This one is for beans that I have planted in the middle. I want to train to grow out slightly so that I can reach them. As always, we'll see how it works and adjust next year.
And here's the updated view of the whole raised bed section.
First I add the milk to a good stainless steel pot with a thick bottom. The thick bottom is important to keep from burning your milk. I heat it over medium high until it gets close to 180 F. When it nears this, I turn down to medium to keep from boiling it. monitor the temp, and don't let it go too much beyond 180 for a couple of minutes. (You can help keep it from burning or over-heating by stirring it while it is at max temp and watching the thermometer.)
While the milk is getting up to temperature, I fill the sink with water and ice to create an ice bath for the milk pot. After the milk has reached 180 and maintained it for a short time, I remove it from the heat and place the whole pot into the water bath to cool it quickly. This isn't necessary, but the milk needs to get down to between 125 and 130 F. If you don't cool it down enough, you will just sterilize the culture and will not get a good set on your yogurt. The other thing to do either before you start, or while the milk is heating or cooling, is to gather your additional ingredients. Once your milk cools to near the 125 to 130 mark, you want to be able to get the mixing done fairly quickly.
Take your milk out of the water bath, and ladle off around a cup to add to your yogurt culture, this is like a wake up call for it.
Next add the powdered milk to the remaining milk and whisk it in until it is as well mixed as you can get it. It's powdered milk so you won't get it all dissolved.
Pour the milk from pot through a wire mesh strainer into another bowl to filter out the chunks. To this bowl add your vanilla, sweetener, and the mixed up culture/milk and stir it up.
I like to put my yogurt into sterilized mason jars. I sterilize them because I figure I am dealing with a living organism here, I don't want it to have to compete with anything.
Here's the trick for incubating the culture. After I sterilize the jars, I pour the remaining hot water over a little cool water in a cooler like the one below. Close the lid and let it sit until your yogurt is mixed and poured into the jars. At this time, check the temp on the water to make sure that it's not to far above 130 F. Place the jars inside and cover them with a couple of tea towels. Next, close the cooler, and cover with a blanket of some kind. This insulates surprisingly well. I like to make my yogurt in the evening before I go to bed. I put it in the cooler and go to sleep. In the morning, Presto, yogurt.
There you go, this recipe made four pints of yogurt. The Yogourmet culture seemed to have a bit more tang than the other culture that I made but it's quite good. You can see the texture and quality of the yogurt that I came out with below. This is after letting it cool all day while I was at work.
It's thick, creamy and has a great tang, not at all like the bland, too sweet store bought vanilla. This morning I had some at work for breakfast with a little of the foam from the jam. Oh man, what a treat!
I hope this can either help or inspire you. It can be done. Good luck.
Robbyn of “The Back Forty” has tagged me for a meme that has been bouncing around. I’ve said before that this is the place where meme’s go to die, and honestly that still stands true, but I’m going to at least answer this one because it’s gotten my wife and I talking quite a bit.
If memory serves, the actual question was “what would I REFUSE to give up to save Mother Earth?” Well prepare for the riot…
First off, again, saving the planet is not my primary concern. WHOA, don’t throw that tomato just yet. We do practice a lot of things in our home that are in line with the whole “Green” movement and I do truly believe that we need to change a lot of the things that we do as a society in order to tread lighter on the earth, but honestly, I didn’t come to this point from a save the planet perspective. In our home we began to make a lot of the changes that we did based on research that followed our oldest sons diagnosis with asthma and allergies. We found that a lot of the “normal” cleaners and home materials (i.e. carpet, paints, air fresheners, etc.) could very likely be doing more harm than good to not only him, but to the rest of our family. This was combined with a belief that we do live in a time of change. I/we believe that our typical industrial system is pending a change, if not collapse, and that yes global climate change is a reality. (Did mankind cause it, or merely exacerbate it is still out for debate for me.) I foresee a time when, like Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we need to make sweeping changes in the way that we produce food, transport ourselves and conduct business. I don’t know that our changes will be as immediate or as wide spread as Cuba’s were, but I do believe that it will happen to some degree and in our lifetime, certainly in my children’s. As a father and a husband I try to be proactive in whatever I can to prepare myself and my family for things that I see coming. I rarely use the term “Green” because I think it has really lost a lot of its bite, similar to the word “organic” for that matter. (When the USDA claims something, defines it and regulates it, you can bet more people will be certified in it, and more people will be gaming the system.) I prefer to use the term sustainable. I try to be more sustainable in everything I do. Let me rephrase that, I keep sustainability in mind with everything I do, big difference. We have a lot of things around our home that are not sustainable, and certainly wouldn’t fit into the “green” mold. Paper towels, soda pop, and frozen pizza are couple that pop into my head. Not the healthiest or most sustainable packaged products, but their a fact of our home. We leave a light on in the bathroom all night, with no one in there and I can’t tell you how often I forget to turn off our outside garage lights; far too often I assure you. So I guess you see my point. Saving the planet, while noble and certainly of importance to us, is not an obsessive thing.
