Friday, July 24, 2009

Making Real Butter

So, for the past month or so that we've been getting our raw milk I've been shaking the cream back in. We needed the extra fat, in a readily assimilatable (check it out, I created a word!) form and I was just plain lazy. A few days ago I decided that it was time to start making butter instead. I skimmed last week's gallons (two) and got two pints of really nice, thick cream. Think about that, each gallon had a pint of cream on it! And one of them wasn't even a full gallon. I love those cows!
On a side note, butter from GRASS-FED cows is an excellent source of Vitamin A and it assists in the conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A in our own digestive tracts. The beta carotene from the grass is converted to vitamin A by the cow and excreted into the milk because babies cannot make vitamin A at all. Considering the diet of the typical American, y'all need more grass-fed dairy in your diets. Good stuff it is!
Anyway, here's my process for making butter. Actually, I sometimes make the kids do it by shaking jars but that's only when I want them to be busy for awhile. :-) We even have a song for it: "Shake Shake Shake
Shake Shake Shake
Shake Your Butter
Shake Your Butter!"
Sorry, got a bit sidetracked there. Now, on to MY butter-making:

This is the second pint. You can see the line of cream at the top of the milk.

Two pints, ready for butter-making. This is very close to the color of the cream. The pure white cream that you buy in the store isn't naturally how it should look. Yellow cream comes from the beta carotene in the grass that happy cows eat. But not necessarily in California.

Taking a whirl in the food processor. I used to use the blender but the cream gets too thick and makes a pocket above the blades, thus preventing the formation of butter. I like the food processor better cause it holds more and it's faster.

This is the butter and butermilk, separated. I haven't added any colorants to it and it really is this yellow. Again, the beta carotene does this to it.

separating the butter and the buttermilk. I might give the buttermilk to Carol so she can make me a buttermilk pie. Or I might make buttermilk pancakes or buttermilk waffles? The possibilities are endless! I let the butter drip for awhile and then went to my next step.

This is the butter, floating in a bowl of cold water. I work the butter while cold water, from the faucet, rinses the extra buttermilk away. I can't save it all! You work the butter in cold water so it doesn't melt and stick to your hands, and you have to knead all the buttermilk out so the butter doesn't develop a rancid flavor. I worked in some salt after this, in the food processor but I forgot to get a picture.

Finished butter, in a pint jar. I got almost a pint of butter and a pint of buttermilk. Not bad for a day's butter-making.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Creation of Real Food and hair pics

The pig roast was last Saturday and it was a smashing success! We had many more people this year than we did last year and not as many leftovers. I took Kelley and Riley (Kathy's grandkids and my newest charges) to it this year. The girls were not available for the pig roast so they missed out on the fun. Anyway, here's some pictures of the piggy experiment that my dad conducted. He knows that the method works, just maybe not on pigs...

Dad tried to skin him with air. He inserted an air nozzle just under the skin and pumped the piggy's skin full of air. The pig is no longer living for this! Unfortunately, it doesn't work on hogs. It just seemed to inflate his fat, rather than separate the skin from the fat. Oh well, lesson learned. He and Jeff (the ex-owner of Pastor and Anita's house) skinned him and Pastor roasted him Friday night/Saturday morning. He was delicious!

And now, on to the newest hair pictures...

This is India's hair. It's growing back from a big chop that I did about five months ago. She thinks she needs to have it cut again but really, she just needs to be taught how to take care of it.

Phaedra's beautiful, brown hair. Her hair is darker than this picture because of the flash but you can tell how long it is. It's naturally straight and these are the remnants of braidwaves. I believe, unbraided and brushed straight, her hair is down to her tailbone. She, unlike India, never wants to have her hair cut. Her dad trimmed the ends a few months ago but she has grown back those missing inches and a little bit more I believe. She needs to be taught how to take care of her hair too. But her Dad needs to learn as well since he lets her leave it down all the time so it gets tangled and dirty and damaged cause she's just 4 years old. Apparently, he CAN braid, but he just doesn't. I guess it's a short-haired guy thing.

Well, that's all I got for this post.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Well, hmm...

It seems Bonnie faked me out last month. According to Tony, she did not cycle when I thought she should. He thinks maybe she was just going into season when we got her down there and maybe she has already been bred. Obsidian was very interested in her, in a more-than-friends sort of way, for about a week. Tony saw some mounting behavior but not the actual deed itself. It's not surprising since a cow is in standing heat for a very brief period of time (standing heat is when she will stand still, in case you couldn't tell). He's got the twenty-first day of her visit marked on his calendar so he'll know to start watching her then. If she goes back into heat, as evidenced by Obi's behavior then he'll be able to tell and if she hasn't cycled again in that time then she was bred as soon as she got there. My cow might already be pregnant! I just got the coolest idea!!! It'll be the next post though, not this one. Forgive the randomness of the post, I am exhausted. Aren't I always?

Things continue along back at the ranch. Dad's deckhanding plans fell through so he's not sure what he's going to do for money this summer. This is especially bad cause we NEED to get a barn up before spring, and for that we NEED to get the concrete poured before it freezes and that's going to cost major coin. I don't think my piddly paychecks are gonna get that done but we'll see. Mom is still doing summerschool stuff for the district and starting to gear up for the start of regular school. Charlie is still keeping on in Wasilla, doing the same old stuff every day.

Well, I don't have any new hair pictures to post that aren't on Facebook and I think that anyone who's interested in that stuff is already on there so...

I'm gonna end this before my brain melts. Night!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Moodini, Part Three

All righty, this may come out a little garbled and delirious cause I'm really tired. But, I can't go to bed cause I'm waiting for Phaedra to get here cause she's going to her dad's house tomorrow cause her mom doesn't want to see the guy and it's just a crazy mixed up mess.

Here's the second part of the story that I'm sure you've all been just been on pins and needles for.

I called Tony (Asher is his last name, come to find out) on Sunday afternoon, just to check on my child. He said everything was going great, Bonnie and Obi have really gotten to be buddies. and he only wanted to skin her once! In twenty four hours she had already been threatened with her life!
Apparently, sometime Sunday, Tony was out in his driveway pulling logs down to his sawmill. He happened to glance up toward the house and saw this white cow in his garden, chomping on his cabbages! Since the only other cow on the place happens to be black, he knew immediately that Moodini had struck again! He grabbed a pail of grain and ran over there. When he got to here she realized her cabbage chomping fun was over and just waltzed right back into the corral with Obi. Upon closer inspection, Tony discovered that she had somehow unhooked the line from her halter!? Still can't figure that one out but she hasn't done it again.
I called him yesterday evening and she is staying tied up like a good girl now. He's going to start watching for signs that she's going into heat this week though. Hopefully Obi is better at detecting it than I am and she won't rebuff him. It'd be really nice if she takes the first time so Tony can bring her back at the end of the month, confident that Obi did his job. I'd keep my fingers crossed if I believed in that sort of thing.

About Me

We're a family that came to Alaska in shifts. We've been here since 1995 and don't plan to leave any time soon.

For Jaime

Comment from a SMART President

" The government that is big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have."

Thomas Jefferson President 1801-1809
Died on JULY 4th, 1826



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