Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I told people at the beginning of 2013 that it was my goal to save enough goat milk to last us through until the next milking season.  But, frankly, I got tired of the milking routine and put an end to it earlier than I had planned.  So, I thought I wasn't going to achieve my goal.  But, with just Tom and I using the milk, it turns out that I did reach that goal.

Well, it's not milking season yet, but it will be pretty soon and I still have quite a bit of milk left in the freezer.  I need to empty the freezer out to make room for the milk that my three milkers will produce this season, so I decided to make some cajeta.

Tom and I first read about this in an article about some Texans with a Nubian goat dairy farm.  It is a Mexican sweet sauce, like caramel or dolce de leche (or so I'd read) and can be used to top all kinds of desserts, or just to eat with a spoon.  It can be made with cow's milk, but I'm not sure why anyone would bother since cajeta is a goat milk thing.

It has to cook several hours and has to be watched and stirred diligently, so I waited until I was going to have a full afternoon to devote to it.  In one article I read, the dairy that made it, presumably in large quantities, let theirs cook for about eight hours.

But, I wanted to start small, so I started with one quart of milk and it took me three hours from start to finish.  I read several recipes and combined their collective knowledge in hopes of keeping it as simple as possible and hoping for a good outcome.  It was surprisingly easy.  The hardest thing about it was not being tempted to run off and do other things, risking burning the sauce.

The ingredients were:
1 quart goat milk
1 cup brown sugar (you can use white for a lighter sauce)
2 tsp. vanilla extract (not imitation)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in one Tbs. water (or, one recipe suggested cow's milk instead of water.  I'm not sure why)

Some recipes called for one cinnamon stick and some for rum, which is probably delicious and I'll likely try one of those the next time.

Bring all ingredients except for dissolved baking soda to a boil.  Some recipes said to put all ingredients together in the beginning.

Use a wooden spoon to stir...something about reactions to metal, blah, blah, blah.  Just do it even if you don't understand why.

  I chose to add the baking soda after the sauce came to a boil.

Take the sauce off the heat and add the baking soda/water and stir like crazy because it really foams up and may bubble over.

After that, just put it back on the stove and simmer over low heat until it's done.  The description of doneness was that it will thickly coat the back of a spoon and that while stirring, the spoon will leave a delayed trail and you'll be able to see the bottom of the pan for a second or two.  If you like to use a candy thermometer, it's supposed to reach 220.

One quart of milk made exactly one pint jar of cajeta (with a little left in the pan for licking).  And, they were right...it is delicious!  I'm trying to think of things to put it on without getting too fat.

If you want to make this, see to it that you have plenty of things to do in the kitchen so that you won't be tempted to leave for a few minutes.  Although, I was able to dash back and forth putting clothes in the washer/dryer, for the most part, I stayed in the kitchen and stirred.  I was able to shred a block of peccorino with my new processor, clean the kitchen, surf the web, and cook dinner.  I'd probably have a cleaner kitchen if I made this stuff regularly.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Boutique Pumpkins

My heirloom sugar pumpkins did so well this past season that I was able to give many away to friends and family.  I also gave about a dozen to our favorite local cafe.  So, I've decided the new thing for the garden this year is going to be boutique pumpkins.  These are pumpkins that are different shapes and colors than the regular round orange ones.  They can be used for fall decoration as well as cooking and eating.

I ordered several different kinds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and they arrived in the mail today.  I love ordering things on-line.  Ordering gardening and farming stuff reminds me of a song we learned in high school chorus, The Wells Fargo Wagon

I tried to choose pumpkins that would look good together if they are used for decoration.

"Galeux d'Eysines"
pronounced "Gal-OH deh-ZINE"
Salmon peach colored skin, covered with warts.

"Flat White Boer"
This is a pure white pumpkin, but shows yellow in my lighting.

"Winter Squash Iran"
Foam green, mottled in soft peachy-orange.
Is it a bad sign that they don't actually have a picture of the pumpkin and someone had to draw it for the package?

"Marina di Chioggia"
Pronounced "ma-REE-na dee kee-OH-ja"
Deep blue green and warty.

Slate blue-grey.

And the seed company threw this in as a freebie.  The package says it's a summer squash to be harvested all summer long.  So, I guess I'll give it a try, too.

I'm hoping to have enough to sell at our local farmer's market that is open on Saturdays.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Beanie Baby

Just because he is so cute and The Nephew is missing him.

Bye-Bye Oskar

For my birthday, Tom bought me a super-duper top of the line food processor to replace the 25+ year old Sunbeam Oskar mini processor that I had complained about this past summer.

We researched and read all sorts of reviews and finally decided upon the Breville Sous Chef food processor.  It really was more money than I wanted Tom to spend, but after reading reviews, he insisted that this is the one I need, and I agreed.

I went from the little two cup capacity, two blade attachments to this 16 cup behemoth.  (note to self: remove toilet paper from background in the future)

There's also a mini cup for smaller jobs that fits inside the big cup and at least eight different disks and blades for various chopping, slicing, and dicing.  This should make the zucchini shredding and cucumber slicing a breeze this summer.  There's even an emulsifying disk for making butter, which I can't wait to try.  The directions claim that cookies, cakes, and milkshakes can be made in this thing.

So excited!
(Who says that women don't like to get kitchen appliances as gifts from their husbands?)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Vardo, Part Three

Still waiting on wallpaper, so I reupholstered the dinette.  This would have been a very quick project, but every time I hit a snag and things didn't line up just right, I got discouraged and stopped working on them.  I didn't figure out a good system until I was working on the last cushion, which went together easily and quickly.

This is the before picture.

And the after.

These little white tab things are screws that hold the two trim pieces in place.  I have to make covered buttons for them when I can find the proper parts.  They don't sew on like conventional buttons, but snap on with a little plastic ring. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

LIam Sez

 I love children's pronunciations.

"Chocolate Sustash"

"Han Sizatizer"



Thursday, January 02, 2014

Vardo, Part Two

While I'm waiting for Lowes to ship the wallpaper that I ordered (weeks ago, grrr) for the walls of the slide out, I decided to go ahead and do the ceiling with a paintable vinyl wallpaper embossed with a tin ceiling tile pattern.  It was on the shelf at Lowes and I just had to buy one roll.

This is what the ceiling looked like before I started.  In the past, I've been very anti-wallpaper.  I never wanted it in my house and never, ever wanted to install it.  Bleh.  But, it seems the cheapest, easiest way to go in the trailer, and cheaper than buying actual ceiling tiles.  So, for my first wallpaper job ever, I'm doing a ceiling.

The area is thirteen by three feet, so I decided to install the paper in the direction of the short side, cutting several strips of three foot long wallpaper.  I used my rotary cutter using the cutting mat as a straight edge.  It worked great.

Zip, zip.

Even though this paper was pre pasted, I bought a tub of vinyl to vinyl paste and brushed it on with a paintbrush.  It really was very easy and I have a ton of it left, so I'll be able to do the whole Vardo project without having to buy more.

My first strip!

And the finished install.

A few days later, when I was sure the paper wasn't going to fall off the ceiling, I painted it a dark grey.  

I really liked how it looked with just the one coat of paint, but I thought I might be able to get a more aged look and more depth if I added a lighter grey on top.  I used a sponge and just lightly swiped over the paper.

So, it's finished except that I might add a light coating of metallic paint.