Monday, August 25, 2014

Excalibur!

Excalibur is the Cadillac of dehydrators.  
The Ronco...more like...well, a Yugo, a Pacer, or maybe Granny Clampett's truck

It gets the job done, but not easily or without a lot of "tweaking".

So Man used his "birthday money" from his Mama to get himself the Cadillac!




Can't wait to see how the jerky comes out now with a dehydrator that you can actually set the temperature and the time, and everything...

Imagine!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Making Mozzarella

We've been milking for over a year now (I say "we" isn't that funny!?!) and the only cheese I've made so far is 'farm cheese' because it is so fast and easy.  I have read the recipe for Mozzarella about a zillion times, and each time decided that it sounded too hard...

Well, the time has finally come!  I am going to do it! 

Homemade Mozzarella

Gather your ingredients and supplies:
Gallon on milk (ours is raw whole milk, but you could use store milk too)
Measuring spoons.
1/4 Teaspoon of Citric Acid dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
10 drops of liquid rennet in 1/4 cup warm water
Salt
Thermometer
Wooden Spoon, Slotted spoon
Gloves


Warm the milk up to about 88*-94*

Then add the citric acid, keep stirring.

It will start to separate.
Now add the rennet.


I keep stirring until the curds start to come together.
Then using a slotted spoon pull the curds out of the whey into another bowl.  
You could drain it through cheese cloth if you want.
I like to add a bit of salt to the curds.

Then you put the curds into the microwave for 30-60 seconds.  
This is the part I have always balked at, my grandma didn't have a microwave, but then I got over myself...
It'll look a bit like this.  

Then you have to knead it to get the whey out of the cheese.
At this point the smart thing to do is have gloves as the middle of the cheese is about 140*.  (And HOT!) and you need to knead it like bread. 

Knead and stretch.  If you can get it to stretch to about 12 inches you are done, but if not, put it in the microwave for another 30-60 seconds and do it again.  Keep draining off the water (milk).


Once it stretches, knead it into a ball and put it into icy cold salted water



Change the water once, then put it in the fridge to finish chilling.
Ta-Da!  See it's not as hard as I thought...
...and now getting brave enough to do Cheddar. (Now that will be a challenge!)

Oh, and then do all the dishes.  
A BIG thank you to my new resident photographer, Man, for helping me out!  It is so much easier to do tutorials when you have a "staff photographer!"

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The bean that didn't know how to bean....

I pick a lot of beans...I mean A LOT of beans.  There are quite a few that are a bit...um...unusual.

Tonight I found one that apparently forgot how to be a bean...it was going for a rotilli noodle....


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Batch of Weldon Jerky

The guys have been wanting to make "bunny jerky" with our rabbit meat, and decided to do a test run with some Weldon ground beef.  

Scott has been stuck in the house, resting a lot, so he has plenty of time to research and figure out what needs to be done.  He found a great jerky cannon on Cabela's website, and after my CSA dropoff yesterday I picked it up for him.




The first recipe that he found had the jerky started in the oven and then moved to the dehydrator.




My trusty 15 year old, Ronco dehydrator that we bought from an infomercial at 2 am one Thanksgiving night. 

Can't wait to try it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Day in the life...CSA Day (Picture Intensive!!)

One of the items on the 101 list was to do a "Day in the Life" blog post.  
It was requested that I do a CSA delivery day.  I didn't feel like it was a "typical" day as I am off the farm and in town, but then when I thought about it, yes, twice a week this is a typical day.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, I pack up the "little dump truck" with all the farm goodies for my wonderful friends/customers that have are subscribers to various items off the farm.

After the morning milking (no pictures of that....until I get a staff photographer, not enough hands to milk AND take pictures!), we load up the car and head the 25 miles south to the city to meet with my wonderful ladies.

This day, Boy went with me because he was going home with one of his best buds (whose mom is one of our friends/customer, too) for a sleepover and fun at one of the local water parks.


