TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Beachcomber

Waikki

Videocast 004 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Beachcomber

The Mad Farmer and Miss Mercy are a little behind for June so we are putting up a “two-for-one” with our June Cocktail, The Beachcomber and a “Bonus Track” for the ever popular Boat Drinks (Jimmy Buffett inspired, of course)!

The possible inventor of the the Beachcomber was ‘Donn Beach‘, a restaurant owner and generally considered the “founding father” of the Tiki culture. Donn was born Ernest Raymond Beaumont Grant (1907-1989) and opened the “Don’s Beachcomber” Tiki bar in Hollywood in 1930’s. Miss Mercy wasn’t able to confirm that Donn was the actual inventor of the Beachcomber rum drink, but since he invented many rum based cocktails it’s not unlikely.

There is also a possibility that Victor Bergeron (founder of Trader Vic’s), a competitor of Donn’s based on the East Coast, actually created the Beachcomber cocktail. The Beachcomber did appear in Victor’s book, the 1947 Bartender’s Guide.

No matter who invented the drink it’s refreshing and perfectly suited to a hot summer day. The Tiny Homestead is using the recipe we found on the Cointreau.com website. The recipe is simple:

  • 0.75 OZ COINTREAU
  • 1.75 OZ WHITE RUM
  • 0.5 OZ FRESH LIME JUICE
  • 2 DASHES MARASCHINO LIQUEUR

Shake in a cocktail mixer with ice and pour into a coup glass and garnish with a lime slice if desired. Very tasty!

Beachcomber as seen on Cointreau.com

One thing that also happens in June is the Mad Farmer’s birthday and Father’s Day. Two holidays that cry out for a summer drink containing rum!

Many years ago, when the Mad Farmer was a much younger pup his family and friends threw a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville theme Birthday Party.

Happy Birthday !

Shark fins on the fence, cardboard palm trees and a full blown Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville Corona party pack on display everywhere.

Decorations at Margaritaville I

A call was made in secret to the Margaritaville Bar in Key West (long distance charges were a thing – look it up kiddies) and the recipe for a bar favorite, Boat Drinks, was acquired. Only problem was the recipe was for six gallons – a bit more than necessary for the size of the surprise gathering. Adjustments were made but the first few years the drinks were pretty strong and the rum was noticeable. After years of tinkering with the recipe the Mad Farmer finally found the perfect mix (you can even make popsicles out of it)!

Boat Drinks:

In Blender mix:

Fill to top with ice and blend. For kid friendly drinks just remove rum

Links:

Beachcomber Recipe (Cointreau.com)

Jimmy Buffett’s Cabin Fever Virtual Concert Series

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Bar (Key West)

Videocast 004 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Beachcomber

TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Manhattan

Videocast 003 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Manhattan

The origins of the Manhattan are lost in time. The Democrat newspaper remarked in 1882 that, “It is but a short time ago that a mixture of whiskey, vermouth and bitters came into vogue”. The Mad Farmer and Miss Mercy aren’t sure when the Manhattan originated, but we are happy that it did.

Researching this cocktail Miss Mercy discovered several things: First, it’s the oldest history we have for a cocktail so far – reaching back at least to the 1880’s. Second, Vermouth comes in two flavors, Sweet (any red vermouth) and Dry (any non-red vermouth). Third, there are various liquors you can use to make the drink –

Links:

    History of the Manhattan

The Modern Bartender’s Guide (1884)

Videocast 003 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Manhattan

TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour (Part 3)

Videocast 001 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour (Part 3)

 

In the last podcast Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer tried the Amaretto Sour with more natural ingredients. That was way better than using the store-bought mix but we thought we could still do better. This week, for the last attempt of the month, we decided to attempt the “Best Amaretto Sour in the World”. This recipe has been created by Jeffery Morganthaller who is apparently a bartender.

