pioneer weekend

Posted by on March 15, 2009 in cook, farm, photograph, stitch | 10 comments

I pretended to be a pioneer this weekend, except for the electricity and indoor plumbing, oh, and the washer and dryer and gas stove, but other than those little conveniences, it was just like being a pioneer.

I haven't been cooking much more than dinner lately, so I decided to spend a little more time in the kitchen this weekend. When the Angry Chicken mentioned making butter, and 70-some comment-ors shared their enthusiasm, I had to jump on the bandwagon and try it too. I did it in a more pioneer-like way, and shook a pint of cream in a quart-sized mason jar. It was fascinating how the texture changed. First it just got all thick and frothy, and I was worried my jar was too small. Then I could hear it sort of thunk-ing around, and then suddenly it was a solid mass and finally, it turned pale yellow and there was a chunk of butter sitting in a pool of milk. This would be a great home-school science lesson! I recently scored a bunch of mini jello molds, which will soon be turned into pincushions, so I pressed the butter into one of them and let it harden in the fridge for a while and then turned it out on a plate.


The pint of cream made that-which I would estimate is 3/4 to 1 cup, plus another half a stick. I salted it very lightly, really just a couple shakes of kosher salt, and when I tasted it right after it was finished I was worried that I put way too much in, but today it's much better. And I have been eating a lot of slices of bread and butter.

So that was my weekend to-do list up there, and I didn't get it completely finished, but I did make quite a lot of progress. Make Butter: check!

Next up was Make Pickles. I will not be able to tell you how successful that venture was for two or three months, however. Here's a little more pickle backstory: Mr. HeyLucy loves a good antipasto salad, and the last time we had pizza the salad was a little disappointing. We are also trying to be more thrifty and not eating out, so this will be a good thing to try and make ourselves at home. Summer garden plans are in the works, so if the homemade pickling thing works out, we'll plant lots of pickle-friendly vegetables. Also, I was talking to a couple Persian friends at work who told me all about torshi, Persian pickles. One of found this recipe and sent it to me. I modified it a little, and made it a bit more Italian style (because I'm such an Italian cuisine expert). Here are all my vegetables, ready to be mixed and put in jars. The bowl is full of herbs and vinegar, and it smelled delicious, although now I need a break from the smell of vinegar for at least a couple days.


Vegetables are pretty! Clockwise, from the top left we have green pepper, cucumbers (the little persian ones), herb-y vinegar, cauliflower, carrots, cooked eggplant (not too much of that, I wasn't sure if we would like it), whole garlic cloves, and celery. I ended up with five quarts and one pint. Now it has to sit for a couple months and then we can enjoy it! Make Pickles: check!

Next up, Sew Skirt. Didn't happen. I have some pretty grey linen for a Summer skirt, and I want to sew lots of rick-rack around the bottom, but the fabric store I went to on Friday only had purple, so I will have to go on a rick-rack hunt next week. Sew Skirt will move to the top of the list for next weekend.

Gather Moss. I don't think I'm ready to take the dogs out again, my hand should be healed by next weekend, however, so that stays on the list. The dogs each got a little brushing, and therefore quality one-on-one time with me instead, and it's not like there was a moss emergency. My terrarium in the little house studio is doing quite well, I will have to take a progress picture so you can see how pretty and green it is.

Sew Blouse. Well, it's cut out, so that one gets a partial check. I hope to work on it this week, so expect to hear more about this later.

Sweep Driveway. We have a big driveway. Between dogs digging and chickens scratching, and wind blowing, it gets messy. I got a lot swept, so I'm giving myself a check mark, but there is one more corner to do, so it will be back on the list next week too.

Do laundry. Done! Although not yet put away, at least it's all folded. Maybe tomorrow I will finish putting it away, and then I will get my check mark.

Make Pincushions. Well, I tried, but more experimenting is needed. I did make a strawberry with emory sand, so I'm kind of excited about that. I made one attempt with the aforementioned mini jello molds, but I have to try again. No check mark, back on the list.


I'm excited to make some new little sets, with wool-stuffed pincushions and emory-filled strawberries, and maybe even matching needlebooks.

Bake a Cake. Specifically, Nigella's Clementine Cake. I've been wanting to make this forever, or at least for the last three months. So forever might be an exageration, but I finally did it today. And it's good, but not quite as outstanding as I was expecting. She does say that she prefers it the next day, so maybe my opinion will change tomorrow. I think I might like it more with a simple orange glaze. It's flourless, so it might be a good recipe to add to your reportoire if you need a gluten-free cake. Also, it's not all that exciting to look at:


So that was my weekend to-do list. I should have included Pick Flowers, because that would have earned me another check mark.



I hope you won't mind just a few more pictures of daffodils and grape hyacinth, but we have to enjoy them while we can!


I love that bright orange center, and how about that extreme bokeh, eh? 


I just love these tiny things. That photo is worth looking at full-sized. This version is straight out of the camera, but I played with some Photoshop actions and added those versions to flickr.


  1. That sounds like a great weekend!

  2. Ooo, I love your mold! You’ve inspired me. Next time I make butter, I’m going to use a mold, too. 🙂
    Sweetfern Handmade

  3. Yum! I need to make some butter, too. Nothing beats it.
    You had such a productive weekend! Nice!!
    Bring me some cake.

  4. I remember making butter when I was in elementary school. Wow – haven’t done it since then! Yours turned out beautifully, a work of art.

  5. You are a genius photographer in addition to all your other skillz.

  6. Wow! I’m exhausted just thinking of all the things you did this weekend! I have a butter mold question, how does it come out of the mold once you’ve smashed it in? This is probably a silly question, but I’m so curious about it. And you always have such a nice way of answering silly questions.

  7. I love the pictures and the list gives me ideas too. thanks for the link to the ‘torshi’ recipe. I always buy torshi in the middle eastern stores but have never tried making them at home. My mother-in-law (from Iran) used to make awesome torshis.

  8. So, did you can/seal the pickles? Or are they in the refrigerator?
    I love any pickled veggie, but I’ve never made them because of the effort it takes to can them (i.e. seal by boiling in a water bath).
    Any thoughts?

  9. Man, you are on a roll! Could you please come out here and kick me in the can to get going? I am in love with the thought of eating that cake! Curious to know if it tasted better the next day? I made oatmeal cookies last week and almost threw them all out- they tasted blah,but the next morning they were so good I couldn’t stop eating them. Oatmeal cookies are hard to find a good recipe for, at least I think so. I have tried a few lately and can’t find one I love. What is emory -filled? I love that strawberry by the way. We made butter awhile back and I was surprised at the whole process. Easy and fun.

  10. pioneer? more like schmioneer. but, kudos for making your own butter. “kudos”? who says that, I just think of those granola bars that came out in the 80’s when I hear that word, I take the kudos back, and replace it with a “good job”.

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