Now with that said, back to the question at hand. “What would I REFUSE to give up to save Mother Earth?”
1. MyTruck: I could accomplish a lot without it and yeah, I could probably go without it if I had to, but it’s something that I think helps me to accomplish a lot of the things around our home that I couldn’t do, or at least very easily do, without it. Salvaging and repurposing both items and materials to accomplish the things I need while saving both money and “stuff” from entering landfills. Besides that fact alone, what would I do with it? Does it make sense for me to forego owning a low gas mileage vehicle and (assuming it is even possible) selling it to someone that may well use it much more than I do thereby increasing its impact?
2. Meat: I love meat. I could live a mostly vegetarian lifestyle and be pretty happy, but eventually the carnivore inside kicks in and I need it. I suppose I could live without it were it absolutely necessary, but is it? I don’t think so. I’ve written many times about how I believe we need to eat less meat. It’s a fact that has been pointed out to me that I may not have qualified that statement correctly. What I mean by this is that as a populous, we need to eat less meat, not necessarily individually. Huh? What I mean is that if the “American Diet” continues to be such a meat centric diet, and as the developing countries of the world seek to embrace said “American Diet”, we are going to starve ourselves in excess. We’ll have lots of cheap meat, while our grains and bio-diverse agriculture disappear other than in how they relate to the production of meat or processed foods, both of which are tied to feed crops. By choosing to eat less meat or, where available affordably, grass fed and heritage breed beef, I believe we maintain not only a valuable part of our food heritage but help to steer (get it…steer…meat…I slay myself sometimes.) the agricultural ship toward a more sustainable end.
3. Movie Theater: Some of you may remember me mentioning it, others not, but we have a movie theater in our home and I would not be willing to go without it unless movies no longer existed and the power grid completely failed. Why? What’s so big about a movie theater? Well, simply put, we love movies. We enjoy the time we spend together in it either watching a movie, a good HD Nova documentary or a football game. It’s not a TV, those are what you just click on for mind numb time and I could do without those. This is an escape, a place where we can enjoy time either alone or together without disrespectful (and oft times plain rude) kids and adults alike. Again, this is also one of those things that I think generally is a net zero detriment to the world due to reduced energy use going to and coming from theaters, not to mention the huge overhead for the theater whether I am there or not. I save money, have a better experience, and heck I just love it. It stays!
Now, to take a more fatalistic view there’s nothing, really, that I would refuse to give up. I don’t feel that I am that tied to anything tangible so much that I would abjectly refuse to give it up were there a viable option to replace it. At some point many of us may have to actually look at the things that we are willing to give up, perhaps not due to global climate change as much global economic change or food supply chain change, but changes nonetheless.
I hope this frames me and my positions on this in a reasonably clear way, it’s a difficult topic to pin down, I think, without a bit of pure SWAG (scientific wild-ass guessing). So many variables and so many things that could potential become more important than others in a changed/ing world. Till that time, I guess I’ll just keep plugging away, doing the best with what I have and trying to be a good steward. We have all been entrusted with a great deal, the least we can do is make thoughtful decisions about our lifestyles rather than just run on autopilot.
