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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: recipe

I noticed a hummingbird sitting on our Suet block cage a few weeks ago. It was pouring, so I assumed it was getting out of the rain, since it is located under an overhang. But, it turns out, that although hummingbirds need sugar for energy, they also need protein. Their protein comes in the form of insects. Suet blocks attract birds that feed on insects, since the animal fat suet is made of provides a great source of protein. He/she has not been back to take advantage of the suet. I’m not sure if hummingbirds even bother with suet. So, I’m putting out a sugar water feeder to get the hummingbird(s) into view.

The advantage of making your own hummingbird food is:


FYI – Red Food Dye is completely unnecessary.
It may look nice to you, but the birds don’t care.
There is no conclusive research saying the dye
is dangerous to the birds, but there is also
no long term research saying it is safe.

One Part Sugar (Organic or White/Refined)
Four Parts Water 

In a small pot, I poured one cup of sugar and four cups of water. This is enough to get started, but you can make a lot, and store it in the refrigerator for about ten days.


Stir the sugar into the water with a spoon or fork.


Boil your concoction until the water is bubbling.

Then, let it cool down to room temperature.



Add to your feeder (funnels are handy) and hang it up outside. You can purchase one for a few dollars or get a fancy one if you’d like.

One important thing is to keep your hummingbird feeder in the shade. That way, the homemade nectar will stay fresher, longer. The second thing is to hang it in a way that discourages pests like ants. Make sure that there are not branch or other pathways (other than the necessity of a string) for crawling bugs to get to it. Bees? There is not much you can do to deter them, but hopefully you will only get honey or bumble bees, which are fun to watch too.


You could make a hummingbird drinker. Just obtain a wine bottle, twine, a cork, thin copper pipe, and a little end cap that you can get at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or a Local Hardware Store (a well-stocked one, with weird little items like this).

Change the nectar often. I always rinse the feeder with bleach water, since sugar water tends to create mold. Rinse it thoroughly, so that no chlorine residue remains.

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Chop up 1 Large Napa/Chinese Cabbage and 3 or 4 Green Onions.

Kimchi_2Rinse the Cabbage with Water in a Strainer.


Cover with a bunch of Salt (1 measuring cup full maybe).


Use your clean hands or a big spoon to toss. Your Cabbage pieces should now be wet and thoroughly salted.


Let the Cabbage sit for 20-30 Minutes.


You will see that the Cabbage shrinks down as moisture is drawn out by the Salt.


Then rinse and strain your Cabbage.


Add spices. I use Cayenne pepper, Green Onions, freshly chopped Garlic…


For this batch I included some whole Thai Peppers. Mix all of your flavorings in with the cabbage.


Put everything in a large glass or plastic Jar with a firmly fitting lid. Let it sit out at room temperature for 3-7 days, depending on how rich you like your Kimchi.

I was taught this recipe while living in Germany 30 years ago by a Korean neighbor friend. So, this is an authentic Korean Kimchi recipe from an indirect source.

Notes: There are many variations on this recipe including your main vegetable.
Also, you can add ingredients like ginger or preserved fish.

Happy Weekend Warrior Cooking!






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WYSIWYG, but here is the list of ingredients:

One Cast Iron Pan saturated with Vegetable Oil
Lemon Juice
Dijon Mustard
Fresh Dill
Sweet Potatoes wrapped in foil

Put the sweet potatoes in the oven at 400 degrees for 1/2 hour.
Add the Cast Iron Pan full of everything else and continue to cook for 1/2 more hour.

Easy, Peasy, Lemon Squeezy!

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Guest Blog Post

Tested and Written by Jamie Andrew Ward
Edited by Monica Melograna-Ward

Jamie’s Kombucha – 101


Before you begin, you must get a SCOBY. This is the engine that drives the whole kombucha car. You can get one online or ask a friend for one. A “baby” scoby (which can be easily peeled off and removed) grows with each batch, so people can share them easily.

You’ve gotten your scoby. Now what do you do?


Step A1: Boil water.
I always use a little extra water, in addition to what would fill my container – due to evaporation. Boil it for 15 minutes to ensure that any impurities are gone.


Step A2: Make a big batch of black tea.
Black tea works best and helps keep the scoby healthy. You can use herbal, but only after a few batches with black tea. Then you need to go back to black. I use 18 tea bags per 1.5 gallons.


Step A3: Add sugar.
I use 2 cups per 1.5 gallons of water. The scoby ferments on the sugar and thus eats most of it. The longer you ferment, the less sugar you have in your kombucha. GTS has 2g per serving. I aim for about that level.

Step A4: Make sure that the sugar has dissolved into the water, then cool.
Let your mixture return to room temperature. This is crucial, because hot water will kill a scoby.

Step A5: Place in large GLASS container. Cover with cheesecloth and a rubber band to seal the top.
This lets the air in, and thus fermentation to occur. It also keeps the bugs out. Gnats love kombucha. I like jars with a spout, but the spout must not be metal!



