I have been remiss again. Some updates:
Yesterday I found a whole foods store in Geneva, 45 minutes away which sells bulk items-dried beans, granola, dried fruits, teas, spices, etc. I stocked up while I was there, and will now make a point to shop there whenever visiting my friend who lives in Syracuse. I have to drive right by the store anyways to get there, so it will not even be out of the way. They have paper bags to put the food in, and pack in paper. I will bring my own bags next time-I didn't expect to find it so I was unprepared.
We bought a smoker to do the hams and bacon. The hams turned out awesome, we have not tried the bacon yet. The smoker also will do dehydrating, so we can do jerky, dried fruit, tomatoes, etc. Yum yum! I am having a hard time finding non-plastic wrapping material. The butcher paper I bought is plastic coated and cannot be reused. I am wondering if buying plastic bags and reusing them would be better. I will have to do some research. Since the goal is to exclude air and moisture, I wonder if waxed muslin would work? I could use honey bee wax. People have been keeping meat for thousands of years before plastic, there has to be a way.
I tried mozzarella again. It came out more like mozzarella than the last attempt, but still did not stretch. Turns out the milk I am using must be ultra-pasteurized, so I have a line on a farm which sells raw organic milk. I will pick some up next week and try again. I did make lasagna out of the ricotta I made last time, the mozzarella I made this time, sauce from my tomatoes last summer and eggs from my own chickens. It was so good we ate almost the whole pan in one sitting! My husband complained jokingly that I did not make the noodles from scratch-next time I said. Funny, he laughs at me wanting to make everything from scratch but sure likes the results.
I started onion seeds this week. Next week I will start the Solenaceae-peppers and tomatoes. Working in the college greenhouse has helped me be more patient with my own starts. Usually by now I would have all my plants started and they would be leggy and pale. I am very excited about the garden this year. I know much more than I did last year due to my time in the greenhouse and school, including ways to minimize my work load!
I have a new kitten rescue, named Sam. I found him walking down the side of the road with a can of salmon on his head, like nothing was wrong (Sam is for Salmon Head). He was a wild little thing at first, but now adores being handled. He is a deep sable/black color with green eyes, and about 3 white hairs on his chest. Gorgeous cat. If we didn't already have 3 cats......
And last, my Bull Terror is laying on a black carpet in the full sun, panting like a steam engine. She could move into the shadow, but I am sure it feels so good to lay in the sun after this long, long winter and she can't resist. Looks like a good idea, so I think I will join her.