Thursday, July 16, 2009

Moving Day

Don't hide away...come visit me at my new home http:/ .

The new home is undecorated, with many boxes still to sort through...but the doors are open wide.

No moving help needed, just your visits.

FYI - Just In Case

I am going to try to get through the mess...and praying there isn't any mess (like the one that Tyra helped us make from the comfortable place 5 years ago).

I am exporting blog posts to a new location. Once completed, I will link everything here to the new blog. The temporary link (area under construction, is: ) .

So...please excuse our mess...and do not worry...we will stay connected and I am hoping for better than ever!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Well...almost...but cannot quite go completely wordless, can we?

Today was paperwork day. Said I would have it done by noon. I pushed away from the desk at 11:58 A.M. . Yes! Like a school kid dismissed for the summer. I did my good deed, then I was released with a fresh mind to do the work I really love...make soap. Such a blessing.

Brewed in the shop today, Lily of the Valley goat milk soap. The fragrance this batch smells a lot closer to the real thing. I think we are going to like it, ladies (and gents)! Blended in bentonite clay for a touch of light green color and added silkiness.

Stopped and looked at the flower beds on the way back to the house. I have been weeding this bed like crazy. Something keeps eating the tops off of the zinnias. I do not think they will bloom this year, but the marigolds are pretty. This one is my favorite (sorry for the blur).

Wordless Wednesday...almost...nearly made it. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Speaking Of Milk, Do You Ever Wonder?

Do you ever look at something most every day and are oblivious to what you are seeing?

I love a tid-bit of history now and then...

I have held these milk cans close to my heart since a friend gave them to us 9 years ago. Her husband passed away and she cleaned out a lot of her possessions. Bob and I were setting up house at the time, buying a farm, and the friend said, "You will enjoy these."

A few days ago (not 9 years ago) I noticed the words on the can. The picture below is from the top of the lids, the sides of the cans are stamped Polk Milk Company, Berne Ind. I love anything related to dairy, it does not necessarily have to be related to goat milk.

Then I learned a bit more...

Before the advent of stainless steel tankers, there were milk trains that ran through dairy areas. In many cases the farmers toted their milk to small train stops (some no bigger than a garden or tool shack), and from there the milk train would carry the milk to the larger cities. Some of the private milk trains carried cans, some of the company owned trains had "milk tank" cars.

Come to find out, the milk company listed on my cans was from Indianapolis, Indiana. Berne is located in northern Indiana, known for its cow dairy farms and cheese, inhabited in the early years by Swiss Mennonites. Interesting! I can see the cans being transported back and forth between Berne and Indianapolis, both on a farmer's wagon, and on the old train.

Then I started reading about the milk trains. There are songs, movies, and all sorts of jokes floating around about milk trains. But, truly, there were actual milk trains that transported milk across the countryside. And many times people caught the milk trains if they needed a lift somewhere, some even rode the train to school.

Back on the farm...the farmers would strain and consolidate the milk into the cans, and then cool the milk in a spring house, later in history in a bulk tank. Then, either the farmer or a coop truck would come around and pick up the cans and take them to a creamery, or they went directly to the milk train.

So...perhaps I am the one slow on learning, but the next time I see one of these old milk cans...I will remember that they do hold a lot of history!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Blue Zones

As soon as my copy of the Dairy Goat Journal arrives in the mail I scan the pictures, especially those sent in from readers. It is such a treat to me. Then, for fun, I jump to the Judging Quiz section, to see if I can again select the goat that wins the class! The rest of the magazine normally is read within a week. For those of you interested in dairy goats, this is a great magazine to subscribe to. I archive the copies on a book shelf, in date order, and I do refer back to them from time to time. The dairy section always intrigues me, especially the farm journals. People out there work a lot harder than I do. I do not milk goats at 5:00 A.M.!!!!

Somehow the last magazine I received sat after I completed the judging quiz. A few days ago I picked it up and began reading an article titled Goat Milk Proven to Enhance Longevity. The benefits of goat milk are not new to me, but what did catch my eye was the source of some of the article's information, a book titled The Blue Zones, author Dan Buettner.

What are Blue Zones? They are areas and cultures where humans live much longer in comparison to people inhabiting the rest of the globe.

So, to put some salve on the itch in my curious brain, to learn more about Blue Zones, I began a Google search.

Here are bits and pieces of what I found:

Where Are These Blue Zones?The Barbargia region in Sardinia, Italy (where the Blue Zone phenomenon primarily affects men); Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California.

We literally got a taste of secret number one: goat’s milk.

