Most visited this week:
Refrigerator root cellar step 1...dig
Moth pupa in the soil
How many batteries do I need for my solar panels?
How to help chicks during hatching
Building a bee waterer
A year ago this week:
Tomatoes and cold weather
DIY soda bottle tripod
Helium balloon crow deterrent
Walden Effect Facebook page
I saw a perpetual motion
Youtube video recently
that tickled my curiosity.
Kayla's husband Andy helped
us out with some firewood cutting yesterday.
"I don't want to go out," Abigail said on Wednesday morning when I went to tether our little herd in the woods.
I met Abigail in the middle. I tethered her out early, took her in a
bit after lunch, then cut some locust boughs in the evening to top off
her belly. No, Mark, I don't know what you're talking about when you say
I spoil our goats....
Some of our onions
started sprouting and going bad on us.
The weather and I can be
moody. After a crazy wet fall, winter, and spring, we started measuring
precipitation in hundredths of an inch this month. A quarter of an inch
of rain Thursday morning eased the earth's woes a little, but it took
Mark's cheerful demeanor and calm problem solving to ease my own bad
You'd think I'd realize that I always
get overwhelmed around the middle to the end of May. I keep a mood
diary (who, me obsessive?) and this is the time of year when my homemade
cheerfulness report card dips into Cs and Ds. All of the spring
plantings need to be weeded, our chicks are growing out of the easy
stage and require more frequent pasture changes, and learning goats has
also added to my load this year.
Some chores are easy to
spread around. I pull Mark off his normal tasks to help me for a morning
in the garden, and together we move the chicks to a new bit of yard.
After a lesson in goat tethering, we figure he can halve my chores there
Speaking of offloading, I've decided to let my Winter and Spring cookbooks stand alone for the moment. I had thought my book about living in a trailer
would be my most controversial and criticism-inspiring text, but
apparently our unusual food choices are much more divisive. Lacking the
energy to push a product that the world isn't ready for, I'm moving on
to one of the other creative projects that I always have waiting in the
battery powered chainsaw
needed a new chain today.
Despite some bird
pressure that's been forcing me to pick berries a little on the pale
side, we've been enjoying delicious strawberry desserts for the last
week and a half or so. That said, I've decided it's finally time to pull
the plug on our Honeoyes. Not the variety
--- this early season strawberry is still a favorite. But after
expanding my patch from gifted expansions of someone else's patch for
the last eight years, viruses (I assume) are building up in the clones
and the berries are slowly becoming less flavorful. When even I want a little honey on my fruit (unlike Mark, who always does), I know that it's time to make a fresh start.
And, while I'm at it,
maybe I should try a second variety as well? Now that Kayla's in my
life, I can get away with ordering 25 plants of both Honeoye and Galleta
(an ultra-early variety) without worrying that the new plants will take
over my entire garden. Last year's addition of Sparkle
was a great boon to our homestead, so hopefully Galleta will be as
well. And even though the plants cost 70 cents apiece once you add in
shipping, when you figure that they and their children will likely feed
us for another eight years at a rate of at least a gallon a day, the
plants are definitely a bargain! That's my kind of homestead math.
The Star Plate goat barn now has a third door to access the new paddock.
admit that when my parents made lasagna with ricotta when I was a kid, I
tried to pick around the grainy cheese. But I now that I'm
experimenting with cheesemaking, I've learned the purpose of ricotta ---
turning all that cultured whey into something useful. And, sure enough,
two quarts of milk turned into 9.5 ounces of neufchatel,
while leaving enough proteins in the whey to create another 2.9 ounces
of ricotta. Thus, I've decided this subtly acidic cheese is hereafter to
be referred to as "bonus cheese."
Ricotta is almost too
simple to post about. You take your leftover whey and allow the liquid
to sit, covered, at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Next, boil to
separate the curds from the whey, then strain out the chemically altered
(greenish) whey off your new cheese.
Anyway, after you boil
your whey, you let it cool for a couple of hours, then pour the curds
and whey into a clean cloth above a strainer. I used our new straining funnel for this step.
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