In the interest of full disclosure neither Miss Mercy nor the Mad Farmer personally know Jeffery Morganthaller and, we haven’t tried all the recipes for Amaretto Sour that exist, so we’re not actually sure if this is the best or not. The good news is you don’t have to know someone to try out their recipe for cocktails! We did, we aren’t sad, and we hope you follow along…

 

Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Amaretto Sour

  • 1½ oz/45 ml amaretto
  • ¾ oz/22.5 ml cask-proof bourbon
  • 1 oz/30 ml lemon juice
  • 1 tsp/5 ml 2:1 simple syrup
  • ½ oz/15 ml egg white, lightly beaten
  1. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake without ice or (even better) use an immersion blender to combine and froth.
  2. Shake well with cracked ice.
  3. Strain over fresh ice in an old fashioned glass
  4. Garnish with lemon peel and brandied cherries, if desired..

Videocast 001 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour (Part 3)

TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour

Amaretto Sour

Podcast 003 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour

Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer are still on their quest to find the perfect cocktail. There are thousands, so it might take us a while, especially since we are only trying one recipe per month. The journey is part of the fun and we are having a good time researching the history, learning how to make the ingredients we can and searching for other ingredients we have never heard of before. I doubt we will ever become professional mixologists but we are having a good time while we are learning!

This month’s choice is the Amaretto Sour. The Amaretto Sour is a fairly recent recipe, dating only back to the 1970’s as near as Miss Mercy could find. It’s a fairly simple cocktail but there are some variations. The first recipe we are trying is a classic Amaretto and Sour Mix. We used the suggested recipe on the back of a bottle of “On the House” sour cocktail mix we have had lounging about in the fridge for some time.




For the Amaretto we used Disaronno. It’s apparently a very popular Amaretto and we had a very enlightening time at a local liquor store talking with a clerk about the ins and outs of a number of different liquors and mixers. There was a super interesting discussion about rye whiskeys which I ‘m sure we will cover in a future podcast at some point.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Disaronno-01-1024x683.jpg



This week we cover the “classic” Amaretto Sour recipe. Later this month we will be trying a more complex variation using homemade Simple Syrup and some other ingredients.

So give it a listen and let us know about your experience with Amaretto Sours by leaving a post in the comments section.

Happy Cocktailing!

Podcast 003 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – Amaretto Sour

TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Mary Pickford

Podcast 002 : TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Mary Pickford

So Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer have been actively pursuing a better handle on our schedules and our meal planning. To that end we started having weekly meetings to discuss our schedules and plan our weekly meals. To make those meetings more fun we decided to have a “cocktail”, preferably from the 1920’s. The cocktail we choose to explore in February is the “Mary Pickford”. Mary Pickford was a 1920’s film star and also married to Douglas Fairbanks. Mary was considered to be “America’s Sweetheart” and a very popular gal and some bartender somewhere decided to honor her with her own cocktail. Sounds fun and that brings us to 2020. One hundred years later her signature drink is still a tasty concoction.

There is also a “Douglas Fairbanks” cocktail and it was suggested that for Valentine’s day we could make both of them and live the Retro Dream as a signature power couple of the 1920’s. Turns out the “Douglas Fairbanks” is basically a straight gin martini. Neither of us are huge gin fans so we decided to give that a pass but we did enjoy the Mary Pickford.

This podcast is our first impression of the cocktail “Mary Pickford”. Feel free to follow along and try it out if you like. The recipe for the cocktail is from lovetoknow.com and the homemade Grenadine is from Chowhound.com

Enjoy!

Podcast 002: TLS Homestead Signature Cocktail – The Mary Pickford

Links:

 

TSL Homestead Signature Cocktail Series – The Sidecar

Podcast 001: TLS Homestead Signature Cocktail – The Sidecar

 

So Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer decided at the end of 2019 to make some changes at the Tiny Sustainable Homestead. One of the things that we are actively pursuing is a better handle on our schedules and our meal planning. To that end we decided to have weekly meetings on Sundays to discuss and clarify our schedules for the upcoming week and to plan our weekly meals. We decided that we would pick a cookbook per month from Miss Mercy’s collection (she loves cookbooks) and explore those recipes for our meal planning.

