Monday, June 27, 2011

"Farmers" goat cheese

With our plethora of milk that we had last summer, this is the basic recipe we like in our house.

1 - 2 gallons of milk
Heat to hot, ~180F (some say to boil, doesn’t really seem to matter)

Stir to keep from scalding milk.
Turn off heat.

Add 1/4 white vinegar per gallon. Stir and let sit 5 minutes.
Pour curds & whey into a colander lined with a fine mesh linen, thin dishtowel, doubled up cheese cloth, muslin, thin pillow case, etc.

(I put another pot under the colander to collect the whey for the chickens.)
Drain, stir in salt to taste. Fresh or dry herbs to your liking.
Can either twist cloth around and hang up to drip dry for the day. (This usually makes a spreadable cheese.)

...or we made a make-shift cheese press and press it into a rectangle mold in the refrigerator. (this makes for a cheese you can cut into pieces.)
Wrap up and refrigerate that night if drip dried.
 or if put it to press in the fridge, cut into chunks and wrap blocks the next day.

My favorite way to eat this is plain cheese on crackers with a piece of smoked salmon. Delish!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Do anybody elses kids call umbrellas "bumbershoots"? This is a new thing...but it's consistent.

I heard a yell, "MAMA". and my oldest brought my youngest into my office and her sad dirty face looking up guiltily holding a giant salmon fillet (cooked) in her hand eating it..."Do you want fish?" I ask (it's almost bedtime). She nods her head. "Ok, yes you may." I say.

I'm building a one-bale-of-hay holder for my kid goats. It's fun, I'm almost finished. I like that I'm getting better and faster at building things.

My neighbor came over about a 1/2 hour ago and took his tractor disc to a small part in our field so I can have a big-ish potato patch. It's late in the game for potatoes, but I started late last year and they did fine. It's nice and big.


help me, please, someone help...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beergarita season

Beergaritas are a new-ish invention as far as I know. It sounds very redneck but we don't mind. In fact we like them so much we think you other rednecks and non-rednecks alike will like it too.

Beergarita ® Ingredients

■3-4 12 oz. beers (a light Mexican beer is best, like Corona)

■12 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate (do not add water like the can says to, that's what booze is for, also can use lemonade concentrate in a pinch)

■12 oz. Tequila, white (Use limeade container as a fancy measuring device)

■1 Lime cut 8 ways (or not)

■1/2 Cup Salt (optional but yumolicious)

■5 Cups of Ice (um, ok, who measures ice?)

Beergarita ® Mixing Instructions

■Mix frozen limeade concentrate, beer, and tequila in a pitcher

■Add salt to glass rim of your glass (if you want, we don't normally)

■Fill glass with ice, poor drink

■Garnish with 2 lime wedges (optional)

This recipe is good for 4-6 people.

Did I mention that it's super delish and I love it?!

My new favorite way to drink a beergarita. In a jug, er jar.

A moment in time

Wanting to capture every precious moment of what my kids do, I still don't do it. I have a blog, therefore I'll write some of it here.

Youngest is developing her personality quite a bit lately...lots of words being said, lots of stealing of other people's food and lots of fits...


When she pets the dog on the porch she says over and over, "who's gonna miss you when I'm gone? who's gonna miss you when I'm gone? who's gonna miss you when I'm gone?" and the dog enjoys the attention.

When she "plays" with the baby goats she grabs their collar and yanks them where she likes and chases them with wooden stakes and sometimes hits them....then she gets in trouble.

She bites 2nd youngest if she makes her mad.

When I come home she runs to me and says, "mama, you came home! I missed you!"

She goes outside and gets dirty, every time. She sneaks out even, she loves it out there.

When we have any milk left from the goat's milk bottle she'll drink it if we aren't watching.

Last year she'd sneak into the chicken coop and this year she sneaks into the doe's pen even though they are 3x her size. She loves to hang out with them.

2 days ago I was on the phone and looked outside. She'd gotten out of the bath and gone out and was chasing chickens...naked...on the side of the fence with a VERY good view for the neighbors and all of their kids.

Last night we went to our friend's goat farm. She has many many goats. We discovered she really enjoys going up to each doe and pinching her teat. Not sure if it's to piss her off or to try to milk her. Either way it's funny.

