Friday, April 30, 2010

Goat Milk Magic

 I ordered the book GOAT MILK MAGIC almost a week ago but it still hasn't come.  From what I understand, the book is about some amazing health/success stories from people who drank goat's milk.  Almost magical cures.  I can't wait to get it.  It's now out of print so I bought it used through  

I don't know if I mentioned this or not but I know James did in his blog, Who Is Virginia.  After drinking our raw goat's milk since last fall his cholesterol has gone down substantially and his HDL (good cholesterol) has gone up 20%.  I thought that was really cool but I know he's trying all kinds of other things to lower his cholesterol too so I couldn't really give goat milk the credit.  That is, until now.  A friend sent me this email that I'm pasting below.
the nurse called with all the bad results. I have been fighting bad
cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and LDL

for the past 4 yrs.with diet changes. However, I am not always sticking to
the right foods constantly. Everything was still high last summer (August) and
the doctor was threatening me that I'd had enough time to do it on my own and
maybe it was time to go on a statin drug.


I held her off and in January they had come down, by about half. These
recent labs in April are showing ALL

Cholesterol levels are normal ! Again, I say that I have not been that good
about my diet. It has to be the

Chocolate goats milk! The only thing different in the past year has been
switching to goats milk. Brodie freshened last year in July and I was milking by
I think I should do a goat milk study.  If any of my local friends have high cholesterol I'd be willing to provide them with goat milk for 6 months when they would have their cholesterol measured again and see if there's any change.  Any takers? 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


A friend of mine sent this in an email.  It's a video of three women contortionists.  In the beginning they're just singing about potato salad, which I now find myself singing throughout the day, strangely enough.  As the video progresses they perform amazing acts of contortionism.  Very strong little women.

While I thought these women were pretty amazing, I doubt they can do this.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Curds and whey in a big way

Today I bought a 22 quart stainless steel pot so I could make more cheese at once.  It's not a double boiler so I put it inside a canning pot with the jar rack in the bottom.  My other pot would only hold 2 gallons so my cheese wheels were pretty small.  I decided to try using 3 1/2 gallons to make the Traditional Cheddar recipe from Ricki Carroll's Home Cheese Making cook book, page 108.  I made the adjustments to the recipe to account for the extra milk.  We've been sampling cheese lately and this has been our favorite after aging 4 months.  I hope this one comes out as tasty.  I'll see how this fits in my cheese press and if there's still more room next time I'll try 5 gallons of milk.  I have learned that the milk from my nigerian dwarf goats yielded more cheese than the milk from the big goats. 
It's hard to believe Little Miss Muffet liked to eat this.  It's not very flavorful at this stage.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Raising snakes

I bet you think I'm going to tell you I'm going to start raising snakes, huh?  Nope, that'll never happen.  A snake may be found on farms but it's not a farm animal, for sure. 

A few days ago I went down to the home store at the end of our road.  They sell used furniture and all kinds of junk but they also sell nails.  I needed nails for the goat's playground so I went to get some.  The nails are in a box and you scoop out as many handfuls as you want.  The proprietor is a nice guy and always helps me get what I need.  To make a long story short, he and I were chatting as we picked through a box of nails for the ones I wanted.  He asked how many goats I had now and then went on to tell me stories about his elderly neighbor who used to have 140 goats who all had names.  One day the neighbor called and told him 2 of them were missing.  I wonder how you know 2 are missing when you have that many.  The one was pregnant and had fallen down a cliff and he needed this guy's help to get them back.  The story ended well and everyone was safe.  He said he (the store owner) had a goat once but it got killed by a neighbor's dog.   He then proceeded to tell me how another neighbor let his pit bull run loose and it kept killing another neighbor's calves just days after they were born.  First the calf owner (I'll call him CO) wrote a letter to the pit bull owner (PBO) and told him what was happening and to keep his dog at home.  The PBO called him up and gave him hell and hung up on him.  Another calf was killed shortly after.  This time the CO called the law who came out and told the PBO that if his dog killed more calves they were going to shoot the dog.  The dog was shot.  The CO called the PBO and told him his dog was dead and to come get him and bury him.  The PBO went to the CO's house with a rifle and shot up his pickup truck.  The PBO went to jail and when they went to his house they found rattlesnakes guarding his drugs.  I know, you were wondering when I was going to get to the snakes, weren't you?  So I say to the store owner, "who raises rattlesnakes in their home?  That's crazy?"  Another man standing nearby with his 3 year old son says, "I raise snakes, all kinds of vipers and venomous snakes".  No way, I thought.  I asked him why and where he got them.  I can't remember where he said he bought them but he told me he sells them to make money and he assumed many people who buy them use them to guard their drugs.  He then admitted he no longer sold, "hot snakes", meaning venomous snakes, but he had "a boa constrictor who could eat him", he said pointing at his son.  Ok, we live in a rural area but I know this can't be normal. 

