Waiting On Spring - Home on the Range Blog at Allrecipes.com - 270461

Home on the Range

Waiting on Spring 
Mar. 17, 2012 3:05 pm 
Updated: Apr. 2, 2012 8:21 am

We’ve had storms, followed by sunny days, followed by more storms. The barometer has been bouncing and it has definitely had an effect on me. I’ve been satisfied to spend more time inside the house doing less physical work than I usually am.
Since we just got back from our quarterly shopping trip, I chose today to cut up and vacuum seal 7 heads of lettuce in half gallon jars. This will keep it fresh and ready to serve for 4-6 weeks. I have a 4 pound wheel of Colby cheese almost ready to wax and go into the cheese cave to cure with the Parmesan, Cheddar and Jack cheeses I already made. The replacement jar I ordered online came and Randyman was able to adapt it to fit the old churn motor I had purchased on ebay. It was so nice to churn a gallon and a half of heavy cream at one time instead of just 2 quarts. The clean up is a LOT easier as well, as it doesn’t get slung all over the kitchen if I look away, as it does with the stand mixer. I made 4 1/2 lb of butter yesterday. I had a huge amount of cultured buttermilk from the process, so I soaked some chicken breasts and made chicken strips for dinner last nite that were wonderfully crunchy on the outside and moist and tender inside. Buttermilk is great for that.
Our grain mill arrived this week also. I have been grinding wheat and making Honeywheat bread and Sourdough WW bread, WW waffles and other stuff the past several days. We have found that it not only tastes a whole lot better, but is very filling. We can only eat about half as much as we normally do. It’s nice to know it’s also a lot healthier.

 I took loaf of sourdough we didn’t use and tossed it in the food processor to make some bread crumbs as I used up all we had last nite on the chicken. I tossed the crumbs on a large sheet pan and sprinkled with Italian seasonings. I put it in a slow oven and Randyman came in the house, sniffing and salivating, wanting to know what was cooking. His disappointment was clear as I told him it’s only breadcrumbs. He can have the cookies I made yesterday. Unfortunately, I had to use commercial flour for those as I have no soft white wheat to grind for baking items more delicate than breads. I could probably have still used the whole wheat, but I need to use up the old stuff anyway. It would be nice to know if we would only eat half as many cookies as well, but I am betting that’s not gonna happen.
I’ve been without internet for several days now, as I turned off Hughes.net due to my disenchantment with their service. The new company failed to make 3 different appointments, so I cancelled them as well, as clearly customer service is not high on their priority list. I have ordered one of the cellular plug ins which I hope against hope will work here. It should be here next week. It’s only been a week and I already miss it. I was never under the impression that I wouldn’t, as I use it a lot and have gleaned more information online than I ever did attending school. There is just so much information out there to be had.
I am still waiting on parts for the treadle, so sewing is still future. Maybe I will start something to crochet for the grandkids if I have time. 1000 miles apart, my daughter in law and I both found the same pattern of something to make for Kinley. Now that’s a funny coincidence!
The Maremmas had their second birthday yesterday. Randyman and I randomly broke into the birthday song at odd times during the day and serenaded them. It’s a very big job for these dogs to fill in for our kids as we suffer through empty nest. They will never quite fill the void, but we appreciate the love they offer to us, nonetheless. It’s nice to have someone still want to come and sit on my lap, even if he is a 120 lb. polarbear-looking feller. I look forward to the kids’ next visit, even if the grandkids are active and not anxious to just be held. These dogs are so funny, they are like book-ends. Different personalities, and yet, so much the same!

