Friday, August 31, 2007

one local summer week #10

eat your view, i guess is a popular bumper sticker in europe. it embodies all of the concepts of eating local but takes my mind to saving the landscape by supporting the local small farms. i just read a fascinating article no bar code, thanks phoebe. it is a great read and supplied me with great answers to many questions. why do you raise chickens? why do you have such a huge garden? is it really worth all the work? i'm kinda heated up...

it is really worth all the work, especially for our kids. ok, stepping off the soap box.

locally grown steak dinner, grilled okra, and pickled beets.

the steak was t-bone from merlin our butchered calf. zero miles from the pile.
the okra marinated in soy sauce and grilled with the steak zero mile except the organic soy sauce. the pickled beets, a household favorite, are zer-o-local except the cinnamon, cloves and vinegar. although, the final product is local and we plan to make our own apple cider vinegar once our orchard is of age.

baby carnivore.

you are what you eat eats. if the foodglomeratly grown tomato in americas fridge was raised in marginal soil on petrol based fertilizers, awful pesticides and genetically modified to ship pretty. we missed point. why do we settle for, embrace, poor quality in our food chain?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

one local summer week #9

one local summer meal was just the left over spaghetti sauce that didn't fit in the canner.

this is copied directly from tabitha's blog. it's protected and i thought it was compelling and useful information.

tomato sauce requires a lot of tomatoes. i measure mine using these 3 large bowls i have, when full of fruit they weigh about 15lbs. so i am guessing each time. this most recent batch was 5 bowls, 75 pounds of fruit.

you also must have a pressure canner if you wish to can it. freezing is okay, too.

boil a large pot of water, dump in a bowl of fruit at a time for 30 seconds and remove to cold water. slip of skins and cut out stems or bad spots, and keep the good parts in a bowl.

when all your tomatoes are peeled in this way, fill your biggest and best (thick-bottom!) pot with tomatoes. if, like me, your biggest is not your best, use the smaller better pot and only add what can fit. over medium heat cook them down, have them boiling, and stir often. be careful! the thickness of the fruit can sink to the bottom, air can get trapped underneath and when you stir, it can splatter upwards and burn you causing Confusion and Delay.

as soon as there is room, add more fruit until it is all added. at any point if it is nighttime, turn it off, cover it well and leave it out until morning. as long as it was at a boil when you covered it, it will be fine. uncooked fruit should not be left out. try to add it all on one day. you'll notice there is no need for grinding the tomatoes, they will fall apart. another hint: if the bottom of the pan starts to stick, remove it from the fire immediately and pour it off into a new pan, cleaning the old pan and switching it back. if you get that burned flavor mixed in it is over.

next, continue to cook it down until it is sauce-thick. now it is time to start adding yummy things. my recipe (and while canning manual will tell you it is critical that you never change amounts, they are wrong) changes, but is usually several cups of chopped onions, many a clove (whole, peeled) of garlic, salt and pepper to taste, it will take a lot of salt, two bunches of basil chopped, some oregano, a teaspoon of anise seeds and a dollop of honey. sometimes chopped chard stems, sometimes a bunch of fresh italian parsley, chopped. we eat meat, we add ground beef. a 75-lb pot takes 3 pounds but it doesnt matter if you use less or none or even more. add it raw to boiling sauce or brown it first in a skillet.

once it is all added, bring it back to a boil and have your canning stuff ready. if anyone wants detailed pressure canning info let me know. otherwise cool it and pack it for freezing. or make lasagnes with it all and freeze them. delish!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

the pink hospital

the pink

there has been a general pinkishness around here. well kassi is always pink. most of her clothes are pink. she is quick to answer the question "what something should look like?" she says "it should be be pink". well we here at the pile of omelays have reverted back to (california types). it has been apparent that tabitha cut her hair--i cut her hair. of the myriad of excuses "it was too hot" and "toly was always pulling on it" were the biggies. anyway, short hair needs a little something to spruce it up.