Ok, I just had to share that.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The turkey's new addition

The turkeys are growing so fast I had to add on to their cardboard box.  I just taped another box to their existing one giving them a few more feet of space.  Thank you Susan and John for this idea.  While I was taping their new home together I put them in the original Rubbermaid tub I started them in.  Wow, I couldn't believe how they filled it up.  The first picture is of them now and the second one is of them when we first got them in the same tub.
After cleaning things up and putting new wood chips in for them I returned them to their bigger box.  They were so excited they danced the jig.  I don't know what turkeys dancing the jig would look like but they sure looked happy.  Watch.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I received my kefir grains in the mail today so now I'm going to live to 125.  A little while back I told you a stranger from the goat forum was going to mail me some kefir grains.  Well she didn't so I ordered them over the internet.  It only cost me $15.00 for my teaspoonful.  I'm told they'll eventually look like cauliflower.
The directions I received with them said rinse them in water then put them in a 1/4 cup of milk.  Leave out at room temperature.  When the milk is sour and thicker transfer them to fresh milk and keep doing this for a few days without drinking it.  "When it has a clean, sour smell and taste you can start to drink it".  What is a clean, sour smell and taste?  I understand that kefir is an acquired taste and most people make fruit smoothies with it to cover up the fermented milk taste but then after awhile you get used to it.  Heck, I'm a coffee and wine drinker,  I'll have no problem learning to like kefir.  No one likes coffee or wine the first time they taste it.  James, on the other hand, may have a harder time.  These grains should multiply again and again so when all of you see how young, healthy and vivacious I am after a few months of drinking it you'll all be begging me to share some with you. 

I've been reading a lot about kefir and its benefits.  There's so much written about it I don't know where to begin so I'll just copy and paste this:

The miraculous health grain known as kombucha, tibicos, and kifir in different parts of the world is slowly being rediscovered. Kefir-as most people know the white, grainy matrix of lipids, yeast, and bacteria- is the secret key to good health. The kefir health benefits include not only taking care of your insides but also your body's external parts.
Known to have originated from the Caucasus region, people have believed that "possessing" kefir grains are a sign of wealth. People during those times must have taken the saying "health is wealth" to heart because they guard their supply of kefir grains with their lives. And because you only need a batch of kefir grains to last you a lifetime, there is no need to replenish your supply as fermented kefir grains keep on reproducing.
The word "kefir" is the most appropriate word to describe the miracle grain. Originating from the Turkish word kief-which means good feeling, the kefir health benefits will surely make you feel good inside and out. Kefir naturally has antibiotic and antifungal properties that treat familiar as well as rare diseases. It is unimaginable that something so simple-looking could be a weapon against sickness. From head to foot, not even sparing your brain from its benefits, kefir truly is the miracle cure.
Despite these properties, taking kefir has no side effects. Because of the active good bacteria and beneficial yeast, they can quickly destroy the destructive elements by quickly propagating. It also strengthens one's immune system and is a natural strength-booster so there's no need for you too spend too much on health supplements and energy drinks.
Most of the kefir health benefits could be credited to the mixture of calcium found from milk. The nutrients from the milk heighten the already strong effects of kefir itself. Drinking milk kefir nourishes your hair, treats gum diseases and strengthens your bones. Kefir prevents bone diseases such as osteoporosis. So if you're worried about your crackling bones, make sure to try this wonder food and see the difference in a week's span.
Kefir health benefits include taking care of your skin. Including kefir in your diet prevents acne, psoriasis and even wrinkles. Being a natural anti-oxidant, kefir keeps you young-looking and makes your skin glow with health.
Nothing spells beautiful more than being healthy and natural-looking. Just by taking your daily dose of kefir, you are keeping yourself away from those useless skin products that can sometimes damage your skin more.
Another one of the kefir health benefits is its brain-enhancement capability. As natural brain-food, kefir helps you break free from stress. While pumping up your brain, kefir also develops the usual functions of your brain such as reflexes, memory-retention and even your focus. This benefit works hand in hand with the five senses and leads you to be at your best. Kefir also helps cure depression, anxiety, and even the attention-related disorders. So if you want your mind to be in its optimal capability, drink your kefir daily.
If you're worrying about your digestion and metabolism, there's no need to worry. One of the kefir health benefits includes improving your digestion. If you're constipated, regular intake of kefir cleanses your intestines and your stomach normalizing your bowel movements.
To weight-loss seekers, having kefir as part of your diet could make you shave unwanted weight faster. Because kefir has probiotics, it speeds up the your body's metabolism letting your body burn more fats and calories even if you're only spending your normal workout time. No more need to take dangerous weight-loss pills that could cause harmful side-effects. Just take kefir and in no time, your body will surely be fab!
To those who are worried about their heart's health, kefir is also the solution. Kefir clears your blood vessels and regulates your blood pressure. When you drink kefir, you are not only equipping your immune system but also keeping your heart healthy.
Your lungs are not spared from the kefir health benefits. Taking kefir daily prevents respiratory diseases from the most common up to the complicated ones like tuberculosis. It also helps treat asthma and bronchitis.
If you are one of those people who have a busy lifestyle, these kefir health benefits are for you. Kefir is a natural stress-buster. Having cold a cold milk kefir or water kefir drink not only refreshes you but also detoxifies your body. Its natural properties are even better than the benefits boasted by certain kinds of teas. If you are an insomniac, you should also take kefir to assure you of a good night's rest free of worries and anxiety. Enjoying your cold, soothing kefir is the key for your body to be at peace.
Kefir is considered to be the mysterious key to one's good health. Kefir health benefits provide holistic defense for the body. In these modern times, most of us lead busy and stressful lives. There are many ways to live healthy but some are offering complicated ways to stay that way. However, with the simplicity of kefir, the only thing needed is to culture the grains and take it regularly like how you drink your milk or your coffee. It's that simple. No need for measuring your food or taking mysterious "organic" medicines. Rediscovering this age-old secret helps us adapt to our current lifestyles while assuring us and our loved ones of wellbeing.

I'm watching and waiting for them to grow so I can look and feel fabulous.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Goats on their playground

 The new playground is a hit with the babies, Flower and Witty.   Witty's reaction to it was the best.  One video is of Witty on it and the other is of the babies and Flower inspecting it for the first time.  I plan to expand it with more decks.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Soosie says hello

This is Soosie.  She's the brown and white speckled one, a Sussex chicken.  The other golden one is waiting for Soosie to get out of the nest so she can lay an egg.  Never mind there are 4 other nests she could lay in.

I've been telling people for a while that Soosie yells "HELLO" when she's laying eggs but no one seems to believe me except Adam and his friend because they once heard it too.  Today I set the camera on top the chicken coop while she was in there and let the video run until she said hello.  In 20 minutes time she said it 8 times.  She'll sit in the nest for more than an hour and she doesn't even take any reading material in there with her.
Here she is   
Next I'll teach her to say "goodbye"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unexpected visitors

Having farm animals seems to invite visitors it seems.  Today I decided to build my spoiled goats a jungle gym.  I thought I could finish it in a few hours but that was not to be.  Shortly after plugging in my saw a little green Geo pulled into our driveway.  A man in a sport coat and jeans got out.  He introduced himself as the brother-in-law of some good friends (and neighbors) of ours.  He really buttered me up by telling me how much our friends loved me and told me what a beautiful woman I was and how lucky my husband was.  Whoa!  I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable.  He asked if I would show him around our farm.  I did.  Every time I showed him something or even spoke he said, "Amen" or "Praise the Lord".  He asked if he could hug me within 3 minutes of knowing me.  I agreed with him, yes, I'm a very blessed woman, many times.  I showed him our chickens, goats and barn while he showered, "how precious" es again and again.  As I took him to show him James' gardens James came out and Fred immediately hugged him and told him that, "this woman sure loves you".  I do but I don't remember telling Fred how much.  Ok, he was a really nice guy and I told him of course he could bring his wife and granddaughter back to visit.  As he pulled out of our driveway he told us he loved us for at least the 3rd time.  I wonder if we'll see Fred again.

