Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mixed Results

After the notification of rattlesnakes lurking, the work on clearing tall grass near the house became much more pressing.  The garden area is in pretty good condition, so that can wait for a day.

The forecast on Friday was for 80+ degrees, so it was clear that anything that needed to be done outside had to be done early.  I moved the three dwarf goats to their temporary "grass clearing pen" near the blackberry bushes to let them get part of the job done.

I then double-checked the truck to make sure I'd gotten all the hornet nests the night before.  All looked clear.

The weed whacker came out at 8:00 am, and I cleared grass immediately near the house until the batteries needed recharging.  The sunflowers in the greenhouse need sunlight and dirt now, so I got them into a spot where they can grow tall and produce their seeds.  I started working on getting the rest of the water out of the pool that got a hole in it and is unusable, but bees started flying around my head as I worked and wouldn't go away.  I decided that that job was better left to another time.

I was sure that I had cornmeal from the Bridgeton Mill in Indiana, but was disappointed to see that it was cornbread mix.  By the way, here's a picture of the Bridgeton Mill, bridge and waterfall.  It's a great place to visit if you happen to be in Indiana.

The mix would have been fine, but I wanted to make the next recipe in Jennifer Reese's book from scratch.  I put some milk on the stovetop to make cajeta and took a look at the next recipe in the book.

I've made mayonnaise before and will probably try Jennifer's recipe, but what really intrigued me was the "milk mayonnaise" which is a Portuguese condiment.  I know my eggs are "safe," but I always worry about making things at home with raw eggs.  I might get over that.  I used to be nervous about raw milk, too.

The recipe for the milk mayonnaise is in Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, and also online at this link.  For me, it was a colossal failure.  I carefully followed the instructions, using the immersion blender, and even going so far as to grab the insert from my food processor that will slowly drizzle oil into the bowl for optimum emulsion.  I spun that concoction for a long, long time, until I felt the handle of the blender start to overheat.  I stopped the blender.  I had slightly thickened milk that tasted like ... garlic infused, oily milk.  It may work for you, but for me it's a fail, and I am going to get over my squeamishness about raw egg mayo.

The good news is that the cinnamon cajeta is a guaranteed success.  I make vanilla cajeta every week, but am making a special cinnamon batch to bring to a birthday party on Saturday.

Ending on the rattlesnake note, after making the cajeta, I noticed Larry mowing the field below where I put the dwarf goats.  I needed to put them back into their regular pen anyway, so went out to do that.  I heard a clank/crash and thought he might have hit a water spigot that hides over there, and sure enough he later came back and had to turn off the water to fix it.  He asked if he could borrow a shovel, and as I walked toward the barn to get one, I saw a big rattlesnake in front of me, heading toward the grass near the barn.  I alerted Larry, who tried to kill it, but it escaped and hid where he couldn't get to it.  Not a good feeling!  Since then, we've spotted and killed one more.

We are watching our step!

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