Winter Garden Snapshots
Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 3
Week 9: March 4, 2023
Winter Garden Snapshots at Chocolate Box Cottage It is a breathtakingly beautiful morning. Pale aqua skies and another 2 feet (61 cm) of snow at Chocolate Box Cottage. A good day to stay at home with a good book, a cup of hot cocoa, and a snow shovel!
Looking out at the frosty white scenery, it’s hard to imagine it being any different.
The pasture will green up; the oak trees near the old barn will leaf out.
The snow will disappear and we will plant the fruit trees and pots of Crimson Red rhubarb that are leaning against the potting bench.
The grape vines will explode into new growth and bear bunches of sweet champagne grapes.
In the meantime, this sweet purple African violet, an offspring from my Grandma’s violet plant in the 1990’s, keeps me company, reminding me that good things come to those who wait.
The other side of the beautiful snowstorms at Chocolate Box Cottage is…work.
Shoveling, shoveling, shoveling.
Hauling firewood in the new wheelbarrow. (It takes longer to shovel than it does to bring the wood.)
Thawing the bunnies water bottles and refilling them with water from the house
Cats who don’t want to do their business in the snow require a litter box
Keep feeding the fire, hoping the wood supply will hold out
Drying coats and gloves and boots, again and again
It is work, but I don’t mind working hard. Even repetitive outdoor tasks – because they’re real. The work keeps us warm and well fed. It keeps our bodies moving and our minds alert. This is what I love about homesteading. It’s real.
Pots: Emile Henry 4.2 quart Dutch oven (red pot on the left) and DeSilva Italian clay soup pot (cream and terracotta pot).
So I put another pot of soup on the wood stove to simmer and culture a jar of buttermilk next to the stove for good measure. Because tomorrow might be a baking day. Printable recipe for Navy Beans and Ham.
10 Tips for Cooking on a Modern Wood Stove.
Having temporarily, I hope, eliminated wheat from my diet again, I am baking with rye flour, freshly ground in my KoMo Fidibus 21 grain mill. I have baked the Fluffy Buttermilk Rye Drop Biscuits pictured above, Rye Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Chocolate Brownie Rye Cookies with happy results!
I converted by Dakota Pioneer Everlasting Yeast from all-purpose flour to freshly ground rye and am playing with sourdough, too.
BASIC FERMENTATION BOOK
If you are new to the craft of fermentation and like to have a book in hand as you learn, I recommend Real Food Fermentation by Alex Lewin.
The author covers all the basics –
How fermentation works
Recipes are given in step-by-step detail with lots of photos so you know what to expect.
Make sauerkraut, pico de gallo (fermented salsa), Carolina Slaw, old fashioned sour pickles, spicy kimchi, kombucha, ginger ale, yogurt, and more from scratch in your own kitchen! All with the benefits of probiotics and amped up flavor.
Fermentation is a fun craft that will reward you with foods that are both delicious and nutritious. Why not give it a try???
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Blessings to you,
Michele and Samuel