A short while later another man rode up our driveway on a bicycle.  He lives somewhat nearby and I kind of know him.  He and I had spoken earlier about him getting some of our fertile eggs to put under his broody banty hens.  He wants some larger chickens like ours but only has bantys so I gave him 4 eggs, the only four our broody hen hasn't ruined.  She keeps changing nests then giving up on them so I feel like we can't eat the eggs she warmed up.  I'm tempted to just take them out from under her since she's just going to waste them anyway.

Next a woman came to get 2 gallons of goat milk.  She wasn't unexpected though.  I had called her earlier in the day to tell her we had extra milk.  A while back I met her at a party and we exchanged phone numbers.  She told me to call her when we had extra so I did.  She brought us some roasted baby eggplants (frozen).  I can't wait to try them.

Maybe tomorrow I'll finish the jungle gym.  I had planned to post a picture of it tonight but there's not much to look at.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A few updates

It's been almost 2 weeks since I made my first Swiss cheese and finally it's starting to swell like it's growing holes inside.  I guess the swelling is the gas building up inside.  Maybe you can see in this picture how it's a little rounded on the top and bottom.
I also made a caraway Swiss about a week ago.  It won't be at the swelling stage for another week or two.
It's a little lumpier like I didn't press it as hard.  I made more traditional Swiss again today but it's still in the cheese press.  Tomorrow it will soak in a brine solution.   I hope at least one of them turns out good.
The turkeys are lively and growing.  So far they're easier than the chickens were.  They don't need their butts wiped like the chickens did.
They don't like being held.

My broody hen is still sitting on her nest.  I think it's been 3 days now on this clutch of eggs.  I've kind of lost track since she has switched a few times. 

I'm getting about 5 quarts of milk a day milking just once a day.  I wonder what I'll do with all the milk once the babies are weaned and I have to milk twice a day.  You'll be seeing lots more pictures of cheese. 
Here are some of the cheeses aging in our basement.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Working hard or hardly working

I have no pictures to prove it but I worked today.  Yes, real work.  None of this playing around stuff.  I had recently told my friend, neighbor and electrician, Fred, I could help him if he ever needed two more hands.  He finally took me up on it.  He told me he'd pick me up at 3 AM.  I set my alarm for 2:30, went to bed early and then never slept because I was afraid I wouldn't hear the alarm go off.  I got up a little after 2:00.  We drove 45 minutes to 5 Guys Burgers and Fries in Lynchburg.  We had to get the work done before the restaurant opened so there was a little pressure to work fast.  We were to remove 18 trough light fixtures that were in a suspended ceiling and replace them with new ones.  Wouldn't you know it, on the first light I cut my finger and had to ask for a band-aid.  I didn't want to ask because I didn't want to look like a wimp so early on but I had already dripped my blood down the bathroom stall I was working over.  We finished the job by 9:30, an hour and a half earlier than we thought.  It was enjoyable work but I don't think I'd like to do that every day - work, I mean.

I'm very tired and I need a nap.  I need to space my work days out to one every month or so.  I don't want to wear myself out.  A woman needs her beauty rest you know.  Some of us more than others.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Well-behaved or spoiled goats

I've been wanting to have my goats tested for Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) for quite a while but when I tried to draw blood myself it didn't go so well.  I thought I blogged about that experience but I couldn't find it just now in my titles.  I had two friends come over one day and they held the goats while I attempted to stick a needle in the adult goats necks and draw blood.  I was successful with a few in that I actually drew some blood but not enough to send for testing.  I had more blood on my jeans than in the tube.  I gave up. 

