Friday, November 28, 2014


In my last post I mentioned clabbered milk as an ingredient in my milk paint recipe.  Clabber is clotted milk.  It is not sour milk in the sense that pasteurized milk goes sour.  Clabber can only be made from raw, micro biologically alive milk.  The milk comes from the mammal with certain qualities and its own beneficial bacteria.  When the animal is milked in a clean way, the milk can be put aside on the counter with a lid on and the milk will separate and thicken.  Eventually the milk solids fall to the bottom.

Clabber can be used in the home kitchen in many ways.  It is was historically a leavening agent when used in baking.   It can use it in the place of yogurt or sour cream or use it as a soft ripened cheese - all depending on how well drained the casein is.   Cleanliness is of the utmost importance if making clabber if it is to be eaten raw.  In my milk paint I strive for that level of cleanliness. However,  any jar of milk that has caught a stray bacteria will begin to make itself known after a week on the counter.

 After a week I take the ball that has dropped out of the whey, drain off the whey, gently rinse the solids, and let it drip dry a bit.  This bit of milk solid is then mixed with a paste of lime and a bit of water and set aside for half a day.  The action of the lime will cause the combination to become liquid.  At this point I mix it with a stick blender and stir in pigment.

I set aside a 1/2 gallon jar from each day's milking and allow it to ripen.  The jar on the far left is ready for use today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Milking Stool

The Milk Stool had been sitting on the wood stack since I unloaded the truck after selling our family cow.  I had compelling reasons to sell her:  I had grown terribly allergic to her, she required as much food as a small herd of other types of cows, the kids were grown up and moving out, and our leased land had become far too valuable as development property.  She went to a great home that loves her and give me updates about her.  Still I missed her.

Seeing the milking stool brought back lots of memories.  That milking stool had hung in a tree in the pasture in the summertime.  In the winter I had more than one icy ride under the belly of my patient cow.  The stool wasn't big enough to hold me on top of new deep snow but it was a formidable defense from a hormonal new momma cow.  And so I decided I wanted to preserve it rather than watch it rot out there.  What better way than to use milk paint!

I now have dairy goats.  I'm not allergic, they are both thrifty and productive, and I can handle them by myself.  I love how they entertain as well as provide.

  To get started on making paint, I set fresh warm milk out to clabber for a week, and then drain it well.  I add lime and water and then mix pigments to get the color I want.  Finally I paint in layers until I am satisfied with the outcome.  

I love the chippy antiqued look the milk paint gave it. Milk paint interacts with the medium and adds an element of the unknown.

I finished it with a beeswax finish from our own bee hives.

Happy Thanksgiving

  We give thanks for family and friends far and near.  We are grateful for all the blessings in our lives, and we are mindful of those less fortunate than us.
  We are having an unusually quiet Thanksgiving this year, but that's OK.  We get some intimate time and extra time to work on projects that we love to do.