Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hello, I'm a Mormon

Not really. But for some reason one of the teens at our church said I reminded her of a Mormon because I have chickens and a garden and do crafty things. Hahaha. Don't ask me why those things were related in her mind but I found it very funny. I mean, maybe Amish, but Mormon? And now every time time I do something crafty or homestead-like, I feel like I should be wearing my "Hello, I'm Mormon" name tag. Just to be confusing. Or something.

Anyhoo. Ever since I finished that wedding dress, there's been a dearth of sewing projects around here. Not that I don't have things to do here and there, but they're mostly in the way of alterations or mending. On one hand, I welcome the break because to be honest, it's been nuts around here for quite some time and I. Am. Tired. On the other hand, I feel like such a waste of space when I'm not doing or making something. So I got out some of my compulsive makery by doing some Mormon things. 

First of, I made pickles for the first time. They were amazing. 

Second of all, I made kefir. Here are some kefir grains. Don't ask me why they call them grains, they are actually a kind of mushroom I think. 

I also tried this girls recipe for making Greek yogurt. I can honestly say it was not very successful. I followed everything precisely, but all I got was runny, vaguely yogurt-like substance. Boo. However, I did add some kefir grains for a day or two and ended up with some passable drinkable yogurt. Still. I wanted Greek yogurt, danggit. Oh well. One day I'll buy a yogurt maker. Or figure out how to do it right. 

I harvested some carrots. They came out...okay. My husband called them "totally tasteless". Of course, my husband grew up in Russia, where his grandparents had a dacha and grew every conceivable vegetable and berry in the fertile black earth. Nothing I ever grow in our crappy Florida soil is ever going to compare to that. And lest I sound snarky or bitter, I have lived in Russia and eaten dacha produce and can honestly say he is right. That stuff is amazing, and leaves me feeling vaguely depressed about my efforts here. But anyway. 

Last but not least, is my husband's latest foray into makery (do you like that new non-word? I do.) Last year he bagged three deer on the annual let's-be-cavemen-and-go-kill-things trip. He cleaned meat, I made sausage, he even ate the heart and liver. (yuck) He then proceeded to try his hand at tanning, and managed to preserve all three skins. He knew for sure that he wanted to make moccasins, so he started by taking apart some old L.L. Bean slippers and drafting a pattern from them. He stained the leather, dyed the cording, and then got to work. Here's one finished slipper:

I told him he should be a foot model. We both laughed really hard about that one. 

I mean, obviously it's not some slick, factory made shoe, but it's pretty cool nonetheless. It probably seems weird that the fur is on the inside, but I can attest to the fact that it feels amazing. And I like that he used as much of the deer as possible. I'm think hunting for sport is sick. I think killing animals for one little part of them is equally sick. But if you're going to be an omnivore, and you're going to hunt your own meat, at least try to use as much of that meat (and skin, and anything else useful) as possible.

Last but not least, I've really been wanting to get out of the habit of using paper towels for everything. I mean, our paper towel consumption was off the charts, and they ain't cheap. So I went to Wal-Mart, picked up a few cheap packages of tea towels, cut them into four squares each, and serged the raw egdes. Et voila! A basket of paper towel substitutes. I feel so green.

So far they work great. I'll let you know how well I like them after cleaning toilets with them. Ugh....

Have any of you made anything Mormon Hippie Amish crafty lately?


Lynz said...

*sniggers* I did very mormony baking on Sunday and finished a quilt yesterday and I'm working on a cushion (pillow to you foreign types)right now. Of course, I'm a devout heathen so fit her definition as much as you do!

Beezus said...

For what it's worth, we had a yogurt maker (maybe we still do -- we're in the process of moving, so stuff is here, there and in the storage shed), and you know what they want you to use? Yogurt. You have to have a yogurt with active whatevers as a starter.

Lately, I've been making some very Mormonesque things, such as donkey pin cushions, a mini quilt (Life of Brian) for my old college roommate, and a Heather Ross quilt for her daughter. Life is good, even when you're caught up in the morment (okay, that's even a little far for me, but I just couldn't resist a little pun).

Rachel Hauser said...

I know I'm late, but I wanted to say I totally get all of this. Hey, my friends keep Kefir too. And, using the leather - pure awesome.

Have you already read Radical Homemaker? You'd love it. I think of myself as a Radical Homemaker. It feels better to me than most other monikers for this whole... thing.

Monkeysinmypocket said...

you can make greek yoghurt using "supermarket" greek yoghurt as your culture. It is really easy. Just heat your milk to 90oC, let cool to 43oC then add about 2 to 3 table spoons of 'culture' to the milk, pour it into a container and keep it in an esky/somewhere warm maintaining 43oC until set. If it cools slightly it will just take longer, if it gets too hot will be bitter. I've done it a few times at home.

Monkeysinmypocket said...

LOL! I should have read her recipe first! It is pretty much the same one!!!