Drama in the canning community? This sounds serious. Especially now that it’s coming home to roost.
Or is that roast?
Yes, now that Hubby has enthusiastically taken up canning, there’s trouble brewing in Kensho paradise.
It’s not only that he dominates our small kitchen for hours on end, heats up the house with his fancy pressure canner, or is filling every conceivable space with his jars. It’s not even that’s he’s far better at it than I ever was.
No, I’m generous that way, perfectly willing to share in the glory.
I am, however, growing weary of his methodology. His modern, high-tech, USDA, strictly by the book, precision style is beginning to conflict with my laissez-faire, look how the old timers did it, just wing it attitude.
I suggested we try the ‘Open Kettle Method’, which for the record is taken directly from my 1933 Kerr Home Canning Guide.
He quips, “No way, it’s not approved.”
And I’ve just learned we’re not alone in this clash. There’s some fiery online debate—wouldn’t you know it—as in politics, so in the kitchen.
They call themselves the ‘Rebel Canners’ and that’s got me quite intrigued. Those rascals are daring to question The Official Science! They must all have a death wish. Clearly they have they never heard of botulism.
It was no sooner than Hubby and I had a tiff over water bath timing that a YouTube video hit the top of my feeds.
How did they know?
A rebel canner, in the flesh.
She doesn’t look nearly as crazy as I thought she would. She brings up the Amish, who never pressure can.
Never! Not even for meat.
It’s positively scandalous.
Hubby tries to block out the insanity coming from the speakers. I tell him I want to try it. Meat, my dear, imagine, meat water bath canned!
Let’s go for it!
He looks at me with the same look as when I try a new foraged mushroom without proper identification. And I know just what that look means.
I can repeat the sentence for him, I’ve heard it so often.
“You go ahead, sweetie, someone has to live to tell the story.”
I ran out of attention span last post before I got to talking about cheese. Now that we have three mamas in milk I’ll be having a ball experimenting with new cheeses, which along with kombucha experimenting, is my favorite homesteady sort of thing to do.
Gardening and cooking being not far behind, to be sure!
Aged chèvre (goat cheese) in the French tradition is made of the highest craft and care, even when they are whimsically-named, like Crottin (Little Turd) and Sein de NouNou (Wetnurse breast).
But here in the U.S., Land of the FreeTM, Velveeta is ‘safe’ for consumers and aged goat cheeses, ideal for homestead creation, are completely illegal.
Because they care so very much, right?
“Chèvre evolved in frugal farming households of the sort that continue to make it today. It is a cheese that’s very economical, in both time and ingredients; made on the family farm, where there are many chores to take care of and livestock to feed, a cheese that didn’t need much attention or many costly ingredients fit right in.”
That is in Central France and other locations where it’s not illegal to sell. These are cheeses that require few inputs and no regular purchases—you don’t need a cheese press, or any expensive cultures, or even rennet. Fig sap (or other coagulants like nettles) can easily be substituted for rennet as only a few drops are used to set a gallon of milk.
These are also cheeses suitable to make in warm climates, similar to the more well-known goat cheeses like Feta or a fresh goat cheese. What makes the aged chèvre so unique is that it can only be made with raw milk. You may find hard raw milk cheeses in your grocery store or farmer’s market, like Gouda or Cheddar, these are pressed cheeses aged over two months, which are legal to sell with all the proper licensing. (I have NO interest in that!)
These illegal aged goat cheeses sit at room temperature for about four days.
You most certainly can’t do that with pasteurized milk. These cheeses were invented before pasteurization and before refrigeration and aged for a month or two in caves.
Mine will be aged in Tupperware bins inside a small beverage fridge I use for aging cheeses. (I would prefer not to use plastics at all, but they work just fine and I don’t have other options at the moment.).
I use natural cultures, not store-bought or freeze-dried, developed from previous cheeses, and stored in the freezer. Once the cheeses develop their fungal coat after a couple of weeks, they will be wrapped and aged for about a month.
Traditionally wrapping for these cheeses include leaves, like grape and fig, and even hornet’s nests. A few will also be coated with ash, instead of wrapping, like the traditional Sein de NouNou.
It is positively amazing how differently the cheeses will taste based on just a few variables in the process!
“Relatively unknown in North America, this class of cheeses includes some of France’s most famous fromages: ash-coated and pyramid-shaped Valencay; Sainte Maure—pierced with a blade of straw (the industrial version of Sainte Maure features plastic straws!); and small, moldy Crottin are all aged chèvre cheeses. Perhaps the only well-known North American aged chèvre is Humboldt Fog, a creamy, ash-ripened goats’ milk cheese from Humboldt County, California.”
(I’ve not looked into why or how the Humboldt Fog is legal to mass produce and sell. I plan to dig into that, but my initial guess is they’ve been able to either find a way to use pasteurized goat milk or they have a state-of-the-art affinage ‘cave’ where they can age it over two months without losing the creamy texture.)
“Goats are a belligerent species that have rejected the rigorous production regime thrust upon their bovine cousins. Unlike cows, who contentedly chew their cud in confinement and produce enormous quantities of milk year-round, goats refuse to be cogs in the machine of industrialized dairying.”
