Saturday, January 26, 2019

Happy Hogs!

This week I had a lot of extra milk. Not to worry. Nothing goes to waste around here! The pigs and chickens always enjoy the extras.
Peanut our big boar says milk is Da-licious! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

I spent a quiet morning in the kitchen. The fridge needed a purge(happy chickens!), bananas needed to be turned into something yummy and the pasta that I got on sale last week needed to be vacuum sealed in jars. The vote for bananas was chocolate chip banana nut bread with walnuts please, per hubby's request. I made 2 loaves. One for now one to freeze.
I only got half the pasta vacuum sealed because I was too lazy to go to the basement and dig out more jars!
I had planned to stay in the house most of the day since I had been out in the cold for the last 4 days. However it actually turned out to be quite nice and reached 55*. What a pleasant surprise! That wasn't the only surprise I had today. Apparently Hubby had watched me milk last week and was not happy with the stanchion. He said it was too far to reach and didn't like the fact that I had to duck down under the top rail. I had gotten used to it and was just thankful to have a place to keep Ms. Violet still. She has quieted down and is turning out to be an amazing cow. 

The new stanchion is pretty awesome. He had my son and one of his guys construct it. They welded it with a wide opening that is right where I sit to milk. They did it on both sides so milking can be done either from the left or the right. They also narrowed the shoot making her much closer.and easier to reach. THEN they painted it a lovely shade of green! It is perfect.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Today was the last day of dog training for a week or so. A weekend long seminar, an extra lesson plus a nose work class and I am about dogged out! Actually its more of I'm tired of driving and being cold. We had a great group of people and with the help of some really experienced trainers the puppy made great advances as did Ludovic.

As I did chores today I noticed one of the goats looking like she was starting to bag up. I am sure she is nowhere close but with the threat of freezing rain in the forecast it would be Murphy's law she'd pop a baby out tonight if I didn't lock her up. I brought most of the girls in to keep her company. I fed the milk to the chickens for the third day in a row. They can't wait for me to pour that warm milk into a bowl! I hurriedly gathered a load of fire wood and got in the house.

The reason I was in such a big hurry? I was excited about  supper! Tonight I was making stuffed shells using the cottage cheese from last week and deer meat from the boys hunt this past Fall. It's the small things that can bring great pleasure.
They were delicious. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Busy Morning In The Kitchen

Ms. Violet is blessing us with lots of milk. On the top of my to-do list was to make cottage cheese for stuffed shells that I plan on making Monday for supper. I had hoped to get yogurt made but that didn't happen. I also had more mushrooms to can and dehydrate and this go round I planned to canned the mushroom stock.
The first thing I did (besides drinking coffee and rotating dogs ;-)) was to rinse the mushrooms and put them in the dehydrator. I had enough for 7 trays.

Next I started the cottage cheese. I heated the milk to 90* added some buttermilk and rennet and set it aside to do it's thing.

Then I started on the mushrooms to be canned. Since I was keeping the stock this time I washed them really well. I sliced...and sliced...and sliced. I was just getting mushrooms ready to go in the canner when a friend that wanted to visit and learn about homestead stuff arrived. Her extra set of hands came in handy.
While the mushrooms were processing we strained the stock and I put her to work bringing the cheese up to temperature and stirring it until it was done. I jarred the stock and got it in my other canner.

We drained the cheese and when the stock was done we headed to the barn to feed and milk. She is practicing milking. Now back to the house to strain milk, jar it and get her on her way. I made butter from the cream I had skimmed this morning. At this point we have more than we can eat so I am freezing it in half cup portions.

Back down to barn to feed the chickens the whey from the cheese and butter, gather a load of firewood and I was almost ready to call it a day! Last thing to do was cook up a bunch of marked down meat for the dogs as I am attending a 3 day obedience seminar with 2 of the dogs starting tomorrow. Hubby has graciously offered to feed those days but draws the line at milking. That will get done when I get home each evening. 

Happy weekend my friends. I catch up with you the first of the week!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Old Books Revisited, Making Panir Cheese

While drinking coffee this morning I flipped through this sweet little book that I have had forever. It was written in 1991 and I refer to it often for simple dairy recipes. My fridge is now loaded with several gallons of milk and I need to use some up. My favorite recipe in this book is for Panir cheese, sometimes referred to as fry cheese because it doesn't melt. WHAT? A non-melty cheese? Absolutely. I like to season it and fry in a little butter (sometimes I go so far as to bread it too!) It is nice to crumble in salads or toss in a veggie stir fry. The best part is that it is so easy to make.