Posted by P~
I know, we all do right? Poor me. Maybe I shouldn’t even say “worry”, it’s not the right word, it’s more like I’m “concerned”. The thing is that I’m concerned about things that are, largely it seems, out of my control. Peak oil, food shortages, economic downturns and climate change (to a certain degree) are the biggies. I believe that all of these things are coming or are here (depending on your circumstances) and I “concern myself” with what it is that I as a father/we as a family should do to mitigate the impact that we feel from said changes. Do we go ahead with business as usual? Do we hunker and live spartan ascetic lives? Staying here in Northern UT has its merits; it’s a good place to live, good employment rate, we’re in a comfortable home and we like it here. On the other hand we’ve thought a lot, both in the past and from time to time even now, about relocating to a more rural location. West Virginia perhaps, that’s where A~’s family is located, the land is cheap, there’s little regulation on what you can do on your own land and the ground is fertile beyond description. Of course both possible courses have their cons as well. UT, for all its financial opportunities is a vastly spread out mass of suburbia with large homes, holding large families driving large vehicles. What does this mean to me? Well in a peak oil situation it means that there’s going to be a lot more pressure on the resources that we do have available, gas, fuel, electricity, coal and oil and that means higher costs of living. Already you can almost steal SUV’s from some of the dealerships in the area because there is so little demand and people are starting to talk about which bills they can afford to pay this month. On the other hand, Many of the rural places of the country are among the hardest hit already by the rising fuel prices, and will no doubt be some of the first parts of the country to be taken out of the delivery loop should true shortages begin to appear due to their low population numbers and low income levels per capita. It would not be unthinkable for some of these smaller communities to be less than welcoming to new residents at a time of crisis. In the words of The CLASH, “Should I stay or should I go?” (In case you’re interested in a very informative read, Sharon posted a tremendously good entry about this very issue the other day.)
I’m not at the place yet where I feel pressured to make any major changes to my day to day routine, other than the things that we are already doing to improve our sustainability; use less power, eat less meat, produce more of our own food (fruits, vegetables, chickens, bread.) and bike more often to reduce fuel use. I honestly have to say though that it does run through my mind. I used to be the type of person that sat back and let life happen around me. I was very adept at finding ways to either deny that something was coming down the line or somehow deflect the effect of it from me. I found later in life, that all this does is delay the inevitable impact and it hurts much more on the second time around than just being prepared and doing your best to deal with it to begin with. So now having learned my lessons well, I look to the future as a father, a husband, a son and a brother and wonder what it holds and what I can do about it. At what point do I need to shift gears and either make a major shift in lifestyle, or at least prepare to do so in the near future? For that matter, how much of my concern is based on environment? What I mean is if “we are what we eat” are we then also “what we read” or “what we watch”. The more we learn about some of the things that may happen, the more that we are led to other things. I worry sometimes about being seen as “Jumping the shark”, especially when I talk about my concerns for the future. Do you? I know that a lot of the people that take the time from their busy days to read my blog know about these topics, but I assume that they like I have family and friends that may not, or may not even want to. How do you broach the topic? What are your plans for the future? Am I alone in my concern? I doubt it. One of my (probably yours too) favorite blogs to read is A Homesteading Neophyte. Phelan posted today about her stress and general “funkness” lately. I’ve had a lot of the same thing going on. It’s one of the reasons that I love my second life in the blogoshpere, I get to see that yeah, I feel a little funk in my life, but I’m not alone. I couldn’t have predicted that after the death of my uncle last week that I would have been affected so much, but I was. I think I had a much harder time coming to grips with it than I ever thought I would have, but I had a lot of friends from all over the world wishing me well and sending their regards. It helps. Anyway, I digress.
My point in all of this rambling is to a certain degree just to get it out of my head but even more than that it’s to let anyone else out there who’s having the same concerns know that they’re not alone. I guess that’s the point of community right. Share and learn from each other, support each other and just listen.
Thanks for listening. Hopefully I can get a little more ‘posse’ (possibility) going on and kick this funk.
Well, kind of in a funk rather. I finally got back to posting at regular pace it seems and was actually waiting until Friday to post again because I had/have some big news, but I got a call that afternoon that my uncle had passed away. He was very special to me and his passing was a surprise and honestly I just haven’t had a lot to say through the weekend. I was going to put something up last night but I just didn’t. I’ll be meeting with my family this afternoon, and hopefully have time to post a few things this evening. Hope you are all well.