Friday, May 5, 2017


With our own source of fresh goat milk, the abundance we receive makes amazing Chevre.

We use raw milk, so I create my own Clabber.  One of my favorite Chevre recipes, takes time to start it off

To make a Clabber, sterilize a quart jar.  Fill to the top with fresh raw milk.  Cover the top with clean cheese cloth and place a ring over jar mouth to secure it.  Leave 7 days at room temp.  After 7 days, pour 2/3 of the young Clabber out or feed to chickens.  Refill the jar to the top and placing a sterile lid on it, shake vigorously, then remove the top and again cover with fresh cheesecloth and the jar ring to secure it in place.  At the end of this 7 days (14 days in total) you will have Clabber that will help curd your cheese.  I do this process with the Clabber every 7 days and take 3/4 away to use in my cheeses and again fill with fresh milk.  You can keep this Clabber going indefinitely ( I once, put it in the refrigerator for 14 days, while away on vacation, and it worked beautifully.


  •   6 Gallon of Goats Milk (Raw)
  •  6T Clabber
  •  2 1/2 tsp Sea Salt 
 Warm the milk to 74-78°F 

Once the milk is at the correct temperature the Clabber can be added.  Stir with a slotted spoon to make certain the Clabber has infused within all of the milk.  Now I add 4 drops of rennet.  We make our own, but it is easily purchased. (liquid is the best). Stir enthusiastically.  Then cover pot with plastic wrap and set aside undisturbed. The milk now needs to rest for 6-12 hours while the clabber works and the rennet coagulates the curd.  The longer the curd sets the more acid will be produced-stronger flavor.

I usually leave mine overnight and strain in the AM.  Use large pieces of cheesecloth, draped over a sterile bowl.  I fill the cloth, tie it off at the corners and hang it for 4-6 hours (till it has reached the consistency I want for my Chevre.  I place a pot under the suspended Curd, to catch the whey.

When my curds are soft and well drained, I salt the curds and work by hand.  At this point, I have plain Chevre.  There are so many things you can add to make it amazing.  We have our own bees, so I often add some honey to my Chevre as it is a natural preservative.  Try some of these great flavors in your Chevre:

Dried chopped apricot & honey

Rosemary & Honey

Pink peppercorn

Dried cranberries & orange zest

Moroccan Spice Mixture

Sundried tomato and basil

Toasted walnuts & honey

Garlic and herbs

Fig & Olive

Pumpkin & honey & nutmeg

Jalapeno & honey

I am always happiest when my cheese cave starts to fill up!  Most of these are hard cheeses, but start with a Chevre and work your way up to pressed and aged cheeses

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Elm Creek Goes Espalier & Poire Prisonniere!

We are very excited about a new project. The art of Espalier (ess-PAL-yay).
 The art of espalier is all about selectively pruning and training to a desired shape
 The  horticultural and ancient agricultural practice of controlling woody plant growth for the production of fruit, by pruning and tying branches to a frame. Plant are frequently shaped in formal patterns, flat against a structure such as a wall, fence, or trellis, and also plants which have been shaped in this way.  Espaliers, trained into flat two-dimensional forms, are used not only for decorative purposes but for border control.
We saw this in Europe about 10 years ago and just saw it again in both Mt Vernon & Williamsburg. While there, we kept seeing a low fencing that had a living tree wound through it.  As I bent and inspected it, I realized they were fruit trees!   I was sold and we bought 10 trees. 
The limb training is beginning. You are able to pull them closer to the fence once a month as the limbs adjust to the bending. You prune any new branches that sprout and end up with only 4-6 good limbs per tree. 

Our new fruit trees (apricots, plums and peaches) are training to grow low to the ground and down a fence row. The tree limbs become part of the fence. It is not only decorative, it is practical. It is amazingly beautiful in the spring bloom and a wonder to see as the fruit grows and matures into the summer. The trees yield a little less fruit, but higher quality fruit with more intense flavor and more beautiful color.  It is easier to regulate the nutrition to end up with amazing fruit!!


