Monday, July 23, 2012

Kidless at home.

Today I woke up early with my crew and we high tailed it the short distance to our local Orthodox parish.

This week is Vacation Church School and this is a new experience for me!

They will be there 3.......LONG.........HOURS!!!! As a homeschool mom this almost never happens that all my kids are at the same event with out me!

Blessed are the women who made this happen. It is not in my genetic makeup to teach 40 children how to tie-dye t-shirts or to take them coning or play games with them or to teach them Bible stories. Nope, it is in my genetic makeup to pay the cash to our church that it costs to enroll them and enjoy my 3 blissfull hours.

However, I have been asked to be part of the filed trips this week the kids are taking. Tomorrow they come to our little goat farm and learn how to make cheese. I would like to send them home with recipe cards so I am online trying to find an actual recipe as I usually wing it and it usually works fine.

My blog happens to also be my personal journal. It keeps dates for me, it keeps my spelling mostly correct and it allows me to easily post pictures for myself. I can even click on the word "recipe" if I need to find out how I made something I love from last year and I am starting to write some of it down. Here's the recipe for next time I need it and for anyone else who stumbles across this and it's what the kids will be getting tomorrow:

Farmers Cheese
From Country Jane's Farm and many other farms.

1 gallon of milk
1/4 c. white vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Kosher salt (use less if it's a smaller grain salt)

-Heat up milk to just a boil or just under, remove from heat.
-Mix vinegar slowly into hot milk. Let sit 10 minutes.
-You now have cheese to strain. Use a colander with a thin towel or linen or pillowcase or doubled over cheese cloth. Strain into a bucket and save for the pigs or chickens.
-Once most of the whey is drained add salt to taste. It should taste saltier than you like it to taste, the salt mellows as the cheese cools and sits.

At this point you can serve it like a spread on crackers, you can add fresh herbs (basil is good), you can hang your linen on string outside for the day or over a bowl to catch the liquid, you can use a press and press it overnight in the fridge (like we do).

Interesting other things:
-If your whey is still very white when you want to strain it, add ¼ cup more vinegar. This will help separate more of the curds from the whey.
-Paneer is Indian cheese. The only difference is that you would use 1/4 lemon juice instead of ¼ cup of vinegar.
-You can use any kind of vinegar to make farmers cheese.
-You can also use rennet to separate the curds and whey instead of vinegar, but not as many homes have this in their pantry.
-Farmers cheese made with an acid (vinegar or lemon juice) will not melt when heated; try frying a chuck in a pan.
-For a bigger batch, just double or triple this recipe.
-Different kinds of milk will produce more or less cheese, depending on how much fat (curds) are in that milk. One of our goats has much more butterfat than the other goats, so we get more cheese from her milk.
-Farmers cheese is not aged, so it will take on other flavors well. Try it with smoked salmon instead of cream cheese on a cracker, with some homemade sausages, in a salad, add some sugar and serve it with pancakes and syrup or just put honey on it for a morning snack.

So tomorrow I make this for the 40 children or so that will cram into my kitchen and they can each have some spread on a cracker. They can take home the recipe and make it with any milk they like, even store bought will work! Too bad we haven't harvested any honey yet this year or I'd give them honey on the cheese, yum.

Country Jane, time to go pick up the youngins

Lovely picture of someone elses basil paneer.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My fridge

Tonight as I was canning chicken broth (at midnight) I decided to clean out my fridge while I was waiting.

I realized something and it surprised and pleased me.

I have come a long way in the last few years trying this whole "self sufficient/prepper/housewife" thing... My fridge is no longer full of store bought food and condiments. It is now only partially full of those things.

Now it is mostly full of things that I made like the leftovers from last nights dinner, the relish that I grew then canned, three kinds of pickles the kids and I made, the eggs my boys collected, the milk my daughter milked, chicken that my husband hatched then raised then butchered, sauerkraut that I fermented, delicious cheese curds my daughter made, jam from the berries we picked, moose from the hunt of last fall.

It struck me when I was scraping out a jar of moldy canned (homemade) hummus that I really hated to waste this food that I worked so hard to make. I don't waste food anymore. When you work so hard to make something (not just buying it) it is then precious to you. I am better at making my kids eat all their food, and if they simply can't eat it there are the chickens, the cats, the dog (and now pigs) to happily eat it up.

I did not set out to eat healthier or organic. I set out to be a better wife, mother, teacher and homemaker. My fridge is an example of my ability to overcome my laziness. I won't tell you about the store bought ice cream in the freezer or the frozen pizza cravings I have and fill. But gradually we have made a change with out it hurting us and being far more gratifying than I had ever thought. If we can do that over a few years, what other better eating habits we will have over the next few years?!

Country Jane, feeling satisfied

My photo wouldn't upload but this is how I'm feeling tonight...
I snagged this awesome pic from Thanks!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

St. Emilia

Spring is upon us and in the midst of our baby chicks, building a new goat house, finishing school, beekeeping, neglect of the garden and office work; were able to celebrate the liturgy and feast day of one of my children today, Emmelia.

Saint Emmelia was an amazing woman that has inspired me in my life. She was the daughter of a martyr and a mother to five canonized saints in the Orthodox Church, two of the most famous are Basil the Great (her husband, Basil, was also a saint, as was his mother) and her oldest daughter, Macrina.

