Thursday, February 23, 2012

Southern Girls...

1)  ...accessorize to match their favorite sports team or vehicle.

2)  ...plan a menu around grits.

3)  ...think "grass" is something you cut with a lawn mower and "weed" is something you pull out of the garden.

4)  ...take in mules as pets.

5)  ...think that a Goo Goo Bar and a Moon Pie are like wine and roses.

6)  ...dislodge Christmas decorations from tree limbs with shotguns.

7)  ...count Tractor Supply and Home Depot as their favorite places to shop.

8)  ...know that times, they are a-changin'.

9)  ...think the sound of a Whip-O-Will on a warm Summer evening is like the music in the night.

10)  ...count their blessings.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


  Until I became acquainted with a diary goat, my only experience with cheese was that of the plastic variety that could be folded into 4 equal parts and placed between saltines for perfect little cracker sandwiches.
My horizons expanded with this simple recipe for a delicious cheese made at home.


5 qt whole milk
1/2 c. cultured buttermilk
2 T diluted vegetable rennet (dilution is 3 drops liquid rennet into 1/3 c cool water)

1) Pasteurize milk by using the double boiler method. Place a stainless steel kettle of milk (with a candy thermometer clipped to the inside of the pan) into a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with a few inches of water. Heat the pan of water on high until the milk reaches 161 degrees F. Stir the milk to make sure it is 161 degrees F throughout. Remove the pan of milk and place in a sink of cold water with ice packs.

2) Cool milk to 80 degrees F.

3) Stir in buttermilk, mix well and add 2 T diluted rennet mixture.

4) Stir well and cover.

5) Let set at room temperature for 8-12 hours.(I like to start this process early in the morning or late evening  so that the cheese can drain overnight or vice versa.) The cheese is ready to drain when it looks like thickened yogurt. It will sometimes have a thin layer of whey floating on the top.

6) Line a colander with muslin type cloth over an empty kettle. (Old pillow cases cut open at the seams work well. They can be washed, sanitized and used over and over again.)

7) Pour cheese curds into cloth lined colander.

8) Draw up the sides of the cloth and tie the opposite corners together and tie and extra loop or cord.

9) Hang to drain for 6-8 hours. (I have a cup hook secured under a cabinet for this). When the bag of curds has stopped dripping the cheese should be the consistency of creme cheese. (The remaining whey is good chicken or people food.)
10) Season with 1 tsp plain salt/lb of cheese mixed in with a spatula.

  This is a soft mild cheese that freezes well unseasoned and can be seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices or as a substitute for creme cheese.

  Keeps about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

  Recipe is from "Goats Produce Too!" by Mary Jane Toth

  To freeze, wrap well or use freezer bags. Flatten cheese out in 1 lb packages for ease of stacking.

  These are a few of my favorite ways to season soft cheese.

*Garlic & Chive*
1 lb soft cheese
1/4 t plain sea salt
1/2 t garlic powder
2 t dried chives or 1 1/2 T fresh
Mix all together and shape into balls.

*Pineapple Walnut Cheese*
1 lb soft cheese
1/4 t plain sea salt
1/2 c chopped walnuts
3/4 c crushed pineapple (drained)
Mix together and shape into balls.

*Cheese in Olive Oil*
8-12 oz soft cheese
1 t dry thyme or 2 sprigs fresh
1 t dry rosemary or 2 sprigs fresh
3-4 lg garlic cloves
1/2 t black pepper
8-12 oz olive oil
Put the herbs and spices into a sterilized seal able glass jar and add the cheese, sliced or cubed. Cover with olive oil and store in the refrigerator. Use within 1 month. (The remaining olive oil can be used as salad dressing after the cheese is used.) Yum.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dear Folks, Good Food, Empty Pocket, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Sunday, Feb. 10, 1957

                                           Feb 10, 1957
Dear Folks,

Sorry I haven't wrote sooner                              
but I have been pretty busy.
We are getting ready to go on
bivouac for a week, it should
be a lot of fun. Well
I got the news this week.
The army is going to let me
and a few selected few stay
here for 8 more weeks of
advanced infantry training. They
put people with intelligence
in the infantry. I am not
to discouraged, its not to bad.
I am slowly becoming a
man. Don't worry about
me. If I can crawl under
live machine gun fire for
100 yards twice, throw hand
grenades and do all that stuff
I figure I can take care of
myself. I am in good health,
get lots of sleep, good food
but have a empty pocket, so
how about sending me twenty
dollars. After bivouac they are
going to let us have a pass
maybe. I hope you all
are in good health. I will
let you now if anything
different turns up but right
now I have got to get ready
and go play boy scout out in the woods.


Pvt. Robert Conrad Patton  2nd row from top 5th soldier from the right.
Note: Uncle Robert's next letter was dated April 5, 1957-from the 38th Parallel. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Celebrate Love

  The days were filled with anticipation and excitement that lead up to that 2nd Grade elementary school event. We would decorate plain brown paper lunch bags with brightly colored paper hearts and crayola art and display our name proudly at the top. The decorated bags would then be fastened in a long row below the heater vents beneath our windows.

  When Valentines Day finally arrived we deposit small, carefully selected Valentine Cards into the appropriate bags. Soon the time would come to remove the bags to our desks and see what our classmates had for us. Sometimes a small box of "Conversation Hearts" would be found amongst the cheerful cards bearing our classmates signatures and thoughtful rhymes. I think it was just about my favorite holiday in the whole wide world with all that love and hearts and flowers and candy and stuff.

  These are a few things I have learned about love since love in the 2nd Grade, and a few of my favorite romantic movies thus far.

  Talk is cheap and pretty is as pretty does.

1) Green Card (played through TVG)-Gardener (Andie MacDowell) meets Alien (Gerard Depardieu).
Favorite line: "Now look what you've done you silly French oaf!"

2) Riders Of The Purple Sage-Rider (Ed Harris) meets Rancher (Amy Madigan) for supper.
Favorite line: "The older I get the stranger life becomes."

3) The Outsider-Shootist (Tim Daly) falls for plain woman (Naomi Watts).
Favorite line: "Why would God or any man breathing want to cover anything so pretty".

4) Never Been Kissed (played through TVG)-Drew Barrymore meets her match (Michael Vartan) on a diamond.
Favorite line: "Are you sure you're seventeen?"

5) Conagher (played though TVG)- Poetry reading Cow Hand (Sam Elliott) meets poetry writing tumble weed enthusiast (Katharine Ross).
Favorite Line: "Mr. Conagher, I think you should come home now."

 Women are attracted by pretty talk and men are attracted by pretty women. Its character that matters if you are going to "roll the stone" with someone (see pic #2) and part of that character is caring for others by making deposits in one an other's "love bag" on a daily basis, because we don't want anyone to come up empty on the sweetest day of the year.