Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bovine Hydration System (BHS)

Last winter we had to carry water out to our animals. This year we wanted an easier system. Our small barn area is attached to the wood shed, which is attached to our house at the mudroom. In our mudroom are the washer and dryer. We decided to plumb off the washing machine water to use for animal watering.

Here is how we did it:

We used 4” schedule 20 PVC pipe and put it overhead in the woodshed at a slight downwards pitch towards the bovine quarters.

Then we ran 1” black plastic water pipe inside the PVC pipe, the PVC pipe stays rigid and prevents the black plastic from sagging. The pipe on the barn side hangs over the water dish.

The black plastic pipe comes through the mudroom wall at the ceiling and is connected to a garden hose “y”; on one side we connected a hose that ties into our washing machine cold water faucet (we used another “y” on the cold water side of the washer. One end is connected to the washer hose and the other to the BHS). The other side of the “y” has a short hose connected to it that we use as a vent to help drain the water out of the black plastic pipe.

We discovered after our first real cold night that the pipe wasn’t draining completely and it froze. Luckily it warmed up during the day and we tried using air from the compressor to force out any water left in the pipe. This has worked very well, even with -8° F temps.

Happy cows, happy people.

This photo shows the connections by our washing machine. The garden hose connects to the BHS (Bovine Hydration System)
Washer Connections for BHS

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Update On Making Malt Vinegar

On June 29, 2009 we wrote a post on an experiment we decided to try, making malt vinegar. Here is an update.

Between June and September we looked at and smelled the "vinegar" every few weeks, things were looking good.

On September 26th the one with the bread had some mold on it, so we removed it and put the liquid into a clean jar. The other looked fine.

On October 25th we took off more mold and decided to add some apple cider vinegar "mother" to it, hoping that the mother would get the vinegar going.

By November 29th the whole thing was moldy so we threw it away.

The jar that did not have the bread still smelled fine, but just like stale beer. We decided to add some mother to that as well in hopes that it would get the vinegar process started.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rhubarb and Pea Pod Saute with Feta Cheese

When rhubarb season is here we like to cook as many different dishes with it as we can.  This side dish is delicious enough to make a meal out of!

Rhubarb and Pea Pod Saute with Feta Cheese

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup garlic scapes (or 2 cloves); sliced
1/2 cup rhubarb; sliced thin
1/2 cup mushrooms; sliced
1 cup pea pods
1/4 cup water
maple syrup; to drizzle
feta cheese; crumbled

Heat butter over medium heat. Add garlic, saute about 1 minute.

Add rhubarb and mushrooms, saute about 2 minutes.

Add pea pods, saute 1 - 2 minutes and add 1/4 cup water and heat until water is gone.

Move to serving bowls, drizzle maple syrup over and add crumbled feta cheese on top.

Serves 2

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hot Weather Solar Water Experiment

Solar Hot Water Experiment
Have you ever noticed how hot water can get in a garden hose that has been lying in the sun? There have been times when we have almost burned ourselves (or killed innocent plants) from just such a thing. This inspired us to do our hot weather solar water experiment.

Here is the list of our materials:

100’ of 1 ½” black plastic water pipe
4 12’ 2 x 8s painted black
8 90° elbows
2 garden hose adapters
16 pipe clamps
Plumbing strap to hold pipes to 2 x 8s
2 garden hoses
Miscellaneous screws

Our wood shed roof is about 30 feet long, so cutting the 100 feet of plastic into 4 pieces, each 25’ long, worked well for us.

We secured the 2 x 8s to the roof, two of them end to end to give us 24’. We made 2 rows, with about 6” in between the rows.

Next, we cut the pipe into 25’ sections, laid them flat and attached them to the lumber; each board has two rows of pipe. We then attached the elbows and pipe clamps.

The cold water goes into the bottom piece of pipe from a garden hose that is connected to our outside water faucet. The system fills from the bottom up to the top pipe. The other garden hose is connected to the top for the hot water to come out. This hose we have connected to a separate faucet at our kitchen sink.

It takes a little time for the hot water to get to the sink, but has worked out great for doing dishes and cleaning up.

Next summer we will try adding some wooden sides around the pipes to help hold in more heat. We can not enclose the pipes because the pipe will only withstand temperatures of about 160° to 180°

This photo shows where the two garden hoses will be connected.
Solar Hot Water

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sunday Morning Doughnuts

Sunday Morning Doughnuts
Sunday Morning Doughnuts

2 cups flour
2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup honey

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well (clean hands work great for the job).

Mixing The Ingredients

Turn onto a floured board and knead for a few minutes. Let rest.

Kneading The Dough

Roll out to about 1/2" thick and cut out with a doughnut cutter.

Rolling The Dough

Ready To Cook

Heat about 4" oil (vegetable oil works fine, we use lard) to 360°F

Fry 3 or 4 doughnuts at a time, turning when one side is browned - fry until both sides are nicely browned.

Doughnuts Cooking
Drain on paper towels or on a paper bag. Makes about one dozen doughnuts.