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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Diary of a winter day

12:30 p.m.

Winter, ah! winter.  I find myself wondering why my son has my snowblower and I'm shoveling out.  How did that happen?

My horses spent the night under the barn.   I know this because I got up at 3:00 in the morning, wondering if both the barn doors were open or if I'd closed one of them, wondering if they were in and I could close them both.  Only one was open, so I struggled my way around the barn, down the hill, and there they were, contentedly munching away.  The goats were snug in their stall, out of the wind  the blowing snow.  Of course, being the curious souls that they are, they had to investigate.  "What are you doing here this time of night?  Is it time for grain?  Can we help?"  I told them no and locked them in so they wouldn't follow me.

There's something to be said for these big old barns. I'm able to fill the under-barn feeders through a trap door,
Ready to fill the feeder.

Both feeders filled and ready to close the trap doors
and the critters are out of the wind there--and boy! is it ever windy! 
Blowing snow--click to see more detail
The horses finally traipsed through the drifts to come into the barn, which is filled with snow from the wind blowing through the door, left open because they were under the barn.  Bad horses!

The sun came out for a moment, peeking around the clouds, but I don't think it's any more excited about the blowing snow than I am, for it went back into hiding once again.  I'm just about ready to tromp out there again, dig the path again, put out more hay, and fill the stock tank with water.  I can hardly wait.

2:49 p.m.

I'm dug out for now.  With the wind, that may not last long.  All my barn chores are done and I can once again relax.

The barn was empty once I got out there.  Signs of critters were everywhere, but their presence was missing.  Would somebody please tell me why goats will leave a snug barn with two feeders that they have all to themselves and brave the elements merely to eat hay under the barn with the horses?
Hoofprints in the snow
Breaking trail
I'll give them this:  once they saw me wading down to where they were, and heard me calling, they realized I had broken more trail for them.  They did not want to face the wind, and face right into it they must to get back inside. 
Under the barn
The goats stand on the large slabs of granite
while the horses make do from the ground floor

They surprised me.  I had seen Violet turn around and go back under the barn,
Violet and Cassie, thinking about going to the barn
But a few minutes later, as I was ready to roll up the hose and finish up, here they came, just as pretty as you please, as if it were the most natural thing in the world--which, of course, it is.

Hay everywhere. BAD horses!
By then I had filled the under-barn feeders, topped the stock tank, picked up most of the mess the horses had left, made ready the grain for this evening and dug out my car. 

When I left the barn, it didn't look like the goats were interested in venturing forth again,
There's something about a large receptable that Beatrice can't resist.
And when there's hay in it, neither can Cassie.  Musical feeders, anyone?
but they do like being with the horses.  I'll find out at grain time.  Until then, I'm staying in.

8:30 p.m.

I grained and milked the goats at 5:00.  When I went out later, much to my satisfaction, the goats were in, snugged away in their stall, even though there was no trace of the horses.  How they can stand those 35 mph gusts of ice north wind is beyond me. I refilled the feeders through the trap door and left them to their own devices.  Me, I'm settling in for the night. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The making of baba ghanouj

My son loves baba ghanouj.  In fact, he loves it even more than I do.  When eggplants come my way, it's the defacto use for them.  Oh, every now and then I'll have a yen for ratatouile or eggplant parmesan, but when I see an eggplant, the first thing that crosses my mind is baba ghanouj.

As i was going through my photos, I came across several taken last summer, documenting this simple but delicious recipe.

Take a few eggplants and roast them in the oven.  I split them in half and pierce the skin a few times to release steam.  I cook them long enough to make them very soft, and at a low enough temperature that I can forget about them for a while, usually somewhere between 250° and 350°, maybe a couple of hours, more or less. 
Roasted eggplant.  The one on the left has been pulped.
 When they're done, I scrape the cooked eggplants from the skin and put it all in the food processor with about 1/4 C Tahini, for every couple of cups of eggplant,
a little salt, 1/8 C of olive oil, 1/8 C lemon juice, and whirr it all together.  Oh, and don't forget the garlic!

