Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lauren made a batch of better butter...

Lauren is our butter maid. She's become quite proficient at keeping the fridge stocked with nice, fresh butter. Here's the method she has found easiest to use:

First, Lauren pours the cream off the milk into the blender. We have found that the butter is best if the cream is allowed to sit for a couple of days before we process it. By trial and error, Lauren also found the butter develops faster by processing it about a cup at a time on low speed.

The cream goes through a really "thick" stage before the butter separates out. At that point, Lauren pours the butter and the whey over cheesecloth (or a thin diaper rag!) into a strainer. Here she is using the strainer in a double broiler set, allowing the whey to drain into the pan beneath the strainer.

Here the butter sits while the other batches are being made. Lauren just pours each batch into the same cheesecloth, as long as she has the room.

When she's done with the last batch, she gently squeezes as much whey as she can out of the butter.

Lauren then leaves the butter to sit in the cheesecloth up to a few hours, allowing any remaining whey to further drain out. This seems to make a difference in the amount of buteric acid that builds up as the butter ages. The buteric acid is the guilty party for making your butter smell rancid as it seeps to the outside surface over time. To further avoid this buildup, we rinse the butter with cold water occasionally and pat it dry.

Lauren stores the butter in an airtight container for the fridge.

Sometimes when we need to freeze any extra butter, we weigh it out in 4oz. baggies for convenience in baking.

Dear Lauren, Thank you for all the time you put into making our great butter. I think of you every time I pull it out of the fridge, and each time I pass up the butter in the grocery aisle. Love, Mom

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Barn... Finally!

This Thanksgiving (2009) marks our 11th year living out here on Stonewall Farm. After all that time and multiple dog litters, chickens, sheep, pigs, hay, a tractor, and various farm implements, we finally have a barn underway! These are some pictures of early construction.

Caleb stood on the bucket of the tractor
and flipped the trusses right side up to be fit
in place. Everyone but Caleb seemed to think it
was a great idea.

Machen, Paige, and Shelby entertained
themselves while everyone was working.

Be looking for an update! Right now all the trusses and purlins are up and the roofing is half way done. We'll try to post pictures soon!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reformation Day

This past weekend we celebrated Reformation Day with our friends in Centerville, TN. We worked hard, played hard, and worshipped hard, as is the Presbyterian way. Enjoy the pictures!

The kids competed in the Turkey Shoot...

...along with Miss Brooke.

Some are enjoying the moment...

...more than others.

The Diet of Worms didn't agree with Machen.

The boys played a game of football. (Caleb is in the black hat.)

Friends were made...

Machen and Auby observed the football game...from a safe distance.

All in all, a great weekend!