Saturday, January 26, 2013

Part 3 Yogurt

So far, I have fresh milk and cream, now onto yogurt.  I make yogurt 1 gallon at a time.  The process is fairly simple.  I take one gallon of milk and place it in a soup cooker and heat it up to somewhere between 170-180 degrees. 
I do not do this for pasteurization purposes, this is done for consistency.  When I first started making yogurt, I was reading everything I could about the process and how different people made yogurt and the types of yogurt that can be made.  Yes I'm geeky that way, but from what I learned with a layman's understanding, the heating process breaks down the milk proteins that the yogurt culture feeds on.  This reaction causes the yogurt to be of consistent texture and mouth feel.  This  maybe right, maybe wrong, but I know it works after making several gallons of yogurt.  After the milk reaches the desired temperature, I let it cool to about 100-110 degrees.    I then stir in two jars of yogurt from a previous batch (shown below) and stir it in thoroughly (shown at right).

After the milk and yogurt culture is thoroughly mixed, I ladle it into half pint jars and add a ring a lid.

The jars are then placed back into the soup cooker for four hours at 110 degrees.  This allows the culture to grow and eat the milk proteins and curdle the milk into yogurt.  I relate the whole process to cooking a turkey.  A lot of prep then wait around til it's done.  The payoff.  I usually end up with 19 jars of yogurt that I guess run around 7 oz.  Store bought organic yogurt was 99 cents for a 6 oz serving.  Take away the two starter yogurts and that's a $16.83 I didn't spend at the grocery store.  You may be asking can I trust the soup cooker temp to be accurate, see below for the detailed scale of black marker settings on the thermostat.  The 88 degree mark is for the mozzarella to come.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The true cost of going organic Part 2

As promised, I would include the many great things you can get from fresh raw organic milk.  Today it is cream.  Rich delightful cream to make butter, sour cream, and ice cream!  Ice cream is my personal favorite, but you'll have to keep coming back for that story.  To harvest the cream I use a couple of old one gallon sun tea containers that were setting around my parents house doing nothing.  Those lazy bums were not going to get away with just taking up space in their household when they could be put to good work in my household producing delicious cream.  Here is a picture of them full of fresh raw milk.

These two workers have a very stressful job of hanging out in the fridge and having their innards poured out of them from the bottom while the cream floats to the top.  After a day or two The milk and cream start to separate.  If you look real close you can see a line that separates the cream and milk.  I ladle this cream off and put it into jars.   As you can see, or maybe not see from the two gallons of milk above, I ended up with about 4 cups of cream.  The tall jar is a pint and a half the short jar is a pint.This cream was ladled off after...maybe 12 hours and is what I would consider light cream.  Now for the payoff.  As it was figured before on Milk Part 1, There was already a savings on the milk, so everything we get is additional savings.  16 oz non-organic cream at the grocery store  was $2.99.  Wow I have two of those for a savings of $5.98.  I just paid for a gallon of fresh South Pork Ranch Milk! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

The true cost of going organic Part 1

I just visited my favorite dairy farmer here in the Land of Lincoln, , who just went viral with her cost of producing organic milk. So why am I here you may ask, for better or worse, one half of this farming pair inspired me to start a blog, which has been hit and miss since I started.  Good thing it doesn't have a subscription price, otherwise my readers would feel cheated and worse yet this becomes a job.  Back to the inspiration part for this blog, I have been meaning to answer the many questions from friends and neighbors of how we can afford to buy organic in our household.  Once again with the unsolicited help of my favorite blogger writing about the cost of producing organic milk, I was inspired to complete this task and share it here.  It's more cost effective to buy organic direct from the farm(ers) than buying form the store. 

So here goes the first installment of the true cost of producing dairy products in your home.  I load up the car, some people call it half a car, it's a sub-compact, with my reusable three gallon plastic jugs. These can be found at many of the local grocery store's water dispensing machines. The cost of these per gallon goes down with each trip I make, but my current cost guess is about 50 cents per gallon, Here is a picture of the one I use.

