January 3, 2015
It may be January with snow and freezing rain in the forecast but Spring is geared up in my mind. You see I try to refrain myself until after the holidays to let loose on getting ready for Spring. Although, I do get a temporary fix on my plant addiction in October by ordering the bare root perennials and the plugs that I can't start from seed. I order early to get the best selection, really I do, really.
So, getting ready for Spring consists of a variety of tasks, some mundane, some brain taxing, some creative, and some just plain old hard work. No matter how mundane or taxing or labor intensive these tasks might be, completing them always leaves me with a sense of accomplishment and one step closer to Spring (if only in my mind.)
I'm a list maker and each day I make a list of what I want to accomplish. On today's list the big three things were cleaning out an empty pen down in the lower barn (kidding season will soon be here and we’ll need all the extra room we can get), making mozzarella, and sorting through my seeds to see what I am out of. I use to put all the things that needed to get done on my list but realized some days I only got the chores done and meals made. That was too depressing so the everyday things are left off the list.
I started my day getting the kitchen wood stove fired up to cook breakfast on. I have it down to a science; two half pieces of newspaper wadded up loosely, 3 pieces of kindling laid crosswise, another half sheet of wadded newspaper, 3 more pieces of kindling, then a small piece of wood. I close all the dampers until I light the papers then I open the bottom damper, then the middle, then the stove pipe damper. I also only use the black and white portions of the paper, colored newsprint smolders something fierce. By opening the dampers this way the cold air doesn’t have a chance to come down the stovepipe and push the smoke back into the house. Occasionally I still smoke the house up if the air pressure is wrong or the stove is really cold but it happens a lot less.
On weekends I try to make a decent breakfast for everyone then we head out to do chores, unless of course the goats or cow are being milked twice a day then that comes first no matter what. Right now though the goats are dry and working on growing babies and Prize (Amelia’s Jersey cow) is only being milked in the evening, so mornings are a bit relaxed if only temporarily. Once everyone was fed, humans and animals, I decided to start cleaning that pen out- remember the list. I thought an hour at the most and I would have it done, especially with Amelia’s help. This was at 8:30. We finished at 11:30,ugh. There was a lot more you know what in there than it looked but it’s done. As always we swore we would not let it pile up again and swore at the way we designed the barn. It is so much easier when Raymond can drive the tractor in the pen and scoop out the mess.
Once I got my second wind and a short nap, I made mozzarella cheese - the next item on my to do list. I use Ricki Carroll’s recipe for 30 Minute Mozzarella from her book Home Cheese Making. It takes me more like an hour to make but I’m slow. The cheese is incredibly smooth and wicked easy to make. While I had the cheese book out I thumbed through the soft cheese section and decided to try making Fromage Blanc with Prize’s milk. I’ve made it with goat milk but never thought about making it with cow milk. It was a ‘dah’ moment but like I said I’m slow sometimes.
So back to my list, the 3rd big thing I wanted to accomplish was sorting through my seeds. This has been on my list all week and once again I got side tracked and didn’t get that far. I will put it at the top of tomorrow’s list. The weather sounds perfect for sorting through seed packets and catalogs; rain / ice. Even though I didn’t accomplish all that was on my list, I did accomplish something I have been thinking about for over a year- starting this blog. I hope you enjoyed it and let me know what you think.