This week I broke down and decided to pay a vet to make a house call to draw the blood from 6 goats for me.  He got here at 10:00 am and was done by 10:10.   When he arrived he asked, "will you be able to catch them?"  I said, "sure".  He said, "sometimes goats are harder to catch when strangers are around".  I said, "No, it'll be fine".  We went in their fence and I grabbed Polly.  He told me how to hold her and he drew blood lickety split.  I walked up to the next one, held her and we repeated the process.  I think he was amazed how none of them put up much of a fight.  He told me I was a good technician.  I was flattered but know the reason it was so easy was because my goats are so spoiled by me that they're used to being handled.  He asked me if I did my own disbudding, castrating and vaccinating and I told him yes.  He said he'd rather have people do these things themselves rather than call him for these simple jobs.  I was feeling pretty proud by the time he left.  So proud that I think I should try again to draw the blood myself.  He asked if I wanted to practice on one while he was there but I couldn't bring myself to do it when I hadn't psyched myself up for it first. 

I haven't had any suspicion that my goats have CAE but many people won't buy goats from you if you haven't tested them for it and proven your herd is clean.  Also, if I want someone to bring their buck here for me to use for breeding they may not bring him unless I've had the testing done.  So I'll know in a few weeks I guess.

Here are a few pictures of the vet, me and my well-behaved goats with needles in their necks.  James came out with a camera and asked the vet if he'd mind if he took pictures for my blog.  I think the vet thought that was weird but didn't care.  He said he couldn't believe so many people read those things. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Nest

My broody hen decided to leave her nest for another one right beside it.  That was disappointing.  Maybe I shouldn't have put that duck egg under her.  I have two coops for my chickens, one they sleep in (and just started laying in) and one they eat and lay eggs in.  Miss Broody was in the the one with the dining room.  I decided to move her to a place where she won't be disturbed by the others, just me.  She's in the turkey shed which is still missing 2 solid walls.  I hung some fabric so it would be a little darker in there and fixed up a small animal crate for her.  I carried her and her eggs from her nest, which she wasn't real happy about.  I closed the cage on her at first because she didn't want to be in there.  Within 2 minutes she laid down and I opened the cage again.  Four hours later she's still in there.

So now the new hatch date is May 5th unless she changes her mind and doesn't want to be a mom afterall.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


One of my buff orpington hens has gone broody. She's sitting on 11 eggs, one of them a duck egg.  I don't know if it'll hatch though because I washed it planning to eat it but then changed my mind and stuck it under her.   Eggs have a coating on them that you don't want to wash off if you want them to hatch so, we'll see.  Maybe I should give this mama a name.  I hope she sticks with it.  Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch and duck eggs, 28, so she may kick that egg out if it doesn't hatch along with the others.  I can't wait to see little chicks following their mom around.

Here's a nest I found today in the flower bed in the front of our house.  I've never seen one on the ground before.  There's only one egg in it and I haven't seen a bird fly in or out so maybe it's been abandoned. 
 A wren has built a nest in the medicine cabinet in my barn, just behind the antiseptic.
And here's one more in the top of our propane tank.  Every year several babies are hatched in this propane tank nest.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another post about

I should go back and see how many times I've mentioned Freecycle on my blog.  It's rare I get anything or post anything on my local freecycle group but I check it every day to see what people are getting rid of or looking for.  The only things I've ever posted were herbs when we had too many to use.  Yesterday someone was looking for something that I could part with and had plenty of - rocks and flowers.  A woman posted that she and her children wanted to build a garden and needed rocks and perennials.  I emailed her back that we lived on the river and creek and if she didn't mind river rock she was welcome to get all she wanted.  She, 3 of her children (she has 5 all under 7 yrs old) and her boxer puppy came today to get the flowers.  She's going to bring her husband back another time to get the rocks.  Turns out we know her husband.  He has worked on our computer and our internet connection.  I thought she was a really nice lady until she asked me if I had any grandchildren.  I beg your pardon.  Ok, maybe I could be a grandmother but do I really look like a grandmother?!!!  I told her yes, I had 10, all in high school.  I didn't really, but I should have to see if she would be shocked.  Maybe I was afraid she'd believe me and then I'd have to send her away without rocks or flowers.  When I got past my indignation I started digging up lots of daffodils (which people here call Easter lilies), irises, day lilies and some other kind of ground cover of which I can't think of the name, while she stood, held her baby and chattered away a mile-a-minute.  I took her and her kids to see my furry little kids.  Her 3 year old twins chased them and the goats ran away.  I told them if they stood still the goats would come to them.  They did.  Afterwards they each got to get an egg out of the chicken's nests to take home with them.  I wonder if they made it home in one piece.  In the back of her truck she had 2 large baskets she had put on freecycle yesterday but the person never showed up to meet her so she gave them to me.  We can use them for gathering vegetables or eggs.   

