Friday, June 3, 2011

Check out my local paper

I hope this link works!

My Story!

Thriving after a year on a 100-metre diet

PUSLINCH TOWNSHIP — The recipe sounds exotic and straight off the table of a five-star restaurant. Handmade, organic ravioli filled with goat meat, dandelion leaves, chives and tomatoes, with a light tomato sauce.”

Along with sounding mouth-watering, the dish is something else: everything but the flour in the pasta came from within 100-metres of Greg Stevenson’s home.

The Puslinch resident recently completed an entire year when almost everything he ate came from within 100 metres. That means that he had to raise, grow, gather and forage what he ate from his 4.5 acre (1.8 hectare) property. The only things he allowed himself to buy were flour, sugar, local honey, spices, vinegar, oil, yeast, baking powder, vanilla, yogurt starter and the “odd vitamin.”

The idea came to Stevenson, a pension consultant, in January 2010.

“I looked around the farm and saw we had chickens for fresh eggs, and goats for milk, and I thought, I think I can live off what I have for one year,” he says.

The idea was also driven by his weight and diet.

“I was pretty discouraged with the food I was eating, and I knew there had to be a better way.”

Rather than jumping in immediately with both feet, Stevenson planned for six months, planting and storing up some food in the freezer. In June 2010 he started, treating it mainly as a diet at first. He quickly realized that wasn’t the way to go, as his weight dropped from 198 pounds to 160 in only four months.

“I realized you have to eat when you are hungry and eat as much as you can, because you are eating healthier foods,” he says. “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.”

The first months of the diet were the easiest, says Stevenson, as he was able to eat the bounty of the garden. By the time late December and January rolled round however, Stevenson realized the full implication of his decision.

“Around Christmas, I stopped milking the goat, so I could just drink water,” he said. “In January I realized I’ve got nothing fresh, I’m just living off of my freezer. That was the hardest period.”

It was then that he relied on the support of his wife, Barb, and three boys, Michael, Matthew and Daniel.

“This year absolutely brought our family together,” he said. “They all pitched in when they could. You couldn’t go through this on your own.”

Most of what he ate was egg-based, as well as homemade cheese and pitas. As for vegetables, his diet consisted primarily of tomatoes, squash, zucchinis, onions and potatoes. Fruit was more difficult, as he had to rely on foraging some wild grapes, currants and some rhubarb. In terms of meat, Stevenson at first relied on his stockpile of 20-plus frozen chickens and a goat that they had butchered before he began.

According to Stevenson, the tough thing about the diet is the amount of time you spend in the kitchen. While he appreciates the cooking process the experience has given him, he says he would spend a lot of his weekends preparing food for the week ahead. If he had a family visit on the weekend, the week ahead would be “eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he says with a smile.

In order to have enough meat for the final five months, Stevenson brought two of their goats, Lucky and Chocolate, to the butcher in January. While some would have a tough time killing an animal they had bottle-fed, hug and named, Stevenson takes a different approach.

“I treated them with respect, I raised them humanely, but I knew their ultimate purpose was for the table,” he says.

It is all part of the appreciation for food that Stevenson says the year gave him.

“You won’t remember a steak you eat one year later, but I won’t soon forget the animals I’ve eaten this year,” he says. “That’s very meaningful for me.”

Now that it’s officially over, did Stevenson run to the closest convenience store to grab a bag of chips and a soda?

“I’m not that person anymore,” he says. “Once you begin it’s hard to stop, I’ve changed and I don’t want to eat that way again.”

Stevenson is in the process of figuring out how to proceed and “evolve” his diet. He says he is going to buy beef from a neighbour who raises cattle, and that he will be a regular at the Aberfoyle Farmers’ Market, following a simple mantra:

“Nothing out of a can or a bag,” he says. “If it’s not in its original packaging, I’ll say no.”

Not that Stevenson is an activist for the “humbling” diet.

“It’s hard and it’s not for everyone,” he says. “It gave me an appreciation of where food comes from and the effort that goes into preparing it,” he says. “Grocery stores today are selling convenience. I just made the choice to not go the convenient route.”

