Friday, August 30, 2013

Bye Bye Bogo :(

I went out to feed the boys this morning and Bogo didn't show up for his grain. I searched their enclosure and found him dead. I'm so confused. He was fine yesterday. I'd wormed him in the last couple weeks. His eyelids were pink. He didn't have diarrhea. He was eating well. You can see his little butt chowing down with the other boys in the nettles picture on yesterday's post. He's been growing. And there he lay- dead.

The bucklings decided yesterday that they do, in fact, eat nettles and cleaned up the whole stand of them. Everyone else is fine and I didn't see any sign of trauma, so I can't imagine that did him in. Hubby thinks it was a snake bite.

So weird. So sad.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hay, Hay, Hay

Dear hubby spent Monday afternoon and evening baling hay with Mr. Harry. He looked like he'd lost 10 pounds when he finally got home at 9:30. He brought home 45 bales of hay which we had to get stacked in the loft. He can go pick up more on Saturday.

God works in mysterious ways. About the time he was pulling down the drive, our next door neighbors called to see if we had an extension ladder- their cat was stuck in a tree. I thought that kind of thing only happened in children's stories. With our ladder, they were able to get the cat out of the tree then helped us get the end of the hay into the loft.

The other Chinese gander has attacked me for the last time. I taught him a lesson this weekend.

I didn't have it in me to pluck him, so I skinned and quartered him. I made an easy crockpot meal of goose with gravy for dinner Tuesday night. We'd named the geese Thanksgiving, Christmas, Random, and Tuesday because some random Tuesday that's not Thanksgiving or Christmas we may want to eat a goose. I guess this guy was "Tuesday".

Check out his wishbone, isn't that odd looking?

I'm still making cheese like crazy. I put up another Gouda yesterday. I bought a 5 gallon pot and some more molds so I can make more at a time. Now that I've got the hang of it, these small batches are just taking too much time. I'll also be able to use the pot for scalding bigger birds like the geese and (I hope they fit) the turkeys.

This seller on eBay is really great for cheese supplies. I ordered a package of about 15 different molds. Some I can use, some I have no use for right now, but it was less expensive than buying the 4 or 5 molds I needed. I may try to sell the ones I won't use to recoup some of the cost. Or I may just keep them and find a use for them. :)

I also bought another cheese book. I have gotten to the point where I can change the recipes up a bit and I'm always looking for new things to try. The author owns a goat dairy and gives goat milk options on many of the recipes. It is also more advanced than my other books- giving information on developing your own recipes, adjusting recipes etc. I can't wait for it to arrive!

My silly goaties were taking dust baths like the chickens yesterday. I wish I could have gotten better pictures but they wanted to get up and visit when I got close. I finally got a message from Fawn and April's buyer. She's still out of state and asked me to give her a bill for their boarding too. I'm just glad she still wants them. I was beginning to worry about having to keep her deposit and find another buyer for the goats. I think at this point, if the deal fell through, I'd keep them, breed them, and sell them in  the spring "in milk".

Speaking of breeding, Ike is the only boy showing much interest. These other boys need to buck up! Kat went into heat last week. All of the girls have been acting a little crazy lately.

And just for you, Kris, my undesired crop of stinging nettles. The bucklings won't even eat them. I need to get hubby in there with a weed eater before they go to seed.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More Cheese

Time to bore you with more cheese. Besides homeschooling and regular farm chores, cheesemaking is about all I've been doing.

Here's a platter I brought to a friend in exchange for some of her Jersey cow milk.

Greek yogurt- Self explanatory.
Chevre- Super easy and one I like to keep around mainly for cooking. It's delicious with honey, jam, or herbs.
Crottin- I've featured this one before and it's still one of my favorites. It's a little pungent with a creamy paste and nicely goaty flavor.
Valencay- The process for this cheese is very much like the crottin, but the result is quite different. The coating of vegetable ash lends it a sweeter, milder flavor and some mushroom flavors.

Gouda- I am thrilled to have finally had success with a pressed cheese! This gouda is young so it is still very mild. It had a nice elastic curd and a salty finish. I can't wait to make some grilled cheese sandwiches.

From the fresh Jersey milk, I am making Reblochon. It ages about 6 weeks. It's supposed to have a thin orange rind and an oozy paste.

Also in the works, is a Taleggio made from goat milk. It is traditionally made from cow milk so this could be very interesting or even disastrous.  And a Lemon Spirited Goat- it is a lightly pressed cheese with a rind washed in bacterial linens and lemon-infused vodka. I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cheese Cave

Check out my new cheese cave! I'd been using a tiny dorm fridge to age my cheeses. Unfortunately, I've been making so much cheese that the "tiny" part was really becoming a problem. That and the fact that when I keep the fridge at 55 degrees, the freezer part melts and drips water into the bottom of the fridge. Talk about humidity!

I began to think that a wine cooler was the way to go. Perfect temperature. Higher humidity than a conventional fridge. But there was that pesky issue of the cupped shaped shelves for wine bottles. I began to search Craigslist and look what I found!

This one has flat wooden shelves that pull out, 2 temperature zones, and the price was right- I have boots that cost more. My sweet husband drove an hour and a half out of his way Friday night to pick it up. I couldn't be more thrilled with it. Now I just need to find the time to make more cheese.

I have 4 crottin draining on the counter and a pot of chevre on the stove but I really need some practice on the hard cheeses. Mine are coming out too crumbly still. I have reduced temperatures and pressing pressure, but they are still too crumbly. I suspect they are developing too much acid. I need to reduce culture and ripening times.

I got Fawn, April, and Abraham's registration papers filled out on Sunday. We had rain all weekend so it was a good time to get this done. The Miniature Dairy Goat Association required so much information to register these girls, it's insane! The 6 generation pedigree of sire and dam has me stumped. I printed off the 4 gen pedigree from the ADGA site for Onyx, but Buddy is registered with the American Goat Society. They don't have online pedigrees. The 3 generation on his registration itself is going to have to suffice. I hope. Please suffice.

They really are pretty little girls. I need their buyer to come get them. I talked to her last week and they should be back in town, but I understand how hard it is to put up fencing in the driving rain. Hubby spent Sunday afternoon in the rain replacing the fence in the barn with cattle panels so Miss Fawn can't escape. She spent last week exploring the "people side" of the barn and my front yard.

The deer are still up to their destructive ways. This weekend, it was the watermelon vines. Watermelon was one of the only successful crop I had this summer. It's time to get fall seedlings started, but I need a good dose of motivation. The wet weather has really zapped me this summer.

I finally decided to get a couple pigs. I have some molded feed in the barn and more whey then I know what to do with. It seems like a waste to throw it all out. Of course, when I decide to finally get pigs, there aren't any pigs to be got. Hubby does business with the manager of a rather large farm/ hunting plantation nearby. I asked the farm manager about pigs