Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Variety Post.

People have asked about where I get seeds. Before I knew about Linda at Home Town Seeds, I purchased a lot from this company. This catalog has a lot of flowers and herbs. It's pricey but they have good products. My zennia's are from them.

This is my favorite mixer. I use it for so many things. The latest task I have called upon it to do is make butter.

This is cream in a recycled container from ILean the happy jersey cow. It is raw. I don't worry about ILean she is healthy and happy. She has a great diet and gets a lot of sunshine. Perfect for a great dairy product. When milk isn't pasturized it separates and this cream floats to the top and gets skimmed off. The original skim milk! What I have here is the good stuff- the CREAM.

Can you believe this color? It is going past whipped cream and on it's way to being butter.

In the old days this whole process involved a butter churn and lots of arm work. I bet women in the old days did not have bat wings under their arms. Maybe I should get a churn? Nawh, I love my mixer.
While my power tool is working I will have lunch. It's 2 in the afternoon so I'll have an ice cold beer with my lunch. It's really hot and I am working hard making butter.
Then it happens, the machine changes in sound and the butter is in chunks and the milk is separated from the fat. It is not buttermilk. In the old days milk was left at room temperature to clabber before it was churned. This is sweet butter.

Which I dump out into a colander and rinse. Then I squeeze it to get the rest of the milk out and put in little containers in the freezer. This fresh butter spoils after about 2 weeks. It doesn't hardly last that long. My thin husband who has no weight problem eats it like cheese. He loves it and has a little bread with his butter. I very carefully enjoy small samples. It is incredibly tasty stuff.

Also on the agenda today is what to do with the tomatoes that are coming in quickly now. I have put up 17 pints and 3 quarts of salsa. I haven't made any Italian food yet. That all by itself lets you know that I have been sick and depressed. I am the happy queen of Italian dining all summer long, with the appropriate music and wine. Not this year, until today.

This is how I make fresh garden sauce for pasta. Start with some olive oil in the sauce pot and then start mincing and chopping. First onion, minced very finely to fool the husband who thinks that onions are not good. Then bell peppers, chopped up and added. Green are essential but if you have a garden full of colorful peppers toss them all in. Then I cut up all of my ripe tomatoes. I do not skin them or seed them I use the whole thing. Then I add salt, pepper, oregano, and a frozen ice cube of pesto that I keep in my freezer. When I harvest my basil I make a day of it and make pesto until I think I'm going to be sick. Then I freeze it in ice cube trays that have been sprayed with Pam. One days work can make enough pesto for a couple of years.  I also add a couple cloves of minced garlic and a generous pour of good red wine. I like Merlot. Never cook with bad wine. If it isn't fit to drink, it isn't fit for anything.
Just let this simmer for several hours until it cooks down into a lovely sauce that you can ladle out onto the pasta of your choice. It is really really really delicious.  I don't measure so sorry, but you can do this, really you can.

I bought this book to try and figure out new ways to use up my garden produce. I don't think I have ever seen so many canning recipes collected into one place in my entire life. I LOVE this book. The author refers to her Grandmother and her kitchen frequently. She has knowledge of the way things were done when a recipe said to "salt until you gag,"  and she has modern knowledge for example, "quick and easy freezer pickles." I learned to can in my twenties but it never hurts to brush up on technique and this book has everything you need to know. She also discusses fermentation. It is readable, interesting and fun. If you garden and can, it is a must have. You simply must have it. I am going to try the watermelon rind pickles and the green tomato chutney. My friends 90 year old mother said that her mama made watermelon rind pickles that were to die for. So with an endorsement like that I am game to at least try it once.

These are the books I have been reading to soothe my hurting soul. I can't recommend them highly enough. Right now there are a lot of bloggers out there who are suffering. Some are sick, afraid, some are hurt, some are not revealing anything except they are suffering and some have just stopped blogging for now.
I spilled my beans. I really didn't have a lot of ways to get my pain out because my asthma was so severe I couldn't talk. I didn't completely hang out all my laundry but I shared a lot of personal pain. The pain is still there. I didn't cry today, but I did yesterday. I have cried a stinkin river.

I read about this book "Plan B," over on Angie's blog "Bring the Rain." Pete Wilson is her pastor. He is hip and cool and REAL. Pete Wilson is not religious, he is a real man with a real walk, with a real God. He tackles some very hard issues in this book. At the end of the book he explains how nice it would be to wrap it all up with a bow and a conclusion. Except you cannot wrap up the subject of human suffering with a bow. We cannot explain why bad things happen to good people. We cannot give a pat answer or  a glib response if we really want to make a difference. We can only point up to God who will carry us through the problem, even if He doesn't take it away. It's one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. Ever. and that is a period.