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It’s the end of the 100 Meter Diet

Wow, I made it. I survived one full year on my 100 meter diet. I knew that I could … I even knew that I would … but still, I’m surprised that I did.

It wasn’t easy but I felt that I needed to do this and I’m glad that I did. I’ve discovered a sense of food freedom and a stronger self confidence that I didn't expect to find.

Living a simpler life, and becoming more connected to the foods that I eat, has filled me with tremendous energy that now fuels my desire to push the boundaries and take on more challenges. There’s nothing stopping me now. If you think that I’m self sufficient today … just wait until you see where I am in 5 years time!

I no longer care if people think I’m crazy for living and eating the way that I do. I’m being true to myself and I’m setting a good example for my children. There is nothing more important to me than that. I’ve excepted the fact that I can’t change the world, but I can change myself, and at the same time have a positive impact on those around me. I believe that I have done that on this diet and that makes all the effort worth while.

The hardest part of this diet was finding the time to blog about what I was doing. There were many stories and thoughts that never saw the light of day.

I never came close to quitting the diet but on a few occasions I came very close to walking away from the blog. With encouragement from friends and family I managed to keep up the blogging, even if it meant posting less frequently.

I’m glad that I stuck with it and I plan to bind the blog into a keepsake book for our family.

What will my diet look like tomorrow? Well, I’m going to expand my food sources beyond our property. I’m desperate to reintroduce a greater variety of local foods into my diet so I’ll be buying produce from our local farmers market as well as beef from our neighbour’s farm around the corner. As much as possible, I’m going to continue to make the majority of my meals by hand. Processed foods will rarely be seen in my diet. I’ve proven that I can live without them and I know for sure that I don’t want them.

As for the blog itself ... I’m not certain what will become of it. I wish that I had the time and the energy to keep it going but I’m not sure that I do. At least not right now. Living the 100 meter diet takes a lot of time and effort. Everyone in our family contributes, in their own way, to this way of life and it’s an excellent family bonding experience. Blogging, on the other hand, is a solitary task which pulls my time away from the family. I find myself apologizing to my family when I need to seek out some quiet time to blog. That doesn’t feel right to me and I’d much rather live this lifestyle than take time away to write about it.

For those that have been regular followers – thank you! Your comments and encouragement made me feel less like a lunatic and made me realize that there are many more like minded individuals out there in the world. I’m grateful for that and I really, truly needed to know that you were out there.

Finally, I can’t end the diet without an update on my weight. I started out the diet weighing 198 pounds and as of this morning I weigh 160 pounds. I couldn’t be happier with that result. I should have done this many years ago.

My next challenge is to rebuild all the muscle that I lost over the past year. In order to do that I joined a fitness gym yesterday and I’m pretty sure that I can find the time to commit to a work out routine. I’ve proven that I'm good with commitments.

Thanks for all the support and just for the record … I feel great!

Greg Stevenson (also known as Peskychicken)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Penultimate Post

The weather we had over this past weekend was absolutely gorgeous. Sunny and warm with a slightly cool breeze. It was perfect gardening weather.

On Saturday afternoon the sky presented us with a special treat ... I'll call it a cloud rainbow. Unfortunately the picture doesn't do it justice. You can click on the picture to get a larger view.

It contained all the colours of a rainbow but it was made up a wispy thin cloud streaks. I've never seen than formation before and I'm glad we had the camera close by ... beautiful.

So, I'm heading into my last full week on the 100 meter diet and I'm surprised to find myself looking forward to crossing the finish line. The freezer is nearly empty and I'm tired of baking bread and making noodles. I actually said to Barb this morning, "I would happily pay someone to bake me a loaf of bread".

I have 1 jar of pickled beets left, 2 jars of regular pickles, some frozen zucchini, frozen butternut squash, a few onions, some goat meat and of course eggs and goat milk. Survivable, yes ... Enjoyable, no.

Our local farmers market (The Aberfoyle Farmer's Market) opens on May 28th and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll be like a kid in a candy store ... buying as much fresh produce as I can. I hope someone there sells fresh bread ;)

One more week ... I can do this!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Finally ... the morels have arrived!