She gets in my bed early early in the morning and snuggles with me and says, "I love you mama."

She wakes me up later and says, "Mama, it's morning, I have to go potty, you have to make me cereal."

We leave my sister's house and she says, "I had so much fun at Aunt B's house."

She drives me crazy. She loves life. She loves animals. She loves me. I love her.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Have summer herbs? Try this.

Here's an inexpensive but tasty meal you're family should like, I got it from Martha a few years ago from a cute Brazilian lady who worked on her show.

I got a beautiful bunch  of cilantro from my friend's greenhouse yesterday and had to make this today. I was going to use the black beans I'd canned up this winter but much to my chagrin I had only pintos canned. Oh well. Guess what? Pintos are just as good cooked this way. I used 3 quart jars so I didn't have to soak the dry beans. So easy!

I served it over my white rice recipe which the same cute Brazilian lady made on Martha's show that day. I'll post that as well.

Brazilian Black Beans

1 lb dried black beans

4 medium beets, scrubbed (I never add these except for when i have them, I've realized this is probably an economical method for cooking beets since you're already cooking the beans and they had some red color.)

Combine beans and Beets. Add enough water to cover but 1/2 inch, about 8 cups. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until beets are tender, 40-60 min. Remove beets and cook beans 'till tender, 1-2 hrs more. Peel beets when cool and use as desired. (I have a honeyed beets recipe if you want that)

Towards the end of beans cooking:

2 TBS minced garlic

4 1/2 tea. coarse salt...mash these together in a mortar and pestle or something that will work, then fry in med skillet in

2 TBS corn oil, also add

3/4 cup chopped scallions/green onions/chives (maybe one bunch?) and

1/2 cup chopped cilantro (again one bunch)

Cook until scallions are soft 2-4 min, stir mixture into cooked beans and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with white rice and some veggies.

This is a great one to double and freeze into small containers. The boys prefer these made into burritos and I prefer mine with rice in a bowl with jalapenos and sour cream, yum!

Necy's White Rice (Brazilian lady)

.After making this rice the first time I realized there was no better way to make it and I gave away my rice cooker and use this method every time. My kids all love it and want just plain rice...

3 c white rice (can reduce to 2 or 1 cup, then use 2 or 1 teaspoon of salt to match)

1/3 c corn oil (I used coconut today 'cause I didn't have corn, but the flavor of corn is better)

1 TBS coarse salt
Bring a teapot full of water to a boil (~6 3/4 c)
In a fine strainer rinse rice under cold running water for 1 minute, drain well, set aside.

In a stockpot heat oil until very hot but not smoking, add rice, cook stirring until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add salt and stir to combine.

Add enough boiling water to cover (~4 1/2 c). Simmer over med-high heat, partially covered (i don't even cover mine) until water is absorbed about 9 minutes. Add rest of the water and continue cooking over low heat until water is absorbed and rice is cooked, ~15 minutes. I don't follow these precise directions, I eye it, and if it needs more water then I add more and when it gets to the end when you're afraid it'll burn you can turn off heat and put on lid and leave it for 10 minutes and it'll probably be done after that... Enjoy!

pintos used today instead of black...just as good (I think)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Full moon and buddies

Today was different.

I got up today after sleeping half the night on the couch 'cause I fell asleep during TRON last night while we watched it with the kids. I got more sleep than usual, though, yay me.

I made the coffee and hoped onto facebook and got a cold call from a new mailbox manufacturer. I was going to hang up on him until he said they were making the style of mailboxes that only one other company is making right now. Then we proceeded to discuss mailboxes and Alaska and kids and animals for an hour. Sheesh.

While we were talking an earthquake hit Japan and then Alaska, a 5.1. I didn't feel it but many friends did.

Got my kids started with a few chores (finally) and then my oldest son came back in bawling because their chicken died. He was the lame chicken they were trying to nurse back to health, but just wasn't happening.

They had a burial for him.

Then a harsh letter was posted on facebook in the goat section which ripped a few people a new one...ok then.

I called a goat friend to pick her brain and while I was on the phone I walked out of my office and Steph @ Up North Over Yonder and Out of my Mind was sitting at my table and a strange man person was standing there talking to, ok, I gotta go. She needed an air compressor of course, and I didn't have a functioning compact one.

