Day 55 – bonus post

055aI’m shaking, I’m so excited – I just made butter.  I’m a rock star!

1 quart of cream (I used Snowville Creamery), a couple pinches of salt, and about 25 minutes (20 in the Kitchenaid, and 5ish to strain out the buttermilk, then squeeze the rest of the buttermilk out of the butter).

This is so easy – why aren’t we all doing this at home???

 

Day 21 – sourdough, part 2

A little background:  Some Facebook friends of mine posted earlier this month about picking a few things that you are currently purchasing, and making them yourself. Their challenge:  ”Watch throughout your day to find something you are using that could be produced right there in your home so that you do not have to purchase […]

A little background:  Some Facebook friends of mine posted earlier this month about picking a few things that you are currently purchasing, and making them yourself. Their challenge:  ”Watch throughout your day to find something you are using that could be produced right there in your home so that you do not have to purchase it from a store. Just start with one thing and make a commitment that you will act on this information.”

Food is (at least to me) an obvious place to begin, especially with all the people out there in Internet Land posting recipes.  I found a great recipe for chicken taquitos, and an all-in-one bacon and egg biscuit.

Enter the excess sourdough we have.  I’ve made pancakes, and more pancakes.  We have some set aside for bread.  What else to make? Noodles, bagels, and tortillas, of course!  The bagels will be a weekend activity because they need to rise for 4 hours, during which time I’ll make the noodles (and get to try out my new pasta machine).

I managed to read the entire tortilla recipe to see that it needed to sit overnight, so I made the dough last night and made the tortillas this evening (long story, long day!).  Here is the tasty outcome:

021

They are pretty poofy and, because I used kosher salt instead of finer ground salt, you get little bursts of saltiness, but they taste good and are pretty easy to make.

 

What can you make yourself that you’ve been buying?

Day 21 – sourdough, part 2

A little background:  Some Facebook friends of mine posted earlier this month about picking a few things that you are currently purchasing, and making them yourself. Their challenge:  “Watch throughout your day to find something you are using that could be produced right there in your home so that you do not have to purchase it from a store. Just start with one thing and make a commitment that you will act on this information.”

Food is (at least to me) an obvious place to begin, especially with all the people out there in Internet Land posting recipes.  I found a great recipe for chicken taquitos, and an all-in-one bacon and egg biscuit.

Enter the excess sourdough we have.  I’ve made pancakes, and more pancakes.  We have some set aside for bread.  What else to make? Noodles, bagels, and tortillas, of course!  The bagels will be a weekend activity because they need to rise for 4 hours, during which time I’ll make the noodles (and get to try out my new pasta machine).

I managed to read the entire tortilla recipe to see that it needed to sit overnight, so I made the dough last night and made the tortillas this evening (long story, long day!).  Here is the tasty outcome:

021

They are pretty poofy and, because I used kosher salt instead of finer ground salt, you get little bursts of saltiness, but they taste good and are pretty easy to make.

 

What can you make yourself that you’ve been buying?

Figure it out

Let’s get something out of the way: growing food to feed yourself is not rocket science. Now, I understand that in the last half of the 20th century, a lot of rocket science found its way into growing food, and I think that fact is responsible for so many of the problems we face in […] Continue reading

Let’s get something out of the way: growing food to feed yourself is not rocket science.

Now, I understand that in the last half of the 20th century, a lot of rocket science found its way into growing food, and I think that fact is responsible for so many of the problems we face in food production today. Growing food and sending things into space are different kinds of magic, and what is good for doing one well is rarely good for doing the other well.

Over the past two years, I have learned as much about what I am doing and about myself as I think I have in the rest of my life up to this point, and I owe most of that education to a simple fact about the way I’ve taken over the farm I run: I’ve had to figure out most of what I am doing on my own.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had lots of help and advice along the way, most of it good and some of it bad, but at the moment when the work actually needs to be done, its usually me, the task, and my brain participating in accomplishing it. It has been mind expanding in ways that are hard to describe unless you’ve undertaken something similar.

What does this have to do with you? Well, if I can figure out how to run a 185 acre farm–and don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot to learn–you can figure out how to plant a salad garden in your back yard. If I can learn to master the raising of as many as 40 head of beef cattle, you can figure out how to plant a small plot of wheat for making bread.

There is a lot of talk these days about the cost of food, food security, and the threat hunger poses to national stability. One of the things nearly every policy maker and pundit gets wrong as they fret over these kinds of things is that they assume the solutions will involve massive expenditures of government programs that centrally manage food production. They get it wrong because they are trying to use political magic to solve a food growing problem.

The solution instead comes from when individuals establish food independence by growing it themselves. During the last days the Soviet Union, as the central government was collapsing and central food planning had reduced agricultural output to a fraction of what was needed for the Soviets to feed their citizens, as much as 70 percent of the calories consumed came from the roughly 4 percent of the land dedicated to small, individual farm plots tended by people after work and on weekends. To this day, as much as 50 percent of Russia’s agricultural output comes from about 2 percent of the land under cultivation.

What remains, then, is for people to figure it out. You can grow your own food and feed yourself and your family, and you don’t have to have a degree or a green thumb to do it. But, you do have to do it.

What are you waiting for?

DLH

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