Random notes

I’m dismayed about my lack of recent posts, because a force in the weblog world was kind enough to name me “Weblog Pick of the Week” and I ought to be working hard to impress all the folks who took Amy’s recommendation. Well, maybe I’ll get the first installment written today in my series about the bookstore. But just in case that doesn’t happen, I’ll offer up a few snippets of news.

Our cow-milking friends are producing way more milk than they can use or sell, so we’ve decided to help out by stepping up our cheese experiments. Yesterday I picked up eight gallons, and last night we used two of them to make another farmhouse cheddar.

When we made our first cheese, we had 1.5 gallons of whey left but didn’t know what to do with it. We knew that you could make ricotta cheese from very fresh whey (less than three hours old), but we were busy enough with the cheddar that we didn’t want to take on an additional task. Well, sometime later than three hours afterwards we looked in the cheesemaking book and saw that all you have to do with the whey is bring it to a boil, then strain it through cheesecloth—et voilà! ricotta! So we did that last night and ended up with both a two-pound cheddar and a half-pould of ricotta. And the remaining whey is still worth feeding to the animals.

This was the weekend of full-scale church meeting at Blessed Hope Old Regular Baptist Church, with services Saturday evening and Sunday morning (with potluck dinner afterwards) and Sunday evening. As a family we only attend the Sunday morning service and dinner, since four hours is plenty for the little ones. They do very well, too, surprisingly so for the loudness of the singing and preaching.

Chris and I attend the other services, and sometimes Maggie or Matthew will come along with us. It makes for a lot of lined-out singing, which is sheer joy for us. It also makes for a lot of preaching, but I have yet to get tired of it.

I’ve been recording the services for the past couple of months, and posting them to this weblog, if you’re curious to hear what they are like.

We need to do something to provide water for the garden this year. I’d sink a deep well, but I’m told that folks haven’t had good experiences with them in this hollow, depending instead on springs and municipal water. Our one spring (that we know about) isn’t reliable, and we can’t afford to be watering the garden with municipal water.

A neighbor suggested that we think about a shallow well, like the wells that Pa Ingalls dug, saying that if we dug a 10-20 foot deep hole near the creek that subterranean water would fill it. I’ve thought about doing that, but I’m not sure it would store enough water for dry spells, and I’m nervous about digging a hole so deep.

It’s been raining heavily the past few days, and as I watch the huge amounts of water running down our hill towards the creek I’m thinking that a pond might be the right solution. Our garden is across the road on the upper part of a nine-acre piece of land; the slope behind the garden is gentle, and we’re starting to watch where water collects in the lower section.

The Ridgewood Boys aren’t playing out much these days, partly by circumstance and partly by design. When we have performances scheduled a lot of time beforehand goes into practice, which takes time away from other things. Lately Chris has been focusing on learning the fiddle, so we’re trying to help with that by keeping song practice to a minimum.

We do have a performance scheduled at the end of the month, though, at The Pick’n Parlor in Wartrace, Tenn., not far out of Nashville. It is a restaurant run by friends, and we’re looking forward to visiting with them.

We are also closer to getting started on a project I’ve thought about for awhile now, a repository of reference recordings that can be freely downloaded. We’ve often heard of a song and wanted to know what it sounded like, but only been able to hear it by buying someone’s CD. Well, we know lots of songs that aren’t copyrighted, it isn’t hard for us to record them, and it doesn’t cost anything extra for us to put them on our website for downloading. So we’re wanting to put togther something that would be helpful to other folks who want to hear what these songs sound like.

God has blessed us with another child, expected to make his or her appearance sometime in July.


14 thoughts on “Random notes

  1. Congratulations on the baby announcement!

    In regard to garden water, have you considered collecting and storing rain water as it runs off of your roof?

    My previous residence had an old clay cistern that must have held a couple thousand gallons of water that was collected from our gutters.

    It was about 16′ deep and about 8′ across at the widest point. I had a small pump that pumped the water through a hose. I never ran it dry.

    A friend of mine harvests rain water by connecting a series of plastic 50 gallon drums by a short length of 2″ PVC pipe. The first barrel receives the run of rain water from the downspout. When the barrel gets full, it drains into the next barrel down the line through the short length of PBC pipe.

    He simply uses 5 gallon pails to transport the water, but I would probably drill a hole and install a hose bib at the bottom of the barrels so you could attach a hose and drain the barrels.

  2. Congratulations on the baby!

    Also, love the idea about reference recordings; we occasionally hear a song somewhere, and want to hear it again, but don’t know where to find it. Seems the kids can do a pretty good job of figuring out how to play a song and make it their own, if they are able to hear it a few times; your recordings could be a wonderful resource!

    Looking forward to your Pick’n Parlor weekend!

    Mary Susan

  3. Oops, I was listed as anonymous above.

    We’re hoping God will bless us with another baby this year. Congratulations to you both.


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