I have two garlic presses, one with handles, and this one, The Garlic Twist.  Fast and easy, but not for garlic that has started to sprout.  It's one of my favorite kitchen tools. Smash the garlic to remove the skin (it falls right off), then twist it back and forth a few times, and voilà! Easy peasy.

Chopping the garlic
I change the flavor of the baba ghanouj depending on what I add to it.  Usually, I add basil, sometimes roasted red pepper (Mmmmm!), but this time I added chopped parsley from my garden.  Flat parsley is best, just because it chops more finely, but I think parsley is just a little too bland for my taste.  I ended up adding basil to it.
Ready to dice
All done.  I eat these with pita bread or blue corn chips.  Yum!  By the way, change the eggplant to mashed garbanzo beans, and you hummus.  See?  Two great recipes for the price of one.

The finished product,  Baba Ghanouj.  Could anything be simpler?

No-poo, Oh pooh.

I decided to try the "no-poo" routine about, oh, maybe 2 months ago.  No more commercial shampoo, no more commercial conditioners.  So, at a friend's suggestion, I searched the internet and found a routine I could experiment with:

1 Tbsp baking soda in a cup of water to shampoo
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV) in a cup of water to condition

And so it began.  I dissolved the baking soda in a cup or so of warm water and slowly poured it over my scalp, massaging gently,  The rest of the hair got wet as a matter of course, but I massaged it through anyway; then a good rinse and on to conditioning.  The same  routine applied to the ACV: massage into the scalp, make sure the hair is wet down with the solution, and then a thorough rinse.

The results surprised me.  A comb went through my hair easily, and it felt, looked, and smelt clean and fresh.  Not bad.  I continued with this routine every 5-6 days until last week, when my hair started looked just a tad dryer than I wanted it. 

My friend had told me she used a raw egg yolk to condition occasionally, and I, ever willing to complicate everything, went looking for a "recipe" to do what should have been a simple task.  Why keep things simple when with a little effort I can make them really complicated?  Accordingly, I found a recipe to mix 1 tbsp olive oil and a tablespoon of water into the well-beaten yolk and leave it on for 5 minutes, before I rinsed thoroughly with lukewarm water.

What a disaster!  I felt like I had rolled my hair in an oil barrel, even before I got out of the shower.  I shampooed with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap, rinsed thoroughly and used ACV solution to condition, all to no avail.  The comb pulled and tugged. The hair looked like I hadn't washed it in weeks, so greasy that it hung in clumps.  I deceived myself (I'm good at that.  Lots of practice.)  I told myself my hair was just wet, that all would come right when it dried. 

It didn't.  I tied it back and combed and brushed it daily before tying it back again every morning.  Today, after trying unsuccessfuly to rid my hair of the olive oil with the baking soda/ACV routine, I broke down and shampooed it with a commercial shampoo.  I then followed it with ACV solution again.

My hair is back to normal now.  I will never put olive oil in my hair again, no matter what great success others have had with it.  I'll try the egg yolk conditioner again, though, only this time it will be just egg yolk, beaten within an inch of its life so it behaves well on my hair.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pasties and Pastries

A woman at the local farmers' market sells wonderful savory pastries, full of chicken, beef, and vegetables.  Since I avoid commercial meat whenever I can, I buy her veggie pastries now and then for a quick lunch, with a ginger scone on the side.

Having quick meals at home, particularly since I often juice have juice, fruit, or cheese for lunch,  was particularly appealing since my mother, who is 90, doesn't "graze" like I do all day long.  I decided to turn my own hand to these succulent savories.

I looked up Cornish Pasty online and discovered that the real deal, real honest-to-goodness pasties, use only about four ingredients:  chopped beef, potatoes, swedes (rutabagas), and onions, with a little salt and pepper thrown in.  Well..I used carrots and celery as well.  First I tried an all-butter crust.  It worked, but was a little tougher than I'd like.  Then I decided to pull out the stops and use lard for the crust.  Omigosh!  Why did we ever believe the "experts" who said lard is bad for us?  The crusts are light and flaky, and the taste divine!

