Hilde, Hildie or Hildy….


Hilde the Family Milk Cow

As I said earlier, during my absence from Cultured Palate, a lot has happened. So, I would like to introduce you to our new family milk cow. She is 1/2 Brown Swiss and 1/2 Jersey. The problem is the spelling of her name!

How would you spell it? Hilde, Hildie or Hildy?

My preferred spelling is “Hilde”!

So, while our family disagrees (playfully of course) about the spelling, everyone agrees that Hilde is possibly the best family milk cow we have ever had!

[Continue Reading]

Butchering A Cow


Brisket - soon to be butchered grass fed beef

“Butchering a Cow” might sound like a step-by-step tutorial, but I really just want to share with you how we butchered our steer Brisket (while encouraging you to also branch out beyond your comfort zone).

We purchased Brisket when he was a few days old from a local dairy (and steer-ified him soon thereafter). As his name implies, we considered him not as a pet but  future meat for our table. Last week, that happened – Brisket was re-located to our freezer.

Now, before I go to far, I want you to know that I took lots of photos and had trouble deciding which ones to show you! Those selected will hopefully help you get an idea of the actual process we went through. The described event is not something we dream about nor relish, but our farm life has become very practical, very real and a million miles away from the Douglas’s and Green Acres. We have taught our children to realize that not all animals are pets and there is a cost for everything. They know that most cows are raised for milk and meat – hamburger tastes delicious, but it is because the cow is no more! It is important to be reminded, in our society of instant gratification, that there is more to our food than the sanitized, FDA approved packages on the shelf at the local grocery store.

[Continue Reading]

Building with ICF – Phase 2


digging with the backhoe

Finally!

I really can’t believe we have started!

Yes, this week John began digging out the dirt to expand the basement walls of our home which overlooks the vineyard! If you have been following our adventure of starting the vineyard and building our own home, you know that we are now living in what will eventually be the basement – we finished phase 1 at the end of 2011.

As you might imagine, we have saved a lot of money by building ourselves and had a lot of fun in the process! But, like everything it takes time and patience. Building the house must fit around vineyard work which pays the bills! So, our primary time to work on the expansion is now, after harvest and before pruning which will begin in late January.

[Continue Reading]

Emme


Emme 10-13

I thought I would give you a break this week on Family Friday’s from the vineyard work/harvest and update you on our family milk cow, Emme.

Well, almost.

Let me just say before moving on to our escapades with a family milk cow, our last harvest is scheduled for tomorrow. We will be harvesting all of our Italian reds, Aglianico and Montepulciano, at one time. They will be harvested separately but since the crop load is so much smaller than normal (thanks to the late freeze) it is just not cost efficient for the winery to send an 18 wheeler twice. Plus, they are both ready to harvest.

Now, moving on to life outside the vineyard and yes, we do have one   ;)

[Continue Reading]

EIFS on Basement Complete!


EIFS on basement finished

Hopefully, we are done with water leaks in the house! It will be so nice to enjoy a rainy day without worrying about mopping up puddles as the rain comes under the walls!

I am now in Georgia visiting my mother and sister but before I left, the EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system) on the exterior house walls was completed!

Since we are living in what will eventually be the basement of our home overlooking the vineyard, we wanted to wait to complete the exterior of the basement walls until the upstairs was finished. But, we got tired of puddles! So, what started as an effort to use up the EIFS materials that were left over from  building the barn, ended with completely finishing the walls of the house!

[Continue Reading]

Healthy Homemade Snacks


healthy homemade snacks

I have found that healthy homemade snacks are a must have!

Having children at home, it seems as if someone is always wanting something to eat!

Oh, they eat very well at meals but, I think because we work outside so much in the hot weather, they are always hungry! I just can not seem to keep them full. Or, maybe it is because there are several teenage boys. But, then again, we have 2 girls still at home – one a teenager and one not.

Anyway, I guess the reason really doesn’t matter. The fact is, I am always in need of healthy snacks! In fact, we will often have a light supper since we have our main meal at midday and I will even use some of the following suggestions as a suppertime meal.

[Continue Reading]

Frugality Through Cultured Foods


Frugality Through Cultured Foods

How many time have you heard the saying, “waste not, want not”?

Our family saying is, “use it up, wear it out, make do or do without”.

Actually, it is my husband’s saying!

I am the one who loves to shop – for bargains of course!

But, I do hold to the basic idea of being good stewards and not wasting.

Some people are frugal because they have to be. Some are frugal because it is their nature. Others don’t like to waste but want to make the most of what they have.

Whatever your motivation, culturing foods can help you in a frugal simple lifestyle in several ways:

  • Most cultured foods are actually higher in nutrients than the original food.
  • Culturing  prevent food waste by extending the shelf life
  • Culturing your own yogurt and cheese can save you lots of money
  • Culturing garden produce is a great way to put up your harvest without the effort of canning and/or freezing.

[Continue Reading]

How to Save Money with Bulk Herbs and Spices


bulk spices from mountain rose herbs
What is a REAL food kitchen without REAL herbs, spices, salts and herbal teas?

I posted a few weeks ago about getting organized in my kitchen – including my spices. You may have noticed the links to my affiliate partner, Mountain Rose Herbs in that post, as well as, in other recipes. I recommend them ONLY because they offer quality products and I have personally had good experiences with them. The products offered by Mountain Rose Herbs are free from irradiation and chemicals, certified organic and certified kosher.

I have found that I am able to save money by buying my herbs, spices, salt and teas in bulk. At first glance, Mountain Rose Herbs does have a high shipping rate. But, even taking into account the shipping prices, per ounce, they are more economical! I am able to purchase better quality products for less money than I can purchase them locally.

 

[Continue Reading]

Greenhouse EIFS Completed


eifs finished

A couple of weeks ago I detailed how we had started to apply EIFS to the greenhouse walls. Well, this week we completed them!

EIFS is an acronym for exterior insulation finishing system and also provides insulation value. It is like a synthetic stucco but more durable than traditional stucco. EIFS is applied in 3 steps – a thin layer of concrete is spread over the surface of your wall, then a fiberglass mesh is embedded into it and finally a color coat is applied for a more finished look. This color coat also adds more waterproofing to the wall. You can see the application of the first 2 steps by clicking here.

[Continue Reading]

How to Apply EIFS to a Greenhouse


first layer EIFS

Today on Family Friday I would like to share an update on the greenhouse.

Last week we poured the concrete in the ICF walls (insulated concrete forms). While the ICF has excellent insulation value, we chose it for the greenhouse just for ease. The ICF snap together like big legos and are so easy for the DIY’ers. We are using them for our home which overlooks the vineyard, the filter house and new barn. As you can tell, we are sold on them!

This week, we have been working on the the EIFS exterior for the greenhouse. EIFS is an acronym for exterior insulation finishing system and also provides insulation value. It is like a synthetic stucco but more durable than traditional stucco.

[Continue Reading]