Rick said it was really good!  It was.


Mozzarella Cheese

      That's what I'm going to try to make.  Never made cheese before.  I was going to try to make cheese curds --- hence the mesophilic culture in the picture yesterday.  But, I went a little easier with some mozzarella.  I am impressed with how easy it really is.

I started with 1 gallon of organic, raw, whole milk.

I added 1/4 c. of fresh lemon juice.

And heated it all to 88 degrees....or 90 :-), stirring constantly.
(Don't do as I did -- make it 88 degrees :-)

This is a really bad picture.
It's hard to stir and take a picture

Then I added 1/4 tsp. of liquid rennet.  This I
bought at my wine supply store. (Which I guess
is also a cheese supply store :-)

And heated it to 105 degrees.
It didn't take long and I had "curds and whey".

I took out the curds and gently squeezed out more whey.
With all the whey back in the pot I heated it to 180 degrees.
And added 1/4 cup of non-iodized salt.

I made two balls of the curds....and one at a time put them in the
hot whey for a minute or two.  With gloved hands I stretched
the ball of cheese.  I did each one three times. (In retrospect I
would use 2 spoons to start each stretch --- it's really hot!)

....And I ended up with cheese!!!

Tomorrow we're havin' pizza!
(My husband already had a hotdish in the frig for tonight -- he's so good to me.)




     Tomorrow I'm trying  my hand at something I've never done.

It's going to be made with raw milk.  Step by step.....if it works or flops ..........tomorrow.


Maple Syrup Old Fashioneds

We enjoyed these with supper last night.  In our area of Wisconsin, if you order an Old Fashioned, more likely than not, they will assume you want it sweet and made with brandy.  This is the "country" way to make them.

        Start with a rock glass  full of ice.

Fill it 1/2 full of Cherry Bounce.  Add 2 splashes of bitters,
1 Tbl. of maple syrup (fresh is yum), and fill the glass with club
soda.  Stir well.


So, what you ask, is Cherry Bounce?  Another Northeast Wisconsin yummy.  This recipe is from a Green Bay church cookbook (lol!), circa 1950.

Cherry Bounce

2 fifths brandy
2 c. sugar
2 qts. of fresh tart cherries
    ( Keep the pits in, but prick them for extra flavor.)

Combine all the ingredients in a large jar, and cover tightly.   Let stand for at least 2-3 months.  I keep mine down in the basement.  Strain when you're ready to use it.

This will end up tasting like fresh cherries......  We always start when the cherries are ripe, and let it sit until Thanksgiving --- and then enjoy as a holiday treat.

Of course, when there's still Cherry Bounce left over at this time of year, who can resist one made with fresh maple syrup!


Sunday In Pictures

Made no difference to Billy that it was a late March was all fun!

My son's ice shack parked on our driveway.   (Because there's too much snow to get it to it's "summer spot" behind the garage.)
 Ice shacks had to be off Shawano Lake the 1st Sunday after March 1st.  It has been "snowplowed" around.  Lots of perch caught in it this year.

Silly geraniums are blooming inside, while the snowstorm was in full blast outside.

The tulips are tough.

Grandson Brayden was in charge of handing out
the fruit snacks last sunday. He ran out of hands.

Butsch's ears still look way too big for his head :-)



 My Grandson Remington.

This cute, sweet, adorable baby, just threw up smack dab in the middle of my eyes while I was holding him up above my head!!!  ...And not just a little!   ......It was classic America's Funniest Home Videos.  I scared him when I screamed.  S-o-r-r-y Remington :-)


18.8 inches

This is pretty in December --- not so much in March. 
Alright.  It's kinda pretty. 
    Ok that was a lot of snow.  With really bad timing.  Rick is thinking this is not good for the deer.  Before the snow, he was out looking for "sheds" (antlers the bucks shed in Feb. or Mar.).   He didn't find any sheds, but did find 2 dead fawns.  Probably ones that were born late June or early July last year, and just didn't have enough time to put any weight on for the winter.  When there is too much snow cover it is tough on them.  This snowstorm could very well kill some that were right on the edge.

