Saturday, July 24, 2010

Farmers Market & ANOTHER Thrift Store Score

Zack and I had a great time at the Murphy Farmer's Market today. We are thankful to Frances Juhlin for allowing us to set up under her tent and use her table. Pints sold well, surprisingly. Quarts were a little slow.

Whilst Zack manned the table, I headed off in search of thrills, er, bargains. My big score of the day was a working treadmill for $25! It's small and pretty rink dink, but it will do the job.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Yogurt Experiment

Yesterday afternoon I made some yogurt with a new-to-me recipe from Ricki Carroll's Home Cheese Making. Pectin was involved. I followed the directions pretty closely, but had a moment of "Did I get this too hot?" Anyway, as I was pouring the cooled mix into jars for incubation, I noticed what I thought was whey separation, an indicator that I had indeed cooked the solids.

Denial is useful sometimes. I put the jars in the Excalibur on 115 degrees and told myself that everything would be fine. Seven hours later, Zack removed the jars from the dehydrator and asked what was going on. Uh oh...

I'd made ricotta, sort of. We put the contents of the jars into jelly bags and hung them to drain overnight. This morning I hurried to the kitchen and discovered that Whatever It Was tasted pretty good! I will serve it on toast with honey drizzled on top.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thrift Store Score

Some people buy lottery tickets or head to the casino for thrills. I am a thrift store/yard sale enthusiast. There's no price for entry. The only cost is your time and gas. I've built "just looking" into my routine, so special trips are rare. But frequent visits are key; if you're going to win, you've got to play. And of course you're not going to win every time. Gamblers and thrifters know this.

Experience has taught me that there's some "luck" involved in a good day's hunt. Finding something that you've been looking for is great. What is especially satisfying is getting that item for a fraction of what it might sell for new. I think of that as "the kill." But the trophy doesn't hang on the wall in the living room. Chances are the treasure becomes part of your household inventory, and the story is told with pride to other thrifters.

Today as my neighbor and I walked into a local thrift store my eyes went straight to an electrical panel. We've been talking about running electricity out to the barn and installing a subpanel. New panels are expensive. This Sylvania panel was $2. That got my blood pumping. As I walked through the store I found a few other things: adjustable straps, classic milk jars, and... an electric uncapping knife, which is used in the honey extraction process. Never used. In the box. It worked when I plugged it in. I couldn't believe it. To purchase this new would be $98 from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. My offer of $4 was accepted. And, as the cherry on top, I glanced at the pile of jeans and saw a pair of Ann Taylor Loft in my size.

When you're hot, you're hot!

2010 Honey Crop for Sale!

Woohoo! Time to sell some honey... 2010 honey is $6 per pint and $12 per quart.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What is an astro-widow, anyway?

When your spouse tucks you into bed with a kiss and then goes out to stare at the sky through a telescope, you are an astro-widow.

When your spouse greets the dog and chickens upon arriving home and THEN finds you for a hug and kiss, you are...