Chopped apple, carrots, potatoes, onion, and rutabaga

To some of the pasties I added chopped up turkey.  Today I added fresh ricotta cheese and chunks of apple.  They turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.  My mother, though, for whom I've ostensibly done all this, wants gravy in them, thank you very much.

The finished pasties

Next time.  For now, i have enough to freeze and keep handy for a month or two. They're stored in the freezer, right next to the zuccini lasagna and the eggplant parmesan.  Life is good.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Season (breeding season, that is)

Ike is gone.  I sold him to a local creamery as one of their herd sires.  He probably thinks he died and went to heaven.  My friend Charlie transported Ike in his truck and when Ike was turned loose with all those does! he was transported to a whole other place.

I know I have two pregnant does, Beatrice and Leah, but I'm still not sure about Violet.  The vet came out mid-November, but she didn't have anything definitive to say.  First she thought she saw a fetus, then she said no, and then she wasn't sure, because though she's ultrasounded dozens of horses, her experience with goats is minimal.  So, she said she'd be back in a couple of weeks, just to follow up for her own sake.  It's three weeks now, no vet.  I guess I'll have to see what happens come March.

Cassie, of course, is not bred.  She's too young, and the only Sable buck I had was her sire.  Maybe one of these days I'll be comfortable with inbreeding, but I'm not there yet. She might be ready to breed by the end of January, but I'm the only Sable breeder in the area, so she's got another year to grow.  I think I prefer that anyway.

And talking about breeding and herd sires, I've been talking to a breeder in Pennsylvania about getting one of her 2013 bucklings.  She's got lots of color in her herd, and my fingers are crossed for a Chamoisee, maybe even a doe.  Chamoisee isn't a common color in Sables, but I'd love to make it more common!

A new cheese blog

I've been making so much cheese lately that this blog was seriously in danger of turning into a cheese blog. So...I now have a new blog, devoted only to cheeses.  Maybe I can move the other posts there, or maybe not, but Yay!  now this blog is back to where it's supposed to be--a farm blog, a thoughts blog, a blog about life.
My new cheese blog can be found here.

Monday, November 19, 2012


I went through all my cheese cultures a few days ago.  I finally listed them all in a computer file so when I order again, I won't end up with duplicates.  After 5 years of cheesemaking, you'd think I'd have done that before.  Nah!

freshly drained Gorgonzola
I had so much milk that I had to make cheese again, despite starting to dry off Beatrice.  So, since I made Gorgonzola a few days ago, I thought I'd try Cambozola, a German blue cheese, which is sort of a combination of Camembert and Gorgonzola.

So, the first thing I didn't do was thoroughly read through the recipe, which I found on  Ah, well, I guess I'll know in 3 months whether that was a problem.

Curds are ready
Anyway, I started out with 2 gallons of raw goatmilk, heated it to 82° (because it's goat milk) and added 1/4 tsp of Flora Danica. Then I added rehydrated Penicillium candidum and Penicillium roqueforti.  That's the part I'm wondering about.  The recipe said to add the P. candidum and then sprinkle the P. roqueforti over the curds later.  Since I had just made Gorgonzola and the P. roqueforti gets added to the milk, get the picture. 

Cambozola in the making
Then I added the rennet--and it didn't set properly, took much longer than it should have.  I finally cut the curds and, following the recipe by this time, drained it in a colander lined with cheesecloth. After a half hour, I ladled it into two Camembert molds, flipped them a few times over the next several hours, and voilà!  two Cambozolas!  They're still in their molds, and will be until tomorrow morning, but I'm looking forward to seeing if they turn out better this time than the last time I tried, last year.

That cheese tasted pretty good, but it was a much drier cheese than it was supposed to be.  I'm not even sure it could be called a Cambozola, because I think I pressed it. I've improved over the past year.  Most of my cheeses actually look and taste like they're supposed to. That's progress!

Henry Milker again

I've been seriously considering getting a milking machine.  Another goat addict has a surge milker she'll let me use, but I have to find a vacuum pump.  Finding one is not a problem; finding one I can afford is a bit harder.

