Well we have had an exciting and productive weekend. Since I was so upset last week about trying to decide what the right path for me is we decided (like we always do) to wait a few years before we start to seriously look for our homestead. So, I made some investments to make our house feel more like the farm I want it to be.
First, I made some 30 minute mozzarella. While we usually eat a plant-based diet around here we are looking to shake things up a little bit. When we first started eating a plant based diet we were shooting for around 80% plant foods. However, we quickly got much closer to a vegan diet so if I ever cheated I felt very guilty. Instead of it feeling like a healthy diet it started to feel (the way I way/am practicing it) restrictive. When I cheated I had binge like thoughts of well now that the whole day is ruined I might as well eat this. John is more attached to the diet, although I suspect he is unaware that some of his favorite cheats are not as animal friendly as he thinks! So, I am looking for ways that my eating can be more authentic and more in line with our future goals. What I mean by this is that I don’t want to feel like I am cheating at something if I eat a healthy local food. I don’t feel great about all the tofu and soy protein we eat, and I feel weird about being so dependent on something like almond milk. Additionally, our vegan diet basically requires things like bananas which routinely travel thousands of miles. While this is not popular, I think for the time being if I can eat locally I am going to do it, even if that includes milk, honey, and eggs. This is a hard transition and is definitely ongoing (John is not 100% on board). For now we are going to stay as vegan as possible, and will definitely not use animal products outside of our own home. However, we are looking at leasing a cow so we will have access to raw milk three times a week. I would also love to get bees as soon as I am confident that I can care for them competently. This would fall to me as the only thing John is afraid of is bees. Eventually we may take advantage of the new chicken ordinance in Ferndale and get three hens. This presents problems too, because I know we will be too attached to the chickens to get rid of them once they no longer lay! This is long term, but we do hope to start the milk soon so I can put up some cheeses. The new semester gets me in such a mood to stock food…probably because the law school apocalypse is coming.
So, my first (possible) investment, is the cow lease.
My second (very real) investment, was a trunk freezer. I picked this up on craigslist for $70 and I am pretty excited about it. I was going to get it on Friday night, but then I figured it was just a little too likely that I would be chopped up and put in the very freezer I was trying to buy, so John went Sunday. I hope to fill this up with frozen tomato sauce in a few weeks once we do our harvest grocery trip. I also had thought to preserve some herbs in oil, but now I think it makes more sense to dehydrate herbs. Thoughts on what I can fill it up with? I guess milk if I get behind!
Third, my parents offered up the mini fridge I used in college. This will be perfect for culturing cheeses as they require mostly about 50 degree temperatures. I just bought some fancy pants milk at the grocery store which really sold me on the cow lease because it was so pricey!
Finally, John is outside working on my last investment (which I am most excited about).
Sorry for the poor photo quality. Also let this serve as an introduction to my husband. Lawyer, excellent cleaner, self-described sou-chef and busboy, car enthusiast, and welder by night :). Any guesses? Scroll down….
A cheese press! As soon as I get the thing inner disk from my dad I can make some cheddar. I have successfully made lots of soft cheeses, but this will enable me to make some hard cheeses which will be a first.
I got a little overexcited and thought maybe I could make some jam or wine out of the berries growing in my yard. I looked them up and it appeared to be chokeberry, which has an astringent taste but can be rendered tasty through fermentation or boiling. I was looking on my phone though and just as I was about to make John taste one I thought better and did some computer research. Turns out these are POKEBERRIES, which are toxic. Well, sort of toxic. Old wives tales say pokeberry wine cures arthritis you just must strain out the especially toxic seeds. However, as we are not suffering from any of that around here I think these beautiful berries are going into the compost and we will have to see if my dad has enough raspberries for wine this year.
so now you know!