Sunday, October 24, 2010

An ad on Freecycle

Someone posted this ad (a "need" ad) on a month or two back and I saved it for some reason.  I thought it was funny and interesting.

i need a frezzer if anyone has one they want to get rid of, i would be happy to take it off your hands.dont matter if it`s unright are chest.
thank you, Linda

My first thought was, that's funny.  My second was, did she not proofread her ad or is she really that bad of a speller?  I'm used to bad grammar and rarely think too much about things like, "it don't matter", writing everything in lower case and leaving out punctuation, thanks to the internet and texting.  It just seems to me she would have at least gotten the thing she was looking for spelled right, that is, unless there is such a thing as a frezzer and I never heard of it. 

To post this ad the requester had to have access to a computer and know how to use it and the internet.  She also had to know how to sign up for Freecycle which I've known some of my smart friends to struggle with.  Maybe English is not this person's first language or they were in a hurry or lazy.  Whatever the reason I hope she posts more ads. 

There is probably someone out there in blog land laughing about my writing skills too.  Enjoy.  I wonder if Linda has a blog.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Our new greenhouse

Isn't it nice?
A local nursery was going out of business and 2 friends told us the greenhouse was for sale.  Our anniversary was last week so we drove into Lexington to have lunch.  We decided to swing by and see the greenhouse while we were there.  It's 21 by 24 feet.  James asked me what we'd do with it.  I said I don't know but it will be fun.  So we bought it.   

Today we met the sellers and helped them take it down so we could see how it went together.  I wonder how much of it we'll remember as we reassemble it.  I took pictures of it here and there, hoping it would remind me of how joints met etc.
It took most of the afternoon to take it down and I have a feeling it's going to take all of a day or two (or ????) to get it back together.  I sure am glad we have friends visiting us the end of this month so they can help us put it together.  I can't remember if we mentioned to them we'd need their help or not.

The sellers asked us what we were going to grow in it.  That's a question for James.  They also asked if we would be at the farmer's market next year.  Maybe.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A little help from my friends

It's Sunday evening and I'm wiped out.  I probably won't finish this blog entry before going to bed but I thought I'd start it now so I'll remember tomorrow what I wanted to write about.  Maybe posting this picture will remind me.

James and I have been working on scraping, replacing panes, reglazing and painting the upstairs windows.  A friend helped me with the downstairs ones and that motivated me to finish.  The upstairs windows created a whole new challenge.  The height and slanted roof made this job more intimidating.  First I tried hiring 3 different people.  One guy said he'd do it for a very hefty sum.  The second guy said no thank you and the third guy never showed up after I told him he was hired.  That's why you see me in this bucket loader.

I've told you many times how nice our neighbors are and once again one of them showed me how lucky we are to have such generous friends.  Fred is an electrician and owns this handy bucket loader which reaches 4 of the 6 windows and makes being up that high less scary.  It's very cool.  He went on vacation this week and let us use it while he was gone.  Five days isn't long enough to finish the job but it's a good start.

I called our roofer to see if he had any ideas for how we could reach the 2 center windows.  He explained to me how C-clamps, plywood and 2X4's should do the trick and then asked if we'd like some of his roofers to help.   I said yes.  He was going to ask them today if they were interested but I haven't heard back.  I really hope they are because I'm really getting tired of working on these windows. 

While I get to ride in the bucket loader James (who is afraid of heights)  has been standing on the roof doing the scraping.  I don't know how he's doing it.  Our roof is copper and can be very slippery.  There's no way I'd be doing this without his help.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Puffball mushrooms

I had never heard of puffball mushrooms until yesterday.  James went to some friends of ours to get a truckload of manure for our garden and came home with a gift of two giant mushrooms.
I was a little hesitant about eating them but I trusted our friends Bob and Gerri didn't want to kill us so we peeled them and cooked them up in a quiche.  I did Google them first so I knew there was such a thing as an edible puffball mushroom.  I bet we used less than half of one mushroom and it made 2 cups.  I sauteed them first with some olive oil, spinach and onion and tasted them before putting them in the egg pie.  Wow, they were really tasty.  They felt so light and airy when they were raw and then after being cooked they were the texture of marshmallows.  We're hoping to save the spores and spread them around here so maybe we can grow our own puffballs.  I love this new (to me) culinary discovery.  Every spring we go hunting for morel mushrooms, which is fun, but I think I like the taste of these more, or at least, I like that you get so much, so easily and it's just as delicious.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Canestrato Cheese

This is my first attempt at Canestrato cheese, or cheese made in a basket.   I didn't have a reed basket or any kind of woven basket that was the right size and shape so I used the inside of our salad spinner.  I used a cake pan and 5lb bag of flour to press the cheese.   I guess it's not a true canestrato cheese since it was made in plastic, from goat's milk only and it wasn't made in Puglia, Italy.  I've read that in Puglia it is either made with all sheep milk or part sheep and part goat's milk.   This was made from 4 gallons of milk and, sitting on our counter like it is right now, it looks like a frosted cake.  It's a good size and very pretty.   It needs to soak in a brine solution for 2 days beginning tomorrow night and then age for 4 to 10 months.