The first morel of the season is always the hardest one to find.

I've been searching for this tasty morsel for just over two weeks and I finally found it today.

I found another four smaller morels in the same area but I want to find more. Many, many more.

One season, about eight years ago, we found over ten pounds of morels on our property. I would love to end the 100 meter diet with 10 pounds of morels. It could happen .... and if it does I'lll be in heaven!

We're going to have wet, rainy weather for the next week or so. I'm crossing my fingers that all the rain makes the mushrooms explode all over the place.

Morel mushrooms are worth their weight in gold around our house. Everybody loves them. If you've never tried morels before you are really missing something special. In Ontario, May is the month for morels. They're hard to find but you could get lucky and find someone selling them at your local farmers market. It's worth a try.

Mmmmm. Morels.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Graham crackers

Recently I had a craving for some cheese cake but I was still feeling guilty about using store bought graham cracker crumbs last time. So I did a little 'googling' and found a recipe that I could work with.

They were surprisingly easy to make and they tasted really good. I'll be making these again.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup goat butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup locally produced honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup goat milk

Mix the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda together and set aside.

Then mix the butter, brown sugar and honey together and stir until it is very creamy. Incorporate the dry ingredients, as well as the milk and vanilla, then work the mixture into a ball. Knead the dough well, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, divide the dough into quarters and roll each quarter out flat (about 3 millimeters thick). Dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. Trim the sheet of rolled dough into a large rectangle. Cut into smaller rectangles and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Mark a line down the center of each one using a knife.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

And there you have it ... 100 meter graham crackers!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

End of April Update

April has ended and I head back to world of the employed tomorrow morning. I've enjoyed being home for the past month ... who wouldn't?

It was a particularly cold and wet month but that didn't stop me from getting a lot of chores done around the homestead. I've had the time to get a good head start on spring and my garden is in pretty good shape ... thanks to the pigs and some extra help from Michael and Matthew.

My weight slipped slightly and I'm now down to 158 pounds ... likely due to all the extra physical activity.

I've been spoiled by all the extra time that I've had to prepare my meals and I'll have to get back into the routine of preparing my meals ahead of time again. My food supplies are certainly dwindling but I have enough to see me through the end of May.

I'll be cooking my last frozen chicken today but I have a rooster in the barnyard that I've had my eye on. May might not be a great month for him.

The green onions, spinach and lettuce in my cold frames are growing slowly but they will benefit from some warmer days in May.

For the first time in my life I'm happy to see the dandelions start growing in the yard. Baby dandelion leaves with a simple oil and vinegar dressing makes for a great light salad after a long cold winter without fresh greens.

I doubt that there are many people out there that are looking forward to spring more than I am.

Bring it on!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My version of fast food

I was working outside this morning and when I came in for lunch I didn't have anything pre made and ready to eat.

There was some thawed goat meat in the fridge, and since my hunger wasn't overpowering, I decided to make a nice noodle dish.

I quickly cubed the goat meat and fried it up with some onions and various spices to make a tasty meat and gravy sauce. Very simple and quick.

As the sauce simmered I started making the fresh egg noodles. I added some garlic powder and pepper to spice it up a bit.

Normally I let the dough sit for a little while before I roll it out, but the smell of the meat sauce was spurring on my hunger, so I kept on moving.

Roll, cut and boil ... as quick as I could.

Et voilĂ ! It took 64 minutes from walking in the door to sitting down to eat .... that includes the time it took me to decide what to eat and to clean up from being outside.

On the 100 meter diet that's considered fast food!

A year ago I couldn't have whipped something like this up so quickly .... and have it taste good at the same time!

I love what this diet has transformed me into ... I'm no chef but I'm no slouch either. I can hold my own in the kitchen ... I'm proud of that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pita Recipe

I've made so many pitas over the past year that I think I could make these in my sleep. It is one of my most used recipes on the 100 meter diet.

I've experimented with various different types of flour but I have now settled on a pita recipe that I like the best.

Here it is ....


