Thursday, December 29, 2011

Churning Butter

Ever wondered what cream rising looks like? See the faint line about 2.5 inches below the edge of the lid?  That's cream.  We get about a pint of cream off every gallon of milk. It takes the good part of a day for the cream to rise.  Shaking a milk pitcher with cream when you pull it out of the fridge becomes a habit...even when it's a milk jug from the store. 

When I have a quart of cream I can make butter in the blender.  It's a much faster method than churning.   I dump it in and blend on high.  If the cream is room temperature the butter separates much faster, in maybe a minute or two.  This is also the look you'll get if you overbeat your whipped cream.  At this point I dump in 1/2 cup of hot tap water.

And blend a bit more. See all that butter bobbing around the top of my blender?

 Pull the butter out with a slotted spoon and begin rinsing with cold water while working with the spoon.  When the water runs clear the buttermilk has been rinsed out.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, mix in, and voila, you have butter.  I believe this made not quite a cup of butter.  

Helpful, eh?

Milk dud report: the parlor basement floor was successfully poured today.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Catching Up Again

Here I am again, trying to catch up.  Excuse me for this post while I try to catch up the closest thing we have to a family journal.    (We got a new computer and trying to figure out all the changes has been a large frustration.)

Halloween often comes with question marks.  What are we going to do this year?  As a kid I loved an official opportunity to get dressed up.  Our old church had a "pumpkin patch" to attend, twice we've gone trick or treating with friends, sometimes we've done nothing. 
I have a feeling that this year we came up with our official solution to the dilemma.  Following another blogger we bought a bunch of candy, told everyone to come up with their own costume, hid the loot, turned off all the lights, gave everyone a flashlight, and let them turn the house upside down.  It was a hoot!  Totally one to remember.

 What to do when everyone wants to sleep with Jamison.

 Jamison completed Hunter Safety this fall. 

The kids found cattails at the pond.  I hope our neighbors didn't want them for anything.  The kids spread seed EVERYWHERE.  Even the dog was covered.
This, of course, brought to mind the happy memory back when mom was going through her dried weed flower arrangement phase. She had an enormous bunch of cattails saved in the basement...until there was a church gathering at our house...and the little kids found them and used them as tomtoms. 

Jamison put that hunter's safety course to use and shot his first deer...fifteen minutes after they reached their spot.  Kenton, who was looking forward to a nice relaxing day in the woods, was just reaching into his coat for his book.  They spent the day butchering instead.

The new barn area rapidly became a mudhole.  

Getting ready to pour the footers for the basement of the parlor.

The beginning of the manure pit...or our future swimming hole? 

One big highlight this year was Thanksgiving weekend.  Kenton's cousins came from New York for the Mast get together (and hunting).  Paul and Bonnie and their six kids stayed with us. From our perspective it was a howling success.  We had a pretty good set of stairsteps between us.  :-)

Meet Elena and Emily...the newest members of our family.

The barn is starting to take shape: Milk house, storage room, and office.

Pouring the walls of the parlor basement.

Making gingerbread houses is becoming a December tradition.

Daddy and Kaitlyn playing a personalized version of blokus.

Playing checkers...we have some work to do on sportsmanship.

I'm taking the week between Christmas and New Year's OFF!  I'm dedicating myself to the Mariner's Star wallhanging I've been hankering to do for a year.  No homeschool, lots of leftovers, and lots of movies, computer, and don't-bug-me moments for the kids.  I figure a few days of low-impact parenting  won't harm them irreparably. 

Great! now I'm only a few weeks behind on what's been going on at the barn and I'll be all caught up.
Milk dud report:  We lost Lawson's ground to another renter, Domingo (our Hispanic milker) has a hand in a cast and is off for awhile, and Kenton is pouring the floor of the parlor basement tomorrow.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Our dossier is finally on its way to China.  We've also switched agencies.  It has been a crazy fall.

Milk Dud Report:  (Sorry, Den, I'm not a very good sister-in-law) Kenton and his dad are pouring concrete tomorrow for the parlor basement walls.  I'm pretty sure somewhere in my camera are some pics documenting the process thus far.  I'll see what I can do.