I'd love to set up a small room in our basement where I can set the humidity and temperature and age my cheeses in the way they're meant to be cured.  Right now they're at about 10 degrees too warm (they were in the refrigerator at a temperature much too cold for the cultures to work) and I have no idea what the humidity is.  It would be a shame for all 40 lbs of cheese I have down there to be ruined because I don't have the right conditions.  I need to do some research to find out what I need to meet the needs of my gouda, derby, cheddar, manchego, canestrato, parmesan and monterey jack. 

Here they are now sitting amongst toys, books, photo albums and pottery.  Pitiful.
I'm really going to miss making cheese when we have to dry the girls up the last 2 months of their pregnancies plus the first few weeks after the babies are born.  We'll be getting just enough milk from one goat then to have it on our cereal.  Maybe I'll use that time to create a space with perfect aging conditions.  Also in that time maybe I'll find some real canestrato baskets.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My giant stuffed animal

My sister and I collected stuffed animals when we were little.  I'll bet we had 50 or more of them and they all had names.  Our favorites were Candy and Mandy (panda bears)

and Harvey and Cola (a koala bear and an orange "bear" with a huge smile).  Candy and Harvey were mine and Mandy and Cola were Debbie's.  Of course the animals were cousins and we were their aunts.  Debbie and I shared a bedroom and spent hours on end in there playing make-believe.  I wish I could have a video now of us playing to see what we did because I really don't remember much.  I do know that our "kids" turned into teenagers because I vaguely recall some make-out sessions the pandas had with boys.  Also, today Candy still wears eye shadow on one eye.  I think I tried pulling out the fur to get rid of it but it wouldn't come out. 
I don't know what happened to Harvey but I wish I still had him.  He was so cute.

I've replaced him though, with an even cuter guy.  I don't play make-believe with him but I could spend hours with him and I think Debbie would do the same if she could.  She should have her own donkey and we could be donkey aunts. 
I had lots of fun as a kid but I'm having so much more fun as an adult playing with live animals.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The countdown begins now. Only 145 days to go (give or take)

In the past 6 days I've bred 5 of my goats.  I don't really know if they're bred or not but I'll know in 3 weeks.  Goats go into heat approximately every 18 to 21 days.  It's funny how every day only one doe is in heat, never two.  When one finishes up another begins her crying, tail wagging and hovering near the boy's fence.   The bucks, in very bad form, turn into raging maniacs.  If I only had one it would be fine, but I have 3 and the biggest of them, Witty, terrorizes the others.  I've seen him throw Jimmy and Shamus several feet.  This has become a problem when I want to use Jimmy or Shamus for a breeding.  If the girl is hanging out near Witty, which they all seem to prefer, probably because he's the stinkiest, the other boy who I've left out with the girls won't go near the girl because he's afraid Witty can get him.  Very frustrating.

I had said I wouldn't breed them so close together but I changed my mind because I want to get it overwith so the bucks will return to their sweet, clean, well-behaved selves.  Witty broke this gate 2 X 4 with his head.  He had the girl and the other boys were on the other side of the fence but he gets so angry he head butts the fences and gates and stretches them all out of shape. He doesn't care if his head is bleeding or not.

So now I'm going to have kids popping out many days in a row or even the same day.  Wait till you read my blog then, that is, if I have time to write.  You may want to skip reading for the whole month of March because it will all be about goats.  You'll miss a lot of cute pictures if you do though.  It may be chaotic but I'm excited already.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beet Wine

If you don't like beets it might sound kind of gross.  Maybe even if you do like beets it may sound gross.  I happen to like them and have high hopes for this wine.   I've read very good reviews about it and many of them said it doesn't taste like beets.  I wonder what it tastes like then.  I've talked about making it for the past couple years but never got around to making it, until now.  I have 5 gallons of it in the primary fermenter where it will stay for another 3 or 4 days.   I'll remove the beets and put the wine-to-be in the secondary where it will stay for a few months before bottling.  I'll decide then whether to sweeten it some more or not.  I probably won't since I prefer dry wines to sweet.   I added the yeast last night and I couldn't tell this morning if it had begun fermenting.  Maybe by tonight.  I tasted it this morning and was surprised how tasty it was as a sweet beet juice.  Maybe I should make some juice without the yeast.  We have 3 1/2 five gallon buckets of beets yet to use for something and I'm not up for canning that many.  Maybe I'll freeze some, though our freezer is so full.  I hate to add anything else since it's already hard enough to find something in there.
Beet wine is a bit more involved than making wineberry wine since I have to peel and cook the beets first.  The rest is basically the same only this time I add wine tannin which I've never had to add to my berry wines.  Like I said, I have high hopes for it.  So high I might make another 5 gallons.  It has to be good for me right?  Beets are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber.

