Living the Simple Life V

Ellen Telander
Winsted Organics Farm

There are so many new things on the farm this year, and I can only talk about a few for this article. I call this year “Reduce my workload please!” I am trying to make time for more play in my farm life.

I sold off the dairy herd this year. I was up to 20 heads! They all sold on Craigslist for $150-$200 each to other small farms or people trying to live off the land. Apparently, dairy goats are more popular than ever with the increased interest in the raw foods movement. Everyone wants raw milk for health reasons. I kept my best doe and a buck for our own use: I didn’t want to get rid of my only source of good quality organic milk. I also needed a way to start making fresh yogurt! It’s so easy! I ended up purchasing a $25 electric yogurt maker. Wow, talk about easy, and it makes a great quality yogurt using goat’s milk.

How to Make Your Own Yogurt

What you’ll need:

  • 3-4 small, pint-sized glass jars. Do not use big quart jars. In this instance, smaller is better.
  • Clean lids for the glass jars.
  • Store-bought organic yogurt (just a small single serving will do or if you plan to make a lot each week, buy the larger bulk size). Make sure it has live cultures. Look at the date on the package, and don’t buy yogurt nearing its expiration.
  • Blender or whisk and bowl.
  • 1 C of raw milk or store bought milk.

Cheapo Instructions if you don’t own a yogurt maker:

Most people say you need to heat pasteurize your milk, but don’t bother.

  1. Put the milk in the blender (or bowl with whisk) and blend one cup of yogurt in milk entirely. Do not leave clumps of yogurt in the mixture.
  2. Pour mixture into glass jars and screw on lids.
  3. Put jars in a warm place in your house. I’ve used the warm window or up high in the kitchen above the stove. It needs to be warm, but not too hot to kill the yogurt cultures. Do not use the oven, heating pad or crock pot. All are too hot even on low.
  4. Leave alone for 16-24 hours. Yes, that’s right! As long as the cultures are alive, then you will have yogurt and not spoiled milk!
    TIP: Fresh yogurt will look like the consistency of kefir sometimes. This is due to your jar size (too big), not enough time allowed to sit, not enough heat, or poor yogurt starter.

Tomatoes Galore!

I had a bumper tomato crop this year. I planted 30 various heirloom plants, including some I’ve never heard or seen before. I’m an Italian and our family of course has its own family recipes for spaghetti sauce. I’ve perfected fresh tomato sauce. Use the best tomatoes you can find, ones that taste sweet. I prefer to add large yellow tomatoes: they add a nice tangy acid to the sauce.

How to Make Your Own Tomato Sauce

Yield: Makes enouh for a large gathering or to freeze for later. Sauce is always better the next day.
What you’ll need:

  • one huge pot or crock pot
  • wooden spoon
  • 1-2 chopped onions
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 20-25 large tomatoes, cored and skinned. Don’t use small tomatoes.
  • olive oil
  • small can of tomato paste (organic)
  • 3 T dried oregano
  • 2 T dried basil
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1-2 T sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • a little sugar to taste if you need it
  • a splash of red wine, more if you like that taste


  1. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in pot.
  2. Then add meat to pot to sauté: I make meatballs or add a nice sausage and goat chops. Alternative: you can use sliced, sautéed mushrooms—a lot of them. This will offer a meaty flavor to the sauce if you are a vegetarian or trying to reduce your meat intake. You can always use meat alternative crumbles by MorningStarTM.
  3. Simmer this all day long. You need to allow for at least 8 hours of cooking. You need to simmer this slowly on low. Don’t try to do this in 3 hours and burn the sauce!

How to remove tomato skins: You can do this by dipping the tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute and skins remove easily. Or a lazy way is to freeze the tomatoes overnight (cored with skins on) and put the frozen tomatoes on the counter. As they thaw, you can easily remove skins and throw them in the pot.

Living Simple V

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