it was a two day process. bleaching twice then applying the bubblegum pink. the entire time i was doing it kassi was so envious. so i pinked her too. of course i didn't bleach her hair. the process is entirely safe and much less toxic than eating at mcdonalds.

so here we are here in the middle of po-dunk, no-where, ozarks looking like some crazed heathens.

the hospital

kassi was reading under the book shelf and perched above her was the heavy metal crayon box. tristan pulled the keystone book that supported the crayons. i watched it slide in slow motion, just out of reach and plummet to her forehead. the corner hit and caused a vertical cut. i screamed like a little girl. she bled like crazy and it was obvious that we needed medical assistance in closing the gape. we piled into the car, cause thats what piles do, and went to urgent care.

upon reflection it is difficult appear like concerned parents at an ultra conservative hospital with half the family having pink hair. admittedly most of their clientèle dyes their hair and it is equally unnatural. branson with many retired folk, iridescent blue is more acceptable.

i let the girls off at the front and went to park. after changing the poopiest diaper in the world with substandard supplies. (half a stale water bottle, a dirty t-shirt and a disposable emergency diaper that i just happened to have stowed in the car) the male half of our entourage entered the busy hospital. luckily finding tabitha was no problem. "where is the lady with pink hair" every finger in the room pointed. i can only imagine the sore necks that the waiting room attendees will have tomorrow from jerking to look as tabitha walked in. serves them right..

anyway the first nurse was kinda judgmental and promptly transfered us (alleging incompetence) to the emergency room. we received excellent care. they glued her head back together and three hours later we left. the kids were amazing, very well behaved. albeit bribery promises were made and later fulfilled.

the only real problem is that we must now endure the post hospital illness. whatever rampant virus or bacteria contained in the hospital was surely ferreted out by one or more of the kids. i hate hospitals mainly for that reason.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

one local summer week #8.5 extra credit

our very own grilled chicken with the best marinade ever
sage, rosemary, honey, garlic, mustard, celery seed, cumin, fresh squeezed tomato, basalmic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, salt and special hand imported pepper.

that chicken was fabulous. the exact proportions of the marinade are forever lost due to the three fat tire beers that i drank wile making it.

home grown grilled okra with a marinade from the passionate vegetarian
that marinade was wonderful also. if you have never had grilled okra you are really missing something.

chilean salad with our own tomatoes.

freshly picked zero mile edamame steamed. we picked the beans earlier and they were about as fresh as possible.

the entire meal was zero mile with the exception of a few of the listed spices from the marinades.

this is what a 10 month old looks like eating zero mile grilled chicken

Friday, August 17, 2007

one local summer week #8

fried okra
local cornmeal 50 mi
ocra 0 mi

rice (oops california they don't grow rice here)

meat sauce
merlin beef 0 mi
tomatoes, basil, onions 0 mi

Thursday, August 16, 2007

saving seeds--just the easy stuff

easy vegetables to save seeds from.
- - - tomatoes
- - - pole beans
- - - edamame (soy beans)
this is what we are attempting to keep this year.

the hard stuff
- - - cucumbers
- - - squash
- - - onions
- - - garlic
we'll probably purchase these next season again.

tabitha did manage to pollinate a cucumber but we don't know the results yet.

hot peppers and okra are also on our intended list but haven't tried yet--there is still time..

here is the list of our tomatoes that i have successfully removed, fermented, washed, dried and packaged.
- - - cherokee purple
- - - yellow pear
- - - amish paste
- - - omar's lebanese
- - - principe borghese
- - - black cherry
- - - lime green salad
i also saved lots of seed from john's tomatoes (four years in his garden and running). john lives next door and has been a tomato gardening mentor. his tomatoes are fabulous.

how we save tomato seeds:
1. pick a fully ripe tomato that exhibits the best qualities of your variety.
2. cut the tomato along the equator, if it were a globe.
3. scoop out the seeds into a container with a lid. (we use a jelly jar)
4. put the jar in the garage in the dark. it can pressurize and stink up the place.
5. let it set until a white scum forms on the top (usually takes three days)
6. once mold appears promptly wash seeds. sprouting can occur if you wait.
7. fill jar 2/3 full with water shake well and pour off top liquid.
8. the good seeds sink and bad stuff floats. repeat three or four times.
9. screen off all water and spread onto a coffee filter or aluminum foil (not paper)
10. let dry in a dry well ventilated dark place.
11. package-up, label and keep frozen until ready to plant.