I got a very sweet note from Jen @ Peas n Carrots I'm really enjoying our budding friendship as we are encountering similar struggles and joys.

I catch up with a mailbox colleague over email to see what he thinks about this other mailbox company.

I called a new friend from The Last Frontier and we talked for a short 3 HOURS about everything under the sun. I'll get to meet her at the Appleseed Rifle shoot that's in Birchwood in July.

My friend @ Goldberry Cottage wrote a note about some hairy guy in their back yard in a camper lurking aournd and she wanted my hubby to go with her hubby to check it out...but of course I forgot to tell him (sorry, MB!) and I don't think he saw his message yet...

Meanwhile my kids were running-a-muck not doing chores and hubby wanted to take the kids to the soccer game early, so I threw them some food as they waled out the door. One kid got an egg, one some leftover salmon and a third got some that I think of it the soccer player got nothing. Nice job, me. I fed them borscht and Cheetos when they got home.

After they left I was walking by the stairs and the neighbor boy opened the front door to put in the cat. I asked him when he came to our house. He said he'd been there a little while. I asked him to please let me know when he came and left from my house so that I know what's going on. He wanted to play, but the kids were gone, so he opted to play outside alone.
Talked to a few customers.

I got a note from Laura at Hey, what's for dinner mom? and gave her a call and we chatted for a bit about the goat milk and farming.

Josh @ Alaskan Rambler wanted to check in and see if I talked to our mutual friend @ The Last Frontier yet as he is organizing the Rifleman shoot and is excited to meet our new friend also.

Meanwhile the crazy goat ladies are mis-behaving again but my goats are perfect.

If it's not a full moon tonight it should be. What a strange day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kids and dogs

My oldest daughter turned 13 this May. This is my child that has begged me for animals her whole life and this year is no different. She wants a puppy so she can breed it and sell the puppies.

I am not an animal lover. Not at all. I used to like cats, but not anymore. When I started having children I lost any interest I had for animals. HOWEVER as you know, we have many animals. This is mostly the fault of Martha Stewart and my daughter. Martha Stewart because when I watched her show years back she had the most beautiful eggs and I coveted them. I wanted THOSE chickens so I could get THOSE eggs. My neighbor knew about chickens so we jumped in. Turns out having chickens is fun and my husband took to them much more than I did. I love the eggs, he likes the hens.

When my daughter was eight she begged me for a horse (again) we have 2 acers but no fence or barn. Horses are very impractical in Alaska, however, as a homeschooling family we want to encourage our kids passions not discourage them. We got her into horse lessons. Unfortunately she was a natural...which sucks 'cause that means we can't easily quit. So we go during the summer. Last year she won the first competition she was in...beginners luck? At this point in time we are not equipped for horses and perhaps never will be, but we like the idea of her being distracted with animals through her teenage years. I don't think that will be a problem...our younger girls on the other hand, well that's a different story.

Another animal she begged for were goats. I didn't want to milk a goat, who was I kidding. I'm a lazy NOT farm girl. But goats make a whole lot more sense than horses do. I began collecting chain link dog kennel panels after our friend gave us theirs and another friend gave us theirs. I realized they would be great for goats (who are terrible at getting through fences). When I discovered last year that goats don't need the kind of heavy duty shelter that chickens do up here in the winter, I realized it was time to jump on board. No time like the present...if I don't do this now I may never. So we took the plunge, 2 Nubian does in milk producing 2 gallons a day. A whirlwind of a learning curve, what to do with THAT much milk?! Learn to make everything out of it and find what you like best.

This June one doe is maybe pregnant, harder to get her knocked up than the other. The other had 3 bucklings. The nice thing is that bucklings need more milk than doelings, so the doe will produce more that year, but the bad part is they suck it all and you don't have it to drink. We get about 1/2 gallon a day from the other doe now for ourselves, which is barely enough...we have to ration it. I'd wanted a LaMancha doe last year but the breeder I chose didn't have any. This year she had more LaMancha kids available. I don't have enough milk at the moment with the doe feeding kids and I also don't want my children getting attached to the bucklings we're raising to sell as bucks or to butcher this fall for meat...I decided that after my daughter did an amazing job this year doing 95% of the milking that I'd buy her a goat instead of a puppy.