2.5 cups of whole wheat flour
2.5 cups of spelt flour
1 cup of red fife flour
2.5 cups of whey (water can be a substitute)
1 teaspoon of yeast
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil


Dissolve the yeast in a bowl of warm whey and then add the mixture to a larger bowl with 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour. Stir well, cover and leave it to sit for several hours. I usually do this step early in the morning and leave it to sit until early afternoon (or later .. there's no rush).

Next, add the salt, olive oil and the additional flour and knead well. The dough should be moist and sticky. Leave the dough to mellow and rise for several more hours.

Divide the dough into 16 equal sized balls. Use a rolling pin to flatten each ball to a size that will fit your cast iron pan. I use a liberal amount of white flour for rolling each pita since they are fairly sticky.

Pre-heat your cast iron pan to a medium heat. Then carefully drop a pita into the pan so it lands flatly. You only get one chance ... it's nearly impossible to correct for a badly placed pita.

Flip the pita after about 10 seconds (before it starts to bubble). Watch the pita to make sure it doesn't burn. The pita should rise on it's own but you can help the process by lightly pressing the pita with a spatula. You can flip the pita as required so it doesn't burn on any one side.

It may take a bit of practice to get all the pitas to puff up perfectly or to find the right temperature for the pan. Once you have the knack to pita making it gets a whole lot easier.

Making pitas is a great way to spend some family time in the kitchen. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Getting to know the pigs

I've been spending a lot of time outside with the pigs lately so I've had a great chance to get to know them quite well. I've found them to be very playful, extremely quick and I now appreciate what it's like to "eat like a pig". These two are eating machines.

They are also powerful bulldozers. Their snouts can turn over a patch of ground better than a pitchfork.

As a result, I've had to stop letting them free range with the goats and chickens. They were rooting up the pasture like a tractor with a plow. I wasn't expecting that.

Now, every morning, I lead them to the fenced in garden so they can spend the day rooting to their hearts content. They are saving me hours of labour and they're doing a great job.

At the end of the day, I lead them back to the barn for the night. It only took them a couple of days to learn the routine. They follow me out to the garden and back without any trouble at all.

Every couple of days the kids and I go into the garden and pick up all the weeds and stones that they have rooted up.

It shouldn't take the pigs very long to get the garden ready for planting.

I'm not sure where I'll let the pigs root around once the garden is planted. I'll likely have to build them their own fenced in yard ... we'll see.

Until then they still have more work to do ... but for them it's probably more like fun. It's certainly a lot of fun to watch them work.

Friday, April 15, 2011


The big day finally arrived ... Lucy had her kids yesterday!

She had triplets and we named them Bambi, Thumper and Flower (two girls and a boy ... Thumper is the buck).

I just happened to check on Lucy as the first kid was being born. I knew the big day was near but l was still caught unprepared.

When I saw the tiny hoof and nose emerging I ran back in the house to get some towels so I could help clean off the kids as they were born. I was quick and made it back to the barn just before Flower made her arrival.

Flower was the smallest of the three but that didn't stop her from being up on her feet within four minutes. She's a very cute little goat and she looks strikingly similar to Lucky, our first goat born last spring.

Next to arrive was Bambi. She has a beautiful light coloured coat with a dark black stripe down her back - absolutely gorgeous.

Lucy instinctively cleaned off the kids while I helped where I could. I thought she was done when Bambi was born but after a few minutes Lucy started pushing again. I thought she was trying to deliver the placenta until I saw another tiny hoof poking out.

Thumper was the largest of the three kids to be born. He has a slightly curly haired coat with similar colouring to Lucy.

I was extremely lucky to be able to witness the birthing process. The entire event was over in less than 10 minutes.

Lucy and the kids are doing just fine.

She has accepted each of her babies and they have all successfully nursed a few times already ... a very good start.

Lucy was getting so uncomfortably big ... I'm glad the waiting is over. This morning she looks like a deflated balloon and I can almost detect
a smile on her face. I think she's happy that they're out!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Goat milk and egg yolk soap

2015 Update: Check out my YouTube video where I make goat milk soap from scratch ... :)

PeskyChicken's Goat Milk Soap Video

Original Blog Post:

I've been making a lot of goat milk soap lately so I thought it was about time to post a soap making update. I've modified my recipe slightly so I can make bigger batches of soap. Plus I've added egg yolks to the recipe ... I haven't actually tried a bar of this new soap yet but I expect that I will be happy with the results.