After the pickup, I also had food to take to my Reyn BFF, as her father-in-love had just passed away and I only know one way to comfort...food.  This ended up being a whole 'nother "Rea" fiasco because later I discovered that I had left the food at the wrong house, and the residents were sure that the chocolate chip cookies I left must have been poison.....sigh. 


And what timing!  My car turned over a milestone while I was out! 
(And yes, I am aware that there are TWO check engine lights, and that I am out of gas!) 


After all the deliveries, over to Sam's to pick up coffee (something I am not able to grow on the farm) 

And fuel, because everyone gets nervous when I am out driving on fumes. 

And briefly looking at a new "milk mobile" because of the check engine lights..

Then finally a stop at the grocery to pick up prescriptions and my vice, Diet Citrus Drop (something else I can't grow on the farm -grin) 

Then back to the farm by 3 pm.  
Unload the car.
Milk jars to be sterilized.
Brief nap to take.

Then chore time....chores were a bit longer tonight as my Boy was off having a blast!

This is our only named chicken, Omlet.  She lets us pick her up and pet her.
More about her soon!

Taking care of my "flock" of turkeys.  OK, it's only 2:  a male (Stuffing) and female (Cranberry). 
Omlet is their 'pet chicken' too.

Taking care of the "girl dogs" Kristl and Iona.

Taking care of the 'herd' of rabbits.  Currently 38.

And the Twins!  They are getting so big!!
Miracle (left) and Franci (right)
Mama Cow, Hershey, out on her pasture line.

And Yellow Cat waiting patiently for his dinner.

Calling the hens for their dinner (sorry the video is choppy)

video


After all the Critters are fed and watered, it's time to go in and feed the people.  After fixing dinner, eating, and doing dishes, it's time to go do some work in the gardens.  

Danny Dog is my farm dog and comes along for all the chores....plus, he LOVES raw beans so he keeps me company with the hopes of getting a few (and usually does!)
This is the brassica patch in the front and behind that is the bean patch.

The Roma tomatoes are finally starting to change to red!!

Then as the sun gets ready to go down, it looks as though a storm is rolling in...
and I was able to get some amazing pictures of the sun rays!


And off to the house to finally get some sleep before it starts up again tomorrow morning!





Monday, August 11, 2014

A Day at the Fair

Boy is in 4-H.  His plan was to show breeding rabbits and do a woodworking project.

Unfortunately, with his Dad being very ill, the plans were derailed and we didn't make it to the fair to show.  However, we did make it to the fair to see Boy's Best Friend and his award winning turkeys!


And came home to a gorgeous summer sunset!



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Flash back: Race to Save Face: July 11th

One of my 101 in 1001 goals was to do a 5K...well, we did a 2 mile walk instead.   There were about 167 people preregistered for the race and/or walk.  It was a five mile run (with a big crazy hill) or a 2 mile walk.  There was also a kid's 1 mile "fun run".  

 It was to raise research funds for Trigeminal Neuralgia, which is the disease I have.  Not many people actually go into the "fundraising" aspect of it, but I did!  I raised $280 in addition to my entrance fees and was the top fundraiser. 

Our "color" is teal.  We had a "Team" to go, but as the day came closer, most everyone else ended up with something else they needed to do.  My Man was too sick to go....so it ended up just being me and My Boy. It was an awesome day anyway.  It wasn't very hot for July!!  YAY!  

I found Teal Shoes the morning of the race. 


Here is my determined young man....not a kid anymore! 

He may have been in the "Kid's Fun Run" but he took it totally seriously, and finished the mile in just over 6 minutes!!! 

I met a few others that are "warriors" with TN.  It was nice to know I'm not the only one!

It' was a great Mom N Boy Day!


I love this Boy!  He's become such a nice young man.


And even while walking, we "barn safari"ed.

And check out these chickens on a water tank...they were easily 9 feet tall!

As we left the race for our 2 hour drive home, it was under the July Super Moon.

My good friend, E. had a "Race to Save Face - South" as her mom has TN, too.