Sunday, August 23, 2009


I am enjoying one of my favorite summertime snacks: cold cottage cheese (Nancy's cultured) with a whole warm tomato chopped on top, then salt, loads of black pepper, and a generous sprinkling of tiny homemade bacon bits. Damn, it's good.

Cottage cheese. Nancy's contains skim milk, cream, nonfat dry milk, cultures, and salt. Darigold, of which I like the flavor also, contains cultured pasteurized nonfat milk, nonfat milk, cream, whey, salt, maltodextrin, citric acid, guar gum, carrageenan, carob bean gum, dextrose, polysorbate 80, acetylated mono- and diglycerides, natural flavor, enzymes.

Why? Is it somehow cheaper for them to make it with all that extra stuff? In the container, they seem very similar. Nancy's has a sharper flavor, and of course it costs more.

I want to be making my own: cottage cheese, sour cream, butter, mozzarella. (I bought some mozz from Costco the other day and it was just awful. Beautiful little pearls that tasted like cardboard.) Am I ready for a cow? I don't think so... I don't have a fence, for one thing--minor detail--or a barn. And I'm not sure if I can commit to milking every damn day. But I'm getting closer.

The plastic that's piling up in my recycling area is part of it, too. Out here we can only recycle #1 and #2. Cottage cheese containers and the like are usually #5. So I stack it all up and take it to my mom's, because their municipality (Lacey) can recycle all the different types. Even so, not using the stuff is a lot better than using and recycling it, anyway.

We bought a book several months ago called The Encyclopedia of Country Living. There's a section in there on raising cows. I think I'll read up on it.

Speaking of Country Living, I am starting to feel like a squirrel: there's so much to do around here before winter.

Gabe's been bringing home some of the scrap wood from the remodel of the store. Today Noelani and I started removing nails from the thin little laths and breaking them up to kindling size, filling paper bags with them. We got two full bags--I figure each one might last two to three weeks if we are making a fire every day, which I anticipate doing. We barely made a dent in the pile of laths.

There are more berries to pick. The blueberries are still coming, which is good because I don't have any in the freezer, and now there are blackberries on. I'd like to make another gallon or so of jam, then start doing pies for the freezer.

We don't have enough firewood to last the winter and I don't want to buy it. There are many big snags on the property, several close enough to the meadow that we could take them down and have most of the sawing-up take place in the clear area. This is not something I can do myself, though, at least not with the kids around! I need someone to help me take down several of the trees, and then I could cut them myself at times when Noelani could watch both of the little ones. Except that I only have Noelani here for a short time longer. School starts all too soon and then she's back to her dad's the majority of the time.

There's a hazelnut tree on the north side of the meadow, just at the edge. I want to clear all the brush around it so that it will be easy to gather the nuts. Like a squirrel.

Before I start more brush-clearing, I need to finish what Gabe and I have already started. A few weeks ago, just as the weather was spiking up to that record 103 degrees, he whacked down the blackberries, nettles, and other brush behind the play structure and the chicken house, an area about 5 yards back toward the woods and maybe 50 feet wide. Since then I've been hauling all the downed brush into one big pile behind the compost. (I don't want blackberries in the compost, they'll just grow up in the garden later.) As soon as I get that project done, I can buy a few fence posts and expand the outdoor chicken run area, and then we can get some more chickens. The birds we have aren't laying worth shit right now, and Negro is STILL broody, sitting on her nest most of the time and not laying.

(Brief rooster update here: Babe-raham Lincoln, the new rooster, is still not crowing and still lets the hens chase him around, so I can tell I'm not much closer to getting fertilized eggs. He'd better start earning his keep pretty soon or I'm going to start calling him Coq au Vin.)

Anyway, there's all this to do and much more before it starts to rain. Soon the apples and grapes will be on, and I'm sure I'll think of more in between. Also I think I want to start baking our bread instead of buying it. And there's the book to write... Clearly I sleep too much. Think I'll make another pot of coffee.

No, I will never go locavore enough to stop drinking coffee. I know, and I'm sorry; I recycle and reduce all the more to make up for it.

1 comment:

  1. Hey love. Found you. ;)

    For me, the real problem arises when I see people buy things from Argentina... things that they could get *from their own backyards*. Coffee, chocolate, ect... they flat out don't grow here. And they wouldn't really, even if we tried. So trading for them seems reasonable in my opinion. Buying apples in Jan that are grown 3K miles away because we failed to plan in Sept? Not so much. ;)