Making Butter - Adventures in Homesteading

If you’ve been following this blog you know that The Mr and I are starting to dive into homesteading. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go read this blog post) So far, it’s been going slowly, but well, which makes sense because it’s only February 4th, so there’s not a lot of farming that can be done in the dead of winter.

Since that’s the case, we’ve turned our homesteading efforts in a different direction: making stuff.

Like most beginning homesteaders, we started with a simple sourdough bread recipe. Or… The Mr did. I came home and was like “WHOA BREAD!” and then proceeded to unhinge my jaw like a snake and swallow the loaf whole.

“You know what this needs?” I said with a mouthful of doughy goodness. “BUTTER.”

“Oh, I’m way ahead of you,” The Mr said heading for the fridge. He rummaged around for a brief moment before popping up from behind the door holding a small glass bottle of heavy cream just as I shoved another piece of bread in my mouth.

“YEAH!!!” I jumped up and down with a level of excitement that is reserved for mild Taylor Swift fans during a brand new music video.

But I think it was totally justified, my friends, because here is the awesome thing: My brother and his wife gave us a butter churner for Christmas. Sadly, it’s not one of those giant wooden ones that you see in Williamsburg, VA, but it’s the next best thing because it’s an adorable glass mason jar with a churning mechanism screwed on top of it and it’s made and sold in Amish country, so YOU KNOW THAT THING WORKS LIKE A DREAM.

And you know what? WE MADE BUTTER.

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It was actually stupid easy. We just put the heavy cream in the jar and started cranking. Then came the coolest/most disgusting part….

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So at this point you have all this butter, but there’s also all this liquid on top, which is the butter milk, and you have to squeeze all of that out of the solid butter that you have. It’s squishy and gross and awesome, and for those of you with children, I highly recommend this kitchen activity. Oh! And then you can use that buttermilk in recipes like buttermilk pancakes and whatnot. It’s kind of amazing actually. (Side note, the liquid pictured above is not the actual buttermilk. It’s just water because you also have to rinse your butter. That’s right, your butter gets a butter bath.)

From there, you add salt if you want and viola! BUTTER.

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Ironically at this point we decided not to put it on the bread, but instead we made a giant bowl of popcorn and melted some of our delicious homemade butter for that and I REGRET NOTHING.

Have you ever tried making butter?

Adventures in Homesteading

If you follow me on Instagram, I think we all knew I was heading in this direction. I live in the middle of nowhere on an abundance of land. I often document my (weirdly successful) attempts to make my own skincare and home cleaning products, and last year The Mr and I (somewhat unsuccessfully) started a raised bed vegetable garden.

So…. was anyone really that shocked to see that I bought this book the other day?

Gio really missed his calling as a model.

Buy the book here. Check out her blog here.

This lovely little book called out to me at work in the bookshop the other day, and much to The Mr’s and I’m sure many others’ concern, I brought it home and immediately dove in. Because you know what? I kind of do want to be a modern homesteader. Not, like, in a poop-in-a-bucket prepper kind of way, but just in a “hey, I make or grow what I can” kind of way.

I’m definitely not going to start a big farm or anything, but I think my ultimate dream looks something like this:

Eventually I’d like to find a 1-2 acre plot of land with a small, livable house already on it for like… not a lot of money? On this plot of land I’d like to have a decent vegetable garden that grows enough to make up for a lot of our food. I thin I’d like some chickens for eggs, and maybe some goats or a cow for milk. And that’s it. The house would be an ongoing project that we would constantly be working on.

This is not a thing that will happen any time soon, however, so until then, I’m going to do what I can and try new things as I’m able to. We have a nice little raised bed garden on the property we are currently renting and I’m going to learn from last year and go for it again this year.

I want to learn to make and mend instead of throwing away and replacing.

And I’m going to fail a lot. It will undoubtedly be hilarious and you know I’m not going to hide any of it. I’ll be posting about it on instagram and here on the blog as much as I can.

