Farmhouse Pear Butter

img_4226 img_2244Well, this past summer had our pear trees really outdoing themselves!

On our property we have three, two of a bartlett variety and one of a d’anjou variety.
And boy, were they covered! Pretty sure, if there was a branch it was most certainly covered in pears! The Pileated Woodpeckers loved the extra ripe pears on the top of the trees we were unable to reach.

We do also have an asian pear tree, these I do not use for our pear butter, though they were tiny enough I would’ve been able to can them whole in syrup. Unfortunately, I did not have the available time to experiment with them so perhaps this year I will try doing that if it crops out well enough again!

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As for our other pears, I use a mixture of underripe and overripe fruit. From fresh fallen fruit, I clean and core them and remove any of the ugly bits that we don’t want…Those bits I gave to our chickens (which loved them!)
I suppose its close to 1/4 underripe to 1/2 underripe pears to overripe.

 

 

Farmhouse Pear Butter

5.84 kg Pears, cored.
1 kg brown sugar
1.9 kg white sugar
2 tsp. sea salt
Approx. 3 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2-3 Cinnamon Sticks

In a large pot, cook out the cleaned pears with about 4-6 cups water. You just want enough water to help cook the pears out and prevent burning.
Once the pears are softened and falling apart, remove from the stovetop and cool slightly.
Process through a food mill and return the puree to the pot.

Combine the pear puree with the other ingredients. I like to grate my ginger frozen as I find it easier to do, you can vary the amount you use as well depending on your taste.

Stir well over medium-high heat until the sugars dissolve. Then, stir every so often to ensure the bottom is not burning and it is cooking evenly. As the puree thickens, you will want to be stirring more regularly / constantly to avoid bubbling spit up. It’s hot, and it will burn, so please be careful!

If it is spitting despite my stirring, often I will call it done or put on a pair of old oven mitts for protection.

Cook out until desired consistency, fill sanitized clean jars, top with seals and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Let cool, removing excess water from the top, label and store after 12 hours.

Enjoy!

 

Coop #2

This is a post that I had been preparing since the fall…Due to my absence in my writing I had not quite had a chance to finish it. I am wanting to share this with you now, but am letting you know this just so the timing is not to be confused. This is written in the context of the present, but was actually several or more months ago now. I have updated some points in it that since have been changed, so I apologize if it appears a little jumbled.

It seems these days, that just as soon as Tim’s able to get a project under control, I’m just as quickly adding one! Or even maybe two… 😉

With the little chicks that we had done in our Our first Adventure in Incubating, they certainly are quick to grow out of the brooder! So, this in turn resulted in us (mostly me…totally guilty), wanting to make a smaller separate coop that is still somewhat attached to our original run. We decided to follow a basic coop plan, and found that this one was the winner: The Tangled Nest; Our Urban Chicken Coop Plan.

It was a good sizing, though we did increase it to fit to the width of our run, simple build and already designed as a coop (our last one was a shed we converted in the plans…see it here: The New Chicken Coop).
We liked the fact that there was shelter directly underneath for our rainy days and season, as well as some more extra space in the open. This system allows us to do a “See but no Touch” method of integrating the two flocks together. This worked great, we had them in this method for about 2 weeks, then after that allowed the younger ones and older gals and Mr. Gimpy to mingle a bit. Since then, months later we have now got them all together as a flock. Still a little shaky here and there but overall this went so smooth! We have since, butchered all the Roosters that were in that hatch as our Mr. Gimpy was having none of them, and honestly, his personality is outstanding.

It can really be a gamble with roosters…some can be nasty and sometimes you just get the perfect one. It really all depends on the roo, we really lucked out with Gimpy, he has such a great temperment, great with the ladies, good protector, fertilizes eggs well, and is fine with us, Nathan, the dog and the cat. Don’t get a much better rooster than that!!

Anyways, I thought I’d share our process of coop #2 building and let you all see the set up 🙂

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We’ll be making a few adjustments on this, since having our first young set in we realized that the placement of the ramp and trap door will need to be adjusted. It wasn’t quite enough room for even the young ones to get up and down (at least of the Maran breeds and crosses, cause well, their quite big birds as is) other than Jazzy and Pepper.
We’ll need to increase the run around that coop in order to do this so it will be a little bit till were finishing this one up. But, overall it worked great for the purpose of what we needed it.

