Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cheese Cave.

When you start the process of making cheese, it begins to grow, now I have a cheese cave for aging the cheese.  I was content making the soft cheese but I knew in no time at  all I would be in trouble.  The butter cheese needs to ripen for 4 weeks and now I have added Taleggio which needs to be in a draining tray for 4 to 5 weeks.  So now I have a fridge holding a temperature in the high 50's to low 60's just to keep the cheese happy.  The farmer stops by and we add duck prosciutto which is aging to the cave, this will be ready in 3 weeks.  I am learning about using a salt brine to keep the cheeses free from mold as well as doing this for the prosciutto,.  I am so lucky to have someone so knowledge living a short distance from our farm and she is so willing to share her knowledge.

I have been reading that everyone is experiencing black snakes in the coops this week, and we were not left out.  As I went down to collect eggs on Thursday, I saw something I had not seen in a long time.  There was a black snake in the nest sucking one of our eggs down his throat.  I was glad it was as egg and not a chicken.  We have quite a number of little ones and the snakes seem to just love breaking their necks.  Makes me so sad.  It has been several years for me to loose a small chick to a black snake. This year could be the one with us having a large number of babies.

Our oldest pullets are now in the duck run everyday.  They have taken over the duck coop during the day.  Rain storm on Thursday afternoon and little chickens filled the duck house, not like the ducks were going to use their house.  When the rain comes the ducks head out to play.  The little ducks which were hatched this year are as large as the adult ducks.  I did not have babies for very long.  This make me so glad I have 3 more eggs hatching, I hope.  Little Gray, who is the momma hen is doing a really good job, and as of this Sunday we will be half way there.

Little goats are growing.  When I come to the goat yard, I have to stop and look twice, which ones are the mommies and where are the babies.  They are now going out with the mommies for the afternoon free ranging.  I have chickens, goats and ducks all over the place.  It is one of the greatest feeling, knowing we are sharing their lives and they are doing so much for us.  The goats are forgers and they are helping to clear new land, along with us now milking 1/2 gallon of milk daily.  There are babies on the ladies and I am so excited about how much milk we are getting.  The chickens work all of our compost and give us eggs daily.  I am so excited about everyone having more than one purpose.  The ducks are not doing as well, but I enjoy them so much.  They do work the ground and we were getting eggs but something has happen to Momma duck and her eggs have a soft shell.  Some make it in the house, while some go into the trap.  I have tried everything I know to do.  She has oyster shell, sunflower seeds and anything that has been suggested to me.  I just think she wore herself out.  She has laid over 2 years non-stop and is well on the way to a third year even if all of them are not good.

Fresh eggs and goats milk makes a wonderful custard for ice cream.  We have been freezing our own ice cream and this is one pleasure we are receiving from our animals.  This week I made a gallon of ice cream.  VANILLA  The pick-your-own farm is open for berry picking and I see some strawberries and cream coming our way.  Our strawberries are working on recovering from the raccoons and opossums doing so much to the vines last year.  The blackberries were pruned and they are starting to set blooms, raspberries are putting up a number of new plants they had serious damage.

The garden is starting to look really good, the cover is off the tunnel.  Temperature went to high 80's the first of the week so it had to go.  Tomatoes are starting to bloom along with some of the peppers.  There have been a few meals with our fresh veggies, makes it worthwhile all the work we do when we sit down to a plate full of fresh lettuce or spinach from the garden, cheese which I made and eggs laid by the girls.  I am really so pleased with the number of meals we have fresh from the farm.

Saturday afternoon, I decided to take a break in the action and do a little baking, made the sourdough coffee cake, 2 loaves of sourdough bread, made in a French bread style loaf.  This bought on other chores, work the sourdough and the kefir.  The kefir is now being made with the fresh goat's milk and it is so good.  I am working on doing a little extra kefir so I can try making cheese with the kefir milk.

It has been another non-stop week for us.  I really am trying to pace myself and Mr. Bootsie.  I must say we need a day away just to do something fun, not that it is not fun here on the farm but my farm-hand is starting to look more than just a little tired.  Maybe a provision run would do us both good.  We are going to need sugar when we start preserving our food.  I need some items to help with the cheese making, such as a pair of heat resistance gloves so I can stretch the cheeses, cheese mats and a draining container.  Yes, sounds as if we need a play day.

Looks as if this evening is going to be a good one to throw a match in the fireplace, prop our feet up and enjoy something refreshing.  You know where to find me later and many more evenings as weather improves.  Until I find something to share with you, take care, stay healthy and come back now.