Dinner topics

Well we had an eventful dinner! The topic some how came to the way the sun bleaches hair. I mentioned my Hi lights are more noticeable.

Andrew asks, “What are highlights?”

Mom, “Andrew what do you use a highlighter for?”

Andrew, “To mark the whole page!”

Dad,  ”To mark important information on a page.”

Me,  ”Right, so my hair is very important!”

Andrew who is eating a grape laughs and some how manages to get grape up his nose. Fun times! :)

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Refocusing

I’m thinking I really have neglected this website. I have had aspirations of cranking out pages and pages of information and product here. I want to write about our home. I want to add pages for each species of livestock we raise. I want to add a garden page. I believe the time has come to do so. A face lift will occur in…

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Piled

The other day I was way behind on my urgent to-dos. Finding myself somewhere between complete frustration, agony, and hopelessness, I started to pray. I asked my heavenly Father what needed to be done first, how was I to get to it all and could he send me some help. Instead I was given a picture of myself. A vehicle of sorts was my favorite jeans, only the pockets were tail lights, and I was running after them. That made me laugh. Lo and behold the baby needed to be nursed and I sat down to do so. I posted on Facebook,
“I’m so far behind I can see my own tail lights.”
God most definitely has a sense of humor.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – A Simple Question

Today our nation honors this man for his very fight for civil freedoms. The person behind this fight was a Christian pastor who proclaimed the good news of Christ. In his very famous speech, “I Have a Dream”, Dr. King proclaims Americans as “all God’s children” on several occasions and “Thank God Almighty” in his closing line. In the wake of today’s political atmosphere and the mantra “to omit christian language, symbols, and traditions from all government doings past and present, is the very essence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life’s work going to altered to be politically correct?

I pray it isn’t so.
To God be all the glory that Dr. King’s life work has touched so many lives.

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Apple Buttery Goodness

This is for Stephanie whom desired for me to tell more.

This is one of my favorite pots. Well its actually a cast iron dutch oven. It is  wonderful to use in the cold fall and winter months as a slow cooker in the oven.

Apple butter is a type of preservey, jammy, jelly sort of product. It’s really none of those. It is apple, sweetener, and spices. Unlike jelly or jams, it doesn’t have added pectin. Why? Apple has pectin. Apple Butter is not a quick product like jam. It takes time to develop the flavors and deep color.

This spatula stood there for 30 minutes without moving.

Here’s what I do;

  • Wash and scrub the apples.
  • Use an apple slicer and throw the whole apple in the pot, yes, core and all. Keep adding apples until the pot in mounding heaping tall.
  • Make a spice bag with your choice of flavors. I use whole cinnamon, whole cloves, and whole allspice. I use cotton muslin. Place this in the pot. Tip: New England Mulling Spices packets work really well and it adds orange to the mix. I use half a pouch for a 6 quart pot.
  • Place the dutch in the oven. Put the lid on. No it doesn’t close. It’s not supposed to. Turn the temp to 220.
  • Bake for an hour. Add some more apples to make it heap a little.
  • Bake for another hour or two.
  • Use a foodmill to rid the peels and seeds and to squish the apples to pulp by ladling into the mill and straining in to a large bowl.
  • Taste your pulp. I used 2 cups dark brown sugar and 1 cup of honey for this batch. You can use any single or combination of sweeteners. Honey, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, agave, and or stevia may be used. Use as much as you think the apples call for. 3 cups to 6 quarts is a good start. Place pulp, sweetener, and spice bag in the pot. Stir well.
  • Replace in the oven. Place lid askew or with spacers to allow venting. You want the liquid to evaporate. The warmer you cook it the faster it goes. Occasionally, stir well and taste. Is it sweet enough? have enough cinnamon? allspice? clove? Adjust to your liking. You may use ground spice but go a little at a time. Stir well. Continue to thicken. I consider mine done when the spoon will stand at attention. Don’t rush this step.
  • Ladle into prepared jars and process in a water bath for 15 minutes. Discard spice packet contents. Wash and save muslin for another batch.

Serving suggestions: Toast spread, pb and j sandwiches, replace cranberry sauce, pork glaze, replace applesauce, and my fav by the spoonful.

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Goat Song by Brad Kessler

I have begun reading this novel by Brad Kessler. I was searching the library catalog for books on the craft of making cheese and happened upon this piece about goat herding, cheese, and big city to farm lifestyle changes.

I started reading Goat Song while in a courtroom waiting area. Little did I know the embarrassment this would bring upon myself. I smiled as I related to several of the happenings in this adventure having gone through them myself. I blushed while giggling. I just giggled. Then, to my astonishment, I released a deep belly laugh. I felt eyes upon me from every direction. I looked up. A lawyer sitting across from me commented how good the book must be. I apologized for the outburst. He said, “No, please keep reading it. It’s entertaining watching you.”

Only three chapters in, I have enjoyed this work. I would caution, it is a book for adults that is udderly funny.