We've made some very good friends through freecycle.  As a matter-of-fact, one couple we met is having a concert in their very nice barn in June at which James is playing the piano and maybe singing.  Their niece sings opera and is visiting so they thought they'd have a party/concert for her to perform and James will accompany her.  Should be a fun night.  They continue to freecycle to us because James goes to their house regularly to get loads of manure for our gardens.

I'm sure this will come up again since I think it's so cool.  Happy freecycling. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

A happy birthday dinner

Today is James' birthday.  I gave him his birthday present a few days ago since he knew what it was. I had the poster from his Schumann concert, signed by all the orchestra members, framed.  I think it turned out real well.
  James is always great about writing me a letter or a poem for special occasions but since I'm not as gifted a poet as he and and our son Adam, I did what I like to do, and like to think James likes.  I cooked for him.  I cooked a meal I knew he'd appreciate since much of it came from our own farm.  I made lasagna, a salad and a chocolate angel food cake.  The meal was chosen around what we had in our refrigerator, freezer, cupboards and our garden that we grew ourselves.  We have an abundance of cheeses and jars of tomatoes so that's how the lasagna came about.  I also put asparagus from the garden in it.  We've just started picking it and only got maybe 10 spears today.  The salad was simple with different lettuces and chives from the garden along with peas from last year.  I love peas in a salad.  I've never made an angel food cake from scratch but since we had so many eggs to use I chose angel food for dessert.  It takes 16 egg whites.  I used a few of the yolks in the lasagna mixed with the ricotta.  The cake was more of a challenge than I thought but I think it turned out pretty tasty.  We topped it with a raspberry sauce made with raspberries (wine berries) we had frozen that James picked from up the mountain.  The cake was also topped with powdered sugar and grated dark chocolate but unfortunately we can't grow that. 

I had planned to make ice cream so I could use up some of our milk but I didnt' have enough ice for the ice cream maker.  We have friends coming for dinner in a few days to celebrate their birthdays too so I'll make it then.

James, I hope your birthday was a good one.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

We're turkey farmers

Well not really but we are the proud owners of 19 little turkey chicks.  On our way out to milk this morning my phone rang.  It was Tracy from the post office telling me my peeping package arrived and that she was just going to play with them until I got there to pick them up.  The postmaster met me at the back door with the noisy box.   "Really?  Twenty turkeys are in there?"  The box was only maybe 12" X 8".   He said, "that's it".  I rushed them home to get them under a heat lamp.

Within an hour one of the yellow ones died.  Yesterday we read that we can count on losing 30% of them when ordering them through the mail.  I hope not.  Last I checked (and I check every hour or 2) the rest were all still pretty lively, eating and drinking.  There are at least 3 different varieties but I'm not completely positive what they are.  I know we have 2 Black Spanish turkeys, several Bronze and then either Large White or Royal Palm turkeys.  I was hoping for some Bourbon Reds but it doesn't look like any of them are unless their color changes in the next few days.  I ordered an assortment from McMurray Hatchery and they don't tell you what you get.  I'm just going by pictures I've seen on the internet and what I know McMurrays sells.  Here's a link with some pictures of the varieties I think we got.

Pretty awesome birds.  I can't wait to see them running around our yard.  Neither can Rosie, our female boxer.  Every now and then she chases the ducks or chickens but gives up just before she could grab them.   A large turkey might give her a run for her money. 

Today was supposed to be the hatch day for half of my chicken eggs in the incubator.  It doesn't look like that's going to happen.  No eggs are even wobbling.  I don't know what I was thinking setting eggs to hatch around the time the turkeys were to arrive.  I have no place to put them and no more feeders.  I'm totally unprepared so I guess it's good none are hatching.