On her death bed she spoke these beautiful words with her oldest daughter and her youngest son with her, "To you, O Lord, I give the first fruits and the tithe of the fruit of my womb. The first fruit is my first-born daughter, and the tithe is this, my youngest son. Let these be for you a rightly acceptable sacrifice, and let your holiness descend upon them!”

Holy Saint Emmelia, pray to God for us!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I support Ron Paul for more reasons than I have time to list.

I ask you to think about one thing you find dear to your heart and go find out what Paul really believes (on Youtube or some other media) not what the mainstream media has led you to believe. Find out what he really believes and ask yourself what other things you might agree with him on. Let me know what you find. I'll be here.

Country Jane, new Ron Paul supporter

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Growing pains

So in the last 2 days I've had some interesting small talks with some of my offspring.

My 13-yr-old (daughter) complained about her newly developing "buds" hurting. "Yes, dear, that's normal, just leave them alone as best as you can."

My just newly 10-yr-old (son) was writhing in pain today on the couch. He asked to speak to me privately and told me his "crotch" was hurting so bad it felt like it was going to explode. "Poor guy, talk to papa."

My 5-yr-old (daughter) asked me during dinner last night why I have hair "down there" because she doesn't and neither does that sister or that sister or that sister. "That's enough dear, let's have a girl meeting about that later."

My 3-yr-old (daughter) was watching me get dressed. She informed me that she likes my belly, and she likes my udders too. My. Udders.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Back to Basics

What are basics?

I'm getting annoyed at people analyzing the "DIY movement" and the "self sufficient movement" and the "preppers movement", etc. For Pete's sake!

I'll tell you why I'm doing what I'm doing...I see our country going down the crapper and not much hope to right the wrongs of our so-called leaders who are in the pockets of the banking system.

I'm doing it to feed my family better food not because I care about so called "health" but because of all the shit going into the large farmed foods. This includes "healthy" grains like soy, corn and now wheat, because should we leave them the way God made them, no we need to screw with their DNA and give them all sorts of un-natural "benefits". Not to mention the chicken and beef they inject with God knows what.

I'm doing it so that when the banks crunch down harder on the middle class and try to take our home we will have a meager supply of survival/farming skills they can't take away.

I'm doing it so my kids can have some idea of how to do these things and they can choose to take it or leave it when they grow up. So that they have many chores to keep them busy instead of video games and the TV and the mall. So that I don't have to say, "go get your exercise dear" but instead I say, "go shovel the manure" and we kill two birds with one stone.

I'm doing it so that I don't feel like I'm just one more sheeple being led to the slaughter house and in order to not feel helpless like I once did.

I'm doing it so that my husband will be proud of me so that I can stand with him and not against him in this nebulous "Zombie-apocalypse" that seems to be coming. That he will have a partner not an enemy in his own home.

I'm not doing it for show. I'm not doing it to save money. I'm not doing it to make money. I'm not doing it because I hope for the Zombie-apocalypse, I don't. I'm not doing it because I think it will be easy, it sure as hell isn't.

I like my "cushy" life and my running water and my heat that I can flick on, I like my washing machine and dryer, I like Fred Meyer and going there to buy what ever I want any time of the year day or night. I like my internet and you-tube and blogger. I like Netflix and frozen pizza and really good non-homemade beer.

We may or may not ever loose these amenities. We may not ever have to fight for our lives. We may not ever need to crack open our meager supply of long-term stored food. If we don't, great! But if we do need it? We will have it. We will NOT have all the skills necessary to survive an Alaskan winter with no shelter but we will have more skills than we once had when we were only white collar, yellow bellied yuppies straight out of college.

Country Jane, zombie killer

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I hate Google

I don't really, but they have been messing with my accounts so that every time I wish to come on and post a quick blog note it says all of this confusing mumbo jumbo that I don't understand about updating my account and changing to a new email and combining accounts, etc. So I stare blankly at the screen and then click the X button because I'm too brain dead to try to figure it out.

SO! 4 months later it's an actual lazy Saturday and I have BRAIN POWER and a hot cup of coffee, go me! I got my accounts fixed and it didn't take that long!

One of the things I wanted to talk about this summer was the loss of blogger Granny Miller. She's not dead. But after about 3 days of her site being down I emailed her (I'm such a fan I have emailed her in the past so I had her email contact info). She said that something had happened to the stored information for her blog and it would have taken a computer specialist and money to retrieve it all. She already had a clock count down for the end of this year being her last year blogging, so she decided to call it quits early.

It was pretty heart breaking for me personally, I felt like I had lost a friend. I checked Granny's blog as much as I did my facebook page. I learned so much from her in that year that I had started reading her blog, researched many of her previous posts, printed recipes and been inspired.

I have "moved on" so-to-speak realizing that I am a highly capable person and can do so much and have done so much on my own and know how to search subjects online and read books to figure things out. I basically met a real-life Granny who lives over the river and through the woods from me who has become a friend; and as a bonus she knows how to garden and farm in my state too. My husband is so much more supportive in our lifestyle choices than he had been last year. In reality our ideas on preparedness, survival, and farming are simply melding into one cohesive mutual effort and it's provided us a common interest and goal with in our marriage and family to work towards. This is only straightening our marriage. With this year's tax return we're going to be buying a Bison hand water pump for our very deep well. It will be a fun gadget to have, like our Esse cook stove is that we bought last year, and if we ever need it when the electricity goes out we'll have it ready and willing to serve us.

Country Jane, sitting pretty by the wood stove while the snow comes down!

The Esse Ironheart