I skimmed the cream from the milk (butter tomorrow) and measured 2 gallons. In a large pot I heated the milk stirring occasionally until it reached 185*. Then I slowly poured 2/3 cup of white vinegar into the milk while stirring slowly. It will curdle almost immediately. Once it curdled I ladled into a mold layering the curds with salt.
Then I placed a heavy bowl full of water on top (primitive but it works!) and let it sit while I finished evening chores. 
 After a couple of hours of pressing I unmolded it and there was my beautiful block of Panir cheese.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Starting Seeds

Yep it's time. Sis has got some beautiful lettuce started in the greenhouse but believe it or not it is time to start seeds for the spring and summer garden.
It was a cold damp day here on our homesteads so she built a small fire in the wood stove and warmed the greenhouse. Since she had to work later than anticipated Mom and I were put in charge of seed starting duty. Scary, yes. I can say without a doubt she was inspecting our work shortly after we were done! I am more the animal person and Mom well, she is a little scattered. That may explain all the cauliflower that's in the garden that no one remembers starting. Good job Mom, it's gorgeous!
 Today we started a broccoli blend of 4 different varieties. They should produce until the weather gets hot. We also started 8 different kinds of peppers and some snapdragons. A lot still yet to do. Hopefully we will finish most by the end of the week.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Homemade Butter

Today I made butter with all that luscious cream from Friday's milk. In today's modern times it is quite easy. I didn't hand churn it, although I have as a child, I used my blender. I carefully skimmed all the cream off the milk and put it in the blender then turned it on high. Wa-La butter in a matter of just a few minutes!
I drained off all the "buttermilk", then washed it. To do this I placed the butter in a bowl of ice cold water to keep it from getting too soft and kept pushing on it with the back of a spoon changing the water every few minutes until it ran clear. After I drained off the last of the clear water I continued to mash the butter until all the water was out of it. I added salt to taste and molded it into a roll.
The finished product minus a few slices that were slathered on hot corn bread!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Now I've Got Milk!

As promised the stanchion was finished on Thursday. It is working out so well! Thursday's milking was a little tough and I was only able to save about a 1 1/2 quarts. The chickens and cats got the rest that had bits of hay and dirt floating in it. Friday was better and I got 1 1/2 gallons. Today hardly any kicking at all and 1 3/4 gallons.

Today's milk. Possibly next weeks cheese!
Yesterday's milk. Definitely tomorrow's butter! I put a rubber band on the cream line.😋

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Got Milk?

Well... yes and no...
Let's just say I have a milk cow.
The last couple of days have been quite interesting. It seems Miss Violet has a stubborn streak, about a mile wide!! The first 2 days she has been here have been a battle. Not that she is mean but she is just not going for being milked by hand.She has always been machine milked. I have managed to squirt enough on the ground to keep her from getting mastitis. 
That ladies and gentlemen is about to change tomorrow morning! A stanchion is set to be erected at daylight. Hubby has nabbed a couple of his guys and as soon as it is done I'll be running her hiney in it. Stay tuned ;-)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Violet and Vinca

They are here! The one on the left is Violet. She is milking now. One the right is Vinca and if all goes well she should be calving in September. Violet was exposed to a bull so she may possibly be bred. I will have the vet out to check in a few weeks.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

MORE Mushrooms!

I don't know what going on in the mushroom world these days. It seems about once a month I am stumbling on some amazing mark down deals. Today's find were Maitake and Shiitake once again marked down to almost nothing. The Maitake were a whooping 49 cents and the Shiitake 99. I also found 2 containers of white button marked down. So of course I had to scarf them all up!

I dehydrated the Maitake and Shiitakes and canned the buttons. Another nice little addition to the pantry!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year 2019!

Happy New Year from the homestead! I hope you have a year of love, happiness and of course productivity! :-)

We have a lot of plans in the works for the farm. Hubby already has plans to do some barn remodeling to better accommodate the livestock we have now since all but one horse is gone. I plan to add 6 more herb beds, medicinal and culinary. We are scaling back on the Kune Kune pigs and plan to add a couple of Large Black Hogs. I am also downsizing the Icelandic flock and adding a couple of Suffolk ewes. In doing this I hope to have some lambs that grow out a little quicker (and cheaper) for the freezer. The new orchard did not happen last year so that is also on the to do list.

Fingers crossed it looks like we may have not 1 but 2 farm interns. I am doing a happy dance thinking about all that we can get done. Many hands make light work!

Today, however was not a day to dream. Chores called and the biggest one was cutting up yet another deer. Number 7 went into the freezer. Though it sounds like a lot, we split them 3 ways between the family members who hunt and cut!

I think though the most exciting news of all is.....wait for it......DAIRY COWS are coming back! I have purchased 2 dairy cows. One is in milk now and one is due to calve in September. I hope to pick them up in the next week. Stay tuned!