     All the birds that were "twittering" (the word we use for birds mating :-) in the woods are quiet.  I think they are all just trying to stay warm and find food.  I saw a very cold redwing blackbird that I'm sure "just got into town" this morning.  The robins will do ok, no worms, but there is fruit hanging on some trees they will eat.  I've seen them devour ornamental crab apples this time of year.

That's as far as the load of wood got. 
Our driveway this morning --- you need 4 wheel drive.

The dogwood is still making me smile :-)


Thunder Snow

     It was thundering and lightning last evening in the middle of a nasty snow/sleet storm!  Thunder snow is what the weatherman calls it.  Very strange.  So far we have about 13 inches of the wettest, heaviest snow ever.  We are suppose to have 15+ inches by the time it is done today.

     The guy came and plowed the driveway, leaving a 5 foot high bank in front of the garage door, which my husband is tackling right now.  There is no school today.  Ironically they used up the last, "built in" snow day just recently. (As in they got a day off).  Now they will have to make up this day off, by going another day longer.  I was suppose to work at the food pantry today, but, when school is called off for snow, the pantry is closed.  Not that I could get there.  Rick says he is only shoveling out his side of the garage right now.  I'm officially home bound for the day.  ( I don't want him to do anymore than his side -- that snow is heavy!)

Butsch loves the snow. 
The reason why Leader Dogs For The Blind
only uses double coated breeds - snow & cold climates.

     This morning when I took Butsch out, he stepped on the back of my slipper/boot and pulled it off.  The next step was a bare foot in 13 inches of snow :-).  He of course was sure he had to help me get it back on.  As I hopped around on one foot trying to hold onto the leash and put on the boot --- well, let's just say that didn't work!  Into the snow with my bare foot again.  This is guaranteed to wake you up in the morning!  No coffee needed.

.......and Billy loves the snow.  Golden Retriever, another double coated breed.

.....and Rick hates the snow.  (A heavy coated breed :-)


(If you look close you can see the corner of the kids picnic table.)

     I am so glad I didn't get my baby chicks yet.  All next week is only suppose to be in the low 30's for highs.  I start them in an old water tank in the garage every spring.  Just too cold at night and too "drafty" when we open and close the garage door. 

     Those of you with your gardens going already......I'm jealous :-)


No Picnics Anytime Soon

Outside my back door at 11:23 a.m.
"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming"  ---- Dory in Finding Nemo 


Sunday In Pictures

My daughter, Dr. Kristy (with Trixy).  Kristy is a
chiropractor that also adjusts horses and dogs. 
.......and she is Logan and Zoe's mommy.
oh....and Nate's wife :-)

My favorite "spring picture".  I have it enlarged and framed.  I bring it out every year.
This was my broodmare Abra Aziz -- (Abee), full Arab.   She is Fire's dam.
Tulips are coming up by the house.  "Who's been scratching them up?!!"

I do believe I found the culprits......
(Not really any dry dirt by the chicken coop yet.  Still snow.)

Granddaughter Zoe is learning how to "pet a dog" with Grandpa.
Billy thinks he is a lap dog :-) --- he's the ONLY dog allowed up.

(Doesn't Rick look thrilled I am taking his picture for the whole world to see :-)


Pure Duck Heaven

Melting snow makes my ducks h-a-p-p-y :-).

.....and I figured out how to get a video on my blog!  That makes me h-a-p-p-y!

Pussy Willows

     I always look for the pussy willows for a decoration for Spring.  My favorite bush (in our deep ditch) is just starting to pop.  I cut tall branches and make arrangements.  Don't use water.  If you just make the arrangement and let it dry, they will stay just like they are, until one day when you say, "it's not spring anymore" and throw them out.  Cutting pussy willows from the bush only makes them grow bigger and wider for next year, you're just pruning them.

Butsch barked at the bunny when I put it out

And...make some small bunches up to give to friends.