I'm going to Google "beet recipes" to see what I can make for dinner that sounds interesting and will use up some more.   Earlier this week I gave some giant ones to my friend to try as a dye for some of her fleece.  That ought to be neat.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My husband's going to hell(gate)

We live less than a mile and a half from the start of an ultra-marathon (an ultra is anything longer than a marathon).  It's called Hellgate 100K.  Actually, I think it's longer than 100K.  I think it's 66 miles, give or take.  What difference does it make when you're running that far right?  It's not just 66 miles of running, but 66 miles of running on trails up and down mountains.  Those who finish under 18 hours receive an award.  The race begins at midnight December 11th. 

James and another 50- some year old friend decided they want to run it.  I kind of brushed it off as two middle-aged men who needed to prove something to themselves.  Yesterday was the first day you could send in your entry.  You see, they only allow a limited number of people to run it, something like 130.  Yeah, it's hard to imagine that many people standing in line wanting to do this, isn't it?  Not only do they have to apply to run it, answering questions for the race director to decide if they're worthy, but they have to pay $150.00.  James received a reply today from the director asking for a little more information.  After receiving it he told him he was in.  He signed off the email saying, Now can you, will you finish?  In Christ, David Horton.   James hasn't heard yet if his friend has been accepted yet.

I feel like I need to explain to you that my husband is a very smart man.  No, really, he is.  I'm not sure why he needs to do this but I'll be proud of him when he finishes, which I know he will do.  Afterall, it's only 16 miles longer than the last ultra he ran.  No pressure, James.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Are you paying attention?

Sometimes I check the clock but don't register what time it was so I have to look again.  I just did the same thing with the 10 day weather forecast.  I looked at it then had to go back and look again.  I'm forever finding my coffee cup in very strange places and I don't remember carrying it out there.  On Saturday 3 of us drove to a farm.  First we missed our exit because we were talking.   This took us way out of our way.  You would think we would have been more attentive after that but we weren't.  We missed another turn.  We were 40 minutes late.

Yesterday I came across 2 videos posted on the NPR Science Friday website.  The program was about how we pay attention.  Before you listen to the show they want you to watch these 2 videos.  They're very short so I did it.  I then took my computer upstairs to have James watch them to see if he paid better attention than I.  He didn't.  That made me feel better but I don't know why.   I didn't listen to the whole program but found the beginning interesting.  The speaker said none of us are really good at multi-tasking and those who think they are probably aren't really doing 2 things at once.  They're skipping back and forth between 2 or more things.  After watching these videos it's very clear why people shouldn't talk on the phone while they're driving.   Watch them.  See if you're more attentive than we were.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Adam's first taste of chicken processing

I received an email last week from a chicken farmer who got my name from Joe and Linda, the last folks I worked for.  I don't know if I mentioned this in my blog or not, but Joe and Linda moved back to Washington state so my career as a chicken processor came to a halt this summer, or so I thought.  Anyway, they gave my name to Brent and Melissa, who then contacted me.  I hesitated at first but then thought, why not.  I asked if they could use 2 more hands today because Adam was going to be home for the weekend.  Being a college student, Adam needs money and chicken butchering is decent pay for a struggling 20 year old with bills to pay.  Aside from working at home together, Adam and I had never worked side-by-side for someone else.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I started out gutting chickens while Adam scalded, put them through the plucker and beheaded them and removed their feet.  I hope he doesn't have strange dreams tonight.  

There were 9 of us - a lively and friendly group.  It was a beautiful setting, surrounded by incredible views of mountain range after mountain range.  I wish I had taken a picture of the views from the front porch of the farm house.  Maybe Tuesday, when I work again I'll take my camera.  The chicken farmer, Brent, was a laid back guy who invited us all into his home and offered us ice cream and pizza for lunch while we waited for the chickens to chill.  In all, we handled about 460 chickens in about 5 1/2 hours.

On the way home Adam asked why I worked at these chicken farms.  I told him it was good to make new contacts and see how other people do things.  And besides, I kind of enjoy it.  It sounds crazy even to me.

When we got home Adam found a souvenir in his wallet - a white feather.  I wonder what he'll tell his friends back at school.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A new look for Holes In My Jeans

With the changing of the seasons I thought I'd make a change to my blog.  Not only is the background different but I've done some stretching here and there to allow bigger pictures too. 

Does anyone find it harder to read?