Thursday, April 26, 2012

Raw Milk Ice Cream, the Recipes

Oh how we have indulged this week! Ice Cream EVERY night!
In all fairness I had to experiment to find the best recipe and I found more than one!

Our girl Lucy is giving us a solid 3 gallons of milk a day and with 1 qt of cream per gallon....well let's just say we enjoy ice cream!

First I wanted to have a good basic vanilla ice cream. Here is the winner, thumbs up from all family members!

Raw Milk Vanilla Ice Cream

2 C cream
1 C whole milk
3/4 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Combine these well, until the sugar dissolves. Chill. Make according to your machine's directions. 

Next, I wanted a treat for myself. Coffee ice cream was what I was craving and this one is delivers!

Raw Milk Coffee Ice Cream

2 C cream
1 C whole milk
3/4 C sugar
3 Tb instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1/4 C water
1 tsp vanilla

Mix well and chill. Make according to your machine's directions.

As if the coffee wasn't enough, I went crazy and threw in some cocoa and dark chocolate chips! This one I refuse to share! :-)

Raw Milk Mocha Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips

2 C cream
1 C whole milk
3/4 C sugar
3 TB instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1/4 C water
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tb semi-sweet cocoa (I used Starbucks hot cocoa mix)
4 -6 oz dark chocolate or semi-sweet chips, chopped

Mix everything but the chocolate chips well. Chill. make according to machine directions. Add chips during the end of the cycle.

Now, the main issue with having tons of milk and wanting to make lots of ice cream at once is that home made ice cream doesn't store well. Usually what happens is you put leftovers in a storage container, stick it in the freezer and then the next day it is hard as a rock! Impossible to scoop out and eat, right?

I found these containers made especially for home made ice cream and thought I would try them out. They cost under $1 each and I am really hoping they will allow me to make lots of ice cream to store for the summer.

Verdict? So far they seem to really work!! Granted, ice cream hasn't been allowed to stay stored here for longer than a couple of days, BUT my coffee ice cream lasted me 4 days and each time I went to scoop some out...I could!

Now if peaches would just hurry and ripen, we could go crazy developing an ice cream for them!!!!

More food in store tomorrow!!!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lies About Home Education You Might Believe

It's been going around, some of the lies you hear. I am not sure why it comes up this time of year, but it does move in cycles. In case you believe some of these common myths lies told to discredit the value of home education, well here I go with my opinion and experience.

Usually someone starts off a sentence with something like this, "I do not want to home school because........

1. I want my child to be socialized. This one is by far the most common lie out there. What exactly do these people want from socialization? Lots of friends to invite to parties? A child who must sit in a class with lots of children the same age all day is NOT socialization. Are you expecting them to learn great adapting skills by standing in line at lunch? By dealing with crappy bullies? Exactly what is it that makes folks think home educated kids are not socialized anyway? Home educated children are socialized with several people who are of different ages (parents, siblings, friends) and because of this they learn to interact with many different people resulting in a wide  social circle. As the main parent who teaches, my kids learn many of their behaviors from me, for better or worse, and therefore tend to act a little more mature. What if you don't have many kids at home? Well, there are coops in nearly every city PLUS I am sure your kids have a couple of close friends they can get together with for social time. What about coop and extra curricular activities? Socialization can happen in many different ways. My kids have a couple of close friends and that's all they need. It's immature to think a person needs more than a few friends and a family to be happy in life! I don't buy the socialization lie at all and those who know my kids know it is indeed a lie.

2. I do not have the patience. Guess what? None of us do! We are willing to learn it though, and that requires trying. I bet at one time you couldn't do many things until you tried and over time you learned those things well. It's a lie to think that you must already be a patient person to educate your children. Ask any mom who does and she will tell you patience is learned by doing.

3. It's too expensive. If you buy all inclusive curriculum, then yep it's pricey. Like most things you can get by with very little spending and walk away with a great education plan. I always advise  people to look into Charlotte Mason because it's a great way to educate and many of the books can be found in the library. I have many friends who teach at home with a very limited budget and do great!

