Posted on Leave a comment

Yeast is Yummy

Believe it; yeast is yummy! Have you ever wondered why yeast is beneficial and even good for you?

Yeast comes in many forms. Wild yeasts occur in nature! We find it on the skin of wine grapes and other fruits. Here are just a few types of cultivated (specially grown) yeasts who will help make many types of breads, pizza dough, mead (honey wine) and other, grape wines. Bread and pizza yeast are on the left side, sweet mead yeast is at the top, and wine yeasts are on the right side.
We rely on yeast to help ferment cacao beans which turn into chocolate!
Here are some of the many forms that chocolate can take. On the left, dark chocolate “Baton” from France- meant to fill pastries; a white cup filled with French dark chocolate “Callets” (chips) for general baking, cakes and candy making; at the top a popular hazelnut spread, drinking cocoa & candy. At the center, from one of our favorite chocolatiers- some specialty chocolate bars made by Richard Donnelly, in Santa Cruz, CA.

(Parents, please preview these episodes, below, to see if they are age-appropriate for your family, then enjoy together!)

See (enjoy watching with your family) the Netflix series called “Cooked” episode 3: Air, if you want to learn about yeast and bread making. Watch episode 4: Earth if you want to learn about fermentation and how it is essential for chocolate and cheese! These are great launching points for learning to bake and cook together, a set of life skills which you’ll enjoy as a family. Michael Pollan is one of our favorite writers and TV hosts!

Thank you for joining us as we do Pandemic Projects, meant to keep you energized, curious and learning!

Posted on Leave a comment

Growing Times

Growing healthful food and beneficial flowers (good for the garden and you) is a life long joy.
Here are seeds gathered and traded at a Seed Sharing event, Italian Vegetable and Herb packets, Native California Wildflower seeds, two varieties of Blueberry plants that will do well in our climate in 1 gallon pots, 2 sturdy watering cans, and, a little “Stupice” tomato seedling. Many thanks to our friends of 20 years- Island Seed & Feed, in Goleta, CA.

We are Green Gardeners in Santa Barbara, CA. We love to “feed the soil” with organic compost which we make ourselves or buy from a trustworthy source, organic worm castings from our worm bin and organic amendments that help correct any soil deficiencies. Organic soil care is particularly important for food crops like vegetables, tomatoes, herbs, berries and fruit trees, because all plants take up nutrients from the soil.

Our worm bin is made with recycled redwood fence boards. It’s on the East side of the house where our worms are sheltered from direct sun from the South and West and protected from most rain. If you want to build your own worm bin, Matt Buckmaster, from Island Seed & Feed has shared his woodworking plans, below. (Thank you, Matt!)

Beneficial insects include our pollinators! The flowering fruit trees, fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers are helping to keep our honey bees happy and vigorous. But, they aren’t the only ones! Do some research to find out who _your_ native plants are, what months do they bloom, which insects are in _your neighborhood_, both friends or foes! Local plant societies can help. Make a journal to record your findings. It’s tough work to figure out how to plant beneficial insect borders for your friendly insects (Green lacewing, etc.) to help defeat your insect foes (Aphids, etc.) Read this good article by copy and pasting into your browser: http://www.eap.mcgill.ca/PCBC_1.htm

Thank you for joining us as we do Pandemic Projects, meant to keep you energized, curious and learning!

Posted on Leave a comment

In Honor of Mrs. Nelson

Mrs. Nelson was a beloved High School English and Literature teacher, teaching during the 1950’s-1980’s in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Her favorite class was Science Fiction!

We honor her love of teaching and all the other teachers on both sides of our families, reaching back several generations and three countries. Join us and our friends as we create educational content for families to enjoy, together. These ‘Pandemic Projects’ will give you new ideas, a chance to slowly learn new skills, projects that can be done at home with a range of supplies- some found around your home and some that need to be purchased. Don’t be afraid to ask close family members if they have some of the tools or equipment and if they will help you learn. We’re “life long learners” around here.