Out of the 12 chicks that hatched, we have kept 6 pullets for adding to our flock. Of these are: Pepper the Swedish Flower, Jazzy the Wheaton Ameraucana (the muffs and beard are missing though), Belle the Blue Copper Maran, Juniper our Olive Egger, and Pheobe & Rachel our two Black Copper Marans.

We’ll see if we end up keeping Pheobe and Rachel though, as they both hatched from lighter eggs then I would desire from our Black Copper Marans, because they were from Blue Copper Eggs. If not, we’ll be rehoming them to someone who doesn’t really care about that but just wants some tasty eggs.

 

My Apologies for the long absence

It has been ages since I have last made a post…or at least this is how it feels to me.

We have been so busy! Between renovations, caring for a new baby, gardening and chicken keeping, it feels like there is not much time left in between. To be honest, when there is, I have been shamelessly eating some ice cream or some other tasty treat and watching a movie with my feet kicked up. It’s just, that’s the one time of the day, or week even I suppose, where I don’t have to think…or do anything.

So I guess, thinking about writing a blog post is a little intimidating in those hours. I have tonight decided to indulge in a gingerale instead, so now I’m all hyped up on a bit of sugar and the babe is put to bed, I find my mind wandering to the thought of writing.

This is good, I love writing as a creative outlet. It soothes me and helps me organize the thoughts whizzing around in my head, which on a normal day to day business I keep my sanity by writing about a zillion notes. Which then I have to rewrite cause their all just a mess…

Recently we had a big dump of snow, thankfully it’s all melted away now, but it sure stuck around long enough to put a huge dent in my plans.

So, instead, now we are finally getting our little greenhouse set up. Thank goodness, because I have some seedlings that I was wanting to get out there, just lettuces and a few other things that are not really a huge rush, but definitely would be a nice benefit to have out in the greenhouse instead. Saves on electricity and space…I’ll take it! It’s been warm enough though that for some of the seedlings, I’ve just been keeping them outside while keeping a close eye on the weather forecast. First sign of a frost and I’ll be bringing those babies inside again or at least overnight.

Next up, we’ll be prepping the area for our hoop house and setting that all up, then we’ll be tilling the new garden area. I say new, because we’ve finally managed to get a hold of the plans for our septic field placement. This so conveniently is located very near beside where we had originally tilled out our garden…and fenced. Word of advice is that you want your garden at least 100-150 feet away. Uhh, boogers.

This is okay though, were kind of actually excited about that. Why, you may ask? Goats…that’s why! We realized it’s the perfect area for a couple goats instead, and a few ducks 😉 So we’ll be gearing into setting that all up as well. It’s already well fenced, and it just so happens one of our gate areas hasn’t been finished (thanks winter), so we’ll be making a goat pen at that opening instead! Genius, or at least, we like to think so.

The plans for this spring and summer just keep coming! Were heavy achievers, what can I say? Honestly, I think what it is really is the fact that I have little patience and can be a total brat (I get excited, and then don’t want to wait)…and therefore just charge into whatever it is that we (or should I say, “I”) want to do. I’m an Aries, what can I say?

I’ve looked into ducks, and Tim’s looked into goats, so between the two of us we’ve decided on the breeds we want and think are best.
I’ve decided on the Cayuga duck as I love their colouring, the fact their a larger breed, typically flightless, and they lay  a variety of black, grey, greenish, and cream coloured eggs…um, yes please! They can also lay around 200 a year, that’s pretty good.
For goats, Tim thought the Nigerian Dwarfs were perfect, and I couldn’t agree more. Small, still supplying about a quart of milk every two days or so, they are manageable and friendly. For first goat owners we think they would be a good match for us. I’m already dreaming about all the butter, cheese and other tasty goods we can have!

Due to these events, I’ve been diligently looking into all the books that I’ll be wanting to add to our library. Chicken books, Duck books, Goat books, Gardening books…
One can never have too many books, honestly.

Well, that’s it for now everyone. Glad to be back in the saddle, so to speak, and until next time! (I promise I won’t disappear again…I hope 😉 )

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