I have talked Brad into creating Poire Prisonniere with one of our pear trees.  This process is growing a pear in a bottle.  You place the tiny pear ball into a bottle and suspend the bottle in the tree.  The pear will grow and mature in the bottle. When ripe, you snip the pear from the tree and just fill the bottle with strong brandy and let it age.  You end up with a wonderful pear Brandy (with the pear in the bottle).
Image result for pear growing in bottle for liquorImage result for pear growing in bottle for liquor

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Germanfest in Muenster Texas


Wilkommen (Welcome) to the 42nd annual Germanfest, sponsored by the Muenster Chamber of Commerce.

Muenster was founded in 1889 by people of German heritage and Catholic faith. This unique German community located in North Texas, of approximately 1,500, is a close-knit family in both kinship and kindred spirit.
This family, of common heritage and faith, throws one of the biggest parties in Texas, Germanfest, the last full weekend in April. This three-day festival attracts thousands to mouthwatering German sausage, scrumptious apple strudel, hearty cheeses and homemade bread, cakes, German beers, and pies. So, come to Muenster and let us be your host for food, fun and frolic. Be sure to bring a "guten apetit."

The charming town of Muenster, population 1800, swells to over 50,000 people a day, in welcoming our neighbors to the North, South, East & West! 

 Plan to participate in one or more of our exciting activities. Events include a 5k and 15k Germanfest Fun Run, a Metric Century Bicycle Rally, a Sausage and Rib Cook-Off, Nagelshlaugen and other assorted competitions.

 There will be entertainment for the whole family, including mimes, magicians, clowns and storytellers, or the Karneval and Kinder Theater for the children, while Mom and Dad delight in dancing, music, arts and crafts, a rock-climbing wall, folk dancing, and two stages with non-stop entertainment.

Located on U.S. Highway 82, 14 miles west of I-35, about 70 miles north of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Muenster is waiting to welcome you to their community and entertain you at Germanfest.

Friday April 28, 2017

Musical Entertainment on the Main Stage- Friday, April 22, 2016

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm -  Pat Waters and Chainlink
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm -  Ryan Ready/Nikki Horner
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm -   A Hard's Night Day
8:30 pm - Close -  Time Machine Band
Saturday April 29, 2017
11:00 am - 1:00 pm -
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm - Phil Hamilton
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm -  Kylie Rae Harris
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm -  Ryan Beaver
8:30 pm - 10:00 pm -  Curtis Grimes
10:30 pm - Close -  Zane Williams
Sunday April 24, 2016
11:00 am - 12:00 Noon -  Music In the Park
12:30 pm - 3:00 pm -  Brave Combo
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm -  Classic Recall
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm -  Andy Serna

Give yourself a bit more time and make it a weekend adventure!  The locally owned shops on Main Street along with our outstanding Antique mall, are charming, eclectic and sophisticated with wonderful treasures, finds, treats and baubles to be had by all!

For more information:
Muenster Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 714 Muenster, TX 76252-0714
8:00am-5:00pm Mon. - Fri.

4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery & Barnhaus

 Laying gracefully in the majestic Red River Valley in the North Texas hill country, the newly opened 4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery & Barnhaus.

  Where the short-grass prairie drops into the Red River Valley, the 4R Ranch—with its magnificent vistas and rocky terrain—is perfectly suited for growing grapes. Patriarch W.C. Roper encouraged his family of sixth-generation Texans to share the beauty of this extraordinary place with others; and so it was love of this man and love of the land that inspired 4R Ranch Vineyards & Winery. Chinquapin oaks, white-tailed deer, the endangered black-capped vireo, and the occasional Rio Grande turkey inhabit this incredible property. Powered by sun, earth and wind, 4R Ranch Vineyards & Winery calls us all to slow our pace, enjoy the view, and sip a glass of wine in the magnificent Red River Valley.

 A wine selection consisting of :
There seems to be a wine that will be enjoyed by every pallet.  

Willem Johnson is an award-winning winemaker, cellar master and sommelier. He comes to 4R Ranch Vineyards & Winery with extensive experience that has taken him from luxury properties in Nantucket, Vail and Beaver Creek—where he earned accolades from Wine Spectator—to Churchill Wine Cellars in Wolcott, Colorado.
As a winemaker he was awarded more than 60 medals over seven years at the Colorado Mountain Winefest. At 4R Ranch Vineyards & Winery, he will continue his practice of marrying food, wine and stellar service with a passionate commitment to excellence.

