Thursday, 28 November 2013

Say Cheese!

Its been a dream, a passion, ok lets be real, an obsession in our family to be able to make really good homemade cheese.  I come from a dairy rich country, New Zealand, where cheese and milk is really good quality, and for the most part fairly affordable.  So coming to north america were "american" plastic cheese is the norm is extremely disappointing.

Eating cheese that is any good in Canada and you will need a small line of credit just to keep up, especially at the rate that we eat it.  So making it, is really one of the only ways we can really guarantee what we are eating.  Over this summer we mastered Mozzarella.  Served with Niwas grown tomatoes, and basil, drizzled with balsamic reduction... it was heaven on a plate.

Yesterday thanks to the great people at the New England Cheese Making Supply Company ,  which I learnt about after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, (Can you imagine lying on a 2 inch mattress in rural India dreaming about the first home grown asparagus of the season?) we decided to jump in and give it a whirl.

So yesterday the parcel arrived.   Everything we will need to make Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Feta, Kefir and Goats Cheese, which is going to be our main cheese come February when Poppy gives birth!

So today is no longer known as Thursday, but cheddar day.  Apparently its going to take about 2 months to be ready,  so come February first, (about the same time the Goats milk will start flowing) we will be ready and waiting to bite into our first Niwas Cheddar Cheese...

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Vege Starts - Planning for fundraising and crops.

So for better or for worse, its not even christmas and i'm already salivating over the potential crop and starts fundraiser at Niwas for next year.

Dan at Saltspring Seed Co.  comes across as a real genuine walk the walker.  Dedicated to preserving NON GMO, Organic and Heirloom crops, he has once again showered us with a wonderful variety to produce to be grown in the East Kootenays.

For all you locals with gardens,  these are the starts we are planning on having on offer for sale late april/early may next year. (depending on frost)

*Italian Stallion Paste Tomato. - very dense and heavy fruits, worthy of their name.
*Gardener's Delight Small Cherry  - crack resistant, 6 - 12 clusters, heirloom.
*Elizabeth  - family heirloom from Mike Stefancsik, 2 ounce red tomatoes of great flavor.
*Cheesmanii - very old and rare North American heirloom.  prolific.  small orange pear-shaped gems.
*Black Krim Novelty Tomato - heirloom from Krim on the Black Sea. Unique looking 6-12oz, deep      red/purple fruits have dark mahogany shoulders. Rich, sweet, juicy and delicious.
*Cuatomate - Unique Zapotec Indian heirloom.  Orange currant tomato with lots of flavor.
*Early Latah - usually the earliest tomato to ripen. Abundant red plum-shaped fruit on compact plants.

*Laurels Freilly Kale
*Red Ursa Kale
*Nutri-bud Broccoli
*Rainbow Chard
*Slo Bolt Cilantro
*Darki Parsley

*Amaranth Mix
*Hi Yield Quinoa
*Gary's Hulless Oats

*Taj Mahal Marigolds - actually collected from the Taj.

And this is not everything we will have...  its going to be great!

What is your favorite vege/flower to grow in the East Kootenay's?

Is it February yet?

Yes, i'm a white yogini. No, i'm not a spiritual materialist.

So i woke up this morning to a barred of drivel on FB about "stealing the heritage of another culture to satisfy our unbridled greed and arrogance."  because your white.  That white people in the west are narcissisticcharlatans and spiritual materialists. (Im sorry i cant even keep a straight face while writing that).  And yeah.  like everything... you will find these aspects in people in the west teaching yoga.  But you will also find these in india. 

Being a white woman, a practicing yogini, as well as all the other labels you could accurately impose upon me only ever reaches to a very superficial understanding of my existence.  To say that someone who is white, and therefore will make a lousy shaman at best.  Has never met, nor explored the teachings/life of Tom Brown Jr and Grandfather.   Anyone who says that white people who practice yoga are stealing the indian culture.  Do not understand the difference between a spiritual lineage of teachings/  a philosophy, and culture. They do not understand that both shamanism and yoga (tantra/vedanta) do not belong to the colour of your skin., Or the place where you were born.  They were held safe from distortion in a part of the world, in a heart of the people there but they belong to the heart of the Divine.  

