Fresh Mozzarella

Tonight I made fresh mozzarella cheese using a kit from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. It was very easy to make and came out pretty well. Since we don’t have goats in the apartment we did use store-bought milk but it was still fun. I used part of it on a homemade pizza tonight. We saved some of the whey to use in a bread recipie.

Logs, Wind and Sun: Handcraft your own log home…then power it with nature.

I read this one awhile ago but since I was posting the Ewing’s other book I thought I’d add this one as well. The book is a guide to building a log house, with a few sections on powering the house with wind and sun. It’s a very enjoyable tale. I don’t plan on building a log house but even so some of the challenges are the same regardless of the type of house to be built. Like access to the building site. The Ewings talk about how the log truck couldn’t get up to the building site — so dumped the logs a mile down the road and left them to haul the huge logs themselves. Note to self: make sure that our access road is in good shape! Anyway this is a delightful book and well worth checking out for anyone planning to build their own home.

Power with Nature: Solar and Wind Energy Demystified

What to live on grid or off? Either way this is an excellent guide to renewable energy. It just came out last year so the information is also more current than some older books on the topic. Ewing also covers heating your home and water in the book. If you’re considering adding a renewable energy plan to your homestead this is one book you’ll want to have on hand.

The book starts with a short fable to act as a primer to solar/wind power. It’s cute and informative. Through the fable you’ll learn about the various components of an off-grid system and why they are used.

After the fable Ewing delves into the real-world details, illustrated with examples and comments from his own experience using the technology. The more I read the more impressed I was with this book. It is an excellent guide to get you started on generating your own power. Even though it is subtitled “Solar and Wind Energy Demystified” Ewing talks about micro-hydro power generation as well. He also covers methods of heating your home. All in all a fantastic book.

More snow

Our dogs had fun out in the snow earlier today. It started as forecast sometime after midnight and fell until this afternoon before changing to frozen rain. McCoy discovered that the snow out in the yard was deeper than the snow closer to the apartment building. We got quite a bit of snow added to what was already on the ground. The rain is supposed to continue this afternoon and for the next several days so I suppose it’ll melt off quickly.

Cold snowy day

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It’s cold outside today. The snow we got the other day has settled a bit but hasn’t really melted at all since it has stayed above freezing.

The schools around here closed. So did the libraries so I’m actually home today. I’ve managed to get quite a bit of writing done earlier. We took the dogs out for a walk around the fields. They had fun running about in the snow.

I’ve also spent time reading the Mother Earth News archives from the CD. 1970-1980, 2400 articles and 60 issues. I’ve read through the first issue articles so far. It’s very interesting. It’ll be fun to read the rest.

Tonight they’re expecting something like 6-10 inches of additional snow so I might be home tomorrow too. Later tomorrow it’s supposed to be turning to rain — that’s going to make quite the mess.

New Year Plans

2004 is here! I am excited about the New Year. There are several things to look forward to:

  • Planting our Earthbox porch garden.
  • Paying off our only remaining active credit card.
  • Possibly buying a car.
  • If we do buy a car then we’ll take some trips over to Ferry County.
  • Hopefully I’ll sell more of my stories, novels, or screenplays
  • Continue studying and planning for building our house, gardens, raising animals, etc.
  • And the usual get into shape goal.

It should be an active year. Hopefully a year from now I’ll be able to pull this post up in the archives and say, ‘Yep, did all that and then some.’

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