4. My kids would fight all day if they had to spend that much time together. All siblings get on each others nerves at times, but people would be surprised that the more time spent together the easier it is to learn to work things out. Most government schooled kids fight so much with their siblings because they have been raised (socialized) by kids of their same age all day at school!!! This "sibling fighting" is the direct result of NOT being together and becoming friends. Ask any large family who home educates!

5. My child needs to be prepared for college. This lie amazes me because home educated kids have proven time and time again to be more than ready for college. Could it be that these home educated kids have spent years studying and learning on their own and have not been spoon fed information just to pass tests?

6. I want my child to be the "salt and the light" at school. I am not sure if this is an actual lie or if some parents are just ignorant enough to think a child is prepared for missionary work. Seriously. It would be a much greater duty to raise your child at home with a Godly worldview and then send them out into the world mature and secure in their beliefs versus teaching your 6 year old to tell his friends in first grade that they should accept Jesus into their hearts. Leave the mission work to the adults, let the kids be kids.

7. I need "me" time. We all need some time to ourselves, but if you had kids then sorry. "Me" time is whittled down to a sliver and sticking your kids in school so you can eat lunch with girlfriends and get pedicures is not a wise use of your time. That's crass, I know. I don't care. I find "me" time and still home educate. The "me" time is usually after I get kids to bed (early and regular bedtimes) or when Devin is off work and I schedule a quilt class or dinner out in advance. The idea that we need "me" time everyday is a lie.

8. I am not a certified teacher. Neither am I or most of the moms and dads who educate their kids. That's actually a good thing because then you do not have the predisposed thinking of what education looks like. Home education does not "look" like government education and don't forget that no matter how wonderful your kid's teacher is, no teacher cares as much about your child's education and future than you!

9. I am not religious. Sadly, there are many, many people who think all home educators are religious fanatics. It's a lie! It is, in fact, a pretty hilarious lie at that!

10. My kids attend a fabulous school. I am sure they do, really. This lie is based on the notion that you  think government schools can be fabulous. Like most home educators, I am biased and believe that no school is as good as an education at home where life is centered around family and real life. Your child might have a great teacher this year, but what about next year? Plus there are the other negatives that go hand in hand with a government school such as lack of creativity, age segregation, inferior curriculum, and the general dumbing down of students.

Now, before anyone gets all defensive and starts chiming in on their personal reasons to not home educate, let me state that I am not oblivious to the woes of some families. I was raised by a single mother for some time and I know that this would be a significant challenge to home educating.
I also know that there are many reasons people do not home educate. I have friends whom I love dearly who do not share the same zest for home education as me and send their kids , whom I also love dearly, to government schools. Seriously, I am not that woman who is so rigid in thinking that all my friends must do as I do!
There are many reasons to not home educate (legitimate reasons)! I have just simply discussed the lies people believe. Lies that people use as an excuse to not home educate. These are two different things entirely.

Now, did I leave any lies out? How many lies did you subscribe to?

Wednesday will be a lighter post, complete with a new Raw Milk Ice Cream Recipe!

 *Just another day of school at home*

Friday, April 20, 2012

Adventures with Lucy the Family Cow

 I would love to talk about what a beautiful girl Lucy is and how she follows us around like a sweet puppy dog. She's patient and gentle and gives us tons of sweet milk. Life is a rainbow ans the sun always shines over here.
(cough, cough)

Let's keep it real today, shall we? I don't want to leave any of ya'll with the impression that my super woman powers are always working!

 First, the kids have been crazy this week...or maybe I am just tired so they get under my skin easily? Or maybe it's both????
Either way, this week instead of telling children to do a certain task once and then they say , "Yes, ma'am." and go off to do such task, I have been having to repeat myself several a million times.

But this story is really about Lucy and our first week with her. As you might (or might not) recall, she started the week off pretty good. She would stand and let me milk for a fair amount of time and overall has been easy going.
Then she got more comfortable here. Now she is seeing what she can and cannot get away with.

