Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.

O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.

Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea:

Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power:

Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.

They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.

Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.

Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.

They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.

The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

Psalm 65

Saturday, November 18, 2006

do, doing, done
from Alexandra's blog

What have you done?

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb kid

33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow goat
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero

58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch tackle football

61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship

94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raiseding children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth (Not yet, but this winter!)
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about

130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (Not yet, but next month!)
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cheese, glorious cheese
Last week I made a hard cheese using the directions to one of the recipes that Sora linked in the comments below. Not having cheesepress, I hung the curds in a bag for about half an hour to let some of the whey drain out so it would solid enough for me to contrive something. After draining, I laid the bag on a wooden cutting board and re-wrapped the curds and shaped them into a flat wheel about three inches high, then pinned a length of cheesecloth around it, to help it hold its shape. Then I covered it with another wooden cutting board and began stacking weights from my son's weight set on it, to gradually increase the pressure to 30 pounds.

It wasn't too bad, but since the whole arrangement was tipped a bit in order to let the whey drain off, the weights also slid off a couple of times. By the next day I had a cheese that was generally round, only with one square corner where it had managed to ooze out from underneath the band.

I cut the poor misshapen wheel into quarters and salted it in order the begin the air-drying process. A couple of us tasted a sliver of it before drying and it had a fine, mild flavor, which was good, since my daughter had wanted me to make a Gouda-like cheese. After two or three days of turning and salting and air-drying, I wrapped it in waxed paper and put it into the fridge to age. Now begins the long wait - I won't know if this is really a good cheese until the sixth of February at the earliest!

My dear husband, seeing the ugly cheese, promptly ordered me a cheesepress, and some wax. Waxing the cheese was a lot of fun.

I've also recently made another batch of soft cheese - some of it molded for two days to make it into a log with a more tart flavor, and the rest of it bagged for a few hours in order to make a very soft cheese with a milder flavor. I put fresh chives, parsley and cracked pepper into the molded cheeses, and all of that plus fresh garlic in the bagged ones. These have turned out really well.

Two of our does were bred back in September and we'll be drying them off the end of this month - their kids are due end of January/early February. The other two does, and the doeling are hostessing another buck this month, and if all goes well, their kids will be due around Easter.

I should have enough milk to make another couple of batches of cheese before drying off the first two, but for most of the winter we'll only have enough milk to drink. I'm thinking about buying milk from the grocery store to make cheese over the winter, so I can be more experienced when it's spring again and we'll have milk coming out our ears.

If you've been watching my NaNo meter, this will explain why the numbers haven't been going up.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Farm food
Last Friday night we had our first frost, so Saturday morning we picked all the green tomatoes off the plants. We have a grocery bag full of of them and yesterday I fried some for breakfast. They're easy to make and so delicious. You just slice them about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, then sprinkle a little salt and pepper on them, dredge them in flour and fry them in butter. Be careful to watch the color as you're cooking them so you only have to turn them once. It messes up the crust if you turn them more than that. They are so nice and juicy and quite spicy/tart, and go really well with scrambled eggs and grits.

This is classic Southern food, but the first time I had them was four years ago when we had our first really good crop. In years prior to that the plants had already quit bearing long before the frost came.

On another front, I'm trying to learn how to make cheese, and have not been terribly successful. So far I've done panir which turned out pretty well, cottage cheese that was rubbery, feta that I didn't salt long enough before brining so it never got properly hard, and herbed chevre that tasted good but was crumbly rather than spreadable. And my three or four attempts at ricotta haven't turned out very well - it's so tart.

In every case it seems that my problem was timing, generally letting something sit or drain too long before moving on to the next step (except in the case of the feta, which should have sat for one more day before brining). Last week when I tried another batch of chevre, I set the timer for every step, and everything went well, until I checked my recipe the morning after letting the cheese drain in a bag overnight to see when to take it out.


Chevre isn't supposed to be bagged and drained, it's supposed to go straight to the molds from the pot. Cheese-making is definitely not for the scatter-brained.

Today though, I took it out of the fridge, crumbled it up, added chopped fresh chives and freshly cracked pepper, stuffed it all into the molds, and put it back in the fridge. Maybe it'll get solid enough that I can take it out of the molds and have a sliceable cheese. But if not then we'll just use it crumbly. It tastes fine - it just doesn't have the texture I wanted.
I guess we're really rednecks now
My son killed a raccoon - put an arrow through its head. He's out skinning it now. This is so exciting, it's his first kill and everything and you won't believe what I did.

I offered to cook it for him. Seems a pity to waste all that meat.

So, I'd appreciate tips on tanning its hide and on cooking the meat.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Glutton for punishment
There's no other reason why I should be doing NaNoWriMo again this year, but here I am, trying again...

Harry Brock was a man on whom Fortune always smiled. He had started off life in a happy family on a prosperous farm and he had grown up hale and hearty despite coming into the world wrong-end-first. True, he was not at all clever of speech and this was a great failing among a people who esteemed wit and spent their evenings inventing riddles and songs on the spot. But the fact remained that whatever Harry set his hand to sooner or later prospered under it. In his youth he had mastered both his father's way with animals and crops, and his mother's secret of producing the finest blue cloths anyone in the shire had ever seen.

Her woad was the same that every other woman in the village used, so the other women never understood why her blues had such a richness and liveliness that they never could achieve, but his mother told Harry that the secret was the wonderfully soft water that flowed into their lake and the fine earth that she took from a certain spot beside a certain spring in their woods. Bessie Brock's blues were so famous, in fact, that three years ago Lord Rockwell had sent miles of finest silk, which he had somehow procured for his daughter's wedding gown, to Brockton Farm to be dyed a pale, celestial blue, and he was so pleased with the result that he gave the Brockton Farm family the perpetual right to hunt boar in all his lands.

It was boar-hunting that brought Harry and his little black dog out this early morning. The scent of the coming frost had been on the air last evening as Harry had made his way, singing gaily, to the cottage from the new barn after finishing the chores. Sniffing the air and eyeing the lake, Harry had decided to put off till another day the task of finding out why it had grown so low this summer in spite of plentiful rains. He simply could not miss hunting on the most propitious day of the year. The moon was just beyond full and hung brightly above the chimney top as he set off, three hours before sunrise, crunching over the hoarfrost with Keeran at his heels, his quiver slung over his left shoulder and his boar spear in his right hand.

Briskly he walked down the east-facing slope upon which his house stood, and past the lake shore, around the north side of the new barn, heading for the upper branch of the stream that fed the lake, found his path and struck out into the woods. Harry knew just the spot where he would watch for the boar he wanted. There was a sounder living along the lower branch of the stream and Harry intended to come at them from the woods to the north of the clearing nearest the stream, walking silently and waiting for the boar that would certainly come before dawn, seeking a mate. It was a dangerous business, hunting boar alone, and with only his small Keeran rather than a pack of ferocious hunting dogs like the earl’s. But Keeran’s heart was as stout as a lion’s and Fortune always smiled upon Harry’s endeavors.

( Here's the rest. )