My new ingredients include:

2 pounds lard
2 pounds coconut oil
2 cups goat milk
4 egg yolks
0.6 pounds of lye crystals
Scented oils

It's a very simple list of ingredients ... nothing fancy. If you want to add other oils the following link will help you determine the amount of liquid and lye you will need.

I add the lye to frozen goat milk (frozen in ice cube trays) to obtain a cream coloured soap. Add the lye to the frozen milk in small amounts and stir constantly. Once the milk has completely melted, and the lye is dissolved, set aside for use later.

Lard comes in 1 pound boxes so I simply drop two bars in a large stainless steel pot.

Next, weigh out 2 pounds of coconut oil using a standard kitchen scale. Add the coconut oil to the pot and heat the lard and oil slowly on low heat. Once the oils are completely melted remove the pot from the heat and leave the pot to cool to 100 F.

While the oils are cooling you can prepare the egg yolks. The rule of thumb is to add 1 egg yolk per pound of oil.

My eggs come straight from under the hens so the yolks are warm and drain nicely. If you are using eggs from the fridge you may want to let them warm up to room temperature first.

You only want to add the egg yolk ... not the egg yolk sack. Carefully hold the egg yolk in your hand and puncture the yolk sack with a sharp knife. Allow the egg yolk to drain into a bowl.

Once the oils are cooled down to 100 F you can start to temper the egg yolks so they don't end up getting cooked. Slowly add a little bit of the oil mixture to the egg yolks. Whisk and repeat several times until the egg yolks are well mixed into a cup of oil.

Add the egg yolk mixture to the larger oil pot and stir well.

Finally, slowly add the lye solution to the oils and mix using electric beaters.

I find that it takes about an
hour or more to get the oils to trace.

Once the oils trace, pour into your soap molds and leave them for a day to set. After the soap has set you can remove it from the mold, cut them into soap bars and leave them to cure for about 6 weeks.

Soap making is a bit of an effort but the results are well worth it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

End of March Update

Recently, I made the decision to look for a job closer to home. I'm happy to say that everything has worked out extremely well and I have given up my lengthy GO Train / subway commute into Toronto for a much shorter drive into Kitchener. I'm extremely happy with the change since it cuts two hours off my commuting time each day.

Truly amazing.

To top it all off, I am going to take the entire month of April off before I start my new job. I'm looking forward to spending all of my time around the house and the barnyard. I should be able to get a lot of spring chores checked off my list, although that might be difficult because it's a very long list.

It's funny how ones perspective changes over time. Four years ago I was happy when I made the decision to accept a job offer in Toronto and now I'm happy to return to working more locally.

I don't regret any of the time I spent working in Toronto. I think it actually helped set me on the course that led me to 100 meter diet. For that I am thankful.

As for my weight at the end of March ... it's 160 pounds. I'm eating more lately since I can better gauge how long my food needs to last. No sense ending the diet with food in the freezer!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Berkshire Piglets

Well, I decided to try my hand at raising pigs this year. We are now the proud owners of two small Berkshire piglets.

Berkshire pigs are a heritage breed brought over from England back in the early 1800's. They are known to have an excellent disposition and are quite docile - perfect for our hobby farm.

I've never tasted their meat before, but I have read that the meat is better marbled than other pigs, which gives it a better taste and quality. I'm sold.

I'm looking forward to learning more about raising pigs. They don't look like much trouble right now but when they get to be 200+ pounds I might be singing a different tune.

Wish me luck!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Maple syrup time ... again

Spring like temperatures have arrived and the sap in our maple tree has been flowing freely this week. We're getting about 6 liters of sap per day ... that's a lot of water to boil down each night.

Ideally I wouldn't be processing the sap on the stove top but I have no other convenient option.

If you want to see a picture of the tree we tap please check out last years post about our maple tree.