BUT DON’T WORRY: This is not going to be a blog all about homesteading now! Just sometimes. Because it’s a thing I do now. And I’m not very good at it.

But that’s what makes it fun, right?

What about you? Do you consider yourself a homesteader? What tips and tricks have you learned over the years? I need all the help I can get, so please feel free to share your knowledge down below!

An Acetone Intervention

Okay, soo..... We all know that I can't be trusted with anything even remotely involving risk, right? I mean, this is sort of all Fiancé's fault for casually thinking that I understood the dangers here. Allow me to explain.

Fiancé and I are getting married a week from tomorrow (AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!) and we've been very DIY with this whole wedding thing. Many people have had to convince me that I cannot, in fact, do everything myself. Hiring people to do things is worth it, and while those people are correct and I am relieved that I won't be spending the morning of my wedding panicking about making flower crowns, there are still plenty of things that we are willing to do ourselves.

Things like... staining and painting the wooden signs that will be directing people toward parking and other wedding-related shenanigans.

It all seemed like a very good idea at the time and perhaps for normal, more stable and steady-handed people it still would be considered a good idea.

And let me be clear about the fact that I wasn't a complete idiot about this process. I made plenty of good decisions!

Smart choices made by me include:

  1. Doing this outside.
  2. Wearing clothes that I was prepared to ruin.
  3. Bringing beer to the space. (Fun fact: Grammarly was all "this should be Bringing beer to space" and ummm... STOP READING MY DIARY, GRAMMARLY.)
  4. Playing awesome tunes.

See? Already you're more confident in me than you thought you would be.

But let's return to one of those smart choices I mentioned: the clothes. Choice number 2. I was totally prepared to sacrifice my jean shorts and my Guns & Roses crop top. A few stain stains would only make them cooler, in my opinion. And I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Fiancé said nothing. He did not warn me, NOR DID HE TELL ME HOW AWESOME I LOOKED.

So we stained, and it was all "La, la, la, staining, staining, staining, la la la" and then we had to wait for that coat to dry, so I sat down on the blanket I brought out (great choice number 5, thank you very much) and I looked down at my legs and I was all "Oh cool!! Look, honey, I'M ALL SPECKLY!!!"

Fiancé was not entertained.

Fiancé: Holy crap, Emelie, no!!

Me: What? How do you not think this is awesome? My legs look like a dinosaur egg.

Fiancé: Babe, that's going to stain your skin.

Me: Yeah, but it's not like I'm not going to shower.

Fiancé: Emelie, I got some wood stain on my hand like ten years ago and it only just started to fade.

Me: ....No... But we're getting married next week! And then we're going on a honeymoon! I can't have dinosaur egg legs and feet for all that!

Fiancé: I agree.

Me: What do we do?!?

Fiancé then threw a wet paper towel at me and said "Start scrubbing. I'll be right back."

And then, while I got to work, he ran inside and returned shortly with a giant bowl of soapy water, a rag, a bottle of lotion, and a giant jug of acetone, which for some weird reason I didn't think to ask where he found it or why we have it, but apparently we do and I'm weirdly grateful. I picture Fiancé at the hardware store one day and seeing that and thinking "Who would ever need such a thing?" and then thinking about me and quietly sighing while he placed it in the cart because he just knew that one day I would probably do something that would require an acetone intervention (new band name?). Good call, honey.

And then Fiancé handed me a paper towel soaked in acetone and said "this is going to burn" right before he took his own acetone-soaked rag and started washing my feet as though I were Jesus and he a lowly prostitute.

And that's love, I think, especially because he managed to keep my pedicure in perfect condition, which is impressive that this stuff is the main ingredient in nail polish remover.

Oh, and yes, it burned. A lot. Hence the lotion. He's such a smart guy. The yin to my yang.

In other news, this is my final blog post before I'm married, which is nuts!! I'll be gone from the blog for the next three weeks, but I have a series of guest blog posts from AMAZING people coming at you while I'm away, so stick around and give them your love!

I love you all, friends. Keep being amazing and embrace your awkwardness. Muah!


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