this is our method and was taken from the book seed to seed there are many reasons and variations for their methods. if you plan to save seeds i highly recommend this book.

our rattlesnake pole beans are drying on the vine as i write. the extreme temperatures are speeding us to a quick harvest. the rattlesnake pole bean is a dual purpose bean so we'll see how many dried beans we'll have to can via tabithas pressure method. we'll also save plenty to plant for next year.

we just picked our edamame the plants and beans are sitting in a big pile in the front yard. we'll shake the bugs off them and bring them inside for processing--it is too hot to process outside.

i left about four feet of the row to go boar for seed saving at a later date.

beans are easy to save just let them dry on the vine and pick and husk the seeds out.

we are considering little seed gift packages for the christmas holiday. if you want an omelay care package for next years garden drop me an e-mail with your (usps) address and we'll try to accommodate. omelay (at) gmail (dot) com

Monday, August 13, 2007

pasta maker

measuring, mixing, cooking and cranking, an home schooling exercise in progress. tristan has taken to reading over my shoulder as i type. yesterday he read almost a complete sentence--i type slowly.

dinner tonight will include pico de gallo. i made it from warm fresh tomatoes and peppers. the onions were house temperature, air conditioned. tomatoes that have never been colder than 50 degrees have a special flavor that cannot be replicated. we dwell in this 51 to 104 degree tomato world all summer--what a wonderful place.

i plan a seed saving post very soon. i have been saving tomato seeds from all of our varieties with great care and affection. we will have a wonderful variety of seeds for next years seedlings.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

one local summer week #7

eggs in hell

omelay fresh eggs
local 50 mile pasta
zero mile pasta sauce
100 mile sour dough
zero mile garlic and butter
fresh milk

of course we had omelay pico de gallo and chips for an appetizer.

the eggs are poached in spaghetti sauce and poured on the pasta. simple and cheap.

that meal cost us very little except the hard work to have this little farmstead.
the girls (chickens) fend for themselves this time of year. nimue pays for herself in sold extra milk and the spaghetti sauce is is from our garden. water and propane are the only things paid for to raise and cook this meal.

next year we plan to completely offset our seed purchase. alas that is for another post.

garden cost breakdown
water bill increase $35 per month
gas for tiller $10 all summer
soaker hoses and repair kits $40
string and extras. $10
seeds and starts $75

water $ 140
seeds $ 75
gas $ 10
hoses $ 40
string$ 10

garden disposable cost $275

differed costs
tiller $700
cattle panels $130
fence posts $200

ok already, it's a life style. it pays off because the quality and caliber of this food just isn't available here.

temperatures soar in the ozarks

triple digit temperatures have settled upon us for the past few days and more is expected all this coming week. our garden is suffering. we have been earnestly watering but the heat is just too much.

this is the kind of heat where it zaps the energy right out of you. the only farmstead progress that has been made has been indoors. yesterday was so hot we gave up the ghost and headed for a movie theater. they are notoriously chilly places to spend a few hours during extreme temperatures. we saw stardust i give it a 8.5. it was a welcome escape from the backing up outdoor work around here.

tabitha and i have made a pact that today we'll accomplish many needed tasks. there is plenty that can be done indoors that'll keep us busy all day. i need to work on the walls and ceiling of the bathroom. tomatoes need to be made into sauce. i have a little web work to finish and then i will invoice them. tabitha might start some cheese. our day is already filled.

toly and daddy were having a bit of a tickle session.

he has a similar deep belly laugh that tristan has. it is a wonderful asset since people will strive to make them laugh so they can hear it.

