Saturday, February 23, 2013

Homemade Yogurt

Yesterday I made homemade yogurt for the first time. Before I share with you the how, let's talk about the why. For many reasons I think it is important to buy food that is grown/raised locally. I will have to go into those reasons in a separate blog post or else we could be here for hours. There are many books that could help explain why I feel this way, one example would be The Essential Agrarian Reader. That being said, I am generally not following through with my beliefs on this issue. I buy pretty much all of my food from the grocery store. So, I am working slowly to introduce more local food into my regular diet. So, I thought what better place to start than dairy products. I mean I eat tons of them everyday. From cream in my coffee in the morning, yogurt at lunch everyday, and cheese is somewhere on the menu each day. That means I'm eating a lot of dairy on an everyday basis.

Thanks to +Keely I was able to find a source for local milk. Just 30 minutes from my home over at Briar Patch Farm, they raise happy, healthy Jersey Heifers on pasture without using chemicals, antibiotics or hormones. I was able to get in on their cow-share program to be able to receive a gallon of milk per week. This is whole cream milk. So we poured off almost a quart of cream to keep separate in the fridge for our coffee and cooking needs. With the remaining milk I used 1/2 gallon to make yogurt this week. I am hoping once I master yogurt to venture out into making other dairy products. I am seeing cream-cheese and mozzarella as some of my future kitchen adventures hopefully.

When I decided to make yogurt I sought advice from friends and family who have done this before and also searched the internet for recipes. I ultimately used a combination of methods/recipes to make my own.

Here's how it went...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nafzger Forge Handmade Kitchen Knives

My husband +ben noffsinger is a talented artist blacksmith. He hand forges knives, specifically he focuses on making kitchen knives. He started his journey about 4 years ago when he got his first anvil and made his first forge. Since then he has made astonishing progress to produce the beautifully crafted knives he makes today.

Ben makes beautiful, unique and functional tools. He likes making kitchen knives because they are a tool that many people use on a daily basis to prepare their food. Ben has a culinary background in that he has worked in restaurant kitchens. He also has an amateur love for cooking at home. He has direct experience with using a chef knife for hours on end to prepare food. This insight has helped him to create knives that are comfortable in the hand and function well.

Ben and I are both supporters of the local and sustainable food movement. We believe using locally made tools to prepare your food could also be a part of this movement. We believe buying locally in general is the best way to support this country and our local economy. Buying products made in the USA will help keep this country viable. When you buy handmade products the money you spend goes directly to the producer and will be used to support their growing business and family.

Ben makes all types of kitchen knives, hunting knives and has dabbled in other types of blades as well. Check out his work  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Preparing to get some chickens

Ben and I want to get some chickens this spring. We are thinking we'd like to get 6-10 laying hens, and possibly a couple of guineas. So, now we have a few decisions to make.

1. design and location of chicken coop
2. whether to let them roam free or what sized fenced-in run
3. should we get chicks or already laying hens
4. what breed
5. when should we get the birds

1. chicken coop
We will be building the coop with material we can find around here, which won't be a problem since there is a ton of scrap wood laying around. So we are thinking it should be roughly 5' x 8' with 4 or 5 good size nesting boxes and a roosting perch. We are concerned about predators, since we know there are a lot of coyotes in this area, so we are thinking of elevating it a bit. I love this one

Stacey Noffsinger

Ben and I got married! On September 29th, 2012 we had a beautiful ceremony on Noffsinger Hill surrounded by our friends and family! We sat around the bonfire and danced under the Harvest moon all night! Planning a wedding was an interesting adventure, especially one held on family property as opposed to an actual venue. That meant it required a little more planning. Thanks to my awesome friends and family it turned out wonderful. Here are a few pictures.