A most excellent resource, and the source of the above quotes:
Goats, a belligerent species? HA! The perfectly adorable non-conformists more like!
An early frost again this year means no pumpkins for us.
Most folks think it’s climate change, others claim it’s the Grand Solar Minimum. I suggest it’s something else completely—chemical ice nucleation for weather modification. I don’t think mother nature swings quite like that without the hands of man involved. I suppose only time will tell.
I will today, however, stay focused on the nice and easy, if only to prove I can manage to do such a thing whenever I choose.
So, here’s a fun family walk.
And a huge harvest of sweet potatoes, along with some ginger and tumeric, too.
And a sweet little harvest of honey and wax.
And to end, a tender and thoughtful bow to a dear man we’ve lost today, sparing him, and our extended family, of potentially many painful years coping with a debilitating disease. A merciful passing for which we are grateful.
We’ve been at this about a decade now, learning by trial and error. Because of a major health crisis in the family, I’ve been introspecting even more than usual these days. That’s why I haven’t been posting much lately.
I thought it high time to deeply consider what our own health futures might hold, Hubby and I, while we are not under the immediate duress of old age and poor health. Health is one of the main reasons why we committed to this homesteading lifestyle. Other reasons are political, esthetic, quality of life and, for me at least, a sense of urgency to hold on to something precious for future generations—nature—before it slips completely from our lives.
Watching the impact of the Scamdemic not only on the economy, but also on our ‘health care’ system has demonstrated unequivocally that, despite the challenges and hardships, we’ve made the right choice.
Our ‘health care’ system, which is actually a disease promoting system, is beyond hope, in my estimation. (This one’s surely gone viral by now, but in case you haven’t seen it yet, it’s brilliant!) The DEVOLUTION of covid vaccine efficacy
I truly believe the only way out of the mess this country has become is by reclaiming our natural rights back from the government.
However, that first means reclaiming our natural responsibilities—those ‘unpleasant’ aspects of life we’ve come to outsource to the government (and their corporate partners in crime) in the first place, which has made it ridiculously powerful, as all governments (and their co-conspirators) are wont to be.
We are trying to accomplish that by first demonstrating to ourselves, and then hopefully to others, that such a thing is possible, and also desirable.
But what if, due to our increasing age, we had to choose? Limited strength, mobility issues, cognitive decline, all are serious potential threats to our continued lifestyle here.
Considering this I’ve made a few lists, ranking our current activities against future realities based on: Required inputs, health impact, pleasure principle, and bang for the buck.
It isn’t pleasant. I don’t want to give up any of it, ever! Bees, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, veggie garden, fruit orchard . . . . But, here goes.
Kombucha, no caveats, it stands alone. If you can make tea you can make kombucha. It’s healthy, it’s fun, it’s delicious. Hubby no longer drinks beer or soda thanks to this amazing beverage, better for health and finances for us, and far better for the environment too, with almost no waste.
Sourdough bread, and already we have caveats. I know loads of folks think they are gluten intolerant; I used to think I was too. Grains properly prepared are nothing like most store-bought breads, for health and taste. Around these parts you can’t even find good bread. In other locales you may be able to find it, but I’d guess the prices are scary. Making your own sourdough bread is time consuming, but it’s not difficult. Same goes for sourdough cookies, brownies, pizza crusts, etc. And, let’s face it, gluten-free products are not tasty, so there’s some extra incentive.
Raised garden beds, and more caveats. Starting to garden at an advanced age is probably not going to be too successful. Of all we do here it claims the prize of Most: most expensive, most labor intensive, most greatest learning curve, most unreliable results. Still, I love it! So, continuing to garden with some foresight and adjustments is perfectly doable. I insist!
That short list makes me sad. It’s the bare bones and I hope such sacrifices will never be required of us—no more chickens, goats, big dogs, great big garden?!
I don’t even want to consider it, but there it is.
There are also many projects still on my list to successfully accomplish, which are in trial and error mode now. Like making all our own body care and household cleaning products and herbal medicines. Hubby has future hopes of making furniture, if his current to-do list will ever allow it. No time for poor health here!
So, another short list is in order. The three things, in addition to those above, that I hope and pray we never get too old for: 1. Bees — not even for the honey necessarily 2. Chickens — they are easy enough to manage, but they attract predators 3. Goats — mostly for the cheese making, but they’re pretty good company too
And the three things we would most likely not be able to continue into old age: 1. Slaughtering — tough work, no doubt about it 2. Orchard — even established ones are a lot of work 3. Pigs — high maintenance, yes, but so delicious
We have no intention of ever rejoining urban life. And as far as intentions go, avoiding nursing homes and hospitals is right at the top of that list as well.
I’d love to read any comments on how you’ll be avoiding the hospitals and nursing homes too! And, are you sick of ‘civilization’ yet?!
