Hello again, my dear readers! I hope your summer was amazing. Mine went by in a heartbeat, even though we were plenty busy and accomplished great feats. Not really. Just one or two. Or one.
I’m going to start with a list, because that’s the easiest way to get a hundred thousand random things into one post. And you need to get caught up on what’s been happening around here!
1. We finally got our computer fixed. It needed a new hard drive. Praise God, everything transferred from our old hard drive with no issues! They also installed the latest operating system, Snow Leopard. Yup, we have a mac. And we love it.
2. My mixer has been beating cream for close to 2 hours with no sign of separating into butter and buttermilk. I’ll have to get back to you on that one. But I’m about ready to turn it off cause the noise is making my eye twitch.
3. I have a baby shower to go to tonight (that I forgot about) and I didn’t make anything yet and have no idea what to make and don’t feel like pulling out the sewing machine either. Should I cancel or go anyway?
4. It’s a nice, sunny day and I should be out cleaning the cow pen. But now I can justify not doing that because I need to catch up on my blog!
5. I actually don’t mind cleaning out the cow pen. It’s always harder to get off my butt and out the door than it is to do it.
6. The addition hasn’t been touched in recent memory. Scroll down the page to see the last updates. At this point, I’m trying not to hope the wood stove will be functioning by winter. Let’s not talk about it anymore.
7. Moola (our cow) has a nice new roof over her milking parlor though! The sheet metal is partially on. After that, there’s still the wall to frame in with a window, another wall to attach and a countertop to install on the barn wall.
8. We may have more work to do in the cow pen cause the horses have no shelter from wind and rain in their new pen (not even a decent tree to stand under), so I’m thinking we may have to run an electric wire across the cow pen and put them in there for the winter. I’d put the horses and cow together for part of the winter cause they’ll be eating the same hay, until Moola calves. Then they’ll have to be separated again. It’s tough to convince Darryl though cause that means the well-thought-out haystack will have to be moved before it snows. He’s not into that.
9. Okay, I’m shutting off the mixer.
10. We’re going to the fair on saturday! I’d much rather go on a weekday, but it’s the only day we can go cause Darryl can’t take time off work right now. It’s going to be crazy busy, but I still wouldn’t miss it. I had my outfit picked out last week already.
11. My neighbour in the other house is moving to Yellowknife. We had a yard sale last weekend. I bought an antique white pitcher that was her grandmother’s for $2, then after the sale, she gave me a vase I had been eyeballing, a green side table that will work perfect in the addition (that we’re not talking about), and a red metal plant stand that’s really cute. Oh, and she gave Darryl a Risk game and a bunch of outdoor colourful Christmas light bulbs.
12. Sorry, I didn’t mean to say Christmas. Did you know it’s only 16 weeks away?
13. I was looking forward to making enough jelly to last me another year so I wouldn’t have to buy it, but a bear ate all, I mean ALL, the apples on the tree. There were 3 left and one was half eaten by a bird. Sadie and Chad ate the last 2. I haven’t done any canning yet.
14. I have quite a few green tomatoes in the garden. I don’t think they’re going to ripen before frost. There hasn’t been one ripe one yet.
15. There are beans growing on the teepees. Hopefully enough to bother making a batch of pickled beans.
16. We ate a zucchini from the garden last night. We might get 1 or 2 more. No squash yet.
17. It’s a pretty sad year for my garden.
18. But we have a ton of fresh dairy products to eat! We drink about a gallon of milk a day. We eat yogurt a couple times a week. We eat homemade butter. We eat homemade ice cream. We slop whipped cream on pancakes and devour them. The best part is, we don’t feel nasty afterwards! In case you didn’t know, Darryl is lactose intolerant to the point where a bit of storebought cream in his coffee means he’s visiting the men’s room every half hour that evening (sorry). But he can eat fresh, unsterilized dairy products till the cows come home (ha!) with no side effects. I have read that most (as in 96%-ish) people who are lactose intolerant can consume raw dairy products with no trouble. It’s the pasteurization that people’s systems aren’t able to handle.
19. I haven’t tried cheese or sour cream yet (both things we eat a lot of) cause I need to buy starter cultures and/or rennet to make them.
20. Now I know why I kept all the miscellaneous dairying equipment since I was a teenager. I knew I was destined to own a cow one day! I have a cream separator, milk strainer, butter press, butter paddles, butter wrappers, a large milk can (that I can’t get the lid off of), very old electric churn, cheese press, manual ice cream maker, and I had a dairy thermometer until it broke. Just after we got married, we drove to Summerland to buy 50 milk bottles off someone cause we knew even back then that we were going to end up needing them one day (we’ve since broken over half of them forgetting milk in the freezer). I seriously contemplated hauling home a couple of stantions from my friend’s grandma’s old dairy barn when I was still in high school, but talked myself out of it. Luckily the farmer who sold us our cow gave us a stantion he had left over from remodelling his barn. Oh, I also have an old rope cow halter from my grandma’s old barn in Saskatchewan and a cow bell! And a jersey cow butter dish!
21. We need an electric ice cream maker. The manual one is fine, but I never buy ice and I don’t think I had enough cause it wasn’t freezing even after over an hour of mixing. I ended up putting it in the fridge overnight, then switching to the freezer the next morning and stirring it every hour or so, which I will probably do next time I make it to save some trouble. I need to make it soon cause we ran out a couple days ago. I made healthy chocolate sauce to pour on it or stir into milk. Yum! It’s healthy cause it has cocoa powder, honey, vanilla and water in it. The ice cream was healthy too cause it was raw cream, raw honey, raw egg yolk and vanilla. I’m not into cooking ice cream first either.
22. We get about 14 liters of milk a day right now. Needless to say, we wash a lot of bottles. The 1 liter ones we bought in Summerland are cool but we prefer the larger 1/2 gallon mason jars and the white plastic, reusable lids. Easier to clean and they take up less space and we can use the larger funnel when filtering (Darryl’s favourite reason) and they survive accidental freezing most of the time.
23. We decided to sell the car so we can buy winter tires for the truck. It had a small leak in the oil pan gasket, and while fixing that, a couple bolts broke on the exhaust. The shop wouldn’t fix it cause it would have taken them 5 days so now it sits in the yard until Darryl can borrow a hoist and lift the engine off the mounts just enough to remove the exhaust to fix the bolts.
24. I made cheddar chive scones today. I ate 3 slices for lunch.
25. Ok last one (I think). I’m making a doll house for Sadie from a cardboard box. The only smaller dolls she has are playmobil knights, so I scaled it for one of them. His name is Carl.
The photos below are not necessarily in order, but they go with some of the list items above.