Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Emulsified Groundnuts

I'm one of those people who will see something and immediately say, "I bet I can do / make / try that!"

This thought applies to food, clothing, art, carpentry, animal care, medicinal items, cleaning products, etc. Just about anyting with the exception of things that have to do with electricity. It's not that I'm afraid of electricity (well, I really should be), but because I do not understand it. At all. But that's another story.

I like to think that my "I can do that!" attitude comes from my inate thirst for knowledge and empowerment, but mostly it comes from being a tightwad Polok.

Rhiannon and I went to the local health food store in town and treated ourselves to some fresh ground peanut butter. $5.98 a pound peanut butter. Which wasn't even really "FRESHLY" ground as the bulk bin section where the peanut butter machine is located is on "lockdown" because of COVID. So basically there are a bunch of little plastic tubs filled with already-ground peanut butter in stacks on shelves right next to the taped-off peanut butter making machine. Boooooo.

Not only did we have to use their tubs (we bring our own tub), but we didn't get to see the magic of the peanut butter machine in action. Bought a single tub anyways. Because, well, peanut butter.

Said peanut butter was finished rather quickly. With homemade jam and fresh bread, slathered on apples, dolloped on top of banana slices, mixed in with breakfast oat groats / wheat berries, eaten right off the spoon (did I say that aloud?).

So. I am out of peanut butter. Well, not really. We do have a stash of store-bought peanut butter in the pantry. And it is good. But you really can't compare store-bought to fresh ground. It's like comparing Little Caesar's pizza to a deep dish Chicago pizza; they are both pizza, they are both good in their own right, but they are not the same animal.

Out comes the aforementioned frugal person of polish decent.

I pillage our pantry and bring up a pound of dry roasted, unsalted peanuts. Do a quick internet search for "homemade peanut butter" and find out that yes, it is as easy as it seems; IF you have a food processor. Which I technically do not OWN, but I HAVE one that I have yet to return to my Dad's house. I'm thinking that my crappy blender would not have been ideal for this project, nor was I THAT stubborn to shun the use of electric chopping devices in favor of somehow smashing peanuts with some sort of mallet (which I did, indeed, entertain the idea of....for like two seconds).

After hefting the behemoth food processor out of the bottom cabinet, snapping on the metal blade and securing all safety contraptions to it, I was ready to make my own darned peanut butter! I dumped the entire 16 ounce can of roasted, unsalted peanuts, closed the top and pushed the button. The peanuts rattled around for a few seconds, then went from chopped to minced to a crumbly mass. Not wanting to be hard on the motor, I gave Ol' Bessie a minute off, then proceeded with the peanut processing.

After it looked like, well peanut butter, I plopped a couple of tablespoons of honey in there and zipped it again for about 20 seconds. Scooped it all out and put it in my hand-me-down glass container thingy.

I can now add "Maker of Peanut Butter" to my Curriculum Vitae!

Yes....growing peanuts is now on the list.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Empty Porch Syndrome

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Yule, Happy Winter Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

There....did I cover it all? Hope so :)

And I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate it....or don't.

I've neglected my blog (again), as well as neglecting everyone else's blogs. I've been trying to do more non-computer stuff and making the most out of the spurts of nice weather we've had so far this Winter. Lots of hikes, lots of wandering through the back 40. Collecting lichens for tinctures, collecting mushrooms for eating. Taking down Christmas decorations, putting up grow lights. Moving marsupial mauraders, adjusting to Penelope moving to her own pad.

Penelope (our resident fart squirrel) had decided that it was time for her to go out on her own. She made this decision by now twice by jumping off the back balcony in order to get into the great wide outdoors. She had food delivered to her twice a day, she had a box house, toys, cat tree, blankets and a heating pad. But all that extravagance and comfort was no match for the call of the wild. I wrongly assumed that her first "fall" off the back porch was a mistake, and I found her later that evening wandering around the yard, digging for yummies in the ground. So I brought her back in. The second time, just a few days later, I had to admit to myself that she really wants to be off the porch. Even when confined to the (relative) safety of the back porch, we would take her into the woods, or walk with her down the trails or just in the front yard, but it wasn't enough. I reluctuntaly understood. My beloved fart squirrel didn't just leave the nest - she hurled herself off the back porch.

Luckily for me, she decided to make herself a home underneath our storage shed. We provided her with several polar fleece blankets and she drug them to her little burrow under the shed; close enough for us to still see where she made her home, but far enough under that we cannot get to her if we chose to. Sneaky little girl.

Fart squirrels do not hibernate in the winter, but instead enter a period of "semi-hibernation" called topor when it gets too cold. Internal body temperature drops, respiration slows, and they basically just take really, really HARD naps, sometimes for days at a time, but nothing like what grizzly bears do. I'm not sure if she's gone into this state of rest yet as our lowest temperature has only been 19 or 20 degrees at night and we have seen her for supper every day since her emincapation. I'll have to read up on that. Maybe topor is just something like I go through during the winter. You know. It's freaking freezing outside and you're cold and sleepy so you go to bed really early and just sleep like a rock and nothing can wake you up. Except the smell of bacon. Bacon I would wake up for. And she does wake up for her nightly suppers so apparently her olifactory senses are not dimmed during this lightened state of semi-hibernation.