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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bagels

OK we are home from vacation. The boys LOVE bagels, I mean they could eat bagels every morning. I had been buying organic bagels but with gas prices rising every day we are not going to the health food store to shop anymore. Our local Ingels has so much organic food now that we can get almost everything we need with just a 15 minute drive from our house. Which I like. But no organic bagels. Have tried the regular deli bagels at the Ingels but they are just not that good, and we have been buying lenders bagels from the Ingels but I much prefer using organic, especially since it is something the boys eat almost daily.

So I decided to try making my own. This is a big step. It is hard unschooling and having my own things that I enjoy. I am always balancing organic, homemade, simple, easy, cheap, etc etc. I am sure many of you know what I mean. I am always thinking is it worth it to take the time to make myself? Is it something we use a lot of? Is expensive to buy outright? etc etc. Time is also valuable to me. But in this case I took it all into consideration and decided that since they eat so many bagels it would be worth it to try making my own. Thought it would be hard but it really isn't and the boys have decided these are the best bagels they have every had.

Here is my recipe, actually I took an existing recipe and tweaked it to suit us.

1 2/3 cup hot water
mix into the water:
3 tsp yeast
3 tbsp (about) honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp (about) olive oil

let that sit just a minute then add (I use my kitchen aid stand mixer with the dough hook on it) 1- 1/2 cups whole wheat flour and 3 cups unbleached white flour.

Beat that (again I use the stand mixer) for 10 minutes then let it rise until doubled. Beat it down and let it stand for 15 minutes. Divide dough into 12 balls and stick your thumbs into the center of each ball and form into a bagel shape.


Heat a pan of water (1-2 inches of water) with 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp salt added, until it is boiling. Set the bagels into the boiling water and cook on one side for 3 minutes, then flip for 2 minutes and flip again for one more minute. Take them out of the water and blot them on a towel to get the excess water off. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until brown on top.


They were so good. I think I will be making these on a regular basis now. Here is a picture of today's batch (my first one) cooling. Enjoy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Eco-Tour

Yesterday we took an eco-tour of some of the jungle on the western side of the Big Island. It was fabulous. This botanist about 23 years ago bought up some "cattle" land and decided to let it go back to it's natural state. Since this part of the island gets lots of rain it didn't take any time at all for it to return to jungle. Along with the native plants he also has planted lots of other species of plant including different types of bamboo, which we found so interesting. It was just amazing to see what will grow in this environment.

We did learn that Hawaii has only about a dozen native plants and all are non poisonous and have no thorns. Theory is that when the plants first started growing on this island they did not need those defenses so quickly adapted to the environment. There was only one original mammal native to this island, the bat. Everything else was brought here and they have had "trouble" with different animals on and off over the years. Mongoose were brought in to take care of rats but the mongoose didn't eat the rats as they are day time predators so they have proliferated here. Also donkeys, pigs, and goats to name a few, are animals that were brought here for a reason then let go into the wild.
It was also so incredible to see how lava will support so much life if you just give it a little water. There are parts of the island covered in lava that have nothing growing, but these areas that get very little water, and one area gets only about 10 inches a year. Some areas where there is newer lava, have so much water that they are already lush jungles. We also learned that very little topsoil is brought onto the island. It isn't needed. Even the lush green grass growing around the resorts grows on crushed lava, just needs some fertilizer and water.

What an amazing place. And we were able to visit the Kona Coffee Company that was featured on Dirty Jobs, we love that show. Organic coffee, and they also make tea. I have just a few pictures to share.




Monday, October 22, 2007

Nene


We traveled to the other side of the island yesterday to visit Volcanoes National Park. Just amazing. But we were especially amazed by this one little bird the Nene. It lives in the lava fields near the volcanoes. It has feet that are adapted to climbing on the volcanic rocks, and even though there is little water, it survives this environment. It is the State Bird of Hawaii and is an endangered species. There are signs up everywhere to NOT feed these birds if you do see them, as this attracts them to the road where they are hit by cars. And signs to NOT pick the berries found in the lava fields, as this is essential food for the Nene. We looked and looked and finally spotted this very pretty bird and have a couple of pictures to share. Just an amazing animal that is coming back from the brink of extinction.