Last year I made the syrup for my 100 meter diet. This year I'm making the syrup for the family to enjoy.

It takes about 4 hours to slowly boil off the water to be left with about 2/3 of a cup of maple syrup. You want to boil off 96% of the sap which leaves behind the wonderful maple sugars in the syrup.

I let the maple syrup 'settle' in a measuring cup over night before bottling it to store in the fridge. This gives the sediments time to sink to the bottom.

In the end, after 3 nights of sap boiling, I'm left with about 2 cups of 100 meter maple syrup. Nothing tastes better than home made maple syrup so it's well worth the effort.

I hope to gather and boil enough sap to make 2 more jars for the family to enjoy.

I wonder how long those jars will last?

P.S. For those of you looking for more signs of spring .... our Red Wing Blackbirds returned last Saturday! I absolutely love their sounds ... it fills my heart with warmth every spring when they return to our ponds. It will only be a few more weeks until the frogs make an appearance with their nightly songs .... I can hardly wait!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cooking on the wood stove

I don't cook on the wood stove very often but I love to do it when the opportunity arises.

This winter I had my chance when I woke up one morning, on a weekend, and found that we had no power in the house. The heat must have been off for quite awhile because it was already quite chilly when I got out of bed.

As usual, I was awake at least an hour before the rest of the family so I had plenty of time to gather up some fire wood and get the wood stove fired up. By the time the rest of the family woke up I had the fireplace room at a comfortable temperature.

For breakfast we warmed up the cast iron pan and fried up some fresh eggs. Mmmm, delicious.

At this point we were all hoping that the power would be off for the entire day. The kids were having a great time setting up their favourite board games and were settling in to play all day long in front of the fire.

We put two kettles on the stove to warm up some water for coffee and some warm drinks for the kids.

I had to use my trusty camping stove to get the kettle hot enough to boil and percolate the coffee. I confess that I did have a coffee that morning but can you blame me? I was swept up in the moment and at that point I really felt that I had earned a treat. Plus I was looking for a little extra warmth.

The Dutch oven made an appearance to make our next treat ... cinnamon rolls! They took well over an hour to bake on the wood stove but before they were finished the power suddenly came back on.

Since the power was back on I threw the Dutch oven in our kitchen stove to brown the top slightly.

After a few minutes on broil they were done and everyone dug right in before I had a chance to take a picture.

In total the power was out for about 6 waking hours. More than enough time for some family survival fun but we were all left wanting more as we returned to our 'power consumption' routine like moths to a light bulb. Well, it was a fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Goat meat ravioli

I made these on Family Day and I thought that the recipe was worthy of documentation on this blog. I'd like to think that this is something you might find on the menu at a fancy upscale restaurant ... I can picture the description now ...

Hand made ravioli pasta made with freshly laid eggs from free range hens. Stuffed with ethically raised goat meat, spring dandelion leaves, chives and tomatoes. Lightly seasoned to compliment the natural flavours. Served with a light tomato sauce.

Sounds good doesn't it? Although I doubt that any fine restaurants actually have goat meat on the menu.

This dish would be better if I used fresh dandelion, chives and tomatoes, but alas, I only have frozen to work with.


1/2 pound of ground goat meat
1/2 cup of dandelion leaves (chopped)
1/4 cup of tomatoes (finely diced)
1 tablespoon of chives (chopped)
Spices to suit your tastes

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Place teaspoon sized balls of the mixture on a large sheet of freshly rolled egg noodles (cut in half). Leave enough space between each ball to form each ravioli.

Give the 2nd sheet of egg noodle a few extra rolls with a rolling pin to make sure you have enough to fully cover the 1st sheet.

Lay the 2nd sheet over the 1st sheet and seal all sides of each ravioli.

Carefully cut between each ravioli and pinch along each side to ensure a tight seal.

You can cook the ravioli fresh or lay them out on a clean baking sheet for freezing.

I enjoyed my ravioli with a light
tomato sauce garnished with some fresh parsley.

I pull them out of the freezer on nights when I don't have anything ready to go. They only take about 10-12 minutes to cook and they are quite filling.

