Chickens

We recently bought four new chickens.  They’re not quite full grown, but should be laying in the near future.  Two of the chickens are Polish.  I’ve never heard of Polish chickens before and even though they apparently aren’t the best layers I insisted on getting them because 1) I’m part Polish!! and 2) they’re a little different looking than the normal chicken.  They have have what looks like hair on top their heads.  IMG_1023.JPG

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Above are pictures of the all the chickens we got.  The all black one is Polish, and the black and red one at the top is a Polish one as well.  We’re keeping them separated from the rest of the flock for a few weeks so they can get a little bigger and get used to the place.

We’ve got a lot of fruit ripening right now – dragon fruit, pineapples, mangoes, starfruit (we’re loaded!), bananas, berries, and lemons.  We’ll be selling some of the dragon fruit and starfruit shortly.  I’m going to try making limoncello again with our lemons.  We have the perfect lemons for this, Meyer lemons, but last time I made it, I think there was too much pith in the rind still and it just did’t taste that good.  So this time I’ll take it slower, and see how it comes out.  I’ll keep you posted as to my efforts on that one. IMG_1017.JPG

Fruit salad from the farm.

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Guava guava jelly

We have a few guava trees on our property.  The most prolific one is right next to one of our ponds and many of the guavas end up in the pond.  Unfortunate for us, but the ducks eat them so not as unfortunate for them.

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So I spent the morning making guava jelly (while humming the Ka’au Crater Boys guava jelly song the whole time).  Not sure if my nephew Mika reads this blog, but yes, I’ll be sending some his way.  Guavas have a lot of pectin, so making jelly is super easy.  I simply cut the guavas in quarters and boiled with a little water for about 45 minutes.  Then I strained all the seeds out.  Once I had the juice, I measured it.  You’re supposed to use equal part sugar to equal parts juice, so I had 8 cups juice, which technically means I should’ve used 8 cups sugar.  I used a little less sugar just to try and be “healthier”.  But as anyone knows who makes jelly, if you don’t use sugar it’s not going to jell.  I also added about 1 cup of lime juice. It’s a little more lime juice than most recipes call for, but guava jelly is super sweet, so it adds a tiny bit of tart.  I then boiled everything together again, first a rolling boil to dissolve the sugar, then a steady boil (I set my stove to 6 out of 10 in heat) for about half an hour.   It’s super important to stir throughout, especially if the sugar hasn’t dissolved; one it can actually burn, and two it can boil over your pot.  Sticky jelly all of your stove it not fun, and unfortunately I keep learning that lesson over and over again.  DO NOT leave a pot of jelly unmanned on your stove for more than 2 seconds.  Don’t do it, I tell you, it’s a mess.  I digress, after it’s cooked and you test for readiness (I use the cold spoon test – dip a cold spoon into your mixture, let it sit, is it starting to get tacky – yes, it’s ready, no cook a little longer), pour into jars, boil jars, then Pau – Guava jelly.  Well not quite, done, they have to cool and set, but that just requires waiting.

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Finished product

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It came out a dark red color, I think because I used an organic raw sugar instead.  It’s usually a little more pink colored.  It tastes pretty good if I say so myself.

I also picked up lilikoi today; I say picked up, because you’re literally picking them off of the ground.  If you try and pick a lilikoi on the vine, it’s not going to be ready, be patient, let them drop – they’re sweeter that way.  Lilikoi jelly is my husband’s FAVORITE!  Last year, we had a horrible year, and only had a handful of lilikoi.  Usually we have a loads.  This is year is better than last, not like our normal yield, but I should have enough eventually to make some jelly.  I also make a mean lilikoi liqueur.  I hope I have enough lilikoi this year to make some of that as well.  We have a number of varieties of lilikoi on the property.  The purple one is new and isn’t fruiting yet, but our orange and yellow varieties are fruiting.

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You can see the difference in the two in the picture above.  I find the yellow one slightly more tart and the orange a little sweeter, but they’re both delicious.

We have a lot of fruit right now.  My son took the picture below.  Not only did he take the picture, he harvested all the fruit.  I saw it on his Instagram account, and wished I had the picture for my blog.  Little did I know he actually took some pictures of the yield with my camera.  What a nice surprise.  (Bananas, pineapples, mangoes, starfruit, dragonfruit, papaya, pumpkin, and breadfruit, oh my!)

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He took a bunch of pictures.  I love this one, because Otis is licking his lips.  He loves bananas!  I made some pumpkins soup out of the pumpkins, we dried the pineapple, my son gave some of the breadfruit away (we have SOOOO many if anyone wants), and we’re slowly eating or giving other stuff away.

I feel extremely grateful for this little piece of heaven.  But most of all I’m extremely grateful for my husband.  The property was beautiful when we got it, but all the trees, and ponds, and fruit and vegetables, that was my husband’s work.  He is the hardest worker I know.  When he comes home from work, he’s in the garden.  Every weekend, he is in the garden.  While I know for a fact, it is a lot of hard work for him, the farm is his church – it’s his place to connect and be grounded.  He loves it, and I love that he loves it. I’m grateful everyday for him.

Dragon Fruit

It’s dragon fruit season or as I like to refer to them as – “fruit of the dragon”.  A little homage to Game of Thrones I guess, plus it just sounds so much more exotic.  Last season, we didn’t get a very large harvest which I believe has a lot to do with our lack of bees.  This year, however, looks a little better, and we’re seeing bees on the flowers which is great.

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, comes in different colors and varieties.  We have two varieties, one that is white inside and one that is deep purple.  For those who haven’t had, the closest comparison in taste and consistency would be something like a kiwi.  They’re especially good cold, and in this hot dry summer they will be a welcome treat.

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In the basket above, most of them are white inside.  The fruit that is in the middle with longer green “leaves/petals” and that is slightly darker looking is dark purple inside.  The purple ones also tend to be slightly small in size.

The other thing that is ripening now are our mangoes.  Mangoes may just be my favorite fruit of all time, and I like a lot of fruit.  We cover our mangoes with a small netted bag to keep fruit flies from enjoying them before we get a chance ourselves.  We have a number of different varieties.

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The above bowl has three different varieties – manzanilla (dark red on the right originated from Mexico), R2E2 (top light colored, Australian variety), and rapoza (left hand side, it’s a local cross mango).  The R2E2 although cultivated in Australia, has its origins from the Kent mango grown in Florida.  The Manzanillo mango is thought to have originated from a Haden mango seedling, although, they look quite different from the Haden.  They were introduced into Hawaii around 1978.  Rapoza’s were cultivated from an Irwin avocado in the mid 70’s at the University of Hawaii.  I have to say they’re all good.  I definitely can tell a bad mango when I taste one, but when it comes to good mangoes, all of the above are great, and I can’t tell the difference in taste between any of the above.  My husband probably could, however.

I see a lot of tangerines and oranges on the tree, although I’d say they’re probably a few months away from harvesting.  It is a hot dry dry summer.  Our lawn is getting brown and crunchy which is something we haven’t seen for many years.  We’re on catchment, which means our water source is from rain.  Our tank is a little below half, so we’re more conscious of our water usage – shorter showers, no washing cars, etc.  Hurricane Fernanda is now a tropical storm and I’m hoping we feel some rain from the remnants of it this weekend, but it looks like it may miss us completely.