And thats what we as humans are trying to reconnect to.  Our own hearts that beat in time with the great mother.  Shamanism and Yoga are airily/comfortingly similar.  They may have different techniques.  Mind based or Nature based.  But really the intention for mastery is identical.  Many paths, One truth.  To understand the whole. To dissolve every part of us that feels separate from the whole.  To eventually dissolve into the whole.

Sri Swamiji Satyananda Saraswati foretold that Yoga will be the culture of tomorrow.  I pretty sure he didnt think we were all going to be running around in saris with the "shiva's tramp stamp" on our heads. (yes. an indian man actually wrote that in an article while dissing how white women had no place wearing a sari)  Not as a culture that is based on skin colour, on caste, on wealth, on creed or geographical birth.  But a culture, the human culture.  

Do I believe that north america has got it all wrong when it comes to yoga?  In short i would say, yes.  But lets not through out the baby with the bath-water.  We are in the Kali Yuga people.  Where people justify wiping out whole races to promote superiority.   Things are pretty screwed up.  But at least people are trying.  Do i like hot yoga? No. I think it really missis the yoga boat.  But people have to start someone where.  And eventually (maybe not in this lifetime) they will make it to a place where they can really strip down to focus on the actual teachings that will lead them into their highest potential.

Cause really, thats what Yoga, Shamanisim, Druidism or any of the other spiritualities are for... to give us a road map to step into our highest potentials. Not as humans, but as souls.  Using this human experience as a testing ground,  a launching pad.  

So lets talk about spirituality, and the lineages of these ancient traditions not from the human 3D, you/me, black/white, here/there perspectives.  But from the perspectives that the teachings actually emanate from, come back to, and embody.  The Spirit.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Gearing up for the milk...

So this is Poppy.  She and Cedar are the first goats at Niwas.  She's had a bit of a rough start to life and was rescued from a place that was neglecting the heard.  So, understandably she's a bit skittish... but she's a sucker for oats.

It looks like, and we very much hope so, Poppy is with kid, or, by the looks of her maybe even two!

She's going to be due around the first week of February, and i'm already starting to get antsy about the birth.  "They" say that 99% are very smooth, but its always that 1% of births that need help, or intervention for the sake of the mama, and/or the kid.

The wonderful thing though, is that the Homesteading community in the 3 hour radius of where we are, are wonderful, helpful and encouraging to newbies.  It definitely has the vibe, the more free ranging, the better.  So help is a phone call or a Facebook away. (for all its evils, it has its pros)

So come February, Niwas will have its own Goats Milk and Cheese.  Not for sale of course, thats a wild rats nest of legal laws and hoops.  But for personal use...  and to practice making cheese.  All going well though, it is in the 5 year plan to get a small commercial kitchen and legally be able to supply goats cheese from the farm.

But i still cant help but wonder,  what if i don't like the taste! Sounds silly, all this effort, 6 months of tending to this animals every need,  to not even like the product.  But ive never been a big milk drinker, unless its got some sort of chocolate powder in it.  (Silly Cow Drinking Chocolate for example - found at #sproutgrocery) So many people say you cant tell the difference.  But i wonder if its a coke, pepsi thing... cause i can definitely tell the difference.

Time till tell... and ill let you know how it goes.  Do you have any experience with goats milk?

You are not alone...

I've had a few blogs over the years. One when I was living in Costa Rica,  alone, in the jungle with 2 iguanas and a colony of bats.  Then I had one when I was living in Vancouver,  to supplement a series of teachings I was sharing on Yoga.

So here I am again, starting another blog.  Why?  Im not really sure.  Except that I find myself in a life so magical, so absurd, so... real, that there has to be some comfort, entertainment, and connection in it with others.  My intention for this blog is to relate and share real examples of 3 key points to the readers.  1) You are not alone in this life, 2) Never give up on your dreams, and 3) life, well, its all about how you look at it.  We really do create our realities.  

So i share what is on here as a way of dissecting my intricate reality, as a "grihastha ashrama" or "karma sannyasi" (meaning house-holding yogi), a mother, a wife, a homesteading farmer.

Some blog posts will be on yoga, some on the day to day farming, some on being a teacher, some on being a student.  But to me these things are not separate, they are not labelled and tucked in different doors of my mind.  They are the intertwining of my life.  They are what makes my reality what it is... 

Some things on here you will agree with, some things on here you will disagree with.  But i promise you, what i write on here will be real.  So with open hearts, open minds and a bit of a giggle... here we go.