Saturday, October 19, 2013

Little Glimpses of Life at Home


It's that time of year for fall beehive inspections! Dad and I checked all of the hives early this week and overall they look great, but we discovered that they were light on winter stores. This was a surprise to me as there was a strong nectar flow this fall (the strongest we have had since getting bees), but it must not have been enough. So now I've been doing a lot of feeding to prepare them for winter! Mixing up large batches of sugar syrup, going and filling the feeders, checking to see if they are empty yet . . . and then repeating the process again and again. It's somewhat comical when we go to the grocery store and all we get is bag upon bag of sugar! The cashiers look at us kind of strangely, but we quickly explain that it is for honeybees not for us. :)

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 Mozzarella cheese curd in the whey

I finally came up with a process that works well with making mozzarella so, when making it again this week, I thought I'd put together a 'how-to' post to share here. I learned something though . . . don't experiment with the recipe when photographing and planning to share it! The process was going smoothly, and I had some of the best curd formation I'd had which resulted in quite a bit of cheese. 

All was well, but then I came to the last step which is to ladle hot water over the cheese curd in order to heat it to the point that it can be stretched. The recipes I've seen call for 180 degree water, but that was always too hot when I've made it so I have been instead using 160 degree water. But this time since I had so much cheese curd, I thought maybe I should heat the water to 170 since the larger amount of cheese would cool the water off faster. At least that was my reasoning. :) Needless to say, I learned that wasn't the best idea as the water was too hot and melted the cheese! Next time, I'll make sure to stick to my tried and true recipe and not try something new!

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One thing I love about milking is it gets me outside at times of day that I might not otherwise be . . . which gives opportunity for seeing some beautiful night skies, glorious sunsets, brilliant stars and constellations, and more. An evening this week, when I went to let Dixie and Willow out to bring them in to milk, I stopped and admired the moon and clouds which were so beautiful! After we finished milking, I got my camera and captured a few photos . . . my lens really doesn't do well with nighttime photography, but this photo gives at least a taste as to the night sky we were able to enjoy. The heavens truly do declare the glory of God!

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Our favorite biscuits were made for dinner last night
(The recipe can be found here.) 

And Leah made the delicious gravy to go with them.
(In the background is a sink full of beans that Mom was washing in order to snap last evening. Our fall crop has been abundant!)

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With a potential frost in the forecast last night, yesterday Mom and I brought in all of the remainder of the warm weather crops, and I also harvested all of the parsley in order to dry it . . .

 Sorting through it to remove the yellowed/dead portions

Today the parsley was tied up in bundles and hung up to dry. After it is dried, the leaves will be crumbled, put in jars and ready to use in cooking!

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Leah started setting some of our chickens' eggs in our incubator, and we're looking forward to when they hatch in a few weeks!


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This week also found us driving to an orchard to pick up apples to can. It was a fun little outing for all of us, and we came home with four bushels of apples. A 1/2 bushel we put in cool storage for fresh eating and all of the rest will be turned into applesauce, apple jelly, apples for pies, and apple syrup.


It was a busy day in the kitchen, and Leah and I were able to process about a bushel of apples and turn them into 13 quarts of applesauce. Next week, we'll get started on the rest!

So there you have a little glimpse into some of what filled our week! 

4 comments:

  1. Such a busy time. We have made jars of Apple jelly, now stored away, frozen apple puree and made pies and crumbles. I love apple time.
    How do you make your gravy, Sarah? It looks as though Leah uses milk?

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  2. It sounds like you have been able to put up a lot of delicious apple products, Elizabeth! I am sure you and your husband will enjoy the fruits of your efforts over the coming months.

    The gravy is a sausage gravy (we had breakfast for dinner :), and the recipe can be found here . . . http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/sausage-gravy (though we do alter it some.) Yes, Leah was using milk as it is a milk-based recipe. If you try it, hope you enjoy it!

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  3. Thank you Sarah, I will have a look for the recipe.

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  4. You're welcome, Elizabeth!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)