Friday, March 25, 2011

I want to dress up my porch Farm Girl Style

Ask me to milk a goat, shovel manure, plant a garden, I'm your girl. Decorate my porches...I'm lost. I don't now how to pull things together and make arrangements. I'm not even sure what my "style" is. I like practical, functional and easy maintenance.
So It's the end of march, I finally got the rest of the Christmas decorations off the porch... I know, should have done that awhile ago.

This is my front porch. It faces the road and gets alot of dust and wind. I really have to weight down anything I put out or it ends up in the neighbors yard or in the trees. It also gets little sun as you can see there is still snow on the steps. I tried having flower pot out there and they just didn't do well. I can hang flowers on the edge of the porch and they seem to do all right but anything up against the wall dies.

If you have any suggestions leave them here I would really appreciate it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chocolate Revel Bars

I had to make snack for Roberts PSSA class. He requested these and since the school doesn't have a sugar ban I could make them.

Chocolate Revel Bars

1C. butter, softened
2C. packed brown sugar
1t. baking soda
2 eggs
2t. vanilla
2 1/2C flour
3C. rolled oats

1 1/2C. chocolate chips
1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2t vanilla
1/2C chopped walnuts or pecans(optional)I don't use the nuts because my younger son has a tree nut allergy. Anytime you make a snack for school, make sure it is labeled.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Set aside 2T. butter for use in the filling.
cream the butter and brown sugar, add the baking soda. Then add the eggs and 2t. vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in as much flour and then stir in the rest. Stir in the rolled oats.
For the filling, in a sauce pan, combine the butter, sweetened condensed milk and chocolate. Cook over low heat until the chocolate is melted then take off the heat and add the vanilla.(if using nuts add now)

Press 2/3 of the oat mixture in the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1 pan. I use an icing spatula to spread as it is sticky.
Spread the filling over top evenly and then dot with remaining oats mixture.
Bake about 25 minutes or until the top is light brown.
Let them cool and cut them into bars.
This recipe is out of the Better Home and Gardens Cook Book.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

milking my goat with the Henry Milker

This is the Henry Milker. It's a bit oer priced. $130.00 for a syringe(teat cup) some plastic tubing , a canning jar and lid with some washers and a dohicky pkoning through the lid and a mini vac. I did price the mini vac and it is about $35. So I guess I have about $50 dollars of product and the rest is shipping and the idea.
The milker works great though since I don't have to strain the milk. It pumps the milk directly into the jar, keeping it clean. Of course it also makes storing the milk nice too because I have tons of canning jars.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Researching Cheese making

Well,I'm over run with milk. Over a gallon a day and the kids(my children) aren't drinking it up fast enough and Hubby says there is only so much pudding a body can eat!
What can I do with it all?
I'm gatherig the supplies to make cheese. I was at the Amish store today and they had Rennet. Ah HA I need that for cheese I thought and picked up a box of tablets. Then I came home and looked up a few recipes. Sooo, I need a few more items to make my cheese making successful. Like a good stainless pot, a thermometer, buttermilk... I guess it will be a few days before I can make cheese.
But for now I'm going to make a nice pot of potato soup, try a recipe for homemade chocolate syrup(the kiddos will suck in the milk with that) and maybe some ice cream.
I had better get busy!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Trying my hand with goat milk soap!

I am adding another skill to my domestic list! I made homemade soap using my homegrown goat milk. I'm so excited to try new things and become more self sufficient. Of course I do ALOT of trial and error but failing is part of learning. I followed the directions for the soap making process. and this is what turned out...

Here is the recipe:
12 oz. lye
6C. goat milk
5.5lbs fat (I used lard) clarified and luke warm
4 heaping tsp Borax
2C oatmeal finely ground
2oz. glycerin

Lye is dangerous it burns skin. So you need to wear long pants, sleeves ,rubber gloves and goggles for protection. I still splashed some and have a small chemical burn on my neck. Absolutely no children!!!

Slowly add the lye to the goats milk stirring with a wooden spoon. The mixture get hot. Feel the sides of the bowl.
Once it is warm, add the fat stirring as you do.
Next add the borax and oatmeal
Then the glycerine
Stir the mixture until it starts to harden and then pour into molds.
wrap the molds in towels to retain the heat and place in a cool dry area overnight.
Unmold and let cure for 6 weeks in a cool dry place.

The soap smells funny at first but the book says that the smell will go away as the soap ages.
I had to stir for over an hour before the mixture became thick enough to pour into the mold. I read in other directions that if you use an emersion blender it would only take a few minutes. I'm hitting the thrift stores in search of one!

This is my trial run.
I had planned on using some old bread tins as my molds. They would have been perfect. But for some reason I got it into my head in the middle of stirring the soap that I could not put the lye soap in aluminum. Which is true you can't, but my bread tins are just that --- tin. I don't know what brain cell I fried but I kept thinking the bread tins were aluminum and I changed the plan and went with the plastic container and the glass dish.
The glass dish was a bad idea because I can't figure out how to get the soap out of the mold. Glass does not bend... I'm nut sure about warming up the bottom and flipping it over but I'm sure I'll think of something.

I have a few questions I'm going to call the extension office to get answers.
Why did the soap turn orange? I read that goat milk soap was white.

Did I unmold the soap too early? It started to crumble. Or do I just need a sharper knife?

Should I have used lye flakes instead of lye granules? Does that make a difference?

Well, I hope you enjoyed my soap making adventure. Once I work out the bugs I'm going to try this again with essential oils and real molds.

I wonder what I'm going to try next? I was thinking about making stationary from hand made paper...