Major Purchase: Sausage Stuffer / Cheese Press

I took advantage of a Mother’s Day sale to buy some kitchen equipment for Courtney. Courtney started making homemade cheese not long after Elgin was born, but has been limited by lack of a cheese press, which is necessary for certain cheeses. Because of the lack of a press, Courtney has been mostly limited to mozzarella. Mozzarella is delicious, but in the interest of expanding varieties I’ve been looking for a good, quality cheese press for some time now. Most cheese presses on the market are unable to be used for anything else, large, clunky, not particularly good looking, and not cheap.

Eventually, I settled on a cheese press made by LEM, which can either be purchased as a complete unit, or as an adapter for a 5 lb sausage stuffer. Originally, I was planning on buying the complete unit, but as we’ve moved further into self-sufficiency, we’ve started to have large amounts of ground venison on hand. Also, over the past year, Courtney has experimented with making homemade bologna, shaping it in a bread pan rather than a sausage casing. During Lent, she even made some homemade vegetarian hot dogs, which she rolled and cut in order to shape. So, with the Mother’s Day sale, I decided to buy the 5lb sausage stuffer and the cheese press adapter. Total cost with shipping was $275. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some results from its use soon.

Major Purchase: Bicycle

What: Raleigh Talus 2 bicycle

Cost: $230 (Including shipping)

Purchased From: Experticity.com

Because my wife and I own only one vehicle, it sometimes transpires that I need to bicycle to work and back. However, I’ve only been doing this when necessary, due to the fact that my current bicycle is an old clunker my wife’s folks were going to throw away. On a good day, you can shift between 4 of the 21 gears, but it does work in that it gets me to work and back. 
I’ve wanted to upgrade the bike situation for a while so that I can ride into work more regularly and go for recreational rides with the wife, who has a nice higher-end bike.

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Major Purchase: Muzzleloading Rifle

No, I didn’t buy from ArmsList

What: Thompson/Center Firestorm Muzzleloading Rifle

Cost: $150

Purchased From: Local Retailer

I did not plan on buying a muzzleloader this week, but I stopped in at a local retailer to buy my fishing license, and saw two muzzleloaders in the rack marked at $150 each. When I saw that they were Thompson/Centers, I bought one, because I have never heard of them making a gun that wasn’t quality.

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Major Purchase: FoodSaver

What: FoodSaver FM5480 2-in-1 Food Preservation System.

Cost: $120

Purchased From: Costco

Last fall, I discovered that about the time that the guys at work get their deer back from the processor (none of them do their own butchering), they are very willing to give away whatever’s left of last year’s deer. That was one consideration. Another is that we intend to freeze a number of vegetables from the garden this year. I’ve always used ziplock freezer bags in the past. Finally, this thing has the ability to vacuum the air out of a mason jar, and seal it with a standard canning lid. We’ve been looking for a way to seal my wife’s homemade sauerkraut that doesn’t require heating it and killing the cultures. This fits the bill. Now we can give friends and family sealed jars of kraut that they feel “safer” with, while still giving them a live culture product. Also, I will use it for my homemade wines, to prevent vinegar formation after racking and bottling.

Major Purchase: Kitchen-Aid Mixer

What: Kitchen-Aid Pro 600 Series 6 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer.

Cost: $330

Purchased From: Costco

This purchase was made a while back, and is essentially a luxury purchase for us. Courtney loves to bake, and often sends bread, bagels, English muffins, and other baked goods with me to work to give away and “sell” for donations. Our main goal here has been to cover the cost of flour and other baking supplies, so that the bread we eat is at no cost to us. While we haven’t made much by selling bread/baked goods, we make more than enough to make our own bread free.

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