Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Brewing Beer

This year Julia surprised me with a beer brewing kit for my birthday. I had been talking about wanting to venture into brewing our own beer for a while, loving the idea of having a beer that is as local as our own home (although yes, some of the ingredients may not be super local, but I hope to change that). I like the idea that it is one more thing that we make ourselves, that we control and know what exactly goes into it, so we can avoid the preservatives and additives that are going into our store bought goods (yes, even beer have preservatives added to them). Brewing beer fall perfectly in line with our push to a more frugal budget, if you don't count the initial cost of the brewing kit (as that was a gift), with the cost of the ingredients the beer came out to 66 cents a beer. One of the things that helped was that I was able to get all my bottles for free, by going to our local liquor store after they had a beer tasting, and asked for all their non screw-top empties, and my brother-in-law gave me a box of empties that he wasn't using from when he used to brew.

I brewed my first batch of beer, it was  North Rim Wheat. I was nervous that it wouldn't turn out, but we have been happily enjoying them now that they are done. I couldn't be happier, it is a deliciously smooth tasting wheat beer.

Now I am dreaming of growing our own hops, wheat and barley (although maybe not barley, as that may not grow so well here in the south, although Walter Reeves says it may be possible, "Outdoor cultivation is more problematic. Barley sprouts very well in October but cold weather can kill it. If you want to grow it for grain, the best planting time is February. You’ll be able to harvest the golden seeds in summer.").

I have now started brewing my second batch of beer. This time I am trying an Amber beer.


My tomatoes are doing well, the ones that I have in my hanging pot have little blooms already forming.

I have decided that I am going to start my tomatoes at least 3 weeks earlier next year, and then just transplanting into my yogurt containers while it is still too cold outside, that way when it is warm enough for them to go outside, they will be more established. Of the tomatoes that I transplanted directly into the raised bed, half of them are struggling, while all the ones that I transplanted into my yogurt containers are doing quite well.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Earlier this May the kids were excited that there were radishes ready. They are always willing to try them after the excitement of harvesting them, but haven't truly acquired a taste for them yet.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Strawberry Jam

Last week Julia preserved some of the strawberries that we had picked from a local farm, as Strawberry Jam. The kids got into the action by helping mash the strawberries down, each waiting eagerly to take their turn.

She then got out our canning pot, and boiled the jars and filled them, so that they stand ready for our later enjoyment.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Strawberry Fields

The other week after work we all went out to a local farm to pick strawberries. We had a blast, the kids loved finding the plump read strawberries that asking to be picked. It is surprising haw fast we were able to collect 3 gallons worth with their help. We plan on eating some fresh, making strawberry jam, and then freezing the rest. Last year the strawberry jam Julia preserved allowed us to go the whole year without having to purchase any jam or jelly, it was great knowing that our whole year supply was homemade!