Summer Vacation Day 57 and 58 – Restoring the Loom

The weather forecast is showing temperatures in the 90’s for the next several days so early morning chores outside give way to indoor chores in the afternoon and evening.

I’ve started refurbishing the loom that I have never used.  I’m hoping that as I take it apart, clean and repair it and reassemble the parts, I will have a better understanding of how to use it.  It’s pretty clear that this point that it is homemade and I will never find instructions so I’m trying to figure out each section – what it is, and how it should be working.  I began with the treadles.  They were dry, have some water damage and the hardware was a hodgepodge of this and that.  I disengaged the chains, removed the hardware, waxed the treadles and put on new eye-bolts, washers and nuts.


After the treadles, I removed the chains and the odd assortment of wires from the lamms.  The assembly is on the left side, containing four lams and three spacers held together by a long bolt and nut.  The whole thing was really floppy with too much empty space on the bolt.  I took it all apart, removed some added hooks, waxed the lams, and put the assembly back together using eight washers to take up the extra space.



Spring Holidays – – – Lazy Days

I love Spring Holidays.  I get to sleep in.  I get to tinker around the house….

Today I woke up around eight and went downstairs to check the chicken incubator.  The temperature had jumped up to 105 over night – way too high.  I’ve spent the rest of the day getting it to settle back to 101, but it still is doing a little too much fluctuating.  I’m hoping tomorrow will be a little better.


I finished up the kiwi jam later in the morning.  The kiwi had been harvested from our vines in January, after the first freeze.  The mixture I made on Sunday had jelled pretty well without the addition of any pectin so I just gave it  a quick blitz with the hand blender to break up the big chunks and then set it back on the heat to boil.  I used my steam canner and some really pretty Weck tuple jars.  I ended up with 6 half pint jars of some really tasty, slightly tart preserves.


I did take one shopping trip today to pick up some herbs and onion sets at the local farm store and a few nice things at the thrift shop.  My favorite was a 1953 edition of Wild Flowers of America.  It has 400 beautiful, full color plates, descriptions and an identification key.  I also found a wonderful old basket with a hand-carved handle.


In the afternoon, I straightened up the living room, watched a couple of episodes of  Monarch of the Glen and took a little nap.  I really love vacation naps.


Spring Holidays Continue… does the rain.

The rain began in ernest today, marking the start of our Spring Holiday Week.  We spent the day in Vancouver, WA visiting thrift shops and picking up our eggs to hatch.

The eggs will go in to the incubator this evening. They should be ready in about 21 days.  We’re hatching at 101 degrees with a damp rag in the incubator to help with humidity.


The thrift stores didn’t yield much but it was fun looking.  We picked up a few canning jars, a wooden cone to make krumkake cones, a cookbook and a small pottery platter. It was a nice day…..and now a nice evening with a lovely fire.

Pork Roast Braised in Milk with Sage and Lemon

Pork Shoulder Braised in Milk

  •  1 boneless pork roast (about 2lb)
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 25 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Zest from 1 lemon, peeled in wide strips with a vegetable peeler

Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).

Season the roast generously with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven and add the olive oil. Put in the pork, searing for 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to a platter and pour off the fat from the pan.

Add the sage leaves. Cook for 1 minute then slowly pour in the milk and cream. Return the pork to the pot and add the bay leaves and lemon zest. When the liquid begins to steam, partially cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook the pork, turning it every 30 minutes, until it reaches 140 degrees. Transfer the pork to a platter and let the pan sauce settle.

 With a sieve, remove the curds from the sauce, and transfer to a small saucepan with a little cream to make a sauce. The juices work well for thinning mashed potatoes.

The beginning of the Spring Holidays

It’s been a busy start to the Spring Holidays this weekend.  We started Saturday morning with a drive out further in to Beavercreek to pick up a gallon of still warm goat milk.  At home, I added a few drops of rennet and wrapped up the pot in a quilt to hold the heat.  After six hours I still had no curd so I got impatient and added some calcium chloride and a bit more rennet.  I finally had enough curds to scoop at about eight in the evening and let it drain overnight.

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On Sunday, I flipped the cheeses, salted them a bit and left them to drain a bit more.  By afternoon, Decided to put a light weight on one and just continue draining the other unweighted.  I’ll leave them overnight and then pop them into the refrigerator.  I even made a little ricotta with the whey.


While the cheese was draining, HH and I ran in to Portland to do a little shopping.  After breakfast at Toast (good, but not great) we stopped at the Goodwill Thrift Store where I found a sweet little pottery piece and a display unit for my school library.

IMG_1418On the way back out to Beavercreek, we found an estate sale that was close to sold out.  I picked up several Franklin Mint edition copies of some classics for 50 cents each as well as a wooden drying rack and a 1907 copy of Natural School Geography – Oregon Edition.

IMG_1419 IMG_1420 Our last stop was my favorite Goodwill Thrift Shop in Milwaukie where I found a hand made pottery colander, a fireplace grate, a wool pillow and a trumpet mute that was hiding among the pots and pans in the kitchenware section.

IMG_1423This evening I baked off the sourdough loaves I had started Saturday morning and made a big pot of chicken noodle soup and started turning some kiwi I had peeled into jam.  Now we’re hanging out watching movies – the new Bond movie (not very exciting yet).

IMG_1427Tomorrow, we’re off to Washington to pick up some fertile eggs for the “chickabator”.  We hope to get a mix of Olive Eggers and Easter Eggers.

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Sourdough Bread – Take 2

I made two more batch of sourdough on Saturday.  I have never had such great luck with a starter.  It’s just lovely.  I used the recipe from Emilie’s Sourdough Beginners Guide at the Clever Carrot again and the dough was beautiful.

I again tested my starter – it floated beautifully.  Then I and added filtered water, olive oil and flour called for (see the site linked above for the recipe).  I let that autolyse for 30 minutes and then added the salt (kosher). Every 30 minutes I pull the dough up and fold it over on itself.  Pull and fold four times – with a ninety degree turn of the bowl each time then cover it back up and wait.   The folding and turning happens during the first two hours, then it’s just a wait until the dough is about 150% of the original volume.

IMG_1392 IMG_1391I left for a few hours to pick up the milk at the dairy and when we returned, I put each batch into a vintage bread tin to proof.  I baked it at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then I lowered the temperature to 400 degrees for another 25 minutes.

The side blew out because I didn’t score it deeply enough, but overall I am pretty happy with the results.