauts are the safest thing possible.  Despite being clean and sanitary beyond normal expectations, I’m a small business and I want to do what’s best for my customers, my own health, and the bigger picture. As far as playing with fermented foods, it’s too dang hard to get my hands on large amounts of produce to ferment.  The stores have been baren and farmers’ markets canceled.

So, let’s take a moment to celebrate all the beautiful and delicious veggies that I have been able to transform into probiotic filled food! Sauerkrauts, kimchis, and ginger, oh my! Below is the list with links you can revisit.  Thank you so much for your interest in this and I’m looking forward to when I can get back to it!  Until then… what should the next Friday blog be? I like this whole themed thing!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes

Fermentation Friday

It’s my favorite day of the week, Fermentation Friday. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I look forward to sharing the most recent fermented creation I’ve made. Seeing as I love kimchi, I decided to go with a green bean kimchi.  The recipe is based on Kirsten Shockey’s from her Fiery Ferments book.  I’ve altered it slightly, and think I will continue to do so as I tweak the recipe to my liking. Mainly, concentrating on making it spicier as this was particularly mild.

Green Bean Kimchi

  • 1 pound green beans, chopped into 1″ sections
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegan/vegetarian)
  • 1 pound red jalapenos, coarsely chopped and deseeded
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 TBSP red chili flakes (optional)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine green beans, green onions, garlic, garlic, and salt
  2. Place jalapenos in a blender, blend until a puree or paste
  3. Add pepper mash to green bean mixture
  4. Add in fish sauce to the pepper green bean mixture and mix well
  5. Transfer all items to a quart-sized mason jar.  Pack contents down to be submerged in the brine
  6. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 10-14 days. Check daily to make sure there are no air bubbles and resubmerge green beans in the brine, as necessary.

Note: if you’re wary of anything spicy, do not fear.  The brilliant red is deceiving.  This is mild in flavor. In fact, it tastes like a sour pickle. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes

Fermentation Friday

Good morning, my apologies for posting a little later than normal, I’ve been pretty busy this morning trying to raise money for ATX Kids Club, a local nonprofit that promotes education through adventure-based learning. Today is the I Live Here I Give Here Amplify Austin Day, which is the largest day of giving here in Austin, TX.  If you’re feeling so inclined, by all means, feel free to donate here.  No amount is too small.

Now, let’s get down to fermented business…

The day has finally come and I am over the moon to share with you that my first batch of kimchi was a success! Not only a success but the best batch of fermented goodness I’ve made thus far.  In fact, I think I’ve eaten a third of it already, with a little help of course.  I will most definitely be making another batch of this soon in a matter of days.

Kimchi

  • 2 heads of Napa Cabbage, quartered and chopped in 2″ pieces
  • 2 bunches green onions/scallions, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1-2 daikon radish, shredded
  • 5 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fish sauce (if vegan or vegetarian, just use water and replace with an extra tablespoon of sea salt)
  • 10 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  1. After chopping cabbage, mix with sea salt to let sweat while prepping all other ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, then mix all other ingredients and transfer to fermentation crock.
  3. Press mixture down and place weights on top.
  4. Set in a cool, dark place for 1-5 days.  (I did the full 5 days)
  5. Make sure to check and turn the kimchi daily with clean hands or utensils.

Note: if you’re wary of anything spicy, do not fear.  The brilliant red is deceiving.  This is mild in flavor with no zing at all. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes

Fermentation Friday

I’ve been on a ginger kick lately.  It could be the cold weather and fighting this cold. Personally, I think it’s the awesome flavor.  You can’t beat the sweet, earthy, and spicy flavor of ginger. While slightly labor intensive, this recipe for fermented ginger is super easy.  Peeling and slicing the ginger is the hardest part. Once it’s ready, this fermented ginger is great in stir-fries or steamed rice, and definitely perfect for sushi.

Fermented Ginger

  • 1 pound of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Slice ginger as thin as thin possible.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the sliced ginger and salt, tossing to make sure every piece is covered.
  3. Transfer salt ginger mixture to jar.
  4. Use a ziplock bag filled with water to weigh down and cover ginger salt mixture.
  5. Set in a cool, dark place for 7-14 days.  (I always go with ten).
  6. Make sure to check on ginger and make sure that it stays submerged in brine.  You may have to push down.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

 

Garden, Story, Updates

Mother Earth News Recap

Good morning, happy Monday! I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend.  I’m slowly on the mend, just feeling really running down, but at least my cough has subsided.  As I’m coming back around to feeling better, I realized I hadn’t shared too much about the Mother Earth News Conference that I was so excited about.

While Belton isn’t exactly a the thriving metropolis that you dream about spending a weekend away in, it sure had it’s gems. Saturday morning before the conference, we discovered a charming little coffee shop, Arusha Coffee, where we spent the bulk of time caffeinating when not at the conference.  Ample time was also spent day dreaming about future homestead plans, the idea for another new book, and more.