She came from a commercial situation where it only took about 5 minutes to milk her. 5 minutes! It takes me a good 40 minutes. This adds up to a heifer that is ready to go and is constantly lifting her legs, trying to shoo me away.
This week, due to the constant foot lifts, she kicked the bucket, stepped in the bucket and flung cow muck into the bucket. Those were three milkings that were given to chickens. What a shame.

Then there is her head butting. Lastnight she came up behind Journee and head butted her in the back. When she tried a second time, Journee shoved her and said ,"no!" I am glad Journee is used to horses and so this cow is no big deal to her. What Lucy is doing is trying to establish dominance. We can not let an 800 lb cow be way!

Now we must carry a stick and keep an eye on her. If she ever tries to head butt we will strike her nose or jab her in the ribs. Today she was good and did not need any of this discipline. We just need to make sure she knows she can't push us around and that we are boss.

As for the milking, I consulted some folks on the Family Cow Forum and was offered many suggestions.

Tonight, we gave her not only grain in her bucket, but we layered hay and grain (several layers of both) and then put two large, smooth rocks in there. These rocks were too big for her mouth, but all of this made her work and spend more time trying to get her grain plus she had hay to occupy her. Needless to say, she licked the bucket and rocks clean. It bought us 15 minutes to milk. (sigh)

When we were done, I did not let her out of her stanchion right away. Big girl must know that I expect her to stand there a while and that her leg lifting and body shifting will not buy her a quick release.

I can honestly say that it has been a very frustrating few days. Devin has been working nights all week, I am not sleeping well, I am getting up early to milk an impatient cow and the milk supply is low because she won't allow me to milk her out.

I have it on good authority that this is normal for a first week as everyone and the cow adjusts.

It's not all bad though. My cheddar cheese is almost dry and ready for some wax to cover it.

Raw milk strawberry ice cream was what we made today and it was perfect!

Here's the recipe:

2 C cream
1 C whole milk
2/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix these and get them cold. 

1 pt strawberries cut up into pieces
1/3 C sugar

Sprinkle the sugar on the berries and let them sit an hour to pull off juice.

Make ice cream according to your machine by pouring in the cream mixture and pour in the juice from the berries. Add the berries when the ice cream is only about 5 minutes from being done.

I used my cuisinart ice cream maker.

It was delicious, especially with the rich Jersey cream Lucy let me have from her. Yep, I worked for this treat!

So now the weekend is here and we are just a couple days from our 1 week mark with Lucy. Sheesh, kind of feels like a month:-)

Here's to weekends with husbands home and a chance to get caught up on store lists, meal plans and school planning.

What's your adventure this weekend?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's What day?

Okay, so my week is flying by quickly. Can you imagine why?

She does have a very cute face, though.
It has been a week of getting adjusted to a major new routine (milking twice a day) and still trying to manage school and laundry and meals.

I am mostly able to keep up. I read somewhere that it will take Lucy a week to be adjusted and so I figure it will take me a whole week as well.
One of the biggest challenges is that my kitchen now has milking stuff everywhere, laid out to dry after washing.

I really like my kitchen counters to be clutter free, but I am sure that after a time I will get something worked out that is middle of the road and suitable. For now, I look at the pile and see the upside to having this new bovine creature in the back yard.

We are getting anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 gallons at each milking, or 3-4 gallons a day. That adds up so today I attempted to make a 2 pound block of cheddar cheese.

I think it went smoothly and the directions were easy to follow. With the whey that was left I made ricotta cheese. I was disappointed in the small amount of ricotta for all the whey BUT it smelled divine while it was cooking and I got enough to make ricotta cheese pancakes in the morning.

We also made ice cream.

I made a batch of vanilla, but it lacked much flavor even though I used extra vanilla. I then made chocolate but it did not freeze well.
Does anyone have a great recipe for raw milk ice cream to try? I really want to find a versatile recipe that I know will turn out great each time.
In the meantime, the children did not complain about the frozen treats one bit, so that's good.

I am wrapping it up so I can shower (I have noticed that I always smell like peppermint udder cream and cow), and then I have to eat dinner and hit the sack.

