What a beautiful weekend to celebrate the return of the Autumn season. We welcomed guests for the 3rd annual Urban Homestead Tour sponsored by Buckley’s Homestead Supply and Colorado Springs Urban Homesteading. There was an obvious change in this year’s conversation compared to the first tour. Whether it be chickens or gardens or goats, almost everyone that came through already had a piece of something or other going on in their neck of the woods. Urban homesteading and backyard farming are no longer anomalies. What a beautiful thing! I didn’t get any pictures from the tour this year but I’d like to thank everyone that came out. It was a joy and we can’t wait to see what you’re up to next year!
Meanwhile, another season is upon us and though the sun still shines down brightly, I am loving the cooler mornings and the signs of fall at my door. Though our food harvest is not large this year, we’ve gratefully lived and learned through yet another Colorado gardening season. We produced the most beautiful and tasty carrots I’ve ever experienced and eaten enough mustard greens to make even the toughest palette weep. Our hives are strong and I have good faith that they’ll make it through Winter and our goats and chicken are happy and healthy. Mostly in this time of harvest I am grateful for the community of family and friends that have been gathered. We are truly and beautifully coming together to create the Village. I love you. Thank you for your awesomeness.
Who knows where we’ll be this time next year. You might see us on the 4th annual Homestead Tour or visit us for a cob workshop on a bit more land. But what I do know is this: We’ll be working harder. We’ll be growing wiser. We will be waking everyday with gratitude and loving each other the best we can.
Happy Fall, Y’all.
Dig Deep. Share Joy. Live Inspired.
I took a class at Buckley’s Homestead Supply on Saturday. It was so awesome. I wanted to hug the instructor because that’s just the kind of dork I am. I’d been waiting to take this class for a long time, and was so excited when it came. We had to work the baby schedule a little bit with Daisy out of town, but Niko knew it was important and that the Farm would reap the benefits. So Leelu went a’cobbin’ with Daddy-O.
I was always a little intimidated by solid soap making because of my lack of understanding about Lye, but with our abundance of Goat Milk it seemed silly not to lean this new craft. When I found out that Allison was offering classes courtesy of Lil Bit Farms out in Ellicott, I jumped on it. It turns out that Lye is not that scary after all. Or Diane was just a really good teacher and put me right at ease. Maybe both.
I forgot the camera so didn’t get any action pictures, but trust me, as soon as I have all of my supplies at the ready I’m gonna be a soap making junkie so there will be plenty of photos in our future. Here’s a little sample of what we made in the class.
If you have any interest at all in making your own soap, I definitely recommend taking this class if you’re local. $65 may seem like a lot at first, but for a 3 & 1/2 hour class, all the tools and instructions to make 3 batches of soap, and an awesome skill that puts you a little bit closer to self sufficiency, it’s more than worth it.Plus, you’re supporting two small business at once. Score. And if you’re out of town, I bet there is somewhere that offers classes in your area, just google soap making class and the name of your city or town.
Today was hot. HOT. With so many things calling us outdoors, the heat was overwhelming. But it was nice. Better the sun shining high then clouds and rain on all the events of importance.
This weekend marks Territory Days. A great annual gathering for the town. A headache for Westside residents. Unfortunately there are bad seeds out there that just don’t seem to get that this is a neighborhood (not to mention Planet Earth) and will just throw their trash and gigantic turkey legs all over the sidewalks and yards. It’s a shame. I won’t even talk about the parking problem. It’s absolute madness. Daisy is going tomorrow with her camera though. If anything, it should make for some great photography.
A view of the march in the distance.
The March against Monsanto rally was today too, and I had every intention of being amongst the protestors. Leelu had other plans though. Part of those plans included a sheer determination to skip her nap. So we just tried to go with it, and went for the long walk in the sun the 10+ blocks to get to the meeting place. We only made it 6 before she just couldn’t go anymore. We took a breather at Buckley’s. I was going to just rest, nurse her and continue on my way. But Ed was there and he was heading back to his house where Niko was working so we hitched a ride. We ended up just hanging for awhile, meandering to the street to watch the march, and then going home a couple hours later. I did make Leelu a cute protest shirt though. She’ll be sporting it often.
I was hoping for hoards. I wanted to look down the street and see a mob walking for the injustice of it all. But maybe there were many mothers like me who’s children were hot and ornery from missing their naps. You know, Life. But I did see later the many photos of the marches and gatherings all over the world. It gives me hope for humanity.
Niko had a nice handful helping him stomp in the mud. I applaud those that were there in that heat. It was intense. I look forward to getting my toes dirty soon. The sun and heat are a bit much for the Bug just yet. This is the first actual Barrel Oven project. Maybe one of these days Niko will pop on here and tell you about it. Until then, here are some pictures of the progress.
So far, I’m quite enjoying the cheese making process. It takes time, to be sure. But the outcome is divine. One of the interesting things is the flavor (or lack of). I like the ‘off’ taste of goat cheese. But my goats don’t have it. I’ve heard tale of the cause being related to keeping a buck, or pasteurization, or letting the milk sit awhile before cooling. I don’t know. I’m a little bummed to be honest. People might think that’s crazy. I’ve even had some converts already that have changed their opinions of goats milk from tasting ours. But I don’t know, I want goaty cheese.
It is still mighty yummy though. I haven’t flavored it with anything yet in the actual process. But I’ve mixed it will jam and spread it on crackers. Holy yum. And it’s been used in a quiche and just to snack on. I’m pleased. The mozzarella was more difficult, and I need to play with the brine to create a saltier outcome. But it was SO awesome to feel that warm cheese stretch in my hands!
We purchased some Down To Earth Cheesecloth from Mountain Mama’s, to have an extra about. I did not like it. It was almost useless. It would be good for a chest compress or a cleaning cloth or something, but for cheese making, I was unhappy. The first one we got was from Buckley’s. I don’t remember the brand, but it was perfect and I’ll be buying more.
I was fretting about a place to drain my cheese because we don’t have much hanging space in our kitchen, but of course my ingenious husband came to the rescue. Magnet on the stove hood and ta-da! Perfecto!
The one thing I need to figure out is the Whey. So far, I haven’t used it. And I want to. As I’ve said before, I frown on waste big time. So I want to be able to use absolutely everything. I know you can use it in place of milk in recipes and such I just haven’t tried it yet. I also have a recipe from the Goat Cheese Lady to make ricotta from the leftover mozzarella whey. So maybe I’ll try that next time.
I made yogurt, too. The second time was a charm on that one. I think I might need to invest in another dairy thermometer…
Photo from Colo Spgs Urban Homesteaders Meetup Group
Allison and Ed Buckley have gifted the Westside with our very own Homestead Supply Store! They had their grand opening on Friday the 21st and I was just SO excited to have something of this nature in my neighborhood. It really proves that positive change is happening, folks. They offer chicken and other small livestock feed for all of us backyard farmers and urban homesteaders, lots of books on the subjects, canning, cheese, and soap making supplies and much, much more. Niko put our name in their give away for the grand opening and we won! I’ve never won. I may have even shouted with joy when he told me. (The dork in me.) We won a 7.5L Harsh Gartopf fermenting crock! A super big deal. Niko’s gonna make some pickles for our first experiment. Yay!
So go see Allison and get your farmer on. Tell ‘em we sent ya. They’re located at 1501 West Colorado Avenue. Here’s a link to their facebook page.