Saturday, July 27, 2013

More Cheese

My kids were away at Camp Meeting last week. Without two growing boys to help drink it, I had milk coming out my ears. What does one do with extra milk? Make cheese of course!

I traded one of my BFF's a gallon of cow for a gallon of goat just for some variety. Here's a Jersey pepperjack. I added some paprika to this one for pretty. I'm excited to compare it with the goat pepperjack I made last week. It's amazing how beautifully golden the curds are.

For something different, I made some Crottin. I've never had Crottin so wouldn't know if comes out right. I really don't care as long as it's good. says:

Crottin de Chavignol cheese originates from Loire, Chavignol in France. It is produced from raw milk of the alpine goats which can be easily recognized by their brown thick coats.
It is one of those rarest cheeses that can be eaten at various stages of its maturity. It is often eaten clothed in fine herbs when fresh from the cheese vat. At this stage of maturing process, it has a creamy, nutty taste. After about six weeks, while its smell starts getting stronger, its pâté becomes dry and brittle. Moreover, a harder texture with a pronounced flavor starts to develop. Hereafter, the cheese continues to mature and the robust taste increases, but never gets sour. Its rind develops into a rough and hard layer over a period of time.

I only made a 1/2 gal batch because I only have 2 of these molds and I wanted to be sure it's something I like before I make more. I plan to try them in about 2 weeks.

Poor Kris at Outback Farm posted that her hive was infested with wax moths. I just harvested honey about 3 weeks ago and there weren't any moths then but I decided to check. Sure enough, wax moth infestation. I don't hold out much hope for my hive and at this point, don't think I'll try to replace it. This is 3 collapsed hives now. I can buy a whole lot of honey for what I have invested in this.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I love my goats!

Gouda ready to be waxed.

Feta aging.

Pepper Jack going into the press.

Gouda curds ready for first press.

Whey heating for Ricotta.



Even with all the rain, produce is coming in fast and furiously. I am spending time each day preserving things so I don't lose it.

This week it was canning tomatoes, sweet pickle relish, and a gouda. Now that the bucklings are separate and weaned, I'm getting about 2.5 gal milk a day! I am trying to get that processed into some hard cheeses for the winter. Here's a 2 gallon gouda I did the other day. It's almost ready to wax.

I'd considered selling some hard cheeses if they turn out well, but I don't think I could sell them for enough to cover my costs. This gouda took 2 gal of milk. At $10/gallon, that's $20 right there. Then there was the cultures, salt, and approximately 2 hours labor. It weighs 1.75 lbs. I'd really have to sell it for $18/lb to make it worth my time and materials. I'll have to do some more research on what farm fresh cheeses sell for.

Monday, July 15, 2013


That's all I hear today. Baah, bah, baaaaah. I moved the bucklings into their own pen yesterday. I knew it was time (they're 2 1/2 months old now), but that was confirmed when I saw Ike trying to mount his mama.

I would have moved them a week ago, but we went to the Braves game this weekend and I needed those kids on their mamas so I could go since my farm sitter is on a mission trip. Yesterday was the start of twice a day milking. The break was nice, but the extra milk should be nice too. I really need to put up some hard cheeses.

Look how huge Ike is! That's him next to his mama, Phoebe. I'm going to breed him to Scilla before he goes to freezer camp.

In other news, I put up a batch of mead with my entire summer honey harvest. Talk about all your eggs in one basket (or honey in one bucket). It was only a gallon and a half. I got 3 gallons in June last year, but this weather has been so weird.

I found this recipe for Sima, a Finnish lemonade. I'm going to try making some today.

Celebrate the arrival of warmer weather by preparing Finnish Spring Mead, a lightly fermented lemonade. If you drink this sparkling beverage as soon as the raisins float, it's fine to serve to the kids as well! But be warned—Sima transforms from being slightly bubbly to being slightly intoxicating the longer that it ferments.


  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 large lemons
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar plus sugar for bottles
  • 1/4 tsp. yeast
  • 25 raisins


Bring the water to a steady boil. In the meantime, use a lemon zester or a potato peeler to remove the outer yellow rind of the lemons in strips, placing these in a large glass or plastic (non-metal and heat-proof) container. Peel or trim off the bitter inner white rind of the lemons and discard. Slice the lemons and place in container with the zest, adding brown and white sugar. Once the water boils, pour it into the container with the lemons and sugar. Let cool to lukewarm, then stir in yeast. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours (and up to 48 hours), or until surface begins to bubble slightly. Strain the liquid into clean glass bottles, quart jars, or plastic containers. Add 5-6 raisins and 1 tsp. sugar to each bottle. Seal tightly and refrigerate for 2-5 days, or until the raisins float at the top of the bottles.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Tomatoes are a Bust

I had such high hopes for my tomato crop this year. I'd raised most of the plants from seed. I expanded the garden so I could fit even more plants. I bought cattle panels to tie them up. Then came the rain.

The crop is a near total loss.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Butchering Bucklings

I found this interesting post on butchering bucklings.

I went to the processor's this week to see how much they wanted to butcher my 3 boys since I've had no interest on Craigslist. They said $40 each but would cut a deal if I have them do all three. I will keep them at least a few more months to breed Ike to Scilla and Abe to Phoebe before sending them off.

Some places I read said they're tasty any time before they're a year old but I am interested in feed conversion too. I'd like to get them to about 60 lb. I figure that may be about 30lb bone-in weight and I'm good with $2 a pound.

Does anybody have any experience sending their dairy goats for processing?

