My thoughts have undoubtedly settled on these unsettling thoughts, too, because Mark and I want to start a family relatively soon. I can’t help but think about what the world will look like when our children approach thirty. In twenty years, an increasing amount of devastating natural disasters may change even the shape of our world to such an extent making parts unrecognizable to our present day eyes. And though it worries me, the call to arms is more and more distant. Though my thoughts are with the future, my focus is now. All I have is now. Perhaps this is too heavy of a statement for a blog, but I may very well see the beginning of the fall of this human empire of mine before my life is over. Perhaps someone from my line down the line will be born in a world of heat and sand and figure out how to make something grow. Perhaps they will learn to live in the world that we destroyed for them. I think we are in a house burning from the inside, waiting for a rescue, but we can only save ourselves.
Why have a family? Why keep farming? Why bake? Why do anything? Why bother asking those questions? I am just beginning this new married life and there is so much enjoyment to be had, it is futile to wince before the kick of hardship. Despite all these hopeless reports and projections, unlimited amounts of joy exist in learning the ways of the land and in the chores of the home.
I think this may be the strangest blog post I’ve ever written. I apologize for the roller coaster ride of my thoughts…maybe I’ve inhaled too much dust.
It's difficult not to entertain these thoughts when living on the farm everyday is living inside of history. The farm consists of remnants of the old ways next to the new. Not just in photographs, but in buildings, equipment, in people. Mark talks about the old days as if he was there, because in a sense he was. Everything his father, grandfather and great grandfather endured, has somehow been passed down as if through the blood to my husband. Every year the farm builds up and then it falls.
Everything that is planted now will eventually be harvested or perish. The cycle, the cycle, the cycle. When life and death are part of the routine, I suppose you know the end is never really the end.
More and more I am drawn to making this blog somewhat of a homesteader’s archive of not so much recipes but techniques.
A focus on the basics, with the occasional cake of course. Who wants to go through life without cake? But now that I am around such capable men all the time, it makes me wonder about how capable I am. In so many ways, I am still a city girl. I am still a flavor-of-the-moment, bullshit-the-day-away, record store, antique shop, coffee shop junkie hipster. I’ve never cared for a herd of cattle or planted an acre of beans or welded a whatever to a something or other. I am just married to someone who can. But I hope this farm can make a country girl out of me yet. I hope that someday, I can tell the difference between a field of rye and field of wheat from a distance. That I know the preferences of every plant. That I can finally keep a sourdough starter without forgetting to feed it. That I can maintain a healthy beehive and skin a deer. And that I can name every tree in our woodlots on sight. I hope that someday I can feel connected enough to this land to really hear when it’s calling to me.
That someday, I can truly recognize the voice of the earth, because it is my own.
Until that moment, if it ever comes, I can focus on accomplishing small things. And then maybe little-big things. Right now, I can make soy milk from scratch. And then I can walk you through it, too. Below are two methods for making soy milk at home. Both will yield silky smooth results if made properly, but keep in mind the flavor of homemade soy milk is much 'beanier" than storebought.
*This post was updated on 1/2/17
Homemade Soy Milk (Cook First)
Makes approximately 6 cups
1 cup dried soybeans
Place the soybeans in a large jar or container and cover them with 6 cups of cold, filtered water. Let the beans soak for at least 8 hours at room temperature. They will plump up significantly, so make sure the container is large enough to accomodate them.
Drain the soybeans and rinse them well. Pick through them and discard any debris. The beans will have increased in size, yielding about 3 cups. Add them to a steamer setup and steam them for about 1 hour, or until tender.
Add 1 cup of soybeans to the blender, along with two cups of filtered water. Process the mixture until silky smooth. Strain the milk through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or a nutmilk bag into a clean container. Repeat this process until all of the soy beans are blended and strained.
The soy milk will keep in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.
Homemade Soy Milk (Cook Last)
Makes approximately 5 cups
1 cup dried soybeans
Place the soybeans into a large jar or container and cover them with 6 cups of cold, filtered water. Let the beans soak for at least 8 hours at room temperature. They will plump up significantly, so make sure the container is large enough to accommodate them.
Drain the soybeans and rinse them well. Pick through them and discard any debris. The beans will have increased in size, yielding about 3 cups. Add the 1 cup of beans to a high speed blender and cover them with two cups of boiling hot water. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 4-5 minutes. Repeat until all of the soybeans are blended.
Pour the soybean puree into a large stockpot. At this point, if you would like to flavor flavor the milk, add vanilla beans or even cinnamon sticks. Stir, bring the soy milk to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir the milk occasionally to prevent it from foaming over the rim of the pot.
Off the heat, pass the soy milk through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag into a clean container.
The soymilk will keep in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.