I digress…. the conference though was fun and educational.  Not all the speakers were as captivating as others, here are the highlights:

Texas Food Laws – there has been a major update on some of the Texas Cottage Laws for food makers like myself and I am happy to announce that I will be able to start selling some of my fermented goodies very soon.

Homestead Air B&B – while I don’t have a homestead geared up for a bed and breakfast, it’s nice to know that there are easy options out there when I am ready to go.

Other workshops and lectures I attended were Ladies in Homesteading, Growing Mushrooms, Homesteading Laws in Texas, Gardening in Small Spaces, and Companion Gardening, just to name a few. I’m looking forward to next years conference already!

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes

Fermentation Friday

Well, I’ve admittedly been a little quiet here on the blog front.  My apologies.  I had a jammed pack week of a grant writing class the week before, followed by the Mother Earth News Fair over the weekend, and this week I have been knocked down by some sort of chest cold.  I’m on the mend despite sounding like a barking seal, but I’m excited to share with you my latest fermentation creation.

Note: I made and handled this batch prior to being sick.

This sauerkraut is pretty mild as far as flavor but is great in sandwiches or with fish.

Turmeric Carrot Kraut

  • 1 head of green cabbage, cored & thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds of carrots, shredded
  • 4-6 pieces of turmeric roughly 2-3 inches long, grated
  • 3 TBSP sea salt
Note: make sure the combined weight of the veggies is about 5-6 pounds and make sure EVERYTHING is clean
  1. Slice cabbage in thin chunks.
  2. In small batches, mix salt and cabbage and let salt begin to draw the water out of the cabbage and transfer to the fermentation crock. Then continue to massage and mix the salt/cabbage. Juices will begin to release.
  3. If you have whey from your previous sauerkraut mixture, go ahead and add a tablespoon.  If you don’t… don’t worry!
  4. Mix in shredded carrots and turmeric making sure to massage all items together.
  5. Use weight to make sure the cabbage mix is condensed and covered fully by liquid.
  6. Cover your container and set in a cool, dark place for 7-14 days.  (I always go with ten).

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

 

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes

Fermentation Friday

It is that time again!  Seriously, I cannot believe the feedback I’m getting from the fermentation blog posts.  I’m so grateful.  I’m thoroughly enjoying the recipe experimentation.  More importantly, I’m enjoying the health benefits of eating all these delightful fermented treats. I’ve always had a heck of a sweet tooth and I’ve noticed a tremendous decrease in my sugar cravings. Thanks probiotics!

This recipe was totally made up. I’m definitely loving it.  Earthy and sweet, with a little bit of bite from all the ginger.

IMG_3231The Purple Darling

        • 2 heads of purple cabbage, cored & thinly sliced
        • 4 medium sized beets, shredded
        • 2 pieces of ginger roughly 2-3 inches long, grated
        • 3 TBSP sea salt
Note: make sure the combined weight of the veggies is about 5-6 pounds and make sure EVERYTHING is clean
  1. Slice cabbage in thin chunks.
  2. In small batches, mix salt and cabbage and let salt begin to draw the water out of the cabbage and transfer to the fermentation crock. Then continue to massage and mix the salt/cabbage. Juices will begin to release.
  3. If you have whey from your previous sauerkraut mixture, go ahead and add a tablespoon.  If you don’t… don’t worry!
  4. Mix in shredded beets and ginger making sure to massage all items together.
  5. Use weight to make sure the cabbage mix is condensed and covered fully by liquid.
  6. Cover your container and set in a cool, dark place for 7-14 days.  (I always go with ten).

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

 

Cards, Fermenting, Mixed Media, Story

How Romantic…

While we’re still technically in January, February is pretty much here.  I would have forgotten that means Valentine’s Day if I hadn’t treated myself to a getaway weekend in Belton, TX.  Belton, Texas you might ask?  It doesn’t really have too much going for it except their big convention center.  Why would I go there? Well, I’m delighted to announce that I bought tickets to go to the Annual Mother Earth News Fair. It is a collection of workshops and lectures for homesteaders and farmers.

I am beyond excited.  I have been checking in on speakers almost daily to see who has been added to the list.  Last year, I learned so much like how to start successfully fermenting things, which you can see I’ve been putting to good use by my last blog post.

So how is this romantic? Well, technically it’s not, but I absolutely love learning about homesteading, soil care, chicken raising, bee keeping, mushroom growing and more. Getting back to the point though…

Valentine’s Day! It’s something I’ve never been too keen on whether I’m romantically involved or not, but I get pretty excited about this little fruit and veg Valentine’s Day cards either way! You can take a look at the shop for more!