I will look for those ice cream recipes! Hint-hint!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Adventures With Lucy the Family Cow

Yes, Lucy and not Molly.
There was a gut feeling that led us to Lucy, so we decided to follow that instinct and go with Lucy instead.
But, I am rushing ahead.

This weekend I taught the Basic Bee Keeper's Course and it was really, really good. I had a group of 5 families and they were all lovely and friendly.

Indiana was a trooper and spent about 3 hours the day before helping me inspect hives and move nucs into full hive bodies. We also assembled our observation hive. It was awesome and the kids loved watching the bees.

I know what to include or delete from my course next year and that made the day a learning experience for me as well.

Here is a quick video I made showing the queen laying eggs.

Afterwards we invited some friends over and had a little cook out on the deck.

After we gorged on cheeseburgers, Indiana got the fire pit lit and we had smores.

It was a great day and so we followed it with another great day of driving  a couple of hours to pick up Lucy.

We bought her from a commercial dairy that was culling their older heifers. Now, usually a commercial dairy will cull heifers when they are about 4 but this dairy had some heifers as old as 12! I liked that they kept a low number of heifers (about 100) and they also kept them on pasture. Yep, pasture.  It's unusual but explains why their heifers are still going strong past the age of 4.

This is Lucy as soon as we got her home and unloaded. We were able to rent a stock trailer from the local farmer's coop for $35, which is a good deal if you ask me.
We were only home about an hour before we had to milk Lucy, too. comes the fun part, right?

This is the part where I must explain that this heifer was not used to being around dogs, lots of kids, and chickens and goats. She was in a new environment and I was not sure how she would milk.

Remember that gut feeling we had? Glad we had it because Lucy is 9 years old and pretty much easy going. She let ALL of us have a shot at milking and stood there still in a strange place to allow me and Journee to finish milking her....for a little over an hour! I do not believe a young cow would have tolerated it well.

This morning I was able to get more milk from her, but she moved around quite a bit more. I kept having to move my bucket out of the way. I think she was nervous because it was dark out and the bulldog was lying next to the fence. He wasn't doing anything but his presence made her nervous. Once it was daylight she calmed down.

She has also started following me around. I think she likes us:-)

This evening Journee helped me milk and it went pretty good. She has finally started eating her grain I give her and we went and got a wee bit more so she would be nice and still. She doesn't move much, but occasionally lifts a leg a bit. She's giving us almost 3 gallons, which I think is great since we are new at hand milking. She is also due to calve the first of August, so we will have to dry her up June 1st. She's late in her lactation. Did I mention my hands are a little sore?

She's fitting in and we don't mind the work.
I told a farmer friend today that  Lucy was following me around and that I think she loves me.
Here was his response,

" The beginning of a love affair not understood and sadly missed by most in life. Being connected with your food source and knowing your animals and soil in a personal and husbandry way is fullfilling in a strange but paradoxical sense, like it's work but only if you consider it work...or you take care of them and they take care of you. Its intended or required stewardship is lost by being too civilized."

That, my friends sums it up. I had many, many people tell me only the negative aspects of getting my Lucy. All the work, the early mornings, the loss of vacation times, etc, etc.
I guess they never stopped to consider the love affair, the stewardship, or the connection. Or perhaps they don't realize it even exists because they are too busy being civilized.

Either way, the love affair has begun and so have the adventures with Lucy.

I hope you stick around to experience it with us!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Blackberry Winter

It always happens. Always.
We have nice spring weather and then the dogwoods bloom. Then it gets cold for a couple of days. Dogwood winter.
Then it warms up again. Folks start putting gardens out and guess what happens?

The blackberries bloom and it gets cold again for a couple of days.
Blackberry winter. It might frost tonight.
Yes, I put my hardened off seedlings out Monday because you should never put them out before Good Friday and plus we are past our last frost date.
Blackberry winter can sneak up on you.

This is why I have been saving the 2 L containers from all the soda based punches we make through the holidays. I cut the tops off and ta-da! I have a nice protective cover for the night.


Two fun things are happening this weekend.