I sold my mini-mancha Fawn this week. I was really hoping to sell April, but I can't blame her for falling for Fawn. I've fallen for Fawn. Bogo will be going with Fawn as a companion. With freezer camp plans for the Alpine boys, Fawn's sister April is the only kid I have left to sell.

Onyx with her babies, Fawn and "Mini Me" April.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Day With No Rain

It finally stopped raining long enough yesterday to get some things done around here. I got the barn mucked out (again), the garden picked, the honey harvested, and made some pickle relish.

The tomatoes are going to be a bust this year. The plants are so diseased from all this wet weather and the fruits are split and a bit watery from too much rain and not enough sun. I put in 4 roma plants, since those are the ones I most like to can, and I was sold imposters. I am so mad. Romas are determinate plants. What I got are indeterminate plants that are growing oblong shaped fruit like a large cherry tomato. They are not large enough to can and the plants are most diseased than any of my other plants. I hope I can find some romas this week.

I was able to check on the bees on Saturday. I was so worried after finding all those dead baby bees. It looks like they swarmed but they appear to have raised a new queen. I knew they were getting tight on brood space, but I'd been holding off on splitting or adding a brood box until they filled up this honey super! The weather didn't cooperate. They couldn't get out to forage to make more honey, but continued to outgrow their digs. So I now have half the bees, but at least they're alive. I only harvested about 1.5-2 gal honey. Not nearly what I'd hoped for, but I didn't want to lose it.

After all the hard work yesterday, I opened a bottle of mead I made last summer. It was excellent! I am excited to make a larger batch but am hesitant to use all my honey.

This is the recipe for 1 gallon. It may sound like mysterious stuff, but it's all available at your local brew store.

  • 2.5 lb honey
  • 7 pts water
  • 4 tsp acid blend
  • 1/4 tsp tannin
  • 3/4 tsp yeast energizer
  • 1 campden crushed
  • 1 pkg wine yeast (I use champagne)
In primary fermentor, dissolve honey in 1/2 gal warm water and add tannin. Add all other ingredients except yeast.  Cover. After 24 hours, add yeast and attach air lock. Stir daily and check specific gravity (SG). When SG reaches 1.030 (5-6 days) rack into secondary fermentor and attach airlock. When fermentation is complete (SG has dropped to 1.000- about 3 weeks), rack to clean secondary and reattach airlock. To air clarifying, rack off sediment in about 2 months. Bottle when clear and allow to age in bottle 6-12 months before drinking.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

No More Meaties

This batch of Cornish X will be the only ones I do this year. I just can't take any more of all this work in the rain. The flies are out of control. The feed is molding in the bags in the loft because of how wet the air is. That means I can't buy more feed in bulk. Which means I won't make any money on the birds.

I have 48 chickens right now. I think I'll keep 12 for my family and my butcher helpers will probably want several. I'll probably have only 25-30 birds to sell.

I may change my mind if the weather turns around and I sell these goat kids. But for now, I am going to have to free up some time especially with school starting up in August and one of my boys wants to play fall baseball. I can't even fathom how much time that is going to take.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Still Raining.....

It's rained every day this week and we have a 60% chance of rain today. I got caught in a downpour last night when I was locking the animals up. I am truly at my wits end.

While I was harvesting blueberries (in the rain) yesterday, noticed that there are dead baby bees in front of my hive. I'm concerned that something may be really wrong with them, but of course, I can't check in the rain!!!

All of my tomatoes split and the plants are getting very diseased.

I made soap last week, which was fun. Some of it got a little darker than I'd like, but it's still pretty. I've been meaning to put up another batch, but I've been too busy caring for all these animals in the rain.

I still haven't had any interest in my bucklings. I guess I'll have to take them to the sale. I have no experience with that, so it's a little nerve wracking. I really just want them out of here. I told hubby that I was going to wether them and see how much our local processor wants to butcher them. I hope not too much, because they won't be very meaty, but I'd rather send them to freezer camp than haul them to the sale.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Why I'm Boycotting The 4th of July

Or I should say Independence Day? When did we change the name away from what the holiday really stands for anyway? It's not to shorten it, both have 5 syllables. It must be one of those insidious changes we've just looked over.

But I digress. Independence Day used to be my favorite holiday. I love America. I was proud to be an American. Proud to live in The Land of the Free, the greatest country in the world. I loved the fireworks, the patriotic music, the parades and cherry pie.

The pomp and circumstance is great, but the real reason we celebrate is that on July 4, 1776 our Founding Fathers declared their freedom, their right to live as free men under the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God ". The country that I see today is not the country our Founders envisioned and fought so bravely for. We are celebrating something that no longer exists.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

The government is no longer deriving its power from the consent of the governed. In fact, the Executive Branch is just making policy unilaterally. Congress is all but powerless except for being a tool used by the Executive Branch to get its way (Can you say Obamacare and Amnesty?) and the checks and balances of Supreme Court seem to have been compromised.

Our Founders put together a Constitution to limit the size of the government and guarantee certain freedoms to the citizens, but our President believes that The Constitution is a document of "negative liberties" and we should "break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers". And now our rights are being trampled on each and every day.

Freedom of religion?

Freedom of speech?

Freedom of the press?

The right to keep and bear arms?

Can you find ammunition? Here's why-

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated....
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Seriously, I could go on and on but this has already taken an hour out of my morning and I'm sure this post will move my name up on a list somewhere. Mother Nature seems to be boycotting Independence Day too and I need to go brave the mud. This afternoon I'll make pastry for the cherry pie that I'll bake- tomorrow.