Sunday, October 21, 2007

Conservation

OK I have some interesting pictures I thought I would share here. While we were on the beach today, I met this woman who has been working with the Sea Turtle Conservation efforts here in Hawaii for 19 years. I guess I should say that we are on vacation right now in Hawaii and having a fabulous time. We also have Sea Turtle Conservation efforts in North Carolina too, but the difference is that here you can see the Sea Turtles out everywhere and at just about any time of day. We saw some earlier out eating sea weeds, then walking along the beach we saw another one up on the Lava rocks sunning herself, nice, warm spot. And later this afternoon while walking along the beach we saw a few out resting on the shore. She was saying that at night you can come out and see them lined up along the shore sleeping for the night. Very cool, they just ask that you not touch them or get too close. So here are some of our pictures.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sustainable Living Roadshow

I thought this was just a great little piece, and found their web site. If you look on the site you can see their 2008 tour as well.

Sustainable Living Roadshow

Monday, October 15, 2007

The View

While hanging out laundry this morning I was taking the time to really enjoy the view from our deck. We have put the clothes line right across the deck. I hesitated at first, but we created a clothes line (well really 2) that can easily be taken down when we are having guests, and back up in a minute for more laundry. I have come to REALLY enjoy the placement of the lines. Right on the deck so I can look out over our property, see the mountains in the distance, feel the fresh air and gentle breeze, when there is one. This time of year is perfect. Not hot, not cold, a nice breeze and fresh smell, trees just barely starting to change to the colors of fall. I love hanging out laundry at this time of year, and tend to linger, taking extra care, so I can enjoy the time and cherish the feel of the clothes, thinking about each member of my family, what they are doing, the joy they bring into my life, and all we have created here.

So I thought I would share the view from our deck. In one of the pictures you can see part of the deck rail. Just amazing beauty.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Deer

Today while gathering eggs I noticed two deer. We see deer all the time here, but never this close, they are usually down in the field. This time they were just on the other side of the chicken coop. I was startled at first because I just saw a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye. Then I realized what it was and just sat down.

OK yes, I have chairs up at the barn by the chickens, I think I have mentioned before that I love to sit and have a cup of tea and watch my chicks.

I sat there for about 10 minutes. At first the deer didn't know what to make of me. They stared at me staring at them. Then they went back to grazing for a while and moved slowly off into the woods. So amazing, probably about 15-20 feet away from me, beautiful.

I didn't have my camera with me. I do have some dried corn left from this years corn harvest so I think I am going to strew some ears up there to see if I can entice any deer back to the same spot. And will hopefully remember to bring my camera along and "shoot" some deer. That is the only "shooting" I can bare.

I do remember as a little girl, my dad brought me along hunting with him "once". I say once because he never brought me again. I was young and really had no idea what we were out there in the woods to accomplish. We saw a deer, beautiful deer, and my dad raised his rifle to shoot and I just let out a yelp. Scared the deer, angered my dad just a little, and we walked back home and that was my first and last "hunting trip".

Weeds and seeds

Well NOTHING has come up in our cold frames. STILL. Well I should say the weeds love it. So I took a section of the cold frame and replanted, this time with radish seeds. Had some left over, and radishes are so quick to germinate and produce, I thought that would be a good last minute crop. We will see what happens. I do see that the okra that was tilled under is sprouting nicely. Of course it will not be too much longer before it gets too cold for them, so they will not have time to produce. I wonder if I have any thin PVC and some clear plastic and could make a "green house" or sorts for them, hmmmm. Maybe I should just take advantage of what is coming up and see if I can keep them warm enough to produce anything.

I am glad the okra seeds germinated in a way, because I saved so many of the seeds myself for next year, and gave some away, so to see them germinate and grow is reassuring.

OK off to check on my radishes this morning.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge


I decided to post this weeks picture here. The subject for the month is food. So I couldn't think of a better picture than a picture of our eggs, from our well loved chickens. A handful because of the joy the hens give me, and the abundance I feel when gathering eggs.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Fall Garden


OK nothing is growing in the cold frames. Not sure if it is the seeds or what. The rest of the garden is tilled under except for some herbs and pepper plants. I have been opening up the frames during the day as it has been really nice. At night I close them up because it gets a bit chilly. Oh well. We did have some green peppers today and I brought in some nice purple basil to make a pesto out of. And hopefully get some seeds from the basil. I did harvest some of the green, sweet basil seeds last week.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sweet Sweet Smell

Over the past few days a very sweet floral small has been wafting through our house. It is such a wonderful time of year, just a bit of a chill in the air in the evenings, and not unbearably hot during the day, so we tend to leave all windows open throughout the day to allow for so much fresh air exchange. But I can't get over, nor can I locate that wonderful smell. The smell is reminiscent of gardenias, gotta love the smell of gardenias, but we have no gardenias on our property. Jackson was guessing it was our big beautiful magnolia, but the smell isn't quite the same. And looking closer our magnolia is not in blossom right now. So I am still unable to locate the origin of the scent, but am enjoying it each and every minute anyway.