Ghee is Preserved Butter

Years ago my Yoga teachers introduced me to Ghee – which is purified butter. It is supposedly healthier then butter, in my opion it is also tastier but more to the Bhudeva-point it lasts longer (much longer) without spoiling. During theh first few weeks here we went with what was familiar to us and got butter and milk from the supermarket. Then we discovered the dairy-room in the market (lapte, lapte, lapte …)  and since then we’ve been getting fresh milk and butter.These tend to spoil faster then their industrial counterparts. So Ghee it is.

First – this is what real butter looks like – white, not yellowish. You place in it a pot on a small burner – too large flame will burn it.

As it begins to melt, a foamy later appears which you can skim off with a spoon and throw away.

It will continue to boil for a few minutes and then the boiling will reside a bit. This is the time to keep your eyes on the pot – soon the butter will become clear.

When it does, turn off the heat completely. Though you can pour out directly from the pot, we filter it through a cloth, preferrably into a glass jar or container.

Be careful when you squeeze it – it’s still boiling hot.

After a few hours of cooling – you are left with Ghee. You will lose approximately 1/3 of the volume of butter you had when you started.

It’s not mandatory to keep it in the fridge but we do. It will keep for weeks – supposedly even months (thoughwe never made enough to verify that theory!).

oh and … if you add water and some soap to the pot, throw the cloth into it and boil it all again … it makes for an easy cleanup.

Bhudeva: House

How to go about planning a house? We have so many ideas and questions – small and big details that pass through our attention. How can we collect them? How can we arrange them to give them direction? How can we share them with other people that will help us transform thoughts and words into a physical reality? …

Today we started answering these questions by launching a mini-site within Bhudeva – Bhudeva: House. This site is dedicated to the physical house we are going to build. In it we are collecting all of our thoughts, wishes, ideas, questions, inspirations … whatever comes to mind to explore and describe the house we wish to create for ourselves. It is a first concrete movement to create a specific flow of energy that will eventually manifest as a physical house.

We expect to change the arrangement of the website as we progress in our exploration – for now these are the few simple guidelines that we are using:

  1. Though there is a timeline which describes the order in which thoughts came to us – we don’t believe it to be an important or particularly informative aspect of the site. Posts are created when we approach a new idea and we may go back and edit them as more thoughts or information appears on that idea.  So if you reading this as a blog please keep in mind that posts may change long after they were first published. To us the site is more like a notepad.
  2. Categories are used to group together ideas around central functional needs – such as kitchen, living, sleeping, work, meditation, etc. By clicking a category you will see a list of posts that relate to that specific function.
  3. Tags are used to indicate recurring themes. For example we often relate to themes like space and privacy which are added as tags. By clicking on a tag you will see a list of posts in which a theme was mentioned.

Your are welcome to visit Bhudeva: House.

Must Read on Hemp

I recently came across this excellent and free eBook on Hemp Lime Construction. It is published by a UK organization called “National Non-Food Crops Centre” – a name that was a huge lesson to me in it’s own right. In my mind “crops” was obviously associated with farming and food. I now know that there is an entire domain of farming for non-food crops. Two prominent example of non-food crops used in construction are Strawbales and Hemp. I am looking forward to learn what other surprises crops hold in store for me 🙂

Back to the book – it is a must read for anyone (home makers, architects, engineers, farmers,governments … ) interested in working with the magical substance that is hemp.

Here is a summary, quotes from the book itself, on the advantages of Hemp construction – just to give you a motivating flavor:

  • A means of achieving energy efficiency
  • A way of providing thermal mass
  • A breathable material which can help to create healthy buildings
  • Use of a material which is renewable and does little environmental damage
  • No pollution and no problems at end-of-life disposal
  • 95 Crop-based material which helps farmers and is a good use of land
  • Helps to facilitate healthier buildings
  • Offers the possibility of sequestering carbon into building fabric
  • Hemp lime has the ability to make an impact on the future of sustainable building by reversing the damaging effects of greenhouse gases. It is claimed that hemp lime can lock up approximately 110 kg of CO2 per m3 of wall.

I am sure I will be referencing this book often here on Bhudeva 🙂

Eco

Words like “ecosystem” and “ecological” are so popular these days, they feel so specific and yet I challenge you to try and describe them with any specificity. I tried and failed. So I looked up just the first part – three letters “eco” and a little snooping around brought me to the greek word Oikos.

Originally the word Oikos meant “family” or “household” – a “basic unit of society”. But what I found to be even more interesting was that the use of the word morphed, I am guessing, together with society itself. It was later used to describe a larger unit of society – the city-state which was an independently governed area in ancient Greece. I am  guessing that this indicates that a core change took place in society – and that the single household lost some of its distinctive relevance in the overall view of society – something bigger was needed to make sense and bring social order.

As we begin this segment of our journey – which brings us closer then ever to creating a home – ideas such as ecology and sustainability are vibrating in our consciousness. The closer we move to the realities of a home the less obvious these ideas become. Though we are aiming to create a “self-sustaining” home – the reality of it is more complicated then it may seem. While it probably is possible to create a completely self-sustaining home – there seems to be a potential for a better life by creating a wider system that includes more people, skills and qualities. It is somewhere between a single family and an entire city 🙂

The wikipedia entry on Oikos indicates that the Greek Tragic form of theatre portrayed a conflict of values between the “family” and the “city-state” – a conflict that led to the decay of society. I can relate – I am writing these words living in an apartment in the city, looking forward to moving out to a village home. The city disturbs me – I have reservations about how well a city, as I have come to know it, actually supports life. I just finished spending some time in the kitchen – I made some carrot & apple juice and then cooked a vegetable soup. I was left with a pile of organic waste. Here in the city it becomes garbage, in the village it is food for the animals and compost to rejuvenate the land.

Browsing Cluj

Andreea is spending time with local newspapers looking for houses in villages in Cluj. We hope to fall in love with a place that is easily accessible from the main city of Cluj-Napoca (so that we can have access to the city when we need it and so that we remain accessible to others). Our plan is to go on daily excursions (we don’t have a car yet – so we will either rent a car when we need it or hire a taxi & driver to spend the day with us) to see places and get to know the area.

Andreea is using a couple of useful tools to get acquainted with the Cluj area. The first is a zoomable map of cluj. The second is a tool for estimating distances and travel time – there are two useful links for this that offer slightly differing estimates. One includes an illustrated path on a map and the other offers distance and time estimates via major locations.