Tomorrow I'm going to pick up my cow, llama, pig and donkey.

Just kidding.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Swiss cheese, before the holes

I made Swiss cheese 2 days ago.  It's probably one of our favorite cheeses but I put off making it because I thought it was harder to make than some of the other cheeses.  It wasn't.  As you can see there are no holes in it, yet.  It now sits on a shelf in our basement (because it's cooler) where I will turn it daily and wipe with a cheese cloth dampened in salt water.  After a week I'll put in in our warmer and more humid kitchen and keep turning and wiping it.  In 2 to 3 weeks the eyes should start to form and the cheese will swell a bit.  I hope I can post a picture in 3 or 4 weeks of my Swiss cheese with holes in it.  After the holes form I'll store it around 45 degrees for at least 3 months and then we can eat it - hopefully.  I also made mozzarella and ricotta cheeses that day because we we have so much milk that needs to be used.

Today I'm making Panir, an Indian cheese.  The only ingredients in it are milk and lemon juice (or citric acid).  It's hard to imagine it can turn into a lump of cheese with just those 2 ingredients and no rennet.  It can be eaten right away so if I get busy maybe we can have it with dinner.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Foul fowl

I've observed our rooster doing "it" to the hens many times and I've wondered why he has to be so rough and why they let him catch them.  I've gotten used to it though.  Today was the first time I caught the ducks in the act.  I was appalled by what I saw.  Not only did Skipper rape Maryanne and hold her underwater while he was doing it (and taking longer than necessary, I thought), but Gilligan was standing just outside the boat watching and cheering him on.  Maryanne seemed nonplussed by it all so I guess it wasn't rape afterall.  Here all the time I thought Ginger would be the one.

Sorry, no picture.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter old and new

As a child my mother made me Easter dresses.  I got to pick out the pattern, fabric and everything.  One favorite dress sticks out in my mind and I'll have to see if my Mom still has a picture of me in it.  My sister Debbie usually had the same dress only in a different color.  My older sister Elaine was much more mature than us and her dress was a different style, if I remember correctly.  Sometimes we wore little white gloves too.  We always had our picture taken in front of the round flower bed.  I guess it probably rained for some of my childhood Easters but I don't remember that.  I remember warm days, lots of sunshine with the smell of hyacinths and Easter lilies in the air.  Today's weather is much like the Easters I remember but I don't smell any hyacinths or lilies.  Also I'm not wearing a dress and looking as cute.  James took my picture, though not in front of the pretty flower bed.  Take note that my white gloves have gotten a little dirty over the years.  Also, my mom wasn't here to tell me to comb my hair, make me a dress or even make me take a shower for that matter.  My Easter basket is missing from this picture too.  Easter Bunny, you've become a slacker.

We used to color eggs in hot water and vinegar and I loved the smell.  I still think of Easter when I smell white vinegar.  We now have lots of eggs but they're brown and don't color well.  Remember my experiment trying to dye eggs and trying to fill them with chocolate?  Right, it didn't turn out so well so this year I had to color my eggs on Photobucket instead.  It just didn't smell the same.

We don't have much chocolate in our house and no marshmallow peeps or jellybeans either but as you can see Easter Bunny did come to our house.

I had so much fun coloring eggs I got a little carried away.


Doesn't it look like the babies are standing on Easter grass?


Rosie and Lex are standing in front of our flower bed.  Lex is always wearing white gloves but you can't see them in this picture.

Have a happy Easter everyone.

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like summer

Yesterday the thermometer reached 86 degrees.  I exposed my very white stomach and legs to the sun while doing yard work and got just a little sun burned, but that's ok.  After a winter like this last one I have vowed not to complain if we have a steaming summer.  I don't care if we have weeks around 100 degrees, I'm not going to complain.

Another indication that summer is approaching is I've had 6 or 7 ticks in the past 2 days.  It makes me itch just thinking about it.

I had hoped to cut our very long grass yesterday but kept getting sidetracked.   I'm actually looking forward to it.   The enthusiasm won't last long.

The ducks are enjoying their freedom and venture further and further into the garden.  I love to watch them waddle and hear their quacking.  I wonder why they talk so much as they wander around.  Here they are in the garden with James.