Anything homemade from scratch is superior to store bought, that's a given. If it weren't, wow, I would have a lot of extra hours in my day! There are certain foods where there is a drastic difference between store bought and homemade, while others are less noticeable. Pasta is one of those night and day foods when it comes to homemade and store bought. This is why I have cut out store bought pasta out of my life when it comes to noodles, lasagna sheets, manicotti, spaghetti, and fettuccine. I haven't learned how to make specialty pasta types such as bowtie, ziti, or bucatini, so for now those are still a store bought item for me. But, I have no doubt I will learn how to do it.
Homemade pasta is quite possible one of the easiest things to make, and once you get the hang of it, you can really do it quickly. It can be made in less than two minutes with a food processor, then after the resting period, I am able to roll out a pound with a hand crank and cut it in less than ten minutes. That is twelve minutes well spent in my book.
Below is a very basic pasta recipe, where I show you how to make it in a food processor to expedite the process. Believe it or not, humidity has a pretty significant effect on how much liquid the flour needs, so depending on the day eggs alone aren't enough and you may need some water to get the proper consistency.
The one store bought grocery item that can always be found in my pantry is roasted red peppers. I absolutely love them. I love them in quesadillas, pizza, omelettes, frittata, risotto, you name it. So this year I thought, "okay that's another staple that I'm going to eliminate my dependency on the grocery store for and do it myself"! Roasting them is super easy, and canning them is as well. All you need is a pressure cooker.
Because my peppers from my garden seem to be struggling to ripen, I decided I didn't want to risk not being able to can any by waiting. So I hit up the farmer's market in the next town and purchased 11.5 pounds of various colored peppers and got the party started.
I don't know if there is another vegetable that is as versatile when it comes to canning as the homely tomato (it will always be a veggie to me!). This year I planted seven varieties, and am well on my way to preserving them in more than that many ways. My Nana is the one who taught me how to make sauce several years ago, and to this day I still do it the way she taught me. Like pretty much everything else in my life, I have taken the foundations I was taught and expanded upon them. This has led me to new varieties of tomatoes as well as new preparations for me to preserve.
I preserve different tomato types in different ways depending on which they are best suited for. Some make better sauce, others hold their shape better for diced, whole peeled, etc. I love finding new varieties and new ways to preserve the bounty of the summer, especially with pantry staples. It is a ton of work to say the least, but having shelves full of every type of tomato style you need in the dead of winter cannot be beat!
When we first got Karen and Alan last summer, the intention was to use them to clear our land. Milking goats was nowhere near being on, or even in the vicinity of my radar. But, it didn't take me long after getting them to jump on the goat milk train and decide that I wanted to expand my herd and start breeding for milk. For the past year we have kept them in a dog house with a door we could close them in. This set up is not suited for kidding or raising kids, and although we knew it was temporary anyway, the plans for breeding pushed us to get moving on a permanent solution.
There is an existing concrete slab on our property, adjacent to the one side of the goat's perimeter fence. This is where some sort of barn used to stand, and the slab is roughly 11x50 feet. Due to financial and spacial constraints, we decided on a 11' by 16' structure. Because this is going to exclusively be for small dairy goats (and Annie of course), this is a good size to grow into and if designed right, can provide more than enough space for the amount of goats we need.
Earlier this summer we welcomed a new addition to our farm family, a Maremma Sheepdog also known as a Livestock Guardian Dog. Not to be confused with herding dogs, LGD's live with their stock full time to protect and guard them, not herd them. Our house and property is surrounded by over 600 acres of protected conservation land, filled with natural predators. We didn't have issues with predation before, but when my companion dog Copper passed, the fox, coyotes, and raccoons started creeping in. We keep small Nigerian Dwarf goats which are vulnerable to predators such as bobcats and coyotes, with recent attacks happening in neighboring towns. This led to me reaching out to rescue leagues for a couple different LGD breeds including The Great Pyrenees, Maremma Sheepdog, and Anatolian Shepherd. I found a Maremma close by, who was a working 2 year old LGD but needed to be re-homed. I went to pick her up in Maine and she has been settling in fantastically since. Annie takes her job very seriously, and there has been a learning curve on both ends during the past few months. She is truly unique, and unlike any dog I have ever owned or known. As she has settled in and gotten more comfortable and established our home as hers, she has displayed some interesting traits that seem to be right in line with typical LGD behavior.
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