Friday, April 29, 2011

A major setback, a dog attack, and some cheese

We had a major setback today, woke up to snow, a lot of snow, it was a big fat Christmas like snowfall....on April 29th. Disgusting it was. The picture below shows how unhappy ol' Blue is, you see ol' Blue is a summer loving truck. He loves going to the dump to drop off tree trimmings, garbage (mine and the neighbors), he loves going for a summer drive out to the country to get a load of manure, he even enjoys coming to the golf course and hauling firewood and bags of leaves......he does not like winter. He gets parked all cozy and toasty in a shop all winter and waits for spring. Even his previous owner never made him work in the winter. I pulled him out of the shop a week and a half ago and we made a  trip to the hardware store (he likes the hardware store too) for a load of wood for some new garden was a fun day. Today, not so much fun. 

Poor ol' blue

Major setback
 Despite the crappy weather I had a fairly productive day. Some 10 years ago I started making a pair of moccasins from a kit I had bought....yup, I said 10 years ago. Anyway, I did not know how to make moccasins at the time, I figured how hard can it be? If they sell it all in a kit it should come with instructions and  away you go....well, not quite so. I got as far as cutting it all out and found out I could not poke my needle through the hide...nope, was not possible to get a needle through it, so I put it away...awwwaaay back in the closet, but not forgotten. Last fall just before I left here for Mexico I had the opportunity to take a class and learn how to make authentic moccasins, taught by a lovely native lady (bless her), it was so much fun and I am so happy that I had that opportunity. I learned that the reason why my needle would not go through the hide is because it is a chemically tanned hide as-apposed to hand tanned, when a hide is tanned that way it is so solid a beading needles cannot poke through it, whereas a hand tanned hide is softer and a beading needle just slides through it. I made a pair of moccasins in the class with a hand tanned and smoked moose hide, this is the ultimate hide to work with, deer and elk are nice too but the hide is thinner and floppier, moose is more durable. The smell from the smoked moose hide was just so soothing and comforting when working with it. It smelled like there was a wood burning stove, cozy and warm in the background. As I was stitching away my mind would wander at how it must have been in the days long ago, when the fire was heating a cozy cabin out in the woods with the wind blowing and the coyotes howling and the family was seated around the fire stitching away and telling stories. I found the bead work to be very soothing and relaxing and knew I would be making many more. This weekend I was supposed to take a hide tanning class taught by the same lady but it was canceled (postponed) ......guess why? Snow! And cold....I was so disappointed. A smoked hand tanned hide is hard to come by these days, the natives have become modernized too and very few still practice their native traditions.

These were my first pair of moccasins.....I wish you could smell them

To wear them outside I wear them with the little rubbers when the weather is yucky, which is how the natives wear them as well. So, when I went to a friends house I took them off at the door and while we were having tea in the living room her dog got them and attacked them .... was ugly and it was very sad for me, but they do smell like something maybe sausages, which could be tempting to a dog I guess. Now they look like this;

I never ever would have thought they would be as warm as they are in the them. 

So, today I decided to finish the other pair (the 10 year old pair), in order to bead on the top you have to bead on a piece of stroud, which is a woolen like fabric, almost felt-like but thicker. I was making pretty good progress until I got to the fur and I decided I didn't like the black fur I had, I thought white would look better so off I went to buy some white know you live waaaaay too far north when you can just go downtown and buy a rabbit pelt, just like that. I get to the store and I can't decide if white really is the answer, ,the chocolate brown looks very nice too, and the black and white bunny looked nice too....aghhhh! So I do the only thing I could do and buy the chocolate brown one and the white now I have 4 bunny pelts....oh I bought a light brown one last fall to redo the pair that got attacked by the dog. That is how far I got no picture of the new moccasins...yet. I got sidetracked with another project....Cheese. I was given (ok..I begged for it) a gallon of fresh cow milk from a friend of a friend....oh yes, I rushed to the library and checked out a book on making cheese.....I've seen it there before and have fantasied about making cheese...seriously.

Lovely lovely cheese book, I might need to own it

This was the recipe I used to make a cheese called "queso blanco" which just means "white cheese", easy peasy instructions

This was my dripping method

My cheese turned out a little harder and drier than I would have liked which means I left it dripping too long......while I was downtown bunny hunting, but it is still good, sometimes multi tasking isn't the answer.
 This cheese reminds me of the cheese that is very common in Mexico called "queso fresco" it is a soft cheese that does not melt when heated, which I love. I don't like goopy, gooey, sticky, stringy and sloppy cheese. Which makes queso freso my favorite cheese. Perfect with eggs and nopales (cactus).....but, no nopales here so I opened a can of chili I had in my freezer and heated it up in a saucepan and added some cheese. Then I dolloped a bit of olive oil in a pan and tossed in about 3 minced garlic cloves and stir fried up some sno-peas and added some cheese.....the cheese browned beautifully. The whole meal took me about 6 minutes and again it was worthy of a glass of wine.
Oh.....don't even try cheese making with store milk.....befriend a farmer.

I love how shiny the peas are when they are tossed withe olive oil

wow, that was a lot of rambling again, but now I have a movie to watch, a few months ago while I was sitting under a palapa by the ocean having a meal and cold coconut or two with some friends we had a conversation about a song, I can't remember what song or why we discussing it I just remember that the rest of the party was surprised that I had never heard the said song, I am not surprised because I was raised in a home without television and dads 5 old records were the only music we had. Now a days it's called raising your children "media healthy" back then we called it "having other things to do". So my knowledge of old music and movies are 0. was suggested I watch "West side story", if I watch it I might find the song and remember what the conversation was that we had about it.

oh.....hows the spinning coming along you ask?.....

It ain't art just yet.....and so not relaxing yet either, I have some library books coming on the subject of worked well with the cheese making


Contessa said...

Oh my, you are so very very creative in so many different ways. How I admire you and your energy. My heart sank when I saw the what the dog did to your very special very sad. The beading is gorgeous. West Side Story is one of my favorite oldies.

Trinidad said...

burrrr so cold, I shouldn't complain about our funky weather here in California. I love how you have 'ol blue, sounds like you both go on little adventures here and there.

Oh the mocassins! My heart goes out to you and by the way I imagined picking them up and smelling that good 'ol moose hide.

The picture of your cheese hanging from your sink faucet reminds me of when I used to go down to Zacatecas. I had an aunt who owned several milking cows. She would make her onw cheese, I remember her and my cousin wringing these cheese in some cloth and then hanging it from a branch as you did from your faucet. It was very tasty!

The dish you prepared looks very yummy. I was happy to learn you enjoy nopales, many northers wont try them and if they do they can't get over the "slimy" part of eating them. I've come to think that when people talk about slimy nopales, then perhaps they weren't prepared correctly.