The Wind Shed offers two locations for events, wedding ceremonies and receptions. The 50-foot cantilevered deck offers panoramic views of the valley below.

A historic hay barn—now our wine production building—has been restored and retrofitted with solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling. With its beautiful and open interior, The BarnHaus is not only a modern winemaking facility but also a special event space perfect for weddings and memorable events.

Not to be missed is the  Vineyard Flea Boutique. Located inside the Wind Shed Tasting Room, The Vineyard Flea Boutique offers a selection of gifts inspired by the surrounding vineyards and rustic setting.

 Hours of Operation:
Thursdays and Sundays: 12 to 5 p.m.
Fridays: 12 to 6 p.m.
Saturdays: 12 to 7 p.m.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Rum Runner Punch

Brads Famous Rum Runner Punch!

Just In Time For The Warm Seasons of Spring/Summer

Many Guests want Brad's recipe for the Rum Punch. 

This is his personal creation. If you want it pure:

**6 large lemons squeezed (if you warm them prior to squeezing in microwave for 30 seconds- the lemon will yield almost twice the juice), 2 quarts cold water, 3 Tablespoons of honey- (you will taste the honey in this so be sure and use a high quality honey that is rich and dark) , either 2 cups of fresh raspberries or a bag of organic frozen raspberries (pureed when thawed), strain raspberries in a sieve to only capture the raspberry juice. Discard the pulp and seeds in the strainer.  Mix together and add 6-8 oz of rum. Taste as you add the rum, for parties we make it stiff and for casual sipping, it is less strong.  I love to liven this up with pineapple leaves and some fresh fruit.  I have also added a but of Amaretto or  Cointreau to add a new zing to the usual flair. 

*  Brad has developed what I call the "cheat recipe":
If you want it quick, cheap, and store bought easy- Use two cans of lemonade, one can of frozen fruit punch, 1/2 Gallon of water and 2 cans of rum. I would def add Amaretto or Cointreau to this recipe as I am not a fan of the frozen product, but time is usually of the essence in our fast paced world. 

I personally love the 1st recipe, great to sip on a warm summer day relaxing on the patio or with friends (here at Elm Creek) and the bottom version is good on a camping trip, out by the pool or lake.


Human Kindness Is Real and We Humans are Here to be Kind to All.

I (Marcia), recently read an article that said that humans are the only animals that have a cruel, built in, affinity toward natural selection. This article was clearly written by someone who has never lived In the country.

 I have observed the little chic, that had a bent wing, and all the chickens pecked it to death. Or the one that was my pet named "crook neck" that was eventually killed by the rooster. Or the male rabbit that refused to breed to the female with a bent ear. Or the dairy goat that pushed away her kid with a bent leg and refused to nurse it. Even after we put a splint on the leg and it was actively romping around with the rest of the kids, she never took the kid. We had to bottle feed the kid till it was on pasture. Even their own siblings ostracize them if there is something "different" about them.

 The action of kindness is dependent on one's empathy. All animals (including the human ones) display a certain degree of altruism, but until it has been proven otherwise, only humans are capable of conceiving "kindness."  Anthropomorphism - is attributing to animals characteristics that can exist only in human. Too many movies give a false impression that animals display, exhibit and own human traits.

  Maybe there's hope for humanity yet. As a species, studies have shown humans to be more willing to help strangers than other types of primates, and we exhibit less conflict within our groups compared with other animals too.

 That's hard to believe if you switch on the news today, but new research suggests that we evolved the drive to be 'kind' in order to get access to more resources - and hints that it's not impossible for humans to become more welcoming to people of different backgrounds.

 So in conclusion, I would say that humans, like all animals, have a built-in genetic code to lean toward natural selection. However, in contrast, we have compassion, kindness and we have empathy toward one another. Even unto animals that have been shunned by their own kind.

 We have the ability to love and spoil, those who are not our own kind and we love to socialize with each other.

We will give you a big hug if you come and visit us if you want one :)

  (ok Bailey (puppy in the dress) might be a bit spoiled).