Just another loungey Sunday on the wee homestead. I’m so grateful I don’t have to go to the grocery store, or venture to town at all or anywhere near where masks are apparently now required, and witness the ‘shitf**kery’ (Decker’s choice expression from Dispatches from the Asylum, highly recommended for anyone who might wish to choose a few minutes of lucid reality) happening all around us, apparently, like a super-creepy episode of the Twilight Zone or Black Mirror.
Here we have problems, who doesn’t. Even if might be completely unmanageable problems, at least they are sane, rational problems.
Here’s a wonder: why do Lowe’s, Walmart, and all the other shills of the Corporatocracy sell the same zucchini and yellow squash seedlings that are nearly impossible for organic gardeners to grow according to everyone I’ve talked to, including the Master Gardeners to whom I once was a member? Get out there with your hand-vac at dawn, they all said, to gobble up all the squash bugs and vine borers they attract, meanwhile this gorgeous heirloom squash (Trombetta) takes it all, virtually maintenance-free, with the stamina of a giant, even in our crazy summer heat?!
Bubba & Buttercup: “How to stay cool in incessantly manufactured weather, we wonder? Don’t worry, we’ll find a way!”
The geoengineered ‘tornado’ this spring has been a big setback for us, but we’re adjusting with a blossoming ‘f**k it’ attitude that will surely see us through the misery of the current hazy-swamp setting per the weather controllers.
The ‘feels like’ temperature promises to remain in the 100s for a few months, no doubt.Most folks around here say that’s normal, but that’s because most folks alive today have been living with modified weather for decades without realizing it. Weathermodificationhistory.com
Since the politicians and select scientists have partnered up to bully the public into buying their global climate change scheme, the few who even notice the atmosphere is different think the technocrats will swoop in and fix it all up again.
The ‘f**k it’ attitude is necessary to maintain sanity currently, but knowing it must be temporary makes it especially bitter-sweet.Downed trees remain a keen reminder still in looking out through any window of the house.
But, I’ve adjusted to them now, labeling them in my mind as satanic yard art.
My shoulder injury persists, Hubby’s working loads of overtime, and there’s plenty to do just in maintaining what we can without tackling a difficult clean-up project just now. Or just about anything else.
As a bonus, the birds love it, we have cardinals nesting, super happy woodpeckers, bouncing bunnies, and the sheep are cooperative enough to take on the garden mess for me.
Since I can’t make cheese or garden or can, I’ve been trying to foster some new hobbies.Learning to paint and sew helps to pass the time, but mostly they are too sedentary for my nature.I’m trying to adjust.
But, it feels like trying, as does reading, which doesn’t fit so well with the ‘f**k it’ mindset. For now we join the masses in their preferred great American pastime of apathy, avoidance and distraction by binge-watching movies with a good buzz on.
The bees are growing fine without my participation, yay! And, I think I heard Mr. Dragonfly volunteer to help me train the young grape vines.
The roses aren’t happy suffering through brambles and grasses, but they’re handling their neglect with grace nonetheless.
But, there should be butterflies all over these zinnias, and that’s cause for concern.
Which then reminds me, it must be cocktail hour. Like Grandma used to say, “It’s 5:00 somewhere!”
When confronted with your obvious limitations have you ever said, “F*ck off!”?
When you hear again and again, apparently sold with all the best of intentions the same menu: You can’t control the weather; You can’t fight the government; You can’t be David against Goliath; You can’t conquer the dragons; You can’t rise above your lot . . . Have you ever said, “Excuse me, why the bloody hell not?!”
Some are most certainly doing it, so why not me?
You can call that a sense of entitlement if you want. I call it something else entirely.
We have all kinds of sayings to ward off all kinds of issues, mostly with the intention of bypassing, minimizing, and moving on. Shit happens, right? Don’t let the bastards get ya down, eh? There’s always a silver lining. Don’t sweat the small stuff. The sun will come out tomorrow. Look at the bright side. Don’t cry over spilled milk. Buck up, buttercup!
I know, I know, I’ve heard it all and I’ve probably said half of it myself. Really though, when someone’s truly feeling down, no one wants to hear another ‘pick yourself up by your bootstraps’ slogan. A friend to cry in your tea or beer with would be loads more helpful, but sometimes that doesn’t help either.
I count my blessings, really, I do. I’m very good at that.
It’s just that, sometimes, nothing helps, at least not right away. Sometimes there’s a ‘something’s gotta give’ feeling that lodges itself for a while after a big, bad event, even if everything mostly turning out fine in the end.
The triumphs still feel too short-lived and the setbacks too many.
I remember to remember my favorite things, but the joy in them seems less renewing. This in itself is solemnifying.
Visitors are welcome, yet distracting.
I know nature is resilient and life goes on. The very morning after the ‘tornado,’ as I was assessing the damages, the birds were chirping, the critters begging for their meals, and Handy Hubby headed back home from work out-of-state to get us back into gear.
Still, despite my usual mood-shifting tricks, my gears still feel a bit stuck.
The snake getting fat on our eggs in the coop, a rabbit devouring the garden.
Oh, just let them be, I think, which is not really like me.
Sometimes that’s just the way it is.
And, this too shall pass.