Right now I am reading the Stormie O Martian book "Just Enough LIGHT for the Step I'm On," another keeper. Powerful, insightful, comforting, and the truth; mixed with her personal story of abuse, drugs,
the occult and almost killing herself---her story is amazing. If you are having a hard time and trouble in your life read about hers. You will find something to relate to. She is an excellent and engaging storyteller.

and finally I want you to meet somebody. Recently this lady has written me a ton of sweet e mails to encourage me. She is precious. Her blog doesn't have a lot of readers and I think she a lot to say. Her last post was about being depressed. She has fibromyalgia and suffers a lot. Maybe you can relate to her. Maybe you can relate to depression. Maybe you can relate to a kind soul. Go by and say hi, and share an encouraging word.

We talk a lot out here in bloggyland, but one of the things we do best is support each other. Maybe it is because we are on the internet that we have more freedom to express ourselves. I'm not sure that I could even begin to explain it. I know what it is that I experience through it -- community. We are a real neighborhood of real friends, that is my story and I'm stickin to it.


Jeanie said...

This post was like a nice talk over the back fence. I doubt if I'll ever actually make butter, but it was fun to hear about how you do it. It is good that you have found some reading that is helping you deal with all that you are going through.

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

What a lovely post. You are right, we are a community. Maybe someone will say something in a post or mention a book--like you did--and it will change our lives for the better.

You hubby eats butter like mine. He loves cold butter chunks on bread. I worry about him. I heard that if you wash your butter in cold, cold water it will last longer.

And the zinnia's really are amazing!

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

PS I just looked Plan B up on Amazon and looked inside. Is the whole book just questions?

Robynn's Ravings said...

I get raw milk every week and do you know I never thought to make the butter in my blender? I'm just a little slow. I sit around shaking it in a mason jar. Well, okay, I did that once but my bat wings got going so powerfully I began to fear I would knock myself out! So we just don't make butter. And it's SO THICK on the top of my gallon jar that I've just started dumping it. (I'm sorry. I just heard your jaw drop!)

The husband was drinking it in his coffee but it's really too thick. Thanks for the GREAT idea and the SEEDS link. And I WILL visit your friend. My week has been spent in tears and depression so I'm sure I'll just cheer her right up! :)

P.S. Thanks for your VERY kind words on my blog!

joanne said...

I love this post, so random, so me! I am going to check out the books you talked about and also check in on the blogger, we are community, family, and we need to share, comfort and stregthen each other on this journey. I'm so glad our bloggy paths have crossed, you are a Blessing in my life my sweet friend.

pete wilson said...

Thanks so much for your kind words regarding the book. I'm so thankful God used it in your life.

Lynne- Thanks for looking the book up. You probably saw the sample chapter on Amazon. It's more of a set up chapter to get people thinking about their life. Lots of questions in that chapter but it moves beyond that in the next chapters.

LDF said...

Oh yeah! A little bit of bread under cold chunks of sweet butter! (I should NEVER make butter!) We women bloggers are a community out here, aren't we? Cheers,

Karen Deborah said...

Thanks Pete for visiting here!I just added him to the blogroll if you want to check it out.

Lynn it does ask questions but gives a lot of real life examples of how people process trails and pain. I can't recommend it enough. You will think. It can only give you a deeper walk of faith.

farmlady said...

Some days I go through these blogs, reading posts and leaving a comment on each one and then... I find one like this.
Karen, my friend, you amaze me with your resilience and spirit.
I will make butter, read an uplifting book and smile at the thought that blogging can be such a medium for comfort, information, growth and the sharing of it.
You said it all today and offered your own self up to anyone who would read your blog.
You are a good person and life doesn't always reward being good. It's a hard lesson to learn but you are tackling your life with one foot in front of the other and it's a good lesson to us all.
Thank you...

Unknown said...

Oh I totally could go for a Corona right about now.

English Cottage in Georgia said...

Oh wow, could I pop a top on this hot day. Alas, it has been awhile since I have had some in the fridge.
Your zinnias are beautiful, I will definitely have to look up Hometown Seeds.
Ah, the challenges in life that force us to look up for guidance. For me, I have learned not to hope for miracles. When I do that, I do not live in the is my personal weakness. My journey has been leaving it to God and trust. I merely do all that I can to provide opportunities, but I know I cannot do Herculean tasks without personal consequences for me.
Your post today certainly is a treasure trove of information. I have also found that I can live with those bat wings:-)

Twisted Fencepost said...

I don't believe I've ever eaten fresh butter. It's probably best that I don't. tee hee
I am experimenting with herbs this year. I'm curious as to how you make pesto and what it's used for. I don't know anything about it.
I also want to find a great recipe for spaghetti sauce that I can preserve. We use a lot of it for different things around here. And it would save me a ton of money yearly.

Grandma Tillie's Bakery said...

When I lived in Colorado after graduation with a host family my job was to milk the cow and make the butter for everyone--YUM.

And when I was little my brothers and sister and I would be driving around with our Grandma and she would just pull the car over, go open the trunk and stir her watermelon pickles. It is one of my best memories of her!

I wish I could have some of those fresh tomatoes. I would trade you straight across for fresh halibut or crab :-)