What uncommon things do we want to become common?

Things like:
our children having mutual love and respect for each other.
our teenage children having love, honor, respect and obedience for their parents.
us continually becoming better friends and lovers.
our family totally trusting God in all things and putting our faith in Him to fulfill his promises.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Violin Lesson Update

By Chelsa

(See post on June 20th before reading this one) We are moving right along on our lessons. I'm starting to feel comfortable holding and playing with the bow in my right hand. (I'm left-handed and learning to play right-handed) Thankfully, Samantha's decided to join us and she's been coming for about 4 weeks. Our teacher is awesome. We can all play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in 6 different variations, Lightly Row, and part of Boil Them Cabbage Down. It is so much fun playing with my girls!

Something that has really inspired us came from my parents. They went to Branson, Missouri on vacation this summer and brought back a video of The Duttons. They were voted the best show in Branson. They are a family band who plays about every kind of instrument, but focuses on the fiddle/violin.  Their daughter Amy was voted the best fiddler/violinist in Branson for the past 5 years. We have played that DVD over and over and over again. That video inspires us so much that now Steele wants to join in the fun.  Maybe we'll end up being a family band, too! 

Homemade Butter

by: Chelsa
Living on our farm has a lot of nice perks; like organically grown fruits and veggies and herbs, pasture-raised meat and eggs, and plenty of fresh goat milk from our two milk goats, Milkshake and Cinnamon. I am very happy with the quality and quantity of our milk.  With two goats, I can make all the fresh raw yogurt, smoothies, ice cream, cream cheese, and now Mozzarella Cheese I want. I was told that the only drawback to using goat milk is that you can't make butter unless you buy a $400 machine to remove the cream from the milk.

You'd think we would have gotten a milk cow instead, since we love butter so much, but early on we decided against it. One of the main reasons we chose goats over a cow was the size factor. Samantha was 6 yrs old at the time and she was the one who wanted to milk. Goats seemed much safer than a huge cow, plus it was a lot cheaper to feed a couple of goats. Not to mention the fact that we didn't have a clue on how to raise animals. We figured smaller was safer. So I was resigned to the fact that we would just have to buy butter at the grocery store.

However, after our experience with making cheese the other day, I started thinking about the butter idea again. And I've noticed that the cream does separate some from the milk after 3-4 days in the fridge. It rises to the top and sticks to the side of the glass jars we store it in.  So yesterday I decided to scrape the cream out of all the jars we had that were at least 3 days old or older.  I put all that cream in a clean quart size glass jar, screwed the lid on tight and started shaking. We took turns shaking the cream until it began to form a big blob. Then we spooned it out into a bowl, sprinkled some sea salt in it and stirred well. Samantha thought we should find a pretty mold to put our soft butter in, so we scrounged around and found foil cupcake papers. We spread it into 3 of those put them on a plate and placed it in the fridge. It turned out better than I thought. The butter is almost white, since we don't have any green grass for the goats to eat, but it was absolutely delicious! We've been milking goats for 3 years now and you would think I would have figured this out before now. I guess it's butter late than never!
We couldn't get the camera out fast enough! It's SO GOOD!

Making Fresh Raw Mozerella Cheese

By: Chelsa

The wait is finally over.  For the last two years I've been saying "the next thing I'm going to learn how to do is make cheese." I've had the supplies and equipment, but thought I needed a real live tutor to help me with this.  Making cheese seems so daunting, and complicated and time consuming. This past winter I even talked to a lady in Eula who knows how to make 12 different kinds of goat cheese. I asked her if she would come to my house and show me how to do it. She said she would help me with it in the spring, but I never got around to calling her again. It never seemed to be the right time. Other things kept crowding it out, but it has been in the back of my mind all along.

About three days ago Sierra told me about a blog post on The Pioneer Woman, a cooking blog she really likes. In it they were showing how to make fresh Mozzarella cheese. They had pictures and simple directions.  When I looked at it I knew instantly that the time had come for me to take a stab at cheese making. They made it look so easy.

