Friday, February 8, 2013

Winter Musings

1/2 gallon milk+ 1/2 cup plain yogurt ->1/2 gallon homemade yogurt

I made yogurt at Casa Maria last week. We had a lot of extra 2% milk so I used that plus some store bought yogurt. If I was making it at home, I'd use whole milk. If I knew exactly who all would want to eat the yogurt, I may have added powdered milk to make it thicker for the folks that like that sort of thing. I've been making crockpot yogurt for over a year now and I'm loving it. I am able to save 1/2 cup yogurt from most batches to make the next batch... so I just pay for the price of 1/2 gallon of milk instead of 1/2 gallon of yogurt. Neal and I like to eat this yogurt with fruits and nuts in the morning. We've also substituted it for sour cream.

This is the first recipe I found:Crockpot 365

This one was recommended to me by Debbie Styka and has some good ideas for trouble shooting: 
Girls Guide to Butter

Making a scarf for Neal while listening to an audiobook

I'm in the process of working through all my winter craft projects that are waiting for me. I promised myself "no new projects until I finish the old ones". Neal and I bought this yarn for less than $2 at the thrift shop in Eureka last spring. Now I'm about 1/3 of the way through the scarf.

My mom and sister have gotten me hooked on audiobooks for my craft time/drive time/ and walking time entertainment. Current favorites include Papillon, Sherlock Holmes. Neal is recommending the Odyssey, but I haven't tried it yet.

 I've been trying to get back into an exercise routine this winter even though it can be quite cold. I'm shooting for a whole month of cardio, strength training, and yoga every day... reward: dance lesson! It's been 1 week so far and I find I'm sleeping better and waking up more well rested... Woo hoo! I'm trying to bundle up and bring either the phone+headseat or ipod+earbuds to keep me entertained on the walks. Skiing has been great now that we have snow again...

Neal and I cross country skied at the farm last Friday

It took about 15 minutes for our hands to warm up but then we felt great
Electric fence is off until the snow melts...
the chickens are too chicken to play in the snow anyway
Mercedes and her friend met us at Dorothy Carnes park to ski on Saturday
The 90 minutes of skiing flew by!

Crowd Sourcing

I sent my family this email recently to get some outside opinions on making the winter go by more smoothly. They encouraged me to share the process on the blog in case anyone else is going through a similar situation.

"Ok Folks- I could use your help here. Things are moving along slowly here at the farm with the cold weather and I'm running into a few personal kinks that I will list below. My initial plan was to just suck it up or buy a second car and possibly get a part time job to solve them. I believe that was the plan because it was the first idea to come to me and also it's familiar to me). After talking with Vance, I realized I could probably brainstorm and come up with more solutions to choose from rather than a black and white option of "just deal with the farm as is" or "buy a car and get a second job".
So, I'll give you the list of my interests in this endeavor, some pertinent details, and a couple of ideas to get the ball rolling. Then if you are interested, please send any ideas that pop into your head as possible solutions my way. It's a brainstorming session so it won't be the time to weigh the merits of any ideas.... we'll just get them on the table to we have lots to choose from.

1. I'd like to talk with or see other people besides Neal at least every other day (currently if Catherine is gone, Neal is the only person I see for a week at a time if we're at the farm).
2. Develop more of a routine (I thrive when I'm kept busy enough that I need to use my spare time wisely)
3. Find a way to develop some autonomy in getting off the farm sometimes.

4. Free Catherine from chicken duties."

They sent back a wide variety of ideas. Here are a few of them
-Get more reliable internet
-Get an iphone (or smartphone)
-Pay a middle schooler to chicken sit
-Hire an intern
-Rideshare/relay rides/ zipcar
-Take online classes
-Audiobooks and library books
-Barter/trade for chiken sitting
-Get a second car
-Get a part time job
-Learn a new skill
-Travel to visit family

Getting more reliable internet was encouraged by almost every single person that responded... so we're looking into that option first.

We're also looking into the 2nd car situation. We want to see if it's most financially feasible to get a 2nd car (and possibly rent it out on Relay Rides on weekends) or to pay to reserve a zipcar whenever I'm on call. If we did get a 2nd car, we might make it a truck so we don't have to rely on friends so often to help us with simple farm errands (like picking up straw). Check back for updates on the problem solving!

 For the ideas, I got creative for how to sort them...
A list of all the suggestions and which problems they would help solve
Mind map of all the problems and which ideas could help with each one

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