The Whirly Girl

Archive for January 2010

Last weekend I made Sally Fallon proud.  At least, she would be if she knew me and knew that on Saturday I ventured to a farm outside of town, that I had tracked down online, and came back with an ice chest full of raw milk, free-range eggs, and pastured meat.  I”m just a little proud of myself.

I’ve been casually looking for sources for milk and meat and eggs for a while.  A lot of my recent internet reading has been about “Real Food” and why you should eat it, the evil that is factory farming and the nastiness that is grocery store food, and how bad corn syrup and soy products are for your health.  I agree with all of these things.  I also l-o-v-e shopping at my grocery story and have a sweet tooth.

However, we have been slowly journeying towards more wholesome and less refined food.  I love cooking and baking, so I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary, just experimenting with different methods, recipes, and ingredients.  A lot of those ingredients actually come from the so-called evil grocery story, because I happen to live near a very good one.  I do love it so.

As much as I love the grocery store, I also loved the farm we visited yesterday.  The unassuming, down-to-earth owner talked to us about how he used to run a commercial dairy, but a few years back decided to start selling his milk raw to customers that drive more than a mile down a gravel road to get to it.  This is what my car looked like after we did:

And he talked to use about what he is learning about raw milk and how he wants to start making and selling cheese when he retires from his job in town this spring.  And yogurt–when a 60-something dairy farmer in rubber boots talks to you about “just experimenting with making yogurt”, how can you not be sold? 

We bought milk full of lovely cream, risen to the top.

We bought free-range eggs from happy chickens.  One of them was even green.

We bought t-bone steaks and ground lamb, and then the owner threw in a package of sausage as a bonus.

While we giddily made our way  home (well, I was giddy and Scott was very calmly happy about his steaks), we were impressed with the the complete lack of negativity with which this man spoke.  He told us all about his products and methods and the benefits of raw milk and free-range eggs, all without speaking ill of grocery stores or pasteurized milk or farmers that use pesticides.  Our 20 minute conversation with this dairy farmer was more convincing than all of my research put together.  I think we’ll be back.

I finally learned how to knit with three needles last month and here is the, admittedly blurry, result:

I used this pattern from this website that I recently stumbled across (and really, really like!) and self striping Big Mexiko wool yarn.  My aunt Myra gave me this yarn about six years ago, when I first discovered knitting, and it sat patiently in my knitting basket until last month.  I am so pleased with the result.  There a few holes and rough patches, especially in the first one I made, but now I feel like I know what I’m doing with three needles.  I started another pair in grey last weekend and will attempt the version with a thumb this time around.  I have to say the pictures of the first pattern drew me to it: I have that same sweater, in grey, and drink that brand of kombucha.  When she saw the pattern and pictures, one friend said, “It’s you!”

I wasn’t sure how warm wrist warmers would actually be since your fingers aren’t covered but I’ve discovered they really are useful, especially when you’re typing or doing anything else that requires your fingers.  I’m predicting I’ll wear them at work a lot as I travel between my six classrooms of varying temperatures.

I felt tentative about making resolutions for the new year, mostly because the secret ones in my head seem really big and hard and scary even without writing them down.  So, instead, I have a few things that I would “like to do” this new year.

  • I would like to use the grain mill attachment I got for Christmas on a regular basis and grind all of our flour.
  • I would like to learn how to make cheese.
  • I would like to continue my journey in Real Food.
  • I would like to be an avid reader again.
  • I would like to take the trip to visit friends in Canada that we’ve been talking about.
  • I would like to learn to use my grandma’s sewing machine, passed on to me at Christmas, to make lovely and useful things. 
  • I would like to make things nice enough to be able to sell someday.
  • I would like to blog interesting and thoughtful ideas on a regular basis.

There are my tentatives.  They seem more enjoyable than the more exercise, less coffee, organization goals I have attempted embracing at the start of previous years. 

Happy 2010.

My mom always told me that life keeps getting better, not that it was bad in the moment, but that there are continually things to look forward to.  A lot of good and happy things happened this year, so what will 2010 hold, I wonder.  I have some goals for myself and Scott and I have a few things we’re planning for.  But before we get into that, here’s to 2009.

I started knitting on a regular basis and am even getting better at it.  Next step, cables.

We went on an Easter weekend camping trip to Big Bend National Park.

My sister and her boyfriend got engaged, then graduated from college the next month.

Scott and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary.

I learned how to make kombucha, and have even kept it up.

We successfully grew a (small) container garden. 

Scott smoked not one, but two, briskets.

We figured out how to throw fun parties in our yard.

Lastly, we paid off one of my student loans.  I wrote the check on Dec. 31.  This loan was a small one, compared to our others, but one step closer to being debt free and one monthly payment we don’t have to make anymore! 

So long, 2009.  You were a good year.