Sunday, September 26, 2010

Need a niche... or a commune

'Cause all the great bloggers have one. My niche is my family. Which is hardly original. I'm not a witty writer. I can't seem to make the mundane interesting. I tend to ramble. But I love to talk about the boys and our lives and the general day to day stuff. Good and bad.

Then again, this was never an exercise in writing for anyone else. Some family members use it to keep up to date. But it's more of a diary, a baby book, a footprint. So do I really need a niche? If I want to make any money from writing, then yes. The advice is always "write what you know"... except what do I know? My family. Our lives. Ho-hum.  And the term 'mommyblogger' really makes me boil. Dunno why. It's a true description. But it just seems to undermine the whole thing. A pat on the head. A 'good girl'.

I've always wanted to write. Short stories. A novel. Poetry. I've played around with each at various times in my life. Most back in high school, which is starting to become a mighty long time ago. But I still love it even if my creative process is an abandoned junk heap on the side of the road. Someday. Until then, I'll blog. And let you read it... all 5 of you!

So what did the family get up to today, you're wondering? Well, being Sunday, we had soccer and gymnastics. Then my dear sister visited for a few hours. Then Felix and I went grocery shopping and picked out a pumpkin for the front steps. And I whipped up 2 different suppers (tonight and tomorrow) and a batch of homemade yogurt. And Elliot bit Felix so hard on the nose I thought for a moment it had broken the skin.

But back to the yogurt. I'm awfully proud of this. I feel very pioneer woman, like I should be in an old farmhouse slaving over dinner for my family of 12 and darning socks by candlelight. I often think I should be living far out of civilization. No temptations of power and technology. Living off the land. Living in the moment. Enjoying the company of others. Enjoying the solitude, simplicity and tranquility. I sort of grew up that way.  We lived a mile in the woods, on a lake, in a house my father built, with no power and no indoor plumbing for the first 2 years. I had my 6th birthday in that house. But by time my 9th rolled around, we had moved. And I was enrolled in public school.

Our mother let us roam fairly freely through the woods. We were all old enough that we didn't require constant supervision, mostly. We climbed trees and danced on rocks and went on nature hikes. We had a large rock we called Stink Rock, because we would always go pee on it. We had chickens. And a garden. And a cow. And a snapping turtle we found on the side of the road one day and brought home in the back of the car - all 3 of us kids pressed as far up against the front seats as possible as the angry thrashing creature in the hatchback compartment tried to climb over the seats to eat us. It was a while before I could bring myself to swim in the lake in the same area where we released it.

There were snakes. *shudder* But there would be no snakes in my commune farm fantasy.

Mom made shoes for us out of leather. She wanted us to wear moccasins and play in the woods like little Indians. Hardly politically correct, but we are descended from the Metis on my father's side, so an accurate desire. She taught herself leather works and within a few years had her own leather business, building belts, purses and other such items which were sold weekly at the Farmer's Market.

She experimented with making granola, yogurt, cottage cheese, jams, teas (the most disgusting of which was kombucha tea - a hideous fungus like thing supposedly with phenomenal health properties. I refused to drink it), apple cider, along with a multitude of vegetables. We even helped prepare animal hides for the tanning process. (Eeew! Salting and scraping... It's a wonder I still eat meat!)

The yogurt recipe I've been using lately is a fun one. It's made in the crockpot. Today's experiment is using 1 part lactose free milk with 2 parts almond milk. I got the recipe and instructions from A Year of Slowcooking ... add milk into a large crockpot and cook on low for 2.5 hours. Turn off and/or unplug the crockpot and let sit, covered, for 3 hours. Then scoop out about 2 cups of warm milk, mix in 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, stir to combine and return the milk/yogurt combo to the pot. Cover tightly and then insulate to retain warmth for 8 hours. Refridgerate and eat within 10 days, saving 1/2 cup to use as a starter for your next batch.

It's yummy and fairly easy. I've tried mixing in jam and fresh fruit before serving. Felix actually pushed his away, saying "no like it." He prefers it plain. I tried scooping some into the blender with fresh blueberries. That turned out gritty - too many blueberries, maybe? Today's batch will likely be extra runny, since it's pretty thin milk (whole milk makes a thicker yogurt). I tried adding in a packet of gelatin when I stirred the yogurt in, but I think that will be an epic FAIL as it didn't dissolve properly. Might be kinda tapioca-ey. I made a strawberry sauce from frozen berries and honey. I plan to mix that in once it's gone through it's 8 hour stint. Of course, I didn't time things properly - that will be around 4am. Oops. Hopefully the extra few hours won't kill us. I'll keep you posted!

(No pictures of the finished product, as it's thickening in the crockpot, buried under a tea towel, 2 wool sweaters and a fleece blanket right now. But here's the strawberry sauce!)

And with that, I should stop rambling and head to bed. Long day of schooling ahead of me tomorrow! I did decide to go back - taking one university class and one advanced taxation class through work, 2 mornings/afternoons a week. On opposite sides of the harbour. Public transit and begging for rides is my life now!


Bethsix said...

I think you're interesting. And your kids are cute. And shit, I didn't know you could make yogurt before just now!

Emilie said...

OMG, my parents did the kombucha thing too - I seriously have never met anyone else who would even know what it is, haha - I guess our weird parents are another reason to bond over, eh? haha

Love ya lady!

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