1. My Basic Bee Keeping Class is Saturday! My outline is finished and books are here waiting. All I have to do is get my observation hive loaded up on Friday afternoon.
Speaking of hives, the Tulip Poplars are in full bloom! This is about one month sooner than usual so I think I need to check out my hives and see how full the honey boxes are right now. It's been a crazy early spring.

2. Sunday we will pick up our cow. :-) You can be sure that I will post a picture through instagram when I have my hands on her and Monday will be all about her in my post!


Because we are an adventurous group here, we are also going to take on a new project.
We are ordering some chicks to raise for meat. We will raise them on pasture, naturally and process them. Thankfully we have a local farmer who is letting us help with his farm processing in may so we can see how it's done.
I honestly never thought I would ever raise my own poultry for eating but the factory raised birds are treated terrible and are quite ill.
We plan to have enough for our freezer and some to give away to friends and family. Next year, assuming it all runs fairly well, we will be selling them directly off the farm.
How's that for amazing? Thanks to Joel Salatin and all of his fine books on raising poultry on pasture for the inspiration! We will follow his same model to raise our birds.
It will be an adventurous summer around here!

Also, in case you missed it....

It's Blackberry Winter, Ya'll!

Stay warm!

Friday, April 6, 2012


"Most of us choose our own shackles.We choose our own shortcomings. Goodness knows, the shortcomings buffet offers a diversified portfolio. Want a better marriage? Work on it. Want a change of life style? Work on it." -Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin has been the go-to man around here since we are adding a dairy cow to the ever increasing menagerie of farm animals.

The above quote, among his many fine ones, struck a chord with me. We do tend to choose our own shackles. It's something to really consider and ponder.
What could we do if we didn't listen to the "experts" or the guy next door.  What is keeping you from pursuing your dreams or starting a family or growing your family? These shackles can lock us up in any aspect of our lives and keep us from moving forward or from growing or from even moving on with our lives.

As that seed attempts to find its planting spot in your head, let me cover the highlights of my week.


 Being the total nerd that I am, I ordered t-shirts for the farm. Yep, I will be wearing one next weekend at my Basic Bee Keeping Course. I love these shirts. It's a reminder of what is possible when you remove and lose the shackles.

This afternoon I spent several hours outside with little children all around me as I climbed a step stool and thinned peaches from my trees in the orchard. It was tiring work after a while but it is also worthwhile work. Watching kids play and talking about fruit trees and why we thin them is the ultimate education. It is also the pure joy of staying home and having your kids with you, by your side. By your side happens to be the best and most natural place for them to be, by the way.


 On the crafting home front we learned that if you mix equal parts of shaving cream and school glue you will get a foamy textured finger paint.
Mix it together and spread it on paper and let it dry. The dry product is a smooshy, foamy feeling product that you can't help but smash. It's like getting bubble wrap and having to stomp all over it. Sometimes you can't break the temptation.


 Yes, this is my best friend from high school. Yes, we are a bit nuts and yes we were like this waaaaay back then.
She lives just a couple hours from here and drove up with her two beautiful kiddos to visit. It's like we were never apart. We pick up and talk and discuss and that is a sweet thing about life long friendships.
I also got to hold her sweet, precious baby girl. This sweetie-pie will be celebrating her first birthday next weekend and her mommy is going all out to celebrate! We wish we could go, but we get our cow that day. Guess we will have to celebrate with a cookout later this is almost outdoor movie night time!


I finished this book earlier this week and I must say that the story is riveting. It's emotional. It's incredible.
If you haven't bought a copy yet, please do. It is a stunning realization that people are suffering incredibly at the hands of a totalitarian government and we sit idle. We do nothing. What can we do? What shackles are preventing us from doing something?I ask this of everyone and especially of myself. I will spend the next couple of weeks trying to decide what I can do.
I can promise you this one thing. I know with all my heart  that God has huge plans for this man, Shin, and I am so grateful to have read and learned his story and to watch his life and works unfold.


This weekend will be celebrate in many ways. However you plan your weekend, I hope it is special. I hope it is wonderful. I hope it is shackle free:-)

Friday Phone Dump:

See you Monday!

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