Simple enough, right? Also, kind of “Hey, let’s end our peaceful and/or fun weekend by sitting down to a business meeting” – oh, that’s not really as much fun as it sounds like (okay, maybe exactly as much fun as it sounds). So the Mad Farmer says “how about we add a cocktail option each week (Miss Mercy being the inspiration for that idea – by bringing up that we were about to be in the ’20’s and could re-create the “Roaring Twenties”)? Miss Mercy loves vintage styles, is excited about retro things and was on board immediately. After a brief discussion that saw the weekly choice turn into a monthly choice, served weekly (to give us a chance to “tweak” the recipe) we had our first January scheduling/menu meeting.

This is a podcast of our first attempt at making “The Sidecar” and our impressions of the cocktail. Feel free to follow along and try it out if you like. The recipe is from liquor.com.

Enjoy!

Podcast 001: TLS Homestead Signature Cocktail – The Sidecar

Links:

 

It Depends

What is homesteading really like? The Mad Farmer doesn’t know exactly. The best answer is “It depends”. Funny how that seems to be the answer to almost every question in Homesteading, Permaculture and Life. Almost every situation in life is unique to the moment. Sometimes the right decision is clear. Sometimes the wrong decision is also equally clear. Most of the time, it depends…

is that plant better in this location or over by the fence? It depends. Does the plant need full sun or is it okay with partial shade? It depends. What is the soil like in that spot versus the other spot? It depends. Is there adequate drainage? It depends. How early should it be planted? What if the weather is to hot? To cold? It depends. What, What What????? And that’s one plant, in one location in your yard that you probably aren’t that invested in anyway – I mean really, it’s just a plant, right?

Life is a constant series of “It depends” questions. Nothing is cut and dried, well not much anyway. There are some guidelines:

  • Don’t wear white after Labor Day
  • Don’t chew with your mouth open
  • Pick up trash if you see it on the ground
  • Don’t sass your parents
  • Be kind
  • Don’t beat your children (unless they really deserve it)

Not a complete list. Not a comprehensive list. Will it you help you in life? It depends. Probably not as much as you’d like. Good news is there is a list that will get you through life. Bad news is that you have to open a Bible to read it and you’re going to fail to follow it (Ten Commandments sound familiar)? Interestingly enough, is even if you are not a Christian every culture on the planet has a version. They all boil down to two simple rules:

  • Treat others as you would like to be treated (yep, even people who suck)
  • Don’t steal (anything – if it ain’t yours, it wasn’t given to you and you didn’t earn it, don’t take it)

Other than that, it depends. Should you go to this school or that? Take this job or that? Let your children go to that event, the other event or no events? Plant things that are good for Zone 6 or can I push it to Zone 5b? Move here, move there? Rent or buy? Borrow or pay cash (this one actually has an answer – if you can’t pay for it, you can’t afford it – find another way – keeping in mind the “Don’t steal” rule).

Life is about choices and sometimes about compromising. What is the best way? It depends. Will you always make the best choices? Probably not. Should you keep trying? Yes, you should. That is not an “It depends” question. If you don’t try, you won’t ever succeed. Will you win? It depends…

Leave a comment or contact us at madfarmer@tinysustainablelife.com if you have an opinion or thought.

Mother Earth News Fair 2019

The Mother Earth News Fair is coming up shortly in October. October 19th and 20th in Topeka for the Kansas event. Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer have been attending the Fair every year since they started having one in Topeka.

The Kansas Mother Earth News Fair used to be held in Lawrence, KS – home of the University of Kansas, the KU Jayhawks (amazing basketball team if you like that kind of sportsball),  the Free State Brewery (Because without beer, things do not seem to go as well) . Some people are not aware of this but Ogden Publishing, that puts out Mother Earth News, Grit, Capper’s Farmer and many other publications, is based in Topeka, KS. When Ogden decided to start having a Mother News Fair in their hometown the Mad Farmer was happy to attend, to see what all the fuss was about.  Miss Mercy was probably either mildly curious or just humoring the Farmer and decided to tag along.

Last year’s Mother Earth News Fair had a lot speakers that we were interested in seeing. To be fair (see what I did there) there usually are a lot of interesting things to hear about from a lot of interesting people. One of last year’s keynote speakers was Jessi Bloom. Jessi has written several books on Permaculture and homestead living, her first was Free Range Chicken Gardens, followed by Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, and her most recent book was released just before last year’s fair, Creating Sanctuary. I was able to attend three of her seminars last year and they always have some information that I wasn’t aware of.