Daily naps - Taking a 30-minute nap at least five times a week can decrease the risk of heart attack by 35 percent. It refreshes your mind and isn't just for kids after all.

If you do a search as well, you will find other healthful longevity tips such as: eat a lean plant based diet, put family first (and elders), exercise (walking), and drink a glass or two of red wine daily (I drink 5 ounces each evening), and laugh with friends.

I need to go back and read all of the articles I linked to again! They are interesting, and there are more to read via the Google search.

Way to go, goat milk! I love it. And you know what? I do feel better when I have my cup a day. I have been known, when I have no girls in milk, to thaw out a bottle that was frozen for the kids just to fulfill my need for goat milk.

I have been thinking a great deal about getting older (I am fifty now), and how I need to be as strong and healthy as I possibly can. I feel 20-something in the head, but my body isn't so young anymore! So...with this Blue Zone idea in my head, no I will not try to live to 130, but it sure does make me think, be as healthy as possible. Be as natural as possible (skin and body). Take better care of the body that God gifted to me!

Family Portraits-Shock Therapy

I have been thinking about my childhood a lot lately, summer seems to bring back a lot of memories. Looking for photos to share. There are not very many to be dug up, but I'll get the job done little by little.

So, today, to steer away from any prior topics altogether, and to add some humor, I thought I would share this hilarious photo of me and my sister and brothers (L to R, Robert, myself, Georgia, and John).

This photo was taken after my sister's high school graduation. So, it dates right at 21 years old.

Dig my big glasses! I thought those were the coolest! A boss at work, a really funny one, used to say she loved my Vogue glasses, but she pronounced it as Vog (bog) - ue (you). Hysterical! The round face, the perm, and there were more than likely combs in my wild hair. That was quite the style in 1988! We have all put on a few pounds (except me, I have lost a number, thankfully). And we now have either more grey hair, and some (not me) prefer to add blond to cover the grey. Tee hee. My sister will whack me for saying that!

Hope you all are enjoying your Saturday! I am...I am feeling very much better, still have a climb to go, but the sprint in the step is coming back. about some of your lovely past photos? Dare to share?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Simple Mozzarella Cheese

I am a cheese fiend. I absolutely cannot keep much cheese in the house. How about you?

In my spare time (uh huh) I make goat milk cheese. Chevre is my favorite, especially when garlic and fresh chives are included. I love seeing the muslin bag hanging in my kitchen for 8 hours! It feels old world, along with a great a sense of accomplishment.

I also enjoy feta goat milk cheese. Oh man, my diet is on the line when I make a batch of feta. I bottled it up once with dried rosemary infused in olive oil. I dipped in that jar enough to give myself a belly ache!

But, the easiest and quickest way to get fresh cheese in the house is to make some mozzarella.

Here is the (partial microwave)recipe:

1 gallon milk
1.5 to 2 tsp. citric acid
1/4 tsp. liquid rennet
1/2 C cool water (not chlorinated)
Kosher salt to taste (not iodized)

Dissolve the citric acid in 1/4 C water.

Dissolve the rennet in 1/4 C water.

Pour the milk into a stainless steel or enamel pan. Add the citric acid solution. Stir well. Slowly heat the milk to 90 degrees. You will notice the milk begin to curdle.

At 90 degrees, add your rennet solution. Stir gently, in a top to bottom motion for approximately 1 minute.

Remove the pot from the heat source.

Allow the milk to set for 5 minutes. This allows the curd to form.

Using a long knife, cut the curd in a checkered or cubed pattern, in an approximate 1" pattern.

Scoop the curds into a microwave safe bowl.

Press the curd with your hands. The goal is to release and pour off as much liquid (whey) as possible.

Microwave the curd on high for 1 minute.

Note: Use caution, the cheese and bowl will get hot! I wear thick rubber gloves during the process.

Remove the bowl from the microwave and quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands. Drain off the whey again.

Microwave 2 more times, 35 seconds each. Repeat the kneading, handling and draining each time.

Knead quickly now, as you would bread dough. You will begin to see the cheese firm up and become shiny. Add salt at this time, to taste.

The cheese should now be pliable, and able to be stretched.

You can form the cheese into a ball and drop it into ice water to cool, or you can roll it out and wrap it in wax paper. I prefer the wax paper.

The cheese is ready to eat once cooled.

It will stay fresh for many days wrapped in plastic wrap (after the original cooling).

-cow milk can be used (I cannot personally attest to that statement)
-lipase powder can be added (to give a stronger Italian taste, I prefer without)
-do not use aluminum pans when making this cheese
-do not use iodized salt..that is unless you like green cheese.

Have fun!

This recipe is a combination of 3 that I originally worked from.