My list for today still contains making a large batch of laundry detergent and some hand soap to sell to the tourists that visit the ranch this summer. There is already another good sized pile of laundry to do, as well as checking on the tomatoes, peppers, flowers and blackberry shoots I have started in the bathroom window.
It’s nice, that even in the bad weather, there are things here to do. No such thing as boredom in this life.
Mar. 17, 2012 6:47 pm
Petey, lovely blog! And, a very accurate account of the weather we've had recently. I noticed the top picture with the full moon in the corner. Beautiful! About cheese making... I wonder if parmesan cheese could be made from Lactose Free Whole Milk? I love it and if I could make it, that would be wonderful. I'm always so amazed by how much you do when you're not doing much! LOL! Thank you again for giving us a glimpse of farm life, Petey style.
Mar. 17, 2012 7:44 pm
Our weather has been very strange too, but while I enjoyed every second of it, I know winters as warm as this one would adversely affect the ecosystem if they continue. You are an inspiration to me, I so admire how you take on projects such as making butter and now milling your own flour. Give each of those puppies (including Cider) a big hug from me.
Mar. 17, 2012 9:06 pm
I am totally interested in learning to start blackberries. I will be driving to OR next weekend and would love to visit my childhood home and bring back some of those vines to my home in ID.
Mar. 18, 2012 8:25 am
I do so look forward to your blogs, I share them with friends. Have y ou ever considered writing a book?
Mar. 18, 2012 10:42 am
HeyRW, great blog as usual. This time however you've piqued my curiousity a little more than normal. Vaccuum sealing your lettuce to preserve it???? Do you mean like in Foodsaver vaccuum containers? or bags? Do you then keep in in the fridge? Does it keep crisp? Questions questions questions, lay down your broomstick old woman and cough it up!
Mar. 18, 2012 10:43 am
Oh and ps, that homemade parmesan, mama mia, you know I want that right?
Mar. 18, 2012 10:58 am
i'm at the boss office, as I have no internet, so I am going to answer questions in this post! :) Yes, Raedwulf, you can buy an attachment for about $10 for vacuum sealing canning jars. I put the cut lettuce into half gallon canning jars, vacuum seal and put them in the fridge. Whenever we use some, I just pop the top back on, seal it again and put it back! A half gallon jar holds 1 full head of romaine or most of a head of iceberg
Mar. 18, 2012 10:58 am
thank you cover girl, I have been thinking about how that could be done...
Mar. 18, 2012 11:00 am
Mich, blackberries are the easiest thing ever to propagate. Cut off a cane, cut it in pieces and stick the lower end in wet potting soil or seed started soil. Mine grew leaves within just a couple of weeks. Blackberries will grow roots wherever a cane touches the ground and gets moisture. They like LOTS of moisture!
Mar. 18, 2012 1:34 pm
Thanks Petey, gonna file that away. I have some smaller vaccuum seal canisters that I keep my collection of dried wild mushrooms in. I do believe next time I'm in the city I'll look for either larger canisters or the device you speak of to vaccuum seal large mason jars. Thanks again. We find that we seldom use a head of iceberg lettuce in time yet we are continually nibbling at it. To extend its fridge life by double will be a welcome thing. You must have either a huge fridge or perhaps two and a cool room huh?
Mar. 18, 2012 3:08 pm
yes, we have two fridges (1 for milk and eggs) and 2 upright freezers in the house, as well as the ranch walk-in at the other end of our house, with 4 other freezers and a walk-in the size of a living room. We manage with just what is in our house.
Mar. 18, 2012 6:55 pm
Why am I not surprised? Of course you do, you'd need it to preserve what you have for such extended periods. Cheese certainly takes up some space too but age don't hurt it one bit.
Mar. 18, 2012 8:04 pm
i cure the cheeses in a small used wine cooler as it has to cure at higher temps than a fridge will go
Mar. 19, 2012 5:42 am
Our Spring has definitely started since our weather has been unusually warm. Yeah, I got got my 6 hens so now I can at least enjoy fresh eggs will still be wishing for that fresh butter and those cheeses sound divine!
Mar. 19, 2012 10:23 am
Another award winning blog. Sorry the weather is affecting I assume your arthritis? Hopefully it will settle down soon. Looks like you don't lack for something to do inside though. Until next time!!
Mar. 19, 2012 10:47 am
yay for chickens, cat hill! Thanks char, yes, I have RA and it sure likes to play with the weather!
Mar. 20, 2012 6:33 am
Petey, I bet there are some aspiring or accomplished writers/authors amongst us. If you reached out, you could probably learn a lot about how to enter the field, get a publisher etc. Think about it, I want to be the first AR member to buy the first of your books to come. I really think you should, not empty flattery.
Mar. 23, 2012 6:19 pm
I am always so excited when I see you have posted a blog, Petey! I feel like we are neighbors... the pics of the dogs are precious. Don't ever stop blogging, Petey, we would all be lost. And we have been telling you for a LONG TIME to get going on that book!!! Thanks so much for sharing with us. Hope you get to see the Littles very soon!
Mar. 24, 2012 3:11 pm
Petey, I always look forward to reading your blog. Can you please share your recipe for Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread with me? Thank you for sharing your great stories.
Apr. 2, 2012 8:08 am
Another wonderful blog, petey. You know I love reading them!
Apr. 2, 2012 8:21 am
I agree with the no boredom thing! There always seems to be more to do in a day than we have time to accomplish!
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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
My favorite things to cook
Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
My cooking triumphs
Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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