Thursday, September 30, 2010

End of September Update

September was a very busy month, both at work and at home. A couple of late nights at the office, combined with an earlier sunset meant that I really didn't have time to do much that was 'blog worthy'. On top of that, the kids are back in school and we have homework to do in the evenings. Finding time to live the 100 meter diet is a struggle at the best of times but finding the time to blog about it is even more of a challenge.

So far I've completed four months on the 100 meter diet and I know that the best times are behind me for awhile. I can see the cold, dark months of winter just around the corner and I'm starting to grow anxious about how long my food stores will last. I know that my supply of onions and potatoes won't see me through to spring and Lucy's milk production is starting to drop off as well. As of this week we are down to milking her only once a day ... that really scares me.

This weekend I plan to take an inventory of the food I have available so I can do some extended meal planning. Going through that planning process may ease my worries ... I hope!

During September I made a concerted effort the take in more calories in an attempt to stabilize my weight. It seems to be having an impact because I only lost 5 pounds this month. I'm now down to 158 pounds. If I can hold this weight and start rebuilding some muscle mass I'll be a happy camper.

Now when am I going to find time to start exercising?

Monday, September 27, 2010

100 Meter Diet Cooking Classes

This past weekend we invited some friends over for an in-depth demonstration on "living the 100 meter diet". The original plan was to have everyone over on Sunday for one big group visit but one of the couples were so eager to get started that they showed up (unexpectedly) on Saturday LOL!

After a few laughs about the date mix up we decided to customize a visit just for them. I was planning on making some mozzarella on Saturday anyway so we started with that first. While the culture was busy doing it's thing we made a batch of goat milk soap. Next we made a fresh batch of whole wheat / spelt flour pita bread. My mozzarella cheese didn't work out as I had expected but the goat milk soap and the pitas turned out perfectly. Two out of three isn't bad.

Sunday's plan was very similar to Saturday but instead of mozzarella I made ricotta using the whey from the mozzarella and we also made a fresh batch of cottage cheese. They both turned out well. And instead of goat milk soap we made fresh egg noodles. We made the pita bread recipe again and it was a hit for the second time. I also had some goat stew and goat meat balls available for those that wanted to give goat meat a try.

I appreciated all the extra hands in the kitchen and I'm now well stocked for food for the next week or so .... thanks gang!

All in all a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eenie meenie meinie ....

Our young goats are approaching six months old and the two males, Lucky and Chocolate, are starting to put on some decent weight. You may recall that Lucky was born on Matthew's birthday and was instantly designated a family pet. That meant that Chocolate was destined to be part of my 100 meter diet.

Of course nothing is ever that simple.

Lucky has always been the good goat. He never participates in any of the shenanigans that Chocolate and Delilah do. He never once set foot on top of the hen house roof. Nor did he jump over the fence to eat the chicken's food. Like I said, Lucky is a good goat.

Chocolate has always been the heart stealer.

He has a beautiful soft brown coat, warm brown eyes and he always looks like he's smiling. His only fault is that he can't seem to resist following his sister's lead, Delilah, when she get's into trouble.

Delilah is the devious one. She's considerably smaller than the other two and she uses her size to her advantage to get into places she shouldn't be in. Most recently she's learned to run up the cross rails on the fence and jump out of the goat pen.

Luckily she's only done this when we're around to quickly put her back in the pen. Being a bit of a runt and a future source of milk means she's safe from the butcher.

The problem is that the family is divided on who should go to the butcher ... Chocolate or Lucky? Barb and Michael want to keep Chocolate instead of Lucky. Daniel's like Switzerland ... he's not going to choose sides. Myself, I wouldn't mind sending them both to the butcher but I'm only thinking with my stomach. In all honesty, if I had to pick one over the other I'd choose Chocolate to stay.

These are the dilemmas that you have to face when you're on the 100 meter diet.

In the end I'm going to support Matthew's choice to keep Lucky as planned. I don't believe it's a good life lesson to have him compromise his 'birthday bond' with Lucky. Lucky was, after all, his birthday present ... how could we take that away from him?

I have really enjoyed our dinner table debates over which goat we should keep. It reinforces the importance of being connected to the food we eat. How many people can actually say they LOVE the meat on their plate? We can.

