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December 2009

under a blue moon

Did you know that tonight, New Year's Eve, is a blue moon??  

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When I was growing up, the idea that we'd write the year 2000 sounded like science fiction.  Now, here it is already, the end of the first decade of the first century of the new millennium.  Wow!  Ten years ago, I celebrated with friends and family, at home.  At the stroke of midnight, the world was supposed to plunge into chaos.  Computers and all things computer based were doomed.  Where we gathered to celebrate, it didn't much matter.  There was a lot of snow, food aplenty, no electricity, sledding and a bonfire.  Tonight we have snow, a roaring fire in the wood stove and plenty of power.  After the first round of scallop stuffed mushrooms and champagne, we've eaten nearly our fill.  Seems we don't eat as much as we used to.  The rest of our dinner plans will probably go on hold for tomorrow, extending our holiday.  Nothing wrong with that.  New Year's day is a work day for us.  Holiday decorations must come down before restaurants start serving.  A good dinner waiting when we get home will be perfect.  Besides, by my way of thinking, the holidays continue.  St. Distaff's Day isn't until the 7th.  Tonight is a stop on the way.

I'd like to tell you this picture was taken tonight.  It wasn't.  I took it last week as we passed into Pennsylvania, just before the bridge at Matamoras, at 4:37pm.  The sky was spectacular.  A huge beam of light shot up from the sunset.  I felt sure that if we could only stay and watch, there would be a green flash.   It seemed like the perfect goodbye to the year.

My candles are lit.  A fire will burn all night and into tomorrow's daybreak, carrying light from the old, into the new.  

Happy New Year.


walk with me wednesday

Is it really Wednesday??  Two days before Christmas??  How can it be.  Everything moved SO quickly this year.  I lost it.  The year.  When I went to get the Christmas decorations from the attic, they were still at the bottom of the ladder.  Just where I left them, last winter.  Now here it is again.  This is my wake up call.  More walks, more time to create and reflect.  More time for me.  More time....  it is a hard one.

Last Saturday, with news of a large storm on its way, I went to the woods.  It might be the last time I'd see it uncovered for a while.  I love it bare bones, no leaves to hide behind.  Only structure, texture, and the play of light.   What I found was newly frozen ice.  Proof, that Mother Nature does it best.

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  and then it snowed. 





on making yogurt, still and again

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There has been a resurgence in yogurt making.  I hear people talking about it and read posts on it more and more frequently.  It is a staple in my diet.  I've made it more or less twice weekly for most of my life.  If you like yogurt and use it often, it pays to make it yourself.  The cost is that of the amount of milk you use and if you make it the way I do, of some additional powdered milk.  That's it. Norma has the costs figured out in her recent post

A while back, in 2008, I posted my method for making yogurt.  More recently, I've been reading posts talking about the crock pot method.  I toyed with the idea of using a crock pot several years ago but found that mine stayed too hot for the cultures that I use.  Each yogurt bacteria has, I have been lead to understand, a temperature at which it works best.  Too hot and the culture dies, too cold and it slows down or doesn't work at all.  Also, I like to get it made in a much shorter time frame than the crock pot method uses.  I figure, that if it takes me more than 3-4 hours, something has gone wrong.  Usually, my yogurt works in under three.  My active time in the making depends on how fast I can heat up the milk to scalding.  Not long at all.  The cool down goes on while I do other things, or for about 5 minutes in a sink water bath.  If I have more than 15 minutes invested in the process, I'm lollygagging. The batch I did yesterday went into the frig after about 2 1/2 hours.  

See the way it stays together and yet separates from the side of the pot?  That shows that it has plenty of body.  The texture that you see on the top is from the froth on the milk.  Inside, it is very creamy.  VERY!

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It isn't as thick as sour cream, but it could be if you choose to add more powdered milk and let it work a bit longer.  

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That's my breakfast.  Fruit, yogurt and a about 1/4 cup of granola.  yummmmmm!

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I eat it every morning.  It doesn't get boring.  I look forward to it.  No sugar, no syrup nor honey for me.  Chris, on the other hand, loves his with maple syrup. 

One more thing..

For those of you that prefer using a thermometer, the temp is best between 110 - 120F for most cultures.  If you find you aren't having success, check your temps first.