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TOMATO JAM

Country Sampler's Prarie Style - - Kick Off Your Boots -

M “MY FAM­ILY LOVES TO USE TOMATO JAM ANY­WHERE YOU WOULD USE KETCHUP— FRENCH FRIES, BURG­ERS. BUT IT IS ALSO WON­DER­FUL AS PART OF A CHEESE TRAY AND IS THE PER­FECT COM­PAN­ION FOR GOAT CHEESE.”

Makes eight 8-oz. jars

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

5 pounds ripe home­grown or farmer’s mar­ket toma­toes (the Early Girl va­ri­ety is Caro­line’s fa­vorite), cored and chopped (Leave in peels and seeds—they add tex­ture and fla­vor.)

3 cups un­re­fined cane sugar

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 pinches ground mace (Mace is very strong, so it is bet­ter to start with less and add more.)

1 tea­spoon salt, or to taste

IN­STRUC­TIONS 1. Com­bine all in­gre­di­ents in a non­re­ac­tive pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir­ring of­ten, sim­mer for about 1 hour or un­til the mix­ture re­duces down into a jam.

2. Skim any foam from the top, and re­move from heat.

3. La­dle the jam into jars, leav­ing a ¼-inch headspace. Wipe each jar with a clean cloth, mak­ing sure the rim is clean. Place a lid on each jar, and screw band down, but not too tightly.

4. Place jars in a 250°F oven for 15 to 20 min­utes to seal. Cool for 12 hours, then tighten bands and store.

recipe

“I NEVER THOUGHT I’D END UP BE­ING THE POSTER

GIRL FOR AN OR­GANIC, SUS­TAIN­ABLE LIFE­STYLE.”

bought, built or bor­rowed. The de­ci­sion of which to choose is al­most as com­pli­cated. You can find dozens of plans to build coops your­self on­line. Some spec­ify scrap wood such as pal­lets and re­cy­cled re­sources, while other de­signs re­quire a sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment in ma­te­ri­als and la­bor.

Ready-made coops also ex­ist in ev­ery price range. To save on ship­ping fees, find a lo­cal man­u­fac­turer or builder. The least ex­pen­sive op­tion, how­ever, is to re­pur­pose a shed or out­grown play­house. Add a few poles for roost­ing and re­in­force­ment for se­cu­rity, and your chick­ens will flock to their new home.

For four hens, you’ll need at least a 5-foot-by-5-foot crit­ter-proof en­clo­sure and a 5-foot-by-8-foot screened-in at­tached yard for out­door scratch­ing and ex­er­cise. If space per­mits, con­sider a larger shel­ter be­cause once you get used to farm-fresh eggs, you will be tempted to add a few more hens to your backyard barn­yard.

Coops, like houses for peo­ple,

can be bought, built or bor­rowed.

LEFT: The cou­ple’s two chil­dren, Catharine and David, help their mom with farm chores. Col­lect­ing eggs is al­ways a fa­vorite. ABOVE: In or­der to gather a rain­bow as­sort­ment of eggs, Caro­line raises a va­ri­ety of breeds. BE­LOW: Sal­vaged screens block the hot south­west sun from scorch­ing del­i­cate crops. When placed flat, the screens also pro­tect seedlings from birds and stray balls.

TOP LEFT: Study up be­fore bring­ing home

your first chicks. Daily care and rou­tine at­ten­tion are re­quired for your hens’ well­be­ing. Photo by Lu Tapp. TOP RIGHT: Screen doors pro­vide su­perb ven­ti­la­tion in th­ese sideby-side coops. One side is out­fit­ted for chick tend­ing, while the other is for ma­ture birds. Photo by Lu Tapp. ABOVE LEFT: No need to spend a for­tune on a coop, sal­vaged tin, shut­ters and screen doors work fine. Vin­tage lanterns add a dec­o­ra­tive touch to the roofline. ABOVE CEN­TER: This con­verted mu­d­room

serves dou­ble duty as a pot­ting shed and a safe haven for a small flock. ABOVE RIGHT: A ramp is handy for large, heavy breeds that can

in­jure their feet when jump­ing up and down.

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