Step A6: Place in cool, dry location for about 2 weeks.
You can taste along the way to check on how your production is going. You can use a straw and extract a sample. Insert the straw into the liquid, then cover one end of the straw with a finger to pull some drops out.

2 weeks later…


Secondary Fermentation (Bubbles and Flavor)

Step B1: Remove scoby, and some of the tea, into a separate container.
Store this until your next batch. You can look up how to keep a scoby and feed it between batches. I tend to do one batch after another, so I have not had need to learn how to do this.


Step B2: Add a tablespoon or two of sugar to the tea.
You will see it foam up.


Step B3: Set out your sterilized jars.
I run then through the dishwasher, twice. Recycled GT containers work the best. I was using ball jars also, but was not getting the fizz that I get from the GTs. I completely stopped using the mason jars. In a pinch, they work OK.

Step B4: Add juice, if desired, to the bottom of your jars, for flavor.
I use ½ cup of juice per 16 oz container. Add juice. Then add the tea.


Step B5: Close containers tightly. Let sit (counter or table) for about 3-7 days.
I have found SEVEN to be the magic number of days – so, exactly one week.

Step B6: On the 8th day, refrigerate all bottles.
This slows down the fermentation process and allows your mixture to mellow, or, at the least, take its time developing. Experiment, have fun, and feel free to choose your own chill date.

If you get something slimy in your bottles, this is a baby scoby. You can remove or swallow this. It won’t harm you to ingest (GROSS! – comment by MMW).

Handy Tip:
When I clean the big containers, I use hot water, and a very versatile product, VINEGAR. I get a large bottle of white vinegar at Costco for about $3.00. It helps keep the PH okie dokie. I use vinegar to clean my coffee pot too. So, if you not only love kombucha, but also coffee, this is a great (and natural) cleaning product to keep stocked in your kitchen.


In the intervening weeks, I assess what I did and didn’t like about the latest, completed batch. Then, adjustments can be decided upon for the next time I begin production. Trial and error is where you will live for a while: More or less sugar, more or less juice, more or fewer tea bags, more or less sugar before the secondary fermentation, etc….

You’ll find your rhythm, enjoy special recipe homemade kombucha and save a lot of $$$. That’s it!

Happy Saturday and Enjoy Your Weekend Projects!

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Our daughter, Eko, brought home a GIANT squash. A group of friends had a garden that produced the overwhelmingly large vegetable. It was given to the young woman that lived on a little farm – her family that lived there might know what to do with it.

This past weekend, I was reading about what foods were good or bad for arthritis, since I was having an especially hard time with pain at the time. We had gotten back on track with our eating habits, but had been recently partaking in too much meat, refined carbohydrates, fried foods and super cheesy things – again. These foods not only enhance arthritis but contribute to problems with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

Renewed inspiration to avoid these items and add some things like turmeric, licorice and ginger into some of our meals was found (the latter herbs/spices are natural anti-inflammatory plants). But the bigger task is to concentrate on bringing a lot more vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains to the dinner table.

Eating healthier is good for the whole family. Where we live (in the USA) is overridden with advertisements of unhealthy diets. Our young son has been raised to eat well despite his picky pallet, but he is very attracted to fast/junk food. Raising children to eat well matters a lot. Good habits can stay in place for a lifetime.

I did not feel like wandering out to shop yesterday. Then, it occurred to me that a very BIG squash was still waiting to be taken advantage of. It was chopped in half. One half would go into the oven – intact.

There is nothing like olive oil & garlic.
And, yes, the oven needs a scrubbing.

Attention to the baked squash actually came second. It would eventually boast the additions of real butter, garlic, sea salt and lemon juice. So, to begin – after putting the first half of the squash aside  in a big pan (with the potential of a great meal), I turned to the second half that would be blanched.

I kept chopping halves until the squash had been broken down into workable pieces, and then sliced off the rinds (our goats had a party with them and all the extras later). I ended up with many cubes that were about 1 inch in dimension.

Then I remembered some odd chicken parts in the freezer waiting to be made into chicken broth. The chicken was floated in a colander in water within the cooking pot and removed easily when the stock was done.

A bag of frozen broccoli caught my attention while the freezer door was open. Some slivered almonds in the baking cabinet were calling my name, along with some fresh garlic, green onions and the Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning grinder from our normal stock of kitchen ingredients.

A little lemon juice may have been added since it is a common ingredient that I use, but I honestly can’t remember if that got into the mix. I cooked everything altogether until it seemed done. Merely blanching squash had changed into a whole other thing.

Farmette 1769’s – Squash Soup over Brown Rice

Super Yummy!

Of course, I forgot to take a pic of the produce before taking it to the kitchen (from its home on the book shelf). I think it is a “Golden Delicious Squash“, but am not positively sure. Please feel free to leave a comment with what type of squash this is.

Cool Squash Related Resources:
a blog including great images:

some awesome recipe ideas:

good companies selling squash seeds online: &

cooking (in general) with squash:

Bon Appétite!


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