Cooking Sap

Had to dig the cooker out to start!
     My house smells like a campfire, the kitchen floor is sticky, and the first qts. of maple syrup are in the jars and canned.  So-o-o worth it :-)  Rick has cooked the sap down outside, to about 2 gallons.  He finishes it on the stove so he can make sure not to burn it.  (You do not want to be here if he burns it....)

He checks the sugar content with a brick's hydrometer to the hot test line.

All this gunk, called sugar sand, gets strained out.

Five quarts and one pint so far.
(My middle daughter already stole a quart  :-)
     Now....... potato pancakes & cheddar cheese, maple pecan cookies, buttermilk pancakes, a topping for vanilla ice cream........... the taste of fresh maple syrup really can't be described.


Man That Ground Is Hard.....

     I took a digger yesterday afternoon on the ice.  (Everything is icy right now) Landed hard on my hip and shoulder.......saved my head though :-)  I'll live, it just reminds me that---aahhhh, well, I'm not getting younger :-)  Falling reminded me of another time I said "man that ground is hard"!

     It was when I had just became the new owner of a 12 mon. old colt.  I had wanted a horse all my life and finally had one.  I knew absolutely nothing about horses.  Cherokee was lying in his outdoor paddock soaking up the sun.  He didn't want to get up for me, he was too comfortable.  So, what did this rookie do?  I came over and straddled his back -- you know, he had to start getting trained soon.  I figured if he started to get up I'd just slide off.  Well, I never saw a horse move so fast.  In one fluid motion he stood up into a high buck.  There was no time to...... slide off!  The ground is hard enough from 4 ft up., but, really hard from 10 ft. up!! 

     Over the years I learned a lot about horses.   We had them for many years until everyone went off to college and the chores were just too much for me.  Lots of good memories though.....

This is Fire, 1/2 Arab -- a different colt that I bred.

Meet Cookie Monster the Rooster

Cookie Monster

He is the most gentle (or most timid as it may be) rooster in the whole world. 
We always laugh because his "cocka-doodle-do" is only
 "cocka-doodle"  -- he forgets the end :-)
He is a Birchen Cochin Bantam. 
 Behind him, is a Leghorn, and a Red Sex-Link (hens).


Wheat Grass For Decoration

     Wheat grass -- I can't stand it.  It tastes so green.  Pond sludge, that's what I call it. (I just shuddered thinking about drinking it.)  More power to you guys who can drink it, it is chocked full of vitamins and enzymes.  I prefer to recycle my wheat grass.  I grow it for Easter time because it looks like spring.  I use it as a decoration.  But, when I give my creations a haircut, the ducks and chickens get the greens. (I eat the eggs --- did you follow that recycle bit?)  Buy your whole wheat berries in the health food section of your grocery store, or at your health food store.

Sprinkle wheat berries generously on top of your potting soil.
Leave plenty of room for water -- and it mounds up as it's growing.

Sprinkle a thin layer of potting soil on top and water.
Keep the top layer moist. (don't overdo it though)

By the 2nd day it's getting growing.

...and by day 4 you have a "lawn"
     By day 6 I will be "cutting the lawn" (with a scissors) and giving the clippings to the chickens.  I keep it trimmed to about 3 1/2 inches.  This will scream "spring" for a couple of weeks, looking absolutely beautiful.  Keep it watered, but again, don't get it so soggy you kill it.

     If you want a beautiful (cheap) Easter table decoration, start a new batch on Palm Sunday.  Put some colored eggs in it --- cute.  If you are going somewhere else for Easter dinner, start one for them!


Sunday in Pictures

Go Baby Go!  Grandson Remington started to crawl ........aaahhwww :-)
(All the chiropractors looking at this are saying, "yep, that's a good cross-crawl")

Almost every hen is laying an egg every day - missing one.  Somebody's slackin'
(The 2 bantams haven't started laying yet)


Here you go.....Meet my husband Rick (with his turkey from last spring).
If he won't look at the camera..... I'll just dig out old pictures :-)
As only the wife of a fisherman can say, "he's a keeper".