Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fake it Till You Make it

It works!  Mostly.  I used to be pretty uncomfortable teaching, but would fake being comfortable, calm, in control.  Eventually it would happen.  You can fake being happy.  Smile, laugh.  Act happy.  You'd be surprised at how often you eventually end up being happy. Sometimes you can fake being a homesteader.  Eventually you make it. 

But sometimes faking it just doesn't work.  Lately I've been going through the motions of some homestead-y stuff.  Last week when it was still 1000 degrees outside and a million percent humidity (hottest summer on record in these parts!), I tried to can tomatoes.  I started to cook the tomatoes down, but then decided it was too hot and put the whole pot into the fridge.  There the pot sat until yesterday when I needed the pot to make the mozzarella cheese I've been thinking about making all summer.

I wanted to try Italian style mozzarella cheese which is much more lengthy and difficult than American style mozzarella cheese (and better tasting).  When I finally got around to reading the directions again, I realized that it's a two-day process.  Good thing I waited until the last day of a 3-day weekend to read the instructions!  So I decided to make American style mozz cheese, but then screwed that up too.  I let the temperature get too high, and was lazy about getting the temperature back down before adding citric acid.  The milk got really clumpy and stringy before I added the rennet, and the curd never formed where I could get a clean break.  I didn't know what I had done wrong, I read and read online but could never quite figure out what I did wrong or if the cheese was rescue-able.  I thought I had over-acidified the milk, but the litmus paper said No.  Other options are bacteria in the raw milk, or possibly the milk was too hot.  Since I didn't know what the problem was, I didn't try to rescue the cheese.  Here are the non-curds.

Boy are the chickens happy about that!  The cheese non-curd AND the tomato stuff.

I couldn't fake those two things.  My mind had to be on the subject at hand.  I had to be fully present, and I just ... wasn't.

That's why I did so much of the one task I don't need to be present for.  I moved wood into the really nice looking new woodshed!  I also did a bit of spinning, which is also tolerant of me being not focused.

The fire department's gotten 3 calls since Friday morning, which is unusual.  I missed the Friday morning call because the radio didn't work and my phone ringer was off.  (Rats!  It was a structure fire we were third on!)  I couldn't go on the Saturday night call because I couldn't keep Percy contained - it took him a whole minute to push the shed window open and jump out.  So when the radio went off on Monday morning for a structure fire, flames through the roof with our station as primary, I was ready. I threw half-eaten eggs and bacon in the fridge and zoomed to the station.  I was pulling on my gear, the door was opening for the first truck to roll out as people ran in - and then it was called in as a controlled burn (flames higher than a roof).  The exhale from all 5-6 of us was audible. We hung around for 10-15 minutes to chat and then filtered home, me to some cold breakfast.  Oh, the adrenaline!


  1. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've made our chickens really, really happy with my kitchen disasters. That's a nice thing about having them . . . they'll eat almost anything and it decreases my guilt about wasting food. It's not really wasting at all. We get it back in the form of wonderful, healthy eggs or, eventually, great compost!

  2. Ebb and flow, ebb and flow. You'll get your groove back one of these days, old friend.