This Week on the Homestead. 01/12/20 – 01/18/20

This week on the homestead…

Sunset on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. We have been spoiled this week with spectacular sunsets almost every day!

Cholla buds on a cholla at the edge of the property. You can see the fence line right behind it.

Our cardinal friend is back since the bird feeder is filled up again. I think he could hear my camera! Or maybe that’s just my imagination.

A double rainbow opposite the sunset on Thursday, January 16th, 2020. I think every time we have seen a rainbow here so far, it has been a double rainbow!

The sunset on Thursday, January 16th, 2020. It was a little bit rainy, windy, and cloudy all day, but it was worth it to see this sunset.

We have been having some colder nights, with lows getting down to the high 20s most nights. I went to look at my apple trees and most of the leaves are gone. I planted the same type when we lived near San Diego, and the leaves never all fell off. It was shocking to me to see naked little trees. I am pretty sure that is OK though since the weather is colder here.

We have a lot of bushes and trees on the property. The last owner wanted the property to look good, so he did more planting then most people do in the desert. Most of the plants are in remote parts of the property so I don’t need to do much with them. There are some that are closer to the house and lining the driveway. Many of those are getting overgrown and need to be cut back to give us more space.

Overgrown driveway. There are railroad ties that show the edge of the driveway. They are not visible under all these plants.
More of the plants growing over the driveway.
This tree makes it hard to park on this side section. I have been scraping my work vehicle when I put it here.

I bought a wood chipper this week to help with these plants. I had already cut some bushes and just stacked the branches in the property. That worried me because it creates a home for pack-rats, and that will bring in rattlesnakes. I have a spot that is going to be my compost pile. I had some sticks and things stacked there and a pack-rat had already moved in.

Some of the sticks and things in the “compost pile” I had already used the wood chipper on about half of it.
The wood chipper in action. Video taken by my 15 year old.

I didn’t get everything cleaned up that I wanted, but I can see more of the driveway now. I also got a decent amount of compost for my efforts.

-Joshua and Lynn

Pomegranate Soda

This year for Christmas we got a DrinkMate Sparkling Water and Soda Maker. Our children like soda, but we don’t really want them to have all that extra sugar. With this soda maker we can make our own soda and control the amount of sugar. This particular machine can carbonate any drink. What you make is limited only by your imagination.

Our children did take that a little far though. They were all spouting off things that we could use the soda maker for, and many of the ideas were bizarre. Our 10 year old had the oddest ideas. He wanted to carbonate gravy. I don’t know what he thought we could do with carbonated gravy though.

We decided to be more conservative and start with Pomegranate Soda using the Pomegranate Syrup we made earlier.

The DrinkMate is easy to use. All you do is put the flavoring into the drink container then add the desired amount of water. Then the container goes into the carbonation machine. Push the button about 10 times, you will hear a discharge when it is carbonated enough. Last release the excess carbonation. Of course, all these instructions are included in the box. I really expected the process to be more complex.

The pomegranate soda can be made to taste. However you do it, you will have tasty soda. Our kids drank it up fast, and I think that is one of the best tests to how something tastes.

The first time we made it we did 2 Tablespoons of syrup per 6 ounces of water. This basically makes flavored water. It tastes like pomegranate but it is a light flavor.

To have a stronger flavor just use more of the syrup. For a stronger taste, I would use 4 Tablespoons of syrup per 6 ounces of water.

The bottle on the right is Pomegranate Soda, the left is Cranberry Pomegranate Soda
Pomegranate Soda in a glass


Pomegranate Syrup

In November, I wrote a blog post about making pomegranate jelly. I gave a small jar of that jelly to a neighbor who invited us to their party. The neighbor has a friend with a pomegranate tree that produces a lot of fruit that they weren’t using. Our neighbor knows that we love pomegranates so he bagged up a bunch of them for us!

I had already made enough jelly for the year so I wanted to do something different with this batch of fruit. After quite a bit of thought I decided to make pomegranate syrup. I figured this would be something that could be used for multiple different applications.

Continue reading “Pomegranate Syrup”

This Week on the Homestead. 12/22/2019 – 12/28/2019

This has been quite the busy week. In addition to Christmas, our two youngest children had birthdays this week. That makes for a lot of cake, cookies and presents.

We had a few storms come through this week. According to our rain gauge we had around .9 inches of rain this week. We even had some lighter rain which is good because it doesn’t all run off down our road.

The prior owners had a bird feeder and a platform for a quail block. This week I finally put food there to see if we could attract any birds.

Continue reading “This Week on the Homestead. 12/22/2019 – 12/28/2019”

Pomegranate Sorbet

This post started at the end of last year, then life got real busy. It ended up sitting in the draft posts for about a year. Now I am finally finished with it.

This was the third year we have gotten fruit from our pomegranate tree. Each year we have had more fruit. This year I picked 56 pomegranates.

Since they are picked ripe, we need to use them quickly or else they will rot. One of my favorite things to make when I have a lot of juice is sorbet. I like the concentrated fruit flavor, and our children always ask for me to make it.

I didn’t want to use my usual sorbet recipe, because I usually make citrus based sorbets which need a lot of sugar. Pomegranate is fairly sweet on its own. I had issues finding recipes online that I liked. Most of them used other juices in addition to pomegranate, used a lot of water, or way to much sugar. The closest to what I wanted is this recipe from Williams-Sonoma.

While that recipe is close, it does have a few issues. First, it uses corn syrup. Pomegranate and sugar are already sweet together, and don’t require corn syrup. Second, the amount of juice required isn’t very specific. What does 12 pomegranates mean? Some of mine were massive, and a few were tiny.

So, I reworked the recipe a little to fit my needs. Please click the post title Pomegranate Sorbet above to see the recipe.

Pomegranate Sorbet