It's getting on in the year and as usual, my hands are feeling the strain of hand milking.  I'd put away my Henry Milker, since I didn't like the effects it was having on Beatrice's udder.  Today I found it, and wondered whether I could reverse Bea's milk production and start using it again.  She's on once a day milking now, and is giving only 4-5 pounds a day, a little over half a gallon.  As I looked at the teat cup, though, my misgivings returned.  If I can just find a way to make a soft gasket for the top of the teat cup, I might try it again.  Until I do that, I don't want to risk it.  The Henry Milker pulls her teats into the teat cup, but more than that, it pulls part of the mammary tissue as well, so one side of her udder is damaged.  So far, I haven't found that way. I even emailed Mike Henry to see if he had any ideas, but I never heard from him.

I think it's time to get just bite the bullet (sigh...) and buy the vacuum pump.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Camembert success

I had a devil of a time trying to keep the humidity high enough and the temperature low enough for these cheeses that I made a month ago.  I finally just put them in plastic Ziplock bags and left them in the refrigerator, turning them every day, and wondered when they'd be ready.

 I've read conflicting advice about how long to age Camembert, going from 3 weeks to 7 or 8 weeks.  Today I opened up the bags and took a look.  One smelled a bit like ammonia. Not overpowering, but faintly.  The other smelled divine.  I decided to let them come to room temperature to see if the ammonia smell dispelled.  After an hour, my curiosity got the best of me and I sliced into the ammoniated one.  It didn't taste half bad!  In fact, it tasted pretty good, and it looked to be ripening well.  I don't like Camembert when it gets runny and strong, so this was just right:  the outside was soft and pliable, the middle firm. 

I wondered about the second one.  As I put it down, I noticed that it, too, was getting soft on the outside.  A small piece was hanging off, so I picked it off and tasted it.  This one is even better. Yum!

Tomorrow I'm having lunch with some friends.  We're all supposed to bring something to go with the salad.  I think I'll bring feta--and Camembert.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I am SO ready for Ike to leave.  I never realized how brainless bucks become during the rutting season.  My doe goats (two Saanens and a Sable) are all bred, and he will be going visiting for a few weeks, and then I hope he’s sold.  Having a buck goat around can sometimes be trying.  When he’s in his stall at night, he’s constantly jumping up on the door and the side wall to see the does, or jumping up onto the feeder and then down onto the platform that I put in there (goats like to climb).  The noise is jarring to one’s senses, at best.  I actually had to reinforce the wall by the stall door and move the pallet platform, because he was throwing himself at the wall, trying to jump over.  When one of the 2 x 8’s came down from the wall, I moved the platform so he couldn’t get a running leap.  Whew!  Breeding season is hard on bucks.  They forget to eat, drink, and are just plain crazy and unable to relax until the lights all go out at night.

One of my Silkie hens hatched two late chicks.  I thought they might not make it, but they’re fully feathered now (fast!) and seem to be doing fine.  Silkies are pretty cute once you get used to them, but I admit that I didn’t always think so.  My terrier, bless her cotton-picking little hunter heart, got two of my hens and my old rooster.  I found the hens the same day I found a Partridge colored cockerel to replace the other one.  I got him anyway, so now I have two hens and one young rooster.  Hopefully I’ll have more Silkies in the spring.

The chicks are crossbreds from the Silver Laced Wyandotte cockerel that went into the freezer lately, because I couldn’t find a home for him.  I do hope both of the chicks are hens so it’ll be easier to place them.  Since I rarely eat meat, it tends to stay in the freezer for far too long.  Thank goodness for vacuum wrapping to keep them from freezer burn.  

I planted kale and some winter greens in my little 8' x 12' greenhouse, built by my son early last spring..  With a bit of floating row covers,  the greens for cooking and salad surviving the hard frosts we've had.  I'd like to have greens for most of the winter, though I doubt they'll make it through January and February.  Still, I'm hopeful.  They’re growing slowly, but they’re definitely coming along, and I check on them daily, casting an eager eye.  