Now Chocolate isn't leaving us for a couple more months at least and I promise you that he is going to remain a well loved and well pampered goat. I imagine we'll be talking about him for years to come because I suspect he's going to be one worth remembering.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Goat stew

We're having several friends over for a visit next weekend and I plan to serve them this simple goat stew as part of our lunch.

I love making stews because you can forget the measurements and simply throw in whatever you have around. For this stew I'm using goat meat, potatoes, butternut squash, onions, dried peas and then some fresh oregano, basil and rosemary. I started the base with some frozen chicken stock and I added salt and pepper to taste.

With the colder weather here this stew is getting a lot of use. It's simple, quick and hits the spot.

Our guests are also coming down to experience a day living on the 100 meter diet. I hope to walk them through how to make cheese, pita bread and egg noodles.

I've been making a lot of cheese lately so I can practice my technique. I've come along way but in order to improve the taste of my cheese I've ordered some cheese cultures that should arrive this week. I hope the cultures take my cheese to the next level ... we'll see.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall Fair King and Queen

Our local fall fair was held this past weekend and we entered our Silkies in the best rooster and best hen competitions. There were about 4 or 5 chickens competing in each category so our Silkies really had to wow the judges if they wanted to win.

In the end our Silkie rooster won first place by a country mile.

Unfortunately our hen had a poor showing in the swimsuit competition and had to settle for second place.

So what type of prizes do they award for best rooster and second best hen? A whopping $3 and $2 respectively ..... which conveniently equals the price of an adult admission to the fair! Woo hoo!

All kidding aside, we had a great time at the fair. It was fun seeing people checking out our chickens and some of them were even taking pictures. Many of the people had never seen Silkies before so we were happy to give them the opportunity.

I wonder if we can charge more for our eggs now? Maybe $2.51 per dozen instead of $2.50 ... lol.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grape juice

We went on a small nature hike yesterday and we came across some wild grape vines with some nicely ripened grapes. We tried a few and found them to be more sweet than bitter so we decided to come back and pick some for the 100 meter diet.

For the past 3 months I've only had goat milk and water to drink, so fresh grape juice would be a welcome change.

Picking ripe wild grapes turned out to be a rather messy job but the red stains washed out easily with soap. We picked 4 cups worth of the juiciest grapes and brought them in the house to wash up and then run them through the juicer.

The juicer made short work of the grapes and made about 1 cup of a concentrated dark red grape syrup.

I added some water to help dilute the syrup and then added 6 teaspoons of sugar to sweeten it up. We all lined up to try some and everyone agreed it was delicious. It tasted like a mixture of apple, pear and orange juice with a slightly tart after taste.

There are quite a few grapes still out there waiting to be picked and juiced. The kids and I plan to make a few return trips to pick, juice and freeze the syrup for the winter. I know what I'll be enjoying on Christmas morning!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Forty two?

Often, after milking Lucy, I will stand outside the barn door with a jug of milk in my hand and stare up at the night sky.

It's during these moments that I feel the most connected with my 100 meter diet. I'm sure that we've all looked into the night sky and contemplated our place in the universe ... trying to make sense of the world around us.

I get pleasure out of trying to 'explain the moment' to myself. What I mean is that I try to answer the question "Why am I standing here with a jug of milk in my hand?"

It's a simple answer I know. I just milked Lucy. But I try to break the answer down even further .... to it's simplest level.

I'm on a planet hurtling through space. Good start.

A planet bombarded with a nearly endless supply of solar energy. Ok, keep going.

Around 3.5 billion years ago life began and embarked on the evolutionary process which resulted in plants having the ability to covert solar energy into 'food' and ruminants being able to convert plants into milk and meat. Wow. That's incredible.

And then there's me. A human being capable of understanding, appreciating and managing this energy conversion process from sun to food. And that is why I am standing here with a jug of milk in my hand. Well done.

At no point during this thought process do I think of preservatives, industrial food processing factories, marketing techniques or grocery store shelves. As far as my answer is concerned they don't exist. It's all about this small pasture, a garden, some chickens, a goat named Lucy, and me. That's as simple as it gets.

It's at this exact moment that I feel 100% connected to the land, the plants and the animals and I understand my role on the 100 meter diet. It all makes perfect sense as I head back into the house for the night.