Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Farm Update

Well, I had meant to post my updates on Monday but time got away from me. Life is pretty crazy right now with the farm, schooling, and your everyday basics.
Anyway. On Saturday James made me a cheese press. Well, I shouldn't say "me" because he really did it for himself I think. He has REALLY taken a liking to cheesemaking. I think because it is very scientific! :) Here is a picture of our cheese press. It's pretty cool. We made our first batch of hard cheese. I found a cool website that has all kinds of cheese recipes. It is somewhat different from my books and because it didn't require certain temps and humidity and waxing I just had to give it a try. It's a basic hard cheese and it is currently aging in the refrigerator. We'll let you know how it turns out.

On Friday I harvested this....
...and that is pretty much what we had for dinner. Along with homemade bread! It was very satisfying. The weather has been rainy and cool. I'm still praying for enough sun over the next couple weeks to bring in some more tomatoes and beans! What I need to do is put a cover over my entire garden and then I'd be able to put up enough food to feed us all year. This cotton-pickin' weather in the PNW is just not condusive to a big flourishing garden! At least it isn't for this used-to-be midwesterner who doesn't know how to grow a garden in damp, cool conditions.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I have a tomato plant that produces very strange creation. Here is another one....

The animals are doing well. I'm still getting a gallon a day from Butter but she has gotten to be quite an annoying creature at 5AM. After I leave the barn she just doesn't seem to get the idea that she is suppose to relax and wait for sunlight. She stands out there and bellows as if she is lost in the wilderness all alone. I've told goats bellow when they are hungry or lonely. She has just been fed, she has just been given more hay and she has her daughter. And yet, I continue to pray everyday that the neighbor doesn't come over with his shotgun and shut her up.

The chickens need to go in the freezer because most of them aren't earning their keep. But I just can't seem to figure out which ones they are. I butchered 2 chickens over Labor Day weekend and despite my inspection of various body parts to make sure they weren't laying eggs anymore, I still managed to butcher hens that were full of eggs! One had an egg just ready to lay! So now I'm afraid to butcher anymore for fear I'll butcher a good one.
In another month they'll have free reign of the garden and hopefully the added nutrients will give them the boost they need to lay more. Until then I'm trying to figure out how to find room for a whole new flock in another area of the farm.

Have a great week...enjoy Autumn!

I'm off to craigslist to find a free source of fencing material, lumber, firewood and pallets.


Marfa said...

Yum...when I was young, we had a bramble of blackberry bushes, I thought we picked them in August, though.
Your cheesemaking sounds fabulous. So how long does it age? A month or longer? It would be hard for me to wait. I had one batch of mozarella that didn't turn out well, it was still good, but like ricotta, I guess.
Hey, that guy's website is awesome. He's in Batavia, OH, that's where my sister lives!!! Not too far from me either!

Mimi said...

Wow, that cheese press is fabulous, the garden bounty wonderful, and all from the same tomato plant? I'm in awe.

Susan Sophia said...

He says to age it 2 weeks but it can age longer. The longer it ages the stronger it will be.
This definitely is an easier way to age cheese, I'm not sure it's the best. It creates it's own rind around the cheese, vs. waxing it, so I feel like some of the cheese is wasted by doing that. We'll see how it turns out.
Keep trying on the cheese making.
We started keeping a notebook of each time we make cheese and the results so we can keep track of what works and what doesn't.

Mimi---NO, not all from one plant. I'm embarrassed to say I have 32 plants and so the harvest is measly knowing that. But... Glory to God for anything I get.

Bluecanopy said...

What sort of cover could you put over an entire garden? I can't even picture it. Would it have to be semi permanent like an open sided greenhouse that you could remove in the more moderate months? Or would you just do it for a bit to extend the growing season?

I'm just curious about your ideas...It sounds like a nice solution.