Elections are coming up on Tuesday, and I fear the state of the country and the world won’t improve, no matter who gets in.  I think we’ve been given the option to vote for the lesser of two evils for far too long now.  I’ll write in my choice, which is neither of the two major parties.  And for local elections, I’ll look for the one that will get government out of my face the fastest.   Probably on the state and local level, we still have some semblance of control, but sometimes I wonder if even that is illusion.
I just finished making my first real Gruyere cheese, and wouldn’t you know?  I got the culture ripening time wrong.  It was supposed to set for only 10 minutes, and I left it for an hour.  I don’t think that’ll mess up the cheese, but I’ll know in about 5 months.  In the meantime, I’ll be cutting into a Münster and a Cotswold, because they don’t take quite as long. 

Monday, October 15, 2012


I picked up my buck from Thorndike, where he had been housed since I got him last October.  Ike (Patina M & M Eye Candy) was out on pasture when we got there, and it took a few minutes to get him.  Charlie, my friend and goat mentor, transported him in the back of his capped truck, and Ike was very good all the way home.  In hand, he was strong and had managed to pull Charlie right over before he got out ot the truck.  At my barn, though, Charlie was ready for him and safely and quickly got him into his new stall. 

Ike was not happy.  In Thorndike, he'd shared space with four wethers; here he was by himself.  My does came in to say hello, as I opened Angel's stall so they could all touch noses. It's a wonderful thing to have a buck around before a doe is in heat!  All four does came into heat, well-synchronized within 6 days, Leah and Beatrice first, and Violet and Cassie the next day.  So much tail wagging and bleating and how-do-you-do's I haven't seen before, and oh! how they all liked Ike!

It's so early that I didn't want to breed the does yet.  As I considered, though, Violet had not settled last year.  She was open but had a pseuopregnancy.  I didn't want to breed her too late to rebreed her if necessary, so when she showed signs of heat, in she went with Ike.  He thought she was the nicest sight since he'd arrived, and covered her twice in 30 minutes. I left her there overnight. 

Next morning, out she came and Ike was devasted.  "Oh, no!  Alone again!  How could you do this to me!" 

Two days after he arrived, Shawn led him in and out for me, and the following day I was on my own. Ike and I have come to an arrangement:  he doesn't run away from me, and I lead him out to the buck pen, where the does can hang out with them if they wish.  The rest of the time he pretty much spends standing on the roof of his shelter, watching for them; or hanging out by the gate where his fellow captive, Angel, says hello from the paddock.

He's a good boy, very well mannered.  He never tries to butt me, doesn't try to pull me now that he knows I'm the Bringer Of Good Things, and is altogether a well-behaved buck, if a bit smelly.  Truth to tell, I don't mind the buck smell like I thought I would, and I even find myself considering keeping a buck here permanently, maybe with company.  Maybe two bucks so I always have alternate bloodlines for my does.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A First Foray into Soft-Ripened Cheeses

After watching a video on YouTube, i decided it was time to put away my fears and tackle Camembert cheese.  It was remarkably easy, but the final outcome is still to be seen.  That shouldn't take very long, as it ripens for only 3 to 4 weeks.

First I had to sterilize all my equipment.  I did this by putting measuring spoons, stirring spoon, modified whisk (thanks to Jim Wallace of for this tip), ladle, stainless steel measuring cup, and long bladed knife, all in my stainless steel 1 gallon cooking pot, covering as well as possible with the lid, and steaming everything for 5 minutes.

Goat milk generally takes lower temperatures than cow milk, so next I heated 1 gallon of raw goat milk to  86° F.   Once it was there, I sprinkled 1/4 tsp of Flora Danica, 1/8 tsp of Penicillium candidum, and a tiny pinch of Geotricum candidum over the surface of the milk, let it set for a couple of minutes, then stirred it in well, covered it, and l let it set for 90 minutes.

I generally use DVI cultures from The Dairy Connection, but I've also purchased cheesemaking supplies from New England Cheesemaking Supply, TheCheesemaker, and Glengarry,, and there are many more places to find what you need, so shop around for the best prices (including shipping) and order what you need all at once.

