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November 9th, 2013

The animals around here are spoiled. The chickens, ducks, guineas and pigs get fermented grains as their daily ration. They also get homemade kefir and various supplements to keep them healthy. There are all manner of vegetables grown in the garden just for feeding the animals, in fact I have a good deal of kale for the chickens this winter.
fermenting zucchini 2
In mid July, I planted a ton of zucchini plants, mainly for feeding to the pigs. When I harvested the lot before frost, I ended up with around 60-70 lbs of them. Yesterday I set to work grating and fermenting much of what was left for the chickens and for us this winter.
fermenting zucchini 1
Fermenting will add probiotics and make the nutrients easier to absorb. No doubt the chickens are going to be happy as clams this winter when they get their first ration.

Do you ever make homemade food for your animals?

Gotta Love It

October 2nd, 2013

I love finding out about blog readers that have businesses.  A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from Emily who wanted to send me a fermenting crock as her value for value for enjoying this blog.  I have always thought about purchasing a crock, I just haven’t taken the plunge yet.  I can’t wait to fill this beauty with cabbage from my garden.
Stone Creek Crock 1
Emily and her husband import these and sell them on their website Stone Creek Trading. When she first contacted me I went straight to her website and was so impressed with what they sell, beautiful crocks, stoneware, wooden cooking utensils and other great items. These are just the kinds of things I love to buy for myself and for gifts!
stone creek trading company
Emily also offered a coupon code for other Chiot’s Run readers. Use the coupon code: CHIOTSRUN to get 10% off of your purchase. If you’ve been wanting to add a few heirloom items to your kitchen, now’s the time.
Stone Creek Crock 2
Being a small business owner I try to support other small businesses as much as I can. I also love to support people who are part of the Chiot’s Run Community!  I’ll definitely be keeping Emily’s store in mind for future gifts.

Do you own a small business or do you have any great small businesses you love to do business from that you want to share?

Cultivate Simple 43: Intro to Lacto-fermentation

September 2nd, 2013

“Agiculture doesn’t make sense without ways of storing the harvest.” –Sandor Katz

Ana & Roy Antaki from Weeping Duck Farm

What is lacto-fermentation? Traditional preservation of food in a brine solution.

Works through the activity of the lactobacillus family of beneficial bacteria.

  • It’s is lactose-free.
  • Applies to many food items, vegetable, dairy, meat.
  • Suitable for long-term storage.


  • No energy required in the preparation.
  • Long term storage without energy requirements.
  • A method perfected & tested through centuries, millennia.
  • A living food that supports the body’s systems for health, adds beneficial bacteria to the intestinal tract, notably from the lactobacillus family. inhibits & neutralizes numbers intestinal pathogens.
  • It is probiotic. Contains anti cancer agents, rich in anti-oxicdants, detoxifying agents, anti-funagl, immune-system booster & partner.
  • Improves the ability of the body to absorb needed nutrients from food.
  • Increases the nutritional value of the food. Synthesizes vitamins B & K. Protects and preserves heat sensitive vitamins.

Given recent large disease outbreaks trace – from sandor katz book – about safety of fermentation.

She uses Le Parfait jars, you can find them here.
Le Parfait French Glass Canning Jar – 1 Liter

General Rule for Amount of Salt to Use:
For Salting
Use 3 Tablespoons of salt per 5 lbs of veggies
For Brining
Use 2-3 Tablespoons of salt per quart of water

Books of the Week:

Quote of the Day: Melissa Coleman

September 1st, 2013

Fall arrived with its honey light and cool evenings, and the maple leaves brightened to match the reds and yellow of ripe apples. It was time to put away the bounty of the warm months for fortitude during the cold ones, as humans had done for centuries.

Melissa Coleman (This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone)

I don’t do a lot of canning, but I do love to ferment things. Over the coming weeks I’ll be making batches of fermented cucumber pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented goodies.
Cucumber harvest (1)
These will help augment the root vegetables in the cellar and the bitter winter greens from under the hoop house in the garden throughout the winter. The full-sour dill pickles are probably my favorite fermented food, we gobble them up quickly, eating them at every meal if we have them.

What’s your favorite kind of pickled food?

Round Two

November 8th, 2012

Last year I purchased a box of black mission olives from Chaffin Family Orchard to cure. I tried a few different curing methods and found that the Kalamata style fermented olives were my favorite. No surprise there since Kalamatas are my favorite kind of olive. At first I was skeptical that they’d turn out, curing olives seems like it should be harder than it is. When I tasted my first one I knew I’d be curing my own olives for the rest of my life.

This year I decided to add green olives to my curing routine. A large box was ordered from Chaffin Family Orchard and it arrived last Saturday. These are much larger than the mission olives so they don’t take as long to cut for curing. Last year I felt like I was cutting for ages, but these only took about an hour to get all the olives in their respective soaking liquids.

If you don’t like olives, make sure you try traditionally cured ones before your write them off completely. I never liked olives when my only experience was with those little black rounds that come from a can. Then I tasted my first Kalamata and was hooked. Don’t even let me near one of those olive bars at the fancy grocery stores!

I saved a few olives out hoping to make a how-to video. Curing olives is one of those things that is intimidating but is actually really simple. Hopefully I can encourage more people to try it at home. Not only are they delicious and healthy, you can save some serious money curing your own olives! I’ll happily spend a few hours curing 20 pounds of olives so I can eat organic olives all year long. I also know a few people who would love to receive olives as gifts.

Olives – love them or leave them? Which is your favorite kind/color?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.