Monday, July 25, 2011

Canning season is upon us

Canning jars on my shelves filled with goodies make me happy
My pantry as a whole, mess and all
Lake County, Indiana Blueberries
Lime pickles and Lactic cheese
My son's first muck boots!! 
Septic leech field supplies
Caerphilly ready for wax 

It's been busy around here.  I've been doing lots of canning (I need to update the side bar totals, I'll do that later) making zucchini pickles, lime cucumber pickles, green beans and dry beans.  I would say I make blueberry jam but really its not properly set so its yogurt flavoring.  I did make blueberry syrup and its not terribly sweet but for us its perfect.  We don't need that much sugar.

I've really been making a lot of cheese.  I've recnetly made a caerphilly, monterey jack, several balls of mozzarella, "velveeta" from lactic cheese and one of my favorites, fromage blanc.  For some reason since my last yogurt success post my yogurts have been all contaminated with yeast....I think I jinxed myself!  I need to throw out my freeze dried starter and I bought some store yogurt to freeze for starter.  Luckily around here, even my mistakes don't go to waste.  They go to the chickens.  The chickens absolutely love it when I come there way with my mistakes.  They love whey too.  Its almost as good as having a pig.

Speaking of pigs, we are considering that as our next homesteading project animal.  One problem is though that I'm not a fan of pork, or at least commercial pork.  I'll eat bacon, canadian bacon, ham and sausage but once you start talking ground pork or pork chops I'm eating vegetarian that night.  I really need to get over my distaste of pork so I bought some chops.  I don't know how to make pork chops so this might be interesting.

My kiddo is getting so big!  He's reading off letters everywhere he sees them and loves to point out everything he sees and identify it.  What a chance from a year ago where he was just learning to walk.  Did you see those cute muck boots?  I couldn't resist, that and he's always stepping in places in sandals that he really shouldn't be. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

notice to the right----->

I've added a tally on the right of the foods we've produced so far this year.  Its pretty much all been done by yours truly but my husband plays a role in some of it by watching our kiddo or tolerating a mess for a few days.  He's really not much of a gardener, he'll help if I ask but he's not drawn to it like I am.  I'm out there every day looking for something to pick and work my dinner around. 

Thankfully the garden has really started producing something.  I'll be canning our first batch of green beans soon.  Not sure exactly how much I'll get out of 7lbs but I'd guess around 4-5 qts.  I'm really hoping I have a lot more coming.  I'd like to have about 8 or 9 qts worth to get through the year.

I've been really canning up a lot of dried beans lately.  I really like to cook vegetarian meals sometimes and beans are pretty essential to making those work and making them filling enough to keep my guys full.  I've been using the instruction is Jackie Clay's Growing and Canning Your Own Food.  The instructions are really basic and other than it takes and hour and a half of staying up late to get it done I'm pretty happy with it.  It makes meal planning much simpler when I don't have to find time to soak and rinse and cook the beans first.

I just put my first Caerphilly into the cheese fridge, I wish it was for us but alas it was made on request for someone else.  I really hope it turns out.  I'll have to make sure that before its served someone takes a nice taste of it 24 hours ahead of the party and ensures that its safe.  Hopefully I'll get to take that taste so if it is bad, I'm the only one who gets sick from it.  Is that bad of me?  I'm just not confident enough yet in my skills maybe.  Anyhow, I'd much rather be the guinea pig than someone else.

Monday, July 4, 2011

I am not a farmer

I read a blog post the other day that brought this into perspective and while I was in no form of denial, I thought I'd break clean of that image all together.  A farmer makes their living from their farm.  I make no living off the things we do....actually as far as I can tell we barely save money doing it this way if not pay more for our food that we grow.  Its really a toss up, sometimes we pay more for things- sometimes less.  I do a few farmer-like activities but for all intents and purposes its a hobby.  It might someday evolve into an income for our family, but I don't want to water down what real farmers do by calling myself a farmer.