The next day I got out my specially ordered ingredients (from last year) and the equipment and looked at the blog post Sierra showed me and got to work.  Samantha read the blog out loud to me and I followed the directions exactly. The outcome was perfect! The cheese was absolutely wonderful. I don't know why it took me so long to try this. It was very, very easy and quick. It only took about 20 minutes to make and that included milking the goats first! I've tried it again several times since then and I've changed a couple of things, just to make sure the cheese is raw. Maybe I'll try my hand at other cheese varieties sometime soon....

I just came in from milking the goats. I'm straining the warm milk now.

Here are the two special ingredients you'll need to make Mozzarella.

To begin the cheese making process, you add 1 1/4tsp of citric acid to 1/4 cup water and stir until dissolved.  Pour it into the big pot.
Next you pour 1 gallon of raw goat's milk into the pot and stir.
While stirring, heat the milk to 90*F, then take the pot off of the burner.
In another bowl mix 1 cup water with 1 1/4 tsp liquid rennet and add to the pot. Stir for 30 seconds.
Let the milk sit completely still for 5 minutes. Time it! When time is up, the milk will be transformed into a custard like consistency.  Cut the now jelly-like substance into squares. Put the pot back on the burner. Stir carefully and heat until the whey reaches 105*F
Next, (I don't have pictures of this) carefully pour the liquid from your pot (it's called whey) into a colander. Make sure and catch the whey in a bowl and save it for other uses. It is very nutritious! (You can substitute it in smoothies or in cooking recipes that call for milk or use it to fertilize plants or feed it to your pets) When most of the whey has been drained away, pick up the blob of cheese and squeeze out more of the whey. When the cheese cooled too much I just flattened it out in the bottom of my warm pot, flipped it over for a few seconds and squeezed some more. Keep doing this until it begins to get stretchy. (If you like really soft cheese, don't squeeze out too much. It's okay to leave some of the whey). I warmed it 3 different times before I shaped it into a ball.

I'm kneading and stretching the cheese while it's still warm. Form it into the shape you want before it cools.

I started with one gallon of milk and here's all that's left...one pound of cheese, but it's worth it!
If you want to make some fresh Mozzarella Cheese and need more detailed instructions, just go to The Pioneer Woman blog and follow her directions http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2012/07/making-fresh-mozzarella/

Saturday, August 4, 2012

VBS at the Farm

By Creg
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday we had friends, parents, grandparents & 12 kids, not counting our own, come to our place for 3 days of kid time. The theme was "God doesn't do normal" stories from 2nd Kings.
We acted out a bible story each morning on a different part of our property. Then we had a creation segment where we showed one of our animals & talked about how God created each one special & unique with it's amazing attributes that only God could have done. Did you know that a strand of sheep's wool is stronger than a piece of steel of the same size? Did you know a chicken egg has 10,000 holes in it so the chick can breathe? And when the chick is 19 days old it pecks the air sack with a special tooth on it's beak so it can breath for 9 more hours. That lets it know that it's time to get out. How can a horse's skinny legs hold up 1,250 lbs? It's hooves are made of tiny hair-like tubules arranged in a feather-like pattern so it relieves the pressure of the hoof from 100lbs/sq. inch to 4 oz/sq. inch. Amazing!
Next Chelsa showed them how God made animals, plants & herbs for our nutrition & healing. She demonstrated goat milking & then made strawberry smoothies out of the goat's milk. She showed how to make medicine from her herb garden and how to grind whole wheat & make pizza dough that we all enjoyed for lunch. The older kids had an "Amazing Race" Friday where they explored our property looking for clues & completing tasks as a team.
When everyone had left Friday, Steele asked, "We don't have to wait until next year to have another one, do we?"
Making smoothies out of goat's milk.
Playing in the treehouse.
What color would you like your homemade slime?
Going on a hay ride without hay.
Naaman feeling the itch of his leprosy before he dips in the river.
Craft time for the younger kids.
Playing in the treehouse.
Making dough ornaments.
Ready for battle.
Horses and swords coming down the hill!
We've got them surrounded..
Elisha leading the blind Arameans.