Last year I also attended a talk by Tradd Cotter, author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, which is considered one of the best books on mushroom farming currently available (of course I picked up a signed copy)! Super interesting  – you should give it a read.

This year looks like it’s going to be more fantastic talks from excellent people! Rob Avis and his wife Michelle, own Verge Permaculture, a Permaculture consulting firm based in Canada. I first started following Rob on Diego Footer’s Permaculture Voices podcast. The Farmer can’t wait to attend his talks and hopefully his workshops. Rob and Michelle have recently published a book on rainwater harvesting, Essential Rainwater Harvesting. The Mad Farmer is pretty sure that he will end up having an autographed copy of that book by the end of the Fair. 

Another speaker that will be at the Kansas fair is Gary Collins, the author of “The Simple Life” book series. Gary has been a member of Jack Spirko’s expert council, answering questions on health and living right. It’s kind of strange because after listening to so many podcasts and reading an author’s books you kind of feel like you know them. The Farmer can’t really begin to fathom what that it might be like to have thousands, even tens of thousands or more people, all feeling like they know you, taking your journey through life with you, as spectators or peripheral participants. Amazing that these extraordinary people take it in stride and are still able to be “normal” people.. 

And a fan favorite, Uncle Mud, will also be there.  The Mad Farmer had the great pleasure of getting to know Uncle Mud in Montana at Wheaton Labs during the Rocket Mass Oven Kickstarter Pizza Party. Since the Farmer was driving by Missoula on the way to the Labs he was asked if he would mind picking up “Uncle Mud” from the airport. The Farmer went to the airport and actually got to text Uncle Mud “I’m here to pick you up and I’m standing by the bear” (the Missoula has a stuffed grizzly bear in the lobby area – it’s awesome)! Once Uncle Mud debarked from the plane we had a super conversation and then the Farmer got to spend several days at Wheaton Labs with Uncle Mud, Donkey Mobert and the Duke of Permaculture, Paul Wheaton, himself. 

When the Mad Farmer returned from Montana, Miss Mercy greeted him, welcomed him home and and then, a few days later, Miss Mercy and the Farmer went to the Mother Earth’s News Fair that year, and attended several of Uncle Mud’s seminars and later got to go out to dinner with him and his family that was attending. Just a really good time with people the Farmer really admires. Can’t wait to see Uncle Mud again. 

The one vendor we really hope comes back this year is a small company, Rogue Hoe,  originally from western Kansas (the company has since moved to Missouri) that melts down old tools and re-casts the iron into new tools. We purchased a scuffle hoe the first year we saw them there and sadly they haven’t been back yet, we hope they make it this year. 

One last thing. If you sign up for the Mother Earth News Fair newsletter, you can get your weekend pass wristbands for just $10.00 each. That is a deal that’s hard to beat. Hope to see you all there!

 

Homestead Burnout

Homestead Burnout, didn’t even know there was such a thing. Turns out it’s real. Being an Urban Homesteader (along with my amazing Miss Mercy) we just call Homesteading Burnout regular Life. Sometimes Life just gets you down, things don’t go your way, at times it seems overwhelming. You can put whatever name you like on it, but sometimes little things turn into big things and lots of little things that are aggravating pile up into giant aggravations that seem insurmountable.

If you’ve been following along at all it’s been a wild year for a lot of reasons. Homestead-wise it’s been mostly weather. It’s been one of the wettest years on record, rain in buckets and barrels in short spans of time. Sudden heat waves, then rain again in more sudden quantities over short periods of times. Vine borers in biblical proportions devouring every zucchini plant root and stock as fast as they tried to grow. Oddly, cucumbers in amazing quantities. Shishito Peppers from one plant we bought at a Master Gardener sale producing pepper after pepper. The Tiny Homestead doesn’t even really eat peppers but we wanted to try them because apparently it’s like playing Russian Pepper Roulette, one in every ten or so are flaming hot, the rest are supposedly awesome cooked in oil. We’ll probably find out soon. Tomatoes in our garden haven’t produced because it was so hot at night the fruit couldn’t set, Tomatoes – the Divas of the Garden, right? The Garlic that was planted last fall turned out magnificently. Ups and Downs, can’t predict and not worth trying to.

