A Blast From The Past – Post From March 2006

This post was done when we were still on-grid in our big house up the hill, where my daughter and her family live now.

Spring is a busy time, and I haven’t posted as often as I should, so this is an effort at catching up. 
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And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. Proverbs 27:27

We’ve weaned all but 3 of the baby goats and my world has turned into milk! I’m faced with using over 2 gallons a day from a single milking. I’ve always loved cheese and it was only natural that I decide to learn to make it. I make several types goat’s milk cheeses. One is a kind of generic sharp cheddar type that I age for at least 60 days. I’m experimenting this year with using beeswax for coating the cheese for aging. Whatever doesn’t get eaten continues to age and dry and I eventually grate it for use like Parmesan. I also make feta, soft chevre, ricotta, cottage and goat’s milk mozzarella plus yogurt and fefir. I’m a raw milk convert and none of my cheeses are made from pasteurized milk, although the government says this will certainly result in serious illness and most likely cause death for me or one of my family. Here is an interesting article on the history of raw milk.
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Gardening is almost getting ahead of me. We’ve worked toward setting out permanent rows and paths and were blessed with finding several piles of wood chips left on the roadside by the county. We’ve begun using these in our garden paths and around our permanent beds. Some have told us that we should compost them first as the high carbon content can effect nitrogen utilization by the plants, but we’ve had no problem using them as is. Mulch is a key strategy to gardening in the southern plains. Right beyond the pile of woodchips you can catch a glimps of our permaculture bed in front of the house. It’s filled with edible and useful plants; everything from strawberries to bamboo to passionflower to rhubarb. I’ll try to inventory it and post a list and some details. It’s pretty extensive.

My husband Dave re-did my bean trellises this year. I had field wire tied to t-posts, but the weight of the beans pulled the wire down, so he extended the height of the posts and used 52″ cattle panels for trellising. The total height is about 6 1/2 feet. I find that pole beans are more productive than bush varieties, and there’s something restful about strolling down the trellised row in the evening reaping the harvest. Plus, behind the beans is a great place for grandparents to steal a moment of intimacy in a life full of grandchildren.

This is a close-up of the detail of how we increased the height of the t-posts. The original trellis was only about 4 1/2 feet high, and pole beans need more room than that. I’m so thankful that I’m blessed with a “man of steel”, knowledgeable in metalcraft. Ladies, each of your husbands has a gift. Don’t forget to thank God for both them and their skills.

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This morning my granddaughter Lianna and I went foraging for morels. After several years of less than ideal weather, we’re hoping this year will be more fruitful. We found but 3 mushrooms, but we were thankful for that. We also found several other wild edibles and ended up with some lovely breakfast ingredients for our efforts. Morels are in the middle and clockwise from the to are pokeweed, fresh eggs (foraged from the henhouse), violet leaves and flower, redbud and dandelion flowers.

This was breakfast, scrambled up in some nice grass-fed butter from our Oklahoma Food Coop.

That’s it for now. Till next time,
Blessings,
Judy at Tabletop Homestead

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