They do take a bit of effort to make but they're worth it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Putting it all together ...

With spring approaching it was time to clean out the barn this past weekend.

Michael and Matthew stepped up to the plate to help out. I was impressed with their work ethic as they got down to business.

They worked hard, did a great job and they easily cut my work in half.

I've mentioned to them before that if they want to continue this way of life they need to pick up a few more chores around the home. They know that our way of life is different from how their friends live and they are willing to pitch in a helping hand to keep it going. I'm proud of them and more importantly I know they're proud of themselves.

That's one of the wonderful side effects of this journey ... we've all come together as a family to make this journey successful. I couldn't have done this without them and they wouldn't be living all of these new experiences without the diet.

You can say that I'm starting to put it all together and I'm realizing that living a simpler life is bringing our family closer together. We all have a part to play in this journey and we are all finding the effort worth while.

On Sunday afternoon we were all in the kitchen baking and the kids pitched in once again. I had to step back and smile as everyone was busy 'doing their thing'.

I must say that Michael has become quite the pita bread maker. He fried the pitas and got each one to puff up perfectly. He doesn't take any of the credit though ... he says it's all in my rolling. I thanked him but then told him the secret is team work!

Monday, February 28, 2011

End of February Update

As expected, February flew by in a flash. The snow is starting to retreat and we no longer allow the kids on the pond ... sure signs that spring is coming.

Beyond the obvious signs of spring, I've come up with a few more signs that will give you hope that warmer days are ahead.

1) The chicken's water pail hasn't been frozen over, in the mornings, for about 4 days now.

Those of you that have chickens in a cold climate know that it's a blessing not to have to change the water pail first thing every morning :D. I'm glad those days are coming to an end.

2) I tapped the maple tree to start our maple syrup tradition for 2011.

I just opened my last jar of maple syrup from last spring so the timing seems perfect to start the next batch. We just need a nice sunny day to get the sap flowing.

3) I've filled out my day old chick order form for our local hatchery.

I'm going to let the girls hatch out some of their own eggs but I wanted to get some more white egg laying hens (Leghorns). I'm also going to get some meat chickens this year. We've had them once before. The chickens get huge ..... quickly. I butchered 19 by hand that year. It put an end to the idea of me ever doing that again.

Since I get them processed now it isn't an issue. I really should have had the meat chickens for the 100 meter diet. It would have made my meals stretch much further. I've had a few decent roosters this year but most of them have been rather small. So the bigger the better.

4) We're counting the days until the start of May.

That's when morel mushrooms make their appearance around our part of the world. If you're addicted to morels, as our family is, then you know the anticipation that builds when morel season approaches. They are one of the first treats of spring. I hope we have a good crop this year because I have a few recipes that I'd love to try!

Those are some of the signs of spring around our homestead. What are your signs of spring?

P.S. My weight at the end of February is 158 pounds. Down one pound from last month. When I do step on the scales it's usually 158 that I see. I think that's my new weight. Well, at least my weight on the 100 meter diet.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A family effort on Family Day

This past weekend was the Family Day long weekend in Ontario. Since we didn't have any plans for the holiday Monday I asked the family if they would spend the day making food with me.

I get much more done when I have a few extra helping hands but the biggest help is just having company in the kitchen. Everyone pitched in and kept me moving.

Our goal was to fill our kitchen table with food and we met that goal with a lot of hard work. It was a long day!

Some of the food was made a day or two earlier but the bulk of it was made yesterday.

Here's a complete list of what's on the table:

3 loaves of bread
A pot of chicken noodle soup
2 angel food cakes
A batch of red currant muffins
3 batches of egg noodles
A batch of goat milk pancakes
Alfalfa sprouts
6 jars of goat milk yogurt
2 mini meat loaves
One roasted butternut squash
2 zucchini loaves
35 goat meat raviolis (with dandelions, chives and tomatoes)

Amazingly the kitchen wasn't a total disaster at the end of the day.

The kids were great helpers ... cutting, kneading and cleaning whenever I needed them. It was truly a family effort and it was the perfect way to spend Family Day!