Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dear Santa

Priorities change as you grow up, and your opinions change, too. Gifts I once would have frowned upon, I now covet -- like insulated overalls! It was a real breakthrough for me when I asked for a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for my birthday almost three years ago. I had been one of those who scoffed at the idea of appliances as gifts, but I really wanted that mixer because I knew it would make my life so much better. And I was right. Here are a few other things I would love to have . . .

  • a grain mill -- I've wanted one of these forever, and I actually have one of the cheap hand-cranked models that makes a coarse grind. But I want one that grinds the flour finely enough that my loaves of bread do not feel like bricks.
  • a cream separator -- It wasn't such a big deal that we bought organic butter from the store when we were still buying cheddar and sour cream, but now that we make 100% of our dairy products except for butter, it bugs me. I want to be able to say that we make 100% of our dairy products PERIOD! And homemade butter is so much tastier than store bought. I recently made butter with Jersey cream from a local dairy, and it made Mike's homemade croissants more heavenly than ever before.
  • solar panels -- At Chicago's Green Festival in May, I bought a reusable shopping bag that says, "Solar panels turn me on!" I really, really want to be off grid. In the meantime, I buy what we can afford. We have a solar fence charger, a solar gate opener, and a solar spotlight on one of the barns.
  • a greenhouse -- Now that I have the winter gardening bug, I'm not content with just having fresh salad through the winter.  I want it all! I want to grow spinach, mustard greens, onions, carrots, turnips, and lots of other cold-weather crops. And I want to do it in a greenhouse so I can be in there with the plants out of the wind where it's warm when I'm harvesting my dinner.
  • more land -- I'd love to have a few more acres that don't flood. I don't think I ever blogged about this year's hay field flood, but we got zero hay from our field to feed livestock this year. After the hay was cut, it flooded, so it was all soaked in mud. The bales will just be used as compost and mulch in the garden.
So, if you happen to run into Santa, could you give him my list, please? I've tried to be a really good girl this year!


    LindaG said...

    I would LOVE to put in a good word for you. What you want is something I wouldn't mind for myself. ;)
    But I'd LOVE you to have any and all of them because I know you'd put it all to good use!


    Have a blessed week and Merry Christmas!

    Michelle said...

    I have your first request (VERY loud; need ear protection when using it); don't have a hankering for the others except the last. But our chances of acquiring more land, like the five acres for sale next to us, are zilch unless an unknown rich uncle dies and leaves us a fortune....

    Nancy K. said...

    I hope that Santa brings you everything that you want!

    I suspect that if he doesn't, you'll end up with it all, eventually, anyway! ;-)

    Kathy ~ Cackles and Berries said...

    Your right about prioritys changing- I asked for a barn remodel! LOL My hubby's response -"wouldn't you like to have the diamond replaced in your ring, instead?" Ahh..nope :)

    Hope you get what you ask for!

    Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

    Linda -- Thanks! And Merry Christmas to you!

    Michelle -- what kind of grain mill do you have, and how do you like it?

    Nancy -- I hope you're right!

    Kathy -- LOL!!!

    Michelle said...

    It's a Magic Mill, I believe, received as a gift over 20 years ago. Works great, just sounds like a jet engine. Nice and compact, too. When we lived in Kansas I used it much more, but out here in western OR it is difficult to get hard winter wheat as it's not grown locally.

    J. M. Strother said...

    I think that is how solar will spread, little things going solar one at a time until solar is nearly ubiquitous. It will hit critical mass some day and solar will become the affordable obvious choice. Grid free would indeed be sweet.

    Vegetable Garden Cook said...

    My mom has several hoophouses, where she found plans and she and her hubby built them for around $300 a piece. I can put you in touch with her if you like.

    I've got one of those Russian cream separators that are around $150, which is great considering that the others that are available are closer to $500. It works, but there's a huge learning curve to it and is a pain to set up. There are others who find it simpler than me, so maybe I'm part of the error.

    If I had to do it over again, I'm not sure I would spend the money. I find goat milk butter to be very bland compared to cow milk, but if the goal is self-sufficiency, I guess that would be an irrelevant point. I also find it particularly easy to let the milk sit for a couple days and skim off the top and make butter with that.

    Do you have a copy of The Resilient Gardener? Carol Deppe has some great advice on purchasing a grain mill. I can't quite remember the advice off-hand as I'm not in the market for one. But I'd be happy to look it up for you if you need some input.

    For my christmas gift this year, my husband made me a BIG potrack that I am hanging over my island in my kitchen. He made it out of galvanized pipe. In fact, I should post about it.... I think I will do that very shortly.

    Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

    Thanks for all the recommendations and suggestions, Vegetable Garden Cook. And I love your pot rack. We really should have made our kitchen bigger.


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