After it had ripened, I diluted 6 drops of double strength vegetable rennet in 1/4 cup cool water, and stirred it thoroughly into the milk.  I let it set until I had a "clean break" at about 60 minutes.

Now it was time to cut the curd.  I did this with my long knife for the vertical cuts, and then switching to the wire whisk for the horizontal cuts, making 1/2 inch - 1 inch curds.

 Here's where Camembert  is so much easier than other cheeses I've made!  No stirring, no heating!  Just let the curds settle for about 10 minutes, remove the whey until it barely covers the curds, and ladle the curds into prepared molds.  I had bought one brie/camembert mold, but needed two, so I got a piece of 4-inch inside diameter PVC pipe, drilled some 1/8-inch drainage holes in it, cleaned it up well, and voilà! another mold!

The curds should be ladled slowly and allowed to drain.  I alternated between the two molds and had just enough to fill them both.  I set mine on bamboo sushi mats, set atop of shallow pans to catch the whey as it drained.

The curds drained quickly.  After an hour, put another mat on top, pick up the mold, and quickly but gently flip it. This was easier than I anticipated.  The curds quickly fell to the bottom to continue draining.  The cheese is flipped 5 times, with an hour in between.

Here they are, both of my cheeses, as I lifted off the molds after the last flip.  They hold their shape nicely and are ready to be salted lightly on all sides.

And here's one salted wheel just before I put it into a cool, humid room to form a rind.  The cheese needs to be turned every day and kept at the correct temperature (45°F) and humidity (90%) to ripen the interior.  Since I have a primitive setup at best, it'll be interesting to see how it turns out.

My cheese "cave", for the present, is a styrofoam container with holes in the top and a wide bowl with water in it to keep the humidity high enough.  Time will tell if it develops properly.

Monday, October 1, 2012


After watching Forks Over Knives and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, I got inspired.  I've never felt so good as when I was eating mostly raw foods, and somehow I've gotten away from that in the past year or two.  So, I borrowed my friend Doreen's Samson Juicer, and did a 10 day juice fast.  I dropped 6 pounds in 10 days, but that was a side benefit.  The real purpose was to detoxify my body and reset my eating habits.  A week after the fast ended,  I was still juicing daily--and sometimes more often than that--and I felt better, though still rather low on energy.

A couple of weeks later, toward the end of July, my new Jay Kordich Powergrind Pro Juicer arrived, and I returned the Samson.  The PGP Juicer is quite a different animal from the Samson.  The juice is clearer and sweeter, and I get more from the vegetables that I juice, but the Samson is clearly superior when it comes to juicing greens.  The Samson is also easier to put the vegetables through, but there's added time spent cutting everything up into much smaller pieces.

Powergrind Pro Juicer
Each juicer has its pros and cons, and the PGP is no different.  It defiitely took a while to adapt to it. It took a week or so for me to figure out how best to feed the hopper so nothing jammed.  Since the PGP centrifuge rotates at only a fraction of what other brands do, it's a bit fussier..  On the other hand, because it rotates more slowly, and grinds,too, there is little heat generation, preserving the nutrients from the vegetables.

So far, I've made juice at least 5 days out of 7, and don't really think much about what combinations to use, since they all turn out delicious.  Today I made a cucumber, carrot, and apple juice.  Tomorrow I need to use up some of the celery and greens in my garden.  Maybe I'll throw a tomato or two in there just for good measure.  Or a piece of lemon--that goes very well with greens.

Buying a juicer and juicing daily is probably one of the best decisions I've made for my health.  It's easy to do, fills me up, and my energy is way up there.  Most days I have a blender drink (smoothie) for breakfast, juice throughout the day, and one regular meal.  Since I seem to be on the go most of the time, it's nice to know i'm still getting good nutrition into my body, even though I'm not sitting down for regular meals.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finnish baked cheese--Yum!

I love Juustoa cheese, or Leipäjuusto, a Finnish cheese, called "coffee cheese", because they put chunks of it in their coffee.  It can also be served as a side dish or a dessert.  I like it for breakfast.  Or even for lunch or dinner.  It's versatile. 