 I have three of these and buy 9 gallons of fresh raw organic milk from at the incredible low price of $6.00 per gallon each trip.   How do I know this? When I run out of fresh raw organic milk I have to go to the grocery store to buy milk.  The milk we buy is $4.99 a half gallon.  The math is fairly simple, $4.99 x 2 = $9.98/gallon.  $6.00 sounds pretty good, but you may ask, what about the transportation costs?  As I mentioned before I drive a small car which gets 31 mpg.  A round trip road trip to South Pork is 195 miles/31mpg or 6.29 gallons of gas.  I paid $3.15/gallon in Chatsworth or $19.81.  9 gallons of milk $54.00+transportation $19.81 + jug cost of $4.50  equals $78.31 or $8.70 per gallon, still better than the $10 per gallon at the store and this doesn't include all the other products I will make with those 9 gallons I purchased.  I'll go through those another day.  Then people ask me about the value of my time.  All I can say is that when my favorite dairy farmer in Illinois asks me how my wife and family are doing beyond just being cordial I respond with...priceless!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Peaceful sleeplessness

Unable to sleep, I'm sitting here in front of this computer screen reflecting on the tumultuist storm over the past two months in my life.  I'm feeling neither happy nor sad at this time, strange as it sounds, I feel blessed.  I feel blessed for the experiences that I have gone through and coming out the other side with a new appreciation for the balance between life and death.  I'm at Peace for the moment and hope it lasts for a long time. During the storm I wanted to blog, but I was not in a good place.  I felt it would just have been an ugly self pity and anger rant about my frustrations, wouldn't have done anybody any good, and turned off all my following of three people...including myself.  Now, as I type this and will eventually post I wonder if what I have to say in the future about my experiences will be of help or benefit to anybody.  I hope it will.  If not only to learn that other people have the same stuggles as I do and that we all are a part of humanity.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Little Universal World

Oh the simple beauty of it. Beautiful are its lines and curves. It just makes you want to spin your top. Literally that is. I get all excited when I’m sent to the grocery store because…right next door is my favorite kind of store. The resale shop!!! Nothing delights me more than rummaging through another’s trash, to find my treasure. In the day of age when electricity and power is king I came across this little gem.
Be gone…Space Invaders…Good bye Star Wars, black holes, quantum physics be damned. Dr. Who, you and your TARDIS are no longer needed in this world.
Time and Relative Dimension in Space is sitting right here on my dining room table. Skeptical? Well here’s the proof, it does come from a different time, and it’s relative to this blog, it has dimensions in space, in this case, the dining room table. OK it’s not blue, and doesn’t make all those cool noises, but it will let me know that all is right in the world. It’s very complicated to operate. Hey! Simpleton Time Lords…My TARDIS takes a little more effort than just a simple biological imprint to operate…IT TAKES PIECES TO OPERATE!
I carefully place the pieces into the universe and…
With eager anticipation…I contemplate string theory physics…among other things like…
will the vertically spinning rotor turn on its vertical axis with enough speed and mass to influence the static position of the previous placed pieces through the equation Tp= 4 pi2 Is / Q Ts where Is is the moment of intertia, Ts is the period of the rotor, and Q is the applied torque - turning power of weight - of rotor…deep breath…in other words...Will the top knock over the pins? Whew! The result of the equation…
5 points+ 5 points + 10 points = 20 points…your turn and all will be right in the world.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The trials and tribulations

I'm back from Wisconsin after passing the torch to my sister.  A sister, unfairly guilted, arriving 3 hours later on the doorstep of her parents.  Watching parents who were once vibrant, independent, and active, change into a scared and worried couple reaching out to the threads of family which have been worn thin.  A couple, fighting fiercely, to keep the independence they once had...only to tire into dependency.  Arriving a tired wife, who missed her husband and kept the household going.  Yes, getting older has aches and pains, but pale to the trials and tribulations of those around us.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Inspiration from near and afar

My first attempt at blogging has been inspired by a friend and I might say extended family Donna O.  at  Donna and her husband Keith are organic farmers here in the midwest with a farmstore that everone should visit.  I have been there often along with her great and insightful blog.  Enough about them...but do please visit them as well as myself as much as possible.

As for the name of my blog.  Which I will get to sometime in the blog, because my mind, my life and my stride is a stroller.  I'm getting there...just not always the most direct route...As many of us have parents which are getting older and their health issues mount, I find myself up in Wisconsin again in the hospital for another family visit.  I so much enjoy the visits at their home, but more and more it seems like their are two homes.  Back to the name of the blog.  Well, here in Wisconsin, where most people hate FIBS...LOL my parents have a black squirrel that visits their apple trees in their backyard.  Spent about half an hour this morning with my aunt, that would be my mother's twin sister, watching the black squirrel eat the apples that didn't get picked from last fall.  So there it is...Mulling the thought of starting a blog for several weeks that was inspired by Donna O. at  on a trip to Wisconsin to visit my parents at their "second" home is the beginning of a Blog.  How about them apples?