October 20, 2014

DIY Cayenne Pepper Powder



This year I grew both cayenne and paprika peppers. I planted seeds and had half a dozen plants of each just about ready to transplant, but our dogs reduced that number to one plant of each variety. I was thankful they spared those two plants.

My goal is to grow and dry those peppers to make my own cayenne and paprika powders. I use a lot of both in cooking; I also add cayenne powder to the herbal wormer I give the goats. I'd like to be able to grow the things I use most, instead of being dependent on the grocery store.


I babied the two remaining plants, keeping them potted in my herb garden for awhile until the grasshopper infestation died down a bit. Then I planted them in metal tubs in partial shade (and also here), just because that's where I had room and could easily keep an eye on them. They had more room to stretch out there, and both of them took off and grew.

The paprika plant is still covered with yellow peppers that haven't yet turned red, so I'll talk about those later when I harvest them. For now, I have picked all the red cayenne peppers. There are just two green ones left on the plant, so I'll dry and powder them later. (There are also a few new blossoms on the plant, but I doubt that those will turn into red peppers before the first frost.)

Those look almost neon - it's from the camera flash.

I washed the peppers in vinegar and water, then spread them out on a towel to dry well. That one plant produced 46 red peppers plus the 2 not-ripe-yet peppers. I forgot to fertilize it; it might have produced even more if I'd remembered, but I am happy with that number from just one little plant. This year's experiment will help me decide how many plants I should grow each year.

Wearing gloves, I cut the tops off the peppers and cut them into pieces about a half-inch long. You can remove the seeds at this point, or leave them for a little extra heat. I left them, but next time I'll remove them. I found that they didn't grind to quite the fine powder that I'd expected, and I think removing the seeds might fix that. Not that it really matters; I just expected a finer powder. Don't forget to wear gloves when cutting up the peppers. 


Then I put the pieces in my L'Equip dehydrator (affiliate link). It took about 24 hours for them to dry to a brittle state.


I put the pieces in my electric coffee grinder (which I use for spices only, not for coffee) and powdered them.


Cayenne powder! Since the peppers weren't perfectly and completely ripe, there is variety in the color, the powder isn't uniformly red. I'm hoping it will give some complexity to the flavor as well. I need to run it through the grinder a bit longer, I think. I can see pieces of the seeds and would like to grind those up (or sift them out) and have a finer powder. Next time I will remove the seeds before I dehydrate the peppers.


Those 46 peppers from one plant yielded just shy of two ounces of cayenne powder. This will help me decide how many plants to grow next year, as long as I can keep the dogs from eating the transplants.


You might also enjoy:
The New Herb Garden
The Herb Garden in June
The Herb Garden in July
The Herb Garden in August
The Herb Garden in Late September
Ten Ways to Use Basil
How to Dry Homegrown Herbs
DIY Cayenne Pepper Powder
Harvesting the Herb Garden



This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at: 
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October 19, 2014

Silver Sunday and Being Thankful

I am thankful to the Lord, my God, for:

- our daughter's birthday last week
- another daughter's birthday this coming week
- an inspiring sunrise
- a lunch out with hubby
- wild turkeys at the side of the road
Silver Sunday

Wait for the Lord; 
be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 NIV


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October 17, 2014

Follow-Up Friday

This week:

-- This month I had an article published on The Hoegger Farmyard blog, entitled "10 Tips to Prevent Barn Fires".

-- Are you a Pinterest fan? I run a group board called "Homesteading Community" that features homesteading topics.

-- This month I've been giving little peeks into daily life at Oak Hill Homestead via Facebook. I'm posting a snapshot of my day every weekday (almost), and sometimes on the weekend as well. Facebook being what it is, of course, you might want to comment or “Like” a photo occasionally so that you'll continue to see the updates. You might even have to remember to check out my Facebook page directly if you're not seeing the photos in your newsfeed. Sound like fun? I hope you'll join me. #beyondtheblog

Last year's photo; he's really matured since this was taken.

-- Phantom, my Nubian buck, is now out with the does. I hadn't realized how big he'd grown over this past year - he'll be three years old this spring - until I saw him next to the does. He's a good six inches taller than they are. He's thin because he's been in rut since the end of June, and he's in "full funk" as they call it - his face is dirty, he stinks, and he's rubbed the hair out of his "mane" from sticking his head through the fence. Just wait till I take his picture again this spring though, you'll be dazzled.

~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at: 
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October 15, 2014

How a Milkstand is Made

Last weekend my last buck kid Denver went to his new home. His new owner is one of my former 4-H girls. As I talked with her and her father, she said to him [again] that she needs a milkstand. He complained about the cost, and I mentioned that hubby made mine.

My first one, that is. It was in the barn when we had the fire. It looked like this:

This is the only picture I can find of it,
with a little doe kid sneaking a bite of grain.

The one I use now is made of metal, and is in really rough shape. I traded a gallon of goat milk for it five years ago, even though I didn't need it at the time. It then sat inside a shed until this year, and I am very thankful to have it. The deck is rusted out, so I put a piece of 1" plywood on top of it. It's not pretty, but it works.

Anyway, her father said he has a welder and can build one out of metal for her, so I showed him how it's put together and how it works. I thought you might like to see too. Whether you build one of wood or of metal, the basics are the same.


(Yes, I do milk outside. "Someday" I will have a new goat shed with a milking area, but for now, this is it. It works, although it's not fun when it rains.)


The "deck" is where the goat stands, of course. She puts her head through the headlock, which you close to keep the goat on the stand. Usually there's a tray in front that holds the feeder, but this stand doesn't have one. The concrete block at the end of the milkstand is a step for the goat to get on the stand. That pink strap on the top right is just a goat collar, that's where I keep it so the dogs can't get hold of it and chew it up. It's not really holding the headlock open or anything!


The headlock on my wooden stand worked the same way this one does: one of the two bars in the middle is stationary, while the other has a bolt on the bottom that is loose to allow the bar to move.


On top of the headlock, there's a channel for the bar to move within. On my wooden stand, the channel was made from two 2x4's in the same manner this one is.


To lock the bar in place, this one uses a length of chain that fits into a slot on the top of the pivoting bar. On my wooden stand, hubby drilled a hole through the pivoting bar as well as the 2x4's that formed the channel, and I stuck a dowel through all three holes to hold it in place.


The top photo was taken from the front of the stand; the one below was taken from the goat's side.


Since this stand doesn't have a feeder holder, I use a very sophisticated setup that consists of an old cooler, a wooden box on top of that, and the feeder in the wooden box. (Please excuse the poor quality of this cell phone picture. Ziva would never have stood long enough for me to go inside and get the good camera!)


I do plan to give my poor old milkstand a makeover, so you can consider this the "before" photo.

Besides milking, a stand is handy for trimming hooves, and for giving shots and medications. I've seen stands that have a bar on one side to keep the goat in place, but I prefer not to have one so that I can work on both sides of the goat. For my new milkers, I put the stand next to a fence which accomplishes the same purpose as a bar.

Do you have a milkstand? Wood or metal? Which side do you milk on?


This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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October 14, 2014

A Slice of My Life




This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at: 
Facebook | Pinterest | Bloglovin | Subscribe via email
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