I  had extra milk to play with, and wanted something different for lunch, so I decided to make some and record the process.  Maybe it was the recording that did the trick, but this was absolutely the best Juustoa I've made yet.

Heat 1 gallon of raw goat milk to about 86°, then mix together and add:
   1 heaping Tbsp cornstarch
   1/2 tsp (more or less) salt
   1 Tbsp sugar

Now add about 6 drops of double strength rennet mixed with 1/8 C of water and stir well.  Let rest for about an hour.  In this time, it will set almost like a custard.  Check for a "clean break",

 and break up to approximately 1-inch curds. For this cheese, you can just stir it, as I did, using the edge of the spoon to cut larger curds when necessary.

 At this point I drain it just like any other cheese, with cheesecloth and a colander,letting it rest until the curds settle and the whey drains out a bit.

To speed this up a bit, hang the curds by bringing all 4 corners of the cheesecloth together to form a bag and suspending it over a pan to catch the whey.  I occasionally work the curds by kneading the bag a bit to release more whey.  

When it's well drained, it's time to put the curds into a round cake pan.  Press it all around evenly, and bake in a 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes, draining the whey off every few minutes.  Now remove from the oven and put it under the broiler unti just browned.  Again, pour off the whey as it seeps out.  At this point, you can either serve it or flip it in the pan and brown the other side, which is what I opted to do. 

Voilà! A beautiful, baked cheese!  

  Traditionally this is served with lingonberry jam, but I served it for lunch with blackberry jam.

Don't expect this to last very long. It's light and elegant, and oh so delicious!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tractor Fun

We had just rescued the tractor from a mud hole in the pasture, and I parked it up by the barn for use later.  Isn't it wonderful how a tractor can be such a entertaining toy?  The  horses, of course, didn't think it was worth mention, but the goats thoroughly checked it out before determining that eats were elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Sanuba has a new home.  It was hard to part with her, but I'm back to four does, now, including Cassie, Leah's Sable kid, but I feel very good about Daryl, and I think Sanuba will be loved and appreciated.  And probably, head honcho, as she was here. ( A little trivia here:  Did you know that honcho derives from a Japanese word meaning "squad leader"?  Little did I suspect...)

Beatrice's bucklings are going to a good home, together, as wethers, which makes me happy, since I hate putting kids in the freezer.  I just don't eat enough meat to make it worthwhile, and it's hard to butcher an animal that I've gotten to know. Since they're not bottle babies, I haven't spent as much time with them.  Since I'm separating them from Beatrice at night, I've been going into their stall and getting to know them.  They've quickly lost their skittishness and have discovered the jos of scritches and scratches.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Beatrice kidded on May 7th, two white bucklings.  No color, so either she doesn't carry the color gene, or it didn't show up in that breeding with my Sable buck, Ike.  It was an easy delivery, much easier than her last two.  She delivered both kids within 10 minutes of each other, after a short noticeable labor, and passed placenta within 1/2 hour.  Because she's CAE+, I gave her Apis during her labor, but it was unnecessary, as she didn't show any signs of congested udder and never has.

After several days of rain and mud, the bucklings got to go outside for the first time.  After a bit of exploration, they settled down in the shade of an outbuilding.  Beatrice hardly noticed their absence, she was so busy chomping down grass.

Monday, April 23, 2012

On Changing America

Powerful video commentary from The Washington Times.  Best viewed full screen.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New life on the farm

First tentative steps
A little shaky
My first kid of the year and my first Sable kid born on Crooked Shade Farm was born this morning about 8:30. She weighs 9 lbs! and is by my American Sable buck M&M Eye Candy and out of my PB Saanen doe, Tramps Rest Eventually (Leah). Since mama is CAE+, kid got pulled immediately and is being bottle fed. Zoë is fascinated by the little black doeling, a black Sundgau, just like her sire. I knew that Saanen line had color hidden, and I'm thrilled that it came through! 

So tired..

Gotta try again

What happened to my legs??