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Organizing List Chaos

Ever write a ‘to do’ list and cry? For a task-oriented female-type personality, when a list makes you cry, it’s for good reason. Usually that ‘to do’ list is your ‘friend’ so to speak. The reason being you know what’s to be done and it gets done. That’s it. There are no tears, no frustration, no qualms. When your list makes you any other way, now, remember I’m only talking about the “tasker”, not any one else, that is one giant red flag warning of the impending eruption.

I am this personality type. I have noticed this cycle. Do, do, do, do too much, eruption, reduce load, do, do, do, do too much, eruption, reduce and so on and so on.

The ‘do’ modes are all well and good. The ‘do too much’ mode is where the warning comes. I am learning to heed to that warning to eliminate the ‘eruption’ mode. The ironic thing is, when the warning comes, there is something to be done. That something is an evaluation of priorities. What is important? To whom? Is it to glorify God? Jesus? Yourself? What is the long term affect? for the Kingdom? for your marriage? for your family? for yourself? Whatever ends up on the bottom must come off the list. Period. It doesn’t belong.

Taskers tend to be considered super people for some inane reason. This post is to hearby notify all non-taskers that we, as taskers, know all too well how inept, incompetent, and inefficient we truly are. We, as taskers, cringe with mortification, when so so aptly say we can do anything. We rarely ever do anything up to our own standards or complete nearly all we think we should be able to. Alas, we are just mere mortal human beings not some superhuman doer.

If you are a task oriented personality, please realize you are not a freak of nature and it is okay to not get it done. You are, after all, only human.

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The Other Chicken

We have been meeting on Sunday evenings sharing a meal and participating in a bible study. A few weeks back, a friend made shredded rabbit burrito meat. She told everyone it was chicken. The following week she let everyone know it was rabbit. Everyone has been laughing about it since. There is now an official alternate meat classification with the group: THE OTHER CHICKEN.

The other chicken may take various forms; Pheasant, Rabbit, and Duck to name a few.

Yesterday, I made a pheasant stew.

The friendly crock pot helped make the stock while we were at church.

3 whole pheasants                                                                                                                               1-2 large onions halved                                                                                                                      3 whole cloves peeled garlic                                                                                                              1 Tbs salt                                                                                                                                             2 tsp mustard seed                                                                                                                              2 tsp paprika                                                                                                                                       1 tsp celery seed                                                                                                                                  2 tsp liquid hickory smoke                                                                                                                1 tsp pepper                                                                                                                                          water to cover

Place all in a 7 quart crock pot. Cook on high at least four hours. Longer is always better for stock. Just be sure to pull the meat off the bones when done and put the bones back in. Reserve meat in fridge until ready to use. You’ll end up with shoe-leathery texture if you don’t. When the stock is done, remove bones and onion and garlic and discard.

Add to stock:

7 chopped potatoes                                                                                                                             3 cups of pealed chopped winter squash (I used homegrown India squash)                             3 cups carrots                                                                                                                                      1 large chopped onion                                                                                                                        3 cups red lentils                                                                                                                                  3 bay leaves                                                                                                                                          1 tsp marjoram                                                                                                                                     1/2 tsp thyme                                                                                                                                 salt and pepper to taste

If there is still room, you can add more veggies. Adding more potatoes and/or lentils will thicken the stew naturally as they disappear. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and thick. When close to done add the shredded pheasant. If in a rush add some flour paste (water and flour mixed until smooth) and simmer 10-15 minutes.

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Green Tomatoes

Every tomato plant at the end of the growing season is full of green tomatoes. I have been experimenting with cooking these beautiful fruits. So far we have enjoyed green tomato garden pasta dish, spicy green tomato relish, sweet green tomato relish, and green tomato salsa that totally rocks. Last night though was the best pork shank we had ever eaten.

The all too convenient crock pot made any semblance of a meal possible for my family last night. We were booked solid. School, parent-teacher conferences, square dancing, modern lyrical dance, homework and chores were on the agenda.

Pork shank
15 whole green tomatoes
4 whole cloves of garlic
1 cup hot pepper rings in their vinegar
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs paprika
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 cup of water

Put the shank in the crock. Throw all the rest in. From frozen, cook on high 4-6 hours, flip shank over, then cook on low till ready to eat.
We scooped this into a tortilla with some cheese. (except no cheese for me)

It was very flavorful with a little heat. Luke said, “This is way better than Taco Bell.” Which made me crack up because he’s only been there a few times in his whole life!

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Oh Fudge!

There are rules to play by when making fudge.
I am learning those very rules.
As my fridge is wrought with goat milk, I have begun making old fashioned cooked fudge to share at our various group activities. That and my husband much prefers cooked fudge to refrigerator fudge.

*There are not many fudge recipes designed for goat milk.
*Glean tips from cow milk recipes.
*NEVER, EVER rush the fudge process.
*When making chocolate fudge, never stir once the boil has started.
*Always boil gently. The lowest heat that maintains the boil is ideal.
*Be patient.

All this I have learned from making four batches.
Happy “goaty fudge” or should I say “fudgy goat”!

Side Note: Did you know fudgy is a made up adjective? Fudge; a word of contempt.  Contempt; the state of being despised. I wonder how this candy acquired its name?

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