Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spigot Jar

I'm aware that with every new project comes a set of new "things" that need to be bought in order to get the project done.  That's how I come to have so many saws (but never the exact type of saw that I need!).  I think one of the markers of proficiency in a topic is when you can start a project and don't have to buy any new equipment.  That's me with sewing, and simple home repairs.  I have a well-used crowbar and whammer - what else is there?  Joking. Kind of.

I got the butter churn a few weeks ago, but haven't tried it yet because I need raw milk, and haven't taken the time to go and get some.  Well, yesterday was the day.  I left work at one (double grr for things that make me stay at work an hour longer than planned and have me leaving work in a foul mood).  I drove a different, and much longer way home from work, taking a chance that the self-serve refrigerator at the dairy would still have milk in the afternoon.  And they did!  So I got 4 gallons, brought it home and only then did I start to do online research on how to skim the cream from the top.

It looks like there are 3 ways.  The first is to pour it off while the milk is in the original gallon jug.  The second is to pour the milk into a wide-mouth glass container and use a spoon to take the cream from the top.  The third way, from Food Renegade, is to use a spigot jar to drain the skim milk from the bottom.  I do not have the equipment for ways 2 or 3, but don't expect 1 to really work.

Hm.  I'm going to go off the mountain this weekend (to the hoggett cookoff Jenna mentioned in her blog, coldantlerfarm), so I guess I'll make a stop at Target and see which option for which they sell the equipment.  This is a perfect example of a skill that, at least to my knowledge, has been lost in the dust of ages.

Speaking of dust, I'm going to change subjects now.  There's a mystery here at the house that has me stumped.  For the last month or so, I've got very fine black stuff making it look a little foggy in the house now in the morning, when the sun shines directly in the east windows.  This dust settles on the white refrigerator, highlighting fingerprints, settles on spiderwebs making them look dark, and lots of other places.  I have no idea where it's coming from, but here are my ideas.  Somehow the enclosed oil heater isn't enclosed any more, and these are oil particles?  The most recent load of propane is somehow dirtier, or burns dirtier, and this is soot? It's something from burning wood that isn't dry?  I've eliminated the third one because I haven't been using the woodstove for the last few days, and this stuff is still in the air.  It's just weird.  Of course, if the inside storm windows weren't on, even windows-closed, there would be a breeze moving this stuff around and out.  If it stops when I turn the oil heater off, I'll know it was that.

I still plan on making cultured butter this weekend, if I find the right equipment to skim the cream from the milk.  It should be an adventure!


  1. Gak! Jordan, I think you have a serious problem with your oil heater. I tested out my theory on my husband and he agrees with me that you're (for some reason) getting incomplete combustion in the oil heater and those black particles of dust are carbon floating through the air. It's bad enough the mess it causes but even worse is that they are most likely carcinogenic and could potentially be harmful to you and your animals. Please get someone in to check out the oil heater asap. I've heard of two or three instances where people have left their house tightly closed up for a weekend away and when they returned found EVERYTHING in the house coated with thick, black, oily, carbon. A horrendous clean-up job! One family was told that if they had been asleep in the house when it happened, it could have been a serious health hazard.

    We don't want anything BAAAD to happen to you or your "kids."

  2. Yep - sounds like the oil heater. Same thing happened in the house I grew up in when the oil heater (which had come with the house!) finally went. We had enough smoky/oily residue that my mom had to have professional cleaners come in!

  3. I'll have to turn off the heater and go back to the woodstove and see what happens. I just got the thing a few months ago from Lowe's and it would annoy me if it's broken already!