It was a good call (so far) she was not disappointed, she's totally in love, she picked out the one that was born the day we were at the breeder's visiting, she and I will split any profits from sales of kids and the doeling will provide our family milk for years to come. Daughter named her Elka and though LaMancha's aren't nearly as cute as Nubians (no ears!) with her docile personality, she will definitely grow on us.

I'm finding the goats are growing on me in general. I dare say I could end up being a goat lover. Don't tell anyone.

It's raining, lets blog

Today is raining, so I'll finally post these pics I took last week. It's been so sunny and nice (awesome) but it's good to have a down long as it's just one day. I'm making borscht for my deprived family, the ham bone is slowly cooking and our house feels cozy.

What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day in the summer?
pansies and Livingston daisies planted here...hope they get bigger!

zucchini & 2 sunflowers...the warmest part of our yard

columbine getting ready to bloom

2 new raspberry beds, one yellow one thorn less red

never ending fence redo

our yellow house that used to be green

our old laying hens

planted garden

new chickens for this year, our "teenagers"

first try at turnips, how do you eat turnips?

new top needed for our picnic table, old rotted one removed

there is nothing better than a snuggly baby goat

my prized peony, love this thing

husband's honey bees hard at work

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Broody Hen

Have you ever seen a broody hen who hatches out her own chicks and then cares for them? Well this is my first year to see such a thing (another farm had some) and so I had to have one. I found a hen available and I found some of the Easter Egger chicks that I wanted to get some pretty colored eggs from and went farm hopping.

First I picked up the hen who is a Cochin x Silkie, the lady I got her from calls her a "Frobbit". She's white and very silky smooth. She didn't like being pulled off of her clutch, but into the box she went and on we drove to the other farm.

The woman at the other farm had all sorts of animals: sheep, bunnies, geese, ducks, chickens and quail. Lots of chicks, and 3 incubators full of eggs. She picked out 5 hopefully girl chicks (she even showed me how to tell by their tail feathers if they're girls or boys). She suggested putting them into the same box with the Frobbit, as she has at least 4 Frobbits that I saw all with their own following of chicks. Sure enough she settled right down and was a gracious mama to the new chicks.

When we got home we put them into our large dog kennel so the cat couldn't get at the chicks and the mama and babies could bond. They are so quiet compared to the chicks in the brooder box under the heat lamp. I forget they are there then I freak out and go check on them and they're all just quietly sitting there looking around. SO CUTE!!!

kids named her Dutchess and her 5 chicks

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Bomb

No, I'm not bombing books, I'm helping someone to sell theirs.

The Simplicity Primer looks like a promising book that can help people focus on what matters and eliminate the fluff and stuff that doesn't. Frankly I have not read this book, so I have no clue if it's good or not. HOWEVER, I have been reading Patrice Lewis's Blog for a while and have to say she's funny, smart and just fun to read.

The date is set for June 7 to "bomb" Amazon with orders for her book and see what all the fuss is about. This helps jack up her numbers and therefore helps others to see this book higher on suggested reading lists on particular subjects.

Buy The Simplicity Primer Here.

The dirt jar

A few years ago my husband was in WA helping a friend in his garden. He found a little brown jar. He brought it home to me because he knows I'm crazy about old things especially jars and things that hold other things.

So I put it in my bathroom still dirty but "rustic" with it's rusted lid and cute little self. I've let my bathroom be my "country" room as my dear husband can't handle the whole house being "country" and in reality I think I would go berserk in the cuteness of constant "country".

Tonight I bought more country storage containers to put stuff in (see my weakness?) for my bathroom and I took the jar off the shelf to dust it off and I took the jar of M&Ms off so I could clean the shelf. And I thought "Duh, the cute jar can hold M&Ms!" So I tried for the first time taking the lid off and lots of dirt came out. I went to clean the jar but it had ewey gooey stuff inside, gross what was in here? While the jar was soaking I started scrubbing the rusted lid and some color and words appeared. Vaseline! What do you know. The jar belongs in the bathroom.

Chesebrough Manfg. Co. Cd. New - York

Home of the potty reward M&Ms.