he is such a dangerous combination of kassi and tristan that is scares me. he is a little daredevil that climbs everything just to stand on top of it. he is so strong he can hang from his hands for at least a minute--he weighs twenty five pounds. he can climb on top of anything that he can get a grip on. being the third child in a rough and tumble house makes him impervious to most small knocks and bumps that would have sent tristan into tears.

best of all he follows his siblings suit. when i get home from work he gets so excited and hugs and kisses me with the best of them--screeching da da dada da da. now, these are the moments that makes fatherhood so wonderful.

what is your strongest memory of your children that made you glow with paternal glory? you can take it to your blog and link here if you like.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

happy birthday tristan

my baby boy is five years old today. his main present was a nintendo gameboy. he's such a technophile that it was an obvious choice. grandma got him the latest iteration of the mario brothers saga. he loves it and has it figured out already--he got it yesterday.

we also went to silver dollar city today. he rode a big roller coaster that scared the crap out of him. i went also, it is a worthy roller coaster to be terrified of. we decided to postpone any party it is simply too hot and our house won't support a party of the indoors type.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

bathroom tear-up

these are my helpers. notice the no shoes.

they were supposed to keep their distance but there isn't anyone in the house strong willed enough to enforce the general safety rules.

shoes anyone?

princess helper. dressed for the occasion.

tabitha had taken ill again, mastitis. the kids helped cook--really.

tristan went to the garden and picked yellow squash and cooked it.

it sure was tasty. tristan was so proud.

one local summer week #6

i might be a bit early but here is tabithas lasagna.

as we all know the milk is local--thick, rich, raw, creamy and unpasteurized. the bread is baked in springfield. we don't have time to bake our own bread during garden harvest and canning.


our own sauce some of what we'll be eating all winter. the sauce is 100% local to our farmstead.

tabitha made lasagna noodles from our own eggs and italian style flour. yeah i know, but we localized the flour by making our own noodles.

the cheeses are mostly local (queso fresco and cottage cheese). the asiago is not local but that is my guilty pleasure.

most of the spices are local too. salt and pepper are the exception.

the kids loved dinner and i got to take the left overs for lunch the next day.

toly additionally got to eat his favorite garden fresh tomatoes.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

one local summer extra credit.

extremely local pasta sauce. this was the left over that didn't fit into canning jars. man was it ever good. the noodles are probably hodson mill 50 miles. and then there is the cheese. well, who can say no to asiago. tabitha maks a mean queso fresca but hasn't attmpted asiago (my all time favorite with stilton a close second). cheese making has screeched to a halt because the culture fell from the freezer and died. we'll have to purchase more of it when finances allow.

extremely local salsa. yes i know you are probably sick of hearing about pico de gallo but we eat it every chance we get. see that cute little sun on the side of the jar? that means it was from sunday milking.

extremely local tacos, not the tortillas but everything else was local. tortillas are on our list to make ourselves but there is simply too much going on around here right now. tabitha has successfully replicated the exact flavor of those taco mix packages that you add to your ground beef (in our case merlin). beans, cheese, cucumber slices and milk all from the pile.

one local summer #6
will be tomorrow tabitha will even be making noodles. i'll take lots of photos.


i put another tier in the root cellar bottle wall. i need more bottles and my wine consumption isn't up to the pace since i'd like to be completed by fall.

i repaired bocas feeder those bad goats jump up on it and it finally gave way. i have mixed feelings about those damn goats. they are allegedly good to keep down the scrub but that has yet to be revealed. i think they are spoiled.

i wire wheeled most of the bath tub. man was that ever a job. i could only stand a few square feet at a time. toms angle grinder is an arm buster. the veins would start bulging in my arms after just a few seconds of holding it in place.

tabitha prepared another batch of pasta sauce. i helped by cutting onions. i would have just as soon started work on my solar food dehydrator. the stars weren't lining up for that one. tabitha did sun dry a few onions. they are like candy.

we'll plant fall beets tomorrow morning after milking. i'll go to bobs late and work into the afternoon. the afternoon will be too hot to attempt any work around here. it'll be better to work in the relative cool of bobs during the heat of the day.

i'm off to try to put a dent in my root cellar bottle wall needs.
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