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Lynn Woodard

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since Jul 02, 2012
Northern Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
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Recent posts by Lynn Woodard

R Scott wrote:A small bit to know how to do it or a loaf of bread once a week is one thing; bread for a family of 6-12 is quite another-that is not sustainable.



What's not sustainable, the large family or making bread for them? Do you understand the term "sustainable"?
8 years ago
I have a Country Living Mill and many other tools and appliances that are non-electric. I enjoy working with my hands, and yes, I'm a bit of a throwback. I enjoy doing the small bit of manual labor to see the process through whether it be hand-quilting, soap-making, milking my goats, or kitchen duties. For the small amount of time needed to grind my grain for bread, hand-whisk my eggs, make cheeses by hand, knead bread dough, or even pull the little string in my manual "cuisinart", my focus is on the process that I am doing "by hand".

I can't figure out why someone wants to take a simple process that is manual and "off grid", then add the 'multi-tasking' factor to it while also mechanically altering the 'by hand' slower method. Isn't part of the purpose of voluntary simplicity and hand work about using your own hands, not mechanizing the process with an add-on feature? It takes mere minutes to grind the necessary grain for a few loaves of bread. Adding a bicycle to the process is an energy substitute, sure, but in doing so the grain is no longer ground by hand but by additional mechanisms. I just don't get it.....
8 years ago
We grow most of our own food and have both "meat" and dual purpose chickens. The "meat" chickens are generally the Cornish Cross birds and we butcher at 9 weeks. We've never once had a spontaneous death that people speak of. We raise these birds separately from the regular flock -- they are in a big tractor arrangement and I've been doing this for more than 25 years. Yeah, before Salatin came to the urban-crowd. The chicken tractor is moved daily so they get fresh grassy greens to pick at and we keep them in a tractor to confine them somewhat while also utilizing the benefits with a fresh daily grass 'floor'. Generally, we have either 25 or 30 Cornish at a time, depending upon the order we place. We feed the Cornish a 19% protein organic feed and supplement with hand-picked forage and garden veggies. When we butcher, we have a full weekend. We butcher half of the flock per day, and we skin them to save time and energy. We don't eat the skin anyway.

Our dual purpose chickens are Barred Rock, Astralorp, Orpington, Wyandotte, and Sussex. We have a flock of 24 (they're 12 months old) and this year, 1 Speckled Sussex rooster. We are incubating a few eggs here and there to perpetuate the flock -- they'll be mixed since we only have the one rooster. Over the years, the Astralorp and Orpingtons will lay year round if we provide a bit of supplemental light (Zone 7, north Virginia area). This is a desirable trait for us. Although we do cull and butcher the dual purpose chickens, the finished bird (the young roo) is generally between 2-3 pounds instead of the 7-8 pound dressed Cornish Cross. Last year we opted for a new breed, the Silver Laced Wyandotte and will cull them as we find they're a bit territorial and not as productive or docile as the other breeds are. Hands down, the Rock, Orpington, and Astralorp are our favorite dual purpose birds and they have also weighed out the best as dual purpose upon butchering.

In my opinion, the only way to cook an older bird is by slow cooking or pressure cooking, ground up, and fed to our dogs.

As for the commercial poultry business -- we're not far from a number of processing plants so we see the truck traffic once in a while. Most transported birds are dead while in transit to the slaughterhouse. Disgusting.
8 years ago
Gray, I make yoghurt every week (or more often) and use dehydrated cultures because it's more reliable and less expensive. I've never made yoghurt with mesophilic culture, I stick with the thermophilic cultures. Using your procedures where milk is heated to 180-degrees F, you should use the thermophilic cultures. The mesophilic cultures should not use milk that goes over 100 degrees or so.

There are a couple of thermophilic strains that are available and each gives a different result, so it's best to try them and see which one (or combo) suits your taste. Many yoghurts use Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii spp. bulgaricus and they'll work in concert to bring acid into the milk, allowing it to coagulate.

I have made yoghurt using my own previously homemade yoghurt, as you are doing, but it typically produces a more 'liquid' yoghurt. You can reculture your own yoghurt for 4-5 times before needing to make a new batch, just to keep the bacteria alive.

To thicken yoghurt, some people will bring the milk to a boil beforehand. Of course, it is cooled before it is innoculated. Some people also add some nonfat dry milk to thicken the finished yoghurt -- to me, the addition of a commercial product to homemade yoghurt from my own organic goat milk makes no sense.

I've never incubated yoghurt overnight, as in 8-12 hours, because I'm not interested in exceptionally 'tart' yoghurt. My yoghurt is incubated in 4-6 hours and last Spring I invested in a Yogotherm -- it's so much easier using it on the kitchen counter instead of juggling thermos jugs or coolers.

You might want to check out this supplier for some quality cultures: http://www.dairyconnection.com/commerce/catalog.jsp?catId=11 (I order a variety of cultures from them all the time.)

Hope this helps.
8 years ago