Star jelly, sick horse, medicinal lichen

Here are some pictures taken this week at New Nandagram.  There is more detailed information about them below:

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  1. When Billy went into the barn to feed Dee Wednesday night, she looked sick and refused to even smell her sprouted grain.  Tummy aches in horses is called colic and most horses that die from disease, die from colic, so horse owners take this condition very seriously.  I gave her some pharma pain killer and made some tea from elm (it is very slimy and lubricates the stomach and intestines.  We suspect that her colic was due to parasites because her pasture has become a swamp.  So we wormed her and kept an eye on her all through the night.  She did evidently thrash around in pain and banged up her head, but she is now eating and seems to have fully recovered.
  2. Usnea lichen contains usnic acid which is a powerful immune system booster.  I like to collect my lichen before the insect season begins to make the cleaning process easier.  The lichen is crammed into a jar and covered with vodka for at least 6 weeks.  By that time the medicine becomes dissolved in the vodka and the lichen can be discarded.  I recommend taking about a teaspoon of the medicine 4-5 times a day when fighting a virus or infection.
  3. Star jelly.  The first time I saw this stuff was about 3 years ago and I googled, “transparent jelly found in the middle of a pasture” and came up with star jelly.  The internet claims that this phenomenon has been written about for hundreds of years and still no one knows what it is.  Apparently it is not organic–not a plant or animal product.  There is an interesting story about the “Oakville Blobs” that may or may not be related.  We live about 50 miles from Oakville.  This jelly looks like it was plopped from above, rather than oozed from the ground.  My last jelly was transparent and clear.  This one is brownish, but still translucent.
  4. Our seed incubator is made from a home thermostat, a computer fan and a lightbulb.  I’ve set the temperature at 80º to germinate tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and more.  They should sprout within a week or so, by which time I hope to have the greenhouse cleaned out and ready.
  5. Bantam chicks.  We keep chickens because they really keep the slug and bug population under control.  Plus they’re pretty.  This hen was orphaned last year when our dog, Gita beheaded her Mom.  This is her first clutch of chicks.  I do try to give the eggs to the dogs when I find them, but if a hen is able to hide them well enough, then we get chicks.  So far we haven’t had an over population problem.
  6. Torus is the herd leader and has been yoked with Makani.  Unfortunately Makani is about 4″ shorter, so we’re waiting for Shyami to become Torus’ teammate.  Shyami is almost as tall as Torus at 3 years and they are half brothers.
  7. Round bales.  We ran out of hay and bought some round bales that weigh about 500lbs each.  We rolled them against the fence and secured them with rope, tightening it as they consume the hay.  It seems to be working and next year we may figure out how to use these round bales because they are less work than carting around 50lb square bales.
  8. Their Lordships Giriraja and Balajii.  Giriraja is a Goverdhana Sila and Balajii is a Dvarka Sila.
  9. Tamale pie made mostly from homegrown ingredients:


2 cups masa corn flour

1 cup wheat flour

2 tsp. non-aluminum baking flour

1.5 tsp. salt

2 cups ricotta cheese (by product of making mozzarella)

1/4 cup oil


Mix all ingredients using enough milk to make the dough hold together.  Spread on a greased casserole and bake at 375º until done–about 20 minutes.  Let cool and layer with hung yogurt or sour cream, bean/veggie/tomato and top with fresh mozzarella.  Return to oven and bake until the mozzarella is melted.


About Anuttama

Billy and I are endeavoring to live as locally as possible. We grow much of our own food, make cheese from our cow's milk and keep honeybees.
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