Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I must begin by saying thank you to all those who serve or have served and their families. Thank you for your sacrifices!
We accomplished much this weekend. A new area of pasture is nearly fenced in for the goats and the horse (with the bonus effect of keeping the chickens out of our garden). I have to give all credit for this one to my parents. I was out long enough to hold a post for a few seconds and take some pictures, but then I had to call it quits.
|Be sure to enlist the help of your trusty canine companions when fencing.|
Why, you ask? I was stung by a bee the day before yesterday. I finished putting up the milk and was back down at the barn when a bee stung the inside of my ankle for seemingly no reason. It left behind its stinger (which was a first for me) so I hobbled quickly to the house. Being the big baby that I am, I found my mom and said, “I need you to get the stinger out of my leg!” I don’t think we fully succeeded. Mom finally got the venom sac off, and I removed part of the stinger, but I believe a small amount stayed embedded. I guess my body will expel it like a splinter, or perhaps my ankle will never be useful again. We’ll see.
I thought that maybe the sting wouldn’t be so bad. It appeared to be a normal welt the first day. Yesterday, however, my ankle swelled almost double the size of my other ankle and became painful, particularly when walking or standing. So there was no fencing help to be had from me. As I type this, my ankle looks like a pregnant woman’s who has been eating straight salt. But I always try to remind myself in frustrating situations like these, “if this is the worst thing you have to deal with today, you’re one of the lucky ones.” And it’s true.
I managed, pre-sting, to collect a fair amount of honeysuckle blossoms (though not as many as I needed) for dehydrating.
I have a couple of projects in mind if I can collect enough blossoms before the vines stop blooming. Honeysuckle has long been a favorite of mine. Smelling it on the breeze is one of the best parts of summer. Unfortunately, the dehydrated flowers don’t seem to have much of a smell, but they retained their color beautifully.
If you try this at home, be aware that the blossoms are very delicate. It takes a very short time in the dehydrator for them to be done. Also cut off the little green nibs at the bottom of the blossom before dehydrating.
I also made homemade ice cream in our new ice-less ice cream machine. Neither rain nor sleet nor sting of bee shall keep me from my ice cream!
I made this ice cream using Nigerian Dwarf milk with a bit of cows milk. Nigerian Dwarf milk is super high in butterfat. Their average is 6-7% butterfat. Compare that to an average of 3-4% for standard dairy goats, 4.9% for Jersey cows, and 2.5-3.6% for Holsteins. With this in mind, in the future I would replace a portion of milk with straight cream when making the recipe with cow’s milk, just to achieve that smoother, creamier texture. Note: This recipe was originally adapted from a recipe by Deborah Niemann.
Here’s the Recipe:
Homemade Maple Ice Cream
1 quart Nigerian Dwarf goat milk (consider substituting some milk with cream when making it with other types of milk)
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
4 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
Scrapings of one vanilla bean, if desired
Combine milk, vanilla bean, and maple syrup in saucepan on stove and heat slowly. Don’t allow it to boil yet.
Temper your egg yolks by adding a small amount of the warmed mixture to them and stirring thoroughly. Slowly whisk yolks into main mixture and then bring slowly to boil, stirring frequently and not allowing to stick. Remove from heat.
Pour off through a strainer and chill for at least a few hours or overnight.
Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions for preparing the machine, pour in the custard, and let the machine do its thing. You can also place the finished ice cream in the freezer to allow it to thicken even more before eating.
The ice cream will taste like maple syrup, so you can substitute other sweeteners if you’re not a fan. Honey would be another natural option, but would have a milder flavor. You can experiment with toppings and add-ins.