Tag Archiv: homemade yogurt

Winter Survival Techniques

January  2013 193A fresh batch of applesauce cooking on the stove is a good start to surviving winter. I drove to Smyth’s Orchards last week, just down the road from where John Macintosh discovered and named the Macintosh apple. I got 3/4 of a bushel of Macs and their last 3/4 bushel of Cortlands. The mix makes the best applesauce ever. No sugar, no spice, just apples. I like doing up a few pots at a time for days so I can maximize the amount of time that the house smells like simmering apples. Not much can be amiss when hot applesauce is bubbling.

Envisioning yogurt helps too. I haven’t been able to make homemade yogurt for months. The house doesn’t stay warm enough in winter for the wrap the crock pot in towels overnight method. I am starting to pine for it. The first night above freezing and I’m going to give it a try. I spent my breakfast yesterday listening to the chatter with one ear and letting the rest of my brain imagine the taste and look of homemade yogurt.

Sunday afternoon I spent time reading about all the different friendly ways to kill things. I liked the word pictures about bowls of liquid full of those who have passed. The creatures pick a bad time to debut, just when your lagging, holding on to the hope of spring, they decide to invade. It’s a country life thing, the cluster flies, the Japanese beetles.The snow is still here. Spring still a dream, but they’ve started unpacking their suitcases and setting up shop for another season.

I watched some deer cross the road yesterday. They’re lagging too. I think the feeding station at the graveyard next door is keeping them going. I worry about the deer. Wonder if we should be putting hay out in the far field somewhere, or if if they’d even notice or care. I don’t share my ideas with my husband. The thought of paying money to put hay in an empty field for wild things his wife imagines are failing would stretch him beyond capacity.

Sunday afternoon I had agreed to paint.  I can’t say I ever look forward to art, but once everything is out, the table is spread with things and there’s a paintbrush in your hand, it’s not so bad. We opted to produce companion pieces on trees not in winter. I could have painted lopsided trees for a long time. I felt hungry for leaves and grass. After that I was just happy putting color on scraps of paper while I waited for the girls to tire.

We’ll see how things go. I’m starting to picture newspaper taped all over the kitchen walls, me and the kids with big paint brushes and four or five shades of bright. Or maybe no kids, maybe it’ll be just me and the paint.

Great and small

We live on County road 21 for the joy of it, and in an attempt to stay grounded. Misty, the pony is giving us an education. The kids are surprised at how much fun taking care of a horse is not. At the same time, getting to know her has a kind of richness that we haven’t known before.

Anabelle, the cow, is turning into one very big momma. We had her bred with a Black Angus. He was the kind of husband that comes in a tube from a truck, so fairly low on the romance scale, but supposedly a great match for producing a nice calf with small shoulders. (Small shouldered offspring = every mother’s dream, I know.) Anabelle has done a nice job befriending Misty. They sleep together now. We put the sheep in at night on one side of the barn, which keeps them from becoming coyote food. We leave the stall on the other side open. Misty and Anabelle graze until dark, then put themselves to bed inside the barn.

The last round of chicks before spring finished their earthly sojourn this week. We wanted to give up on chickens after the last batch. This time, out of 33 chicks, we still had 30 when it was time to transition to the freezer. For the first few weeks, the chicks get a lot of care, and even more checking to make sure they have what they need. When it is time to get them out to the main coop, I always feel like I’m dropping off my kids at daycare. I’m fretful and unsettled. Back in the house I startle again and again worried I’ve forgotten something. But, it’s easier as time goes by.

Strangely, regardless of size and stage, we always call them the chicks. “Tomorrow’s the last day for the chicks, right?” we say solemnly about their five or six pound selves. It isn’t until they are in bags getting loaded into the freezer that we finally say, “good batch of chickens this time around, don’t you think?”

We are wondering if we want to get bees in the spring. We don’t know. We know that all this life – new, old, pregnant, happy, lonely but adjusting, hungry, content, human, bovine, equine, ovine, avian – even the homemade yogurt life. It keeps us learning. Keeps us wondering. It’s good for what ails us.