Anyway, Life isn’t just about the Garden. If it was, that would probably be really awesome, but Life just keeps on pressing in on you sometimes. The Mad Farmer works in a Big Blue Castle as his day job. The Farmer has been working at the Castle for far longer than he ever thought he would be anywhere. Nowadays many people come and go from jobs in months. It’s not unusual to see resumes in our current environment where people are at their previous employers for less than a year, multiple times. The Mad Farmer has been employed for more than twenty-five years at the same place. The Blue Castle has been good to the Farmer in many ways. Provided gainful employment, enabled a standard of living, allowed the Farmer to raise beautiful daughters and eventually marry the Miss Mercy of his dreams. In some ways it’s not the job everyone dreams of. The Farmer fixes problems, something he’s been fairly successful at for a very long time. But the thing about problems is that they never stop. The Farmer’s motto this year is “If it was Easy, Everyone Would do it” (one for the Wisdom Nugget Toolbox – that post is coming soon, I promise). So it’s not always Easy, not every problem has a solution and sometimes, just sometimes, the solution is a choice between Not Great Choice A and Not Great Choice B.

This year has been a lot of things, one after another, that just seem to be coming home to roost. Car repairs, AC issues, water in the basement because the drain spouts had come loose and the Farmer didn’t notice until torrential downfalls pointed it out it the worst way possible – swampy, flooded overflowing cat boxes. You want to have a fair-to-middling-not-so-great-day? Clean up soggy cat litter that’s been sitting underwater for a while. Last year three loads of wood chips, this year, every load requested has been diverted for various reasons and the rain has washed out a lot of the work done last year. The pond we’ve been digging on for more than a year is still muddy and unfinished. The constant rain has washed out new planting, grown an amazing amount of weeds and is still coming. Sinuses are stuffy, the highest pollen counts daily seem to be the new norm and as the Farmer is now pushing closer to sixty then fifty (really middle-aged in our family) things seem to be a lot harder in a lot of ways then they were just a few years ago. Life just seems to go on, and on and on. Then Miss Mercy, in her infinite and amazing wisdom, pointed out that we still are experiencing Blessings on a daily basis.

The Mad Farmer’s oldest daughter got married this year to a wonderful young man. They are very happy by any standard the Farmer cares to apply and are looking to close on their first house. Miss Mercy is still a blessing every day, the Farmer couldn’t be happier to have this amazing woman sharing his life. The Big Blue Castle has been a challenge, but not one the Farmer isn’t up to, and, “If it was Easy, Everyone Would do It”. Health challenges have been a bit of a struggle but the Farmer’s family has been facing worse and those have been working out okay. The Farmer has friends and family who have experienced tragic loss but also wonderful, joyful moments – births, remissions, unexpected blessing from many sides. There is a roof over the Farmer’s head, most of the things that appear to be set-backs are more annoyances than tragedies and overall, things are actually pretty darn good. Dave Ramsey’s signature phrase is “Better Than I Deserve”. The Mad Farmer has been a Dave fan for years, been out of debt except for the mortgage for more than a decade and truly believes that all things do come from God and he (or she, not a time to quibble about gender) does not give you more than you can handle, even if you might not get that at the time.

Life is more about attitude than anything else. The Farmer has known people who have gone through tremendous challenges, way worse than anything he is likely to face, and they still have a positive attitude and a sunny disposition. The Farmer also knows people who have gone through what could be perceived as minor issues and have come away from that with an Eeyore victim mentality.  The Mad Farmer knows that he is not wise enough to judge. For some people, with a smaller “toolbox” and that haven’t had positive role models in their life, or been taught coping mechanisms, even minor setbacks can seem overwhelming. The Farmer has also been taught that often you can’t control what happens, but you can control how you react to it. The Farmer chooses to follow the positive and be awed by the Blessings that occur daily in his life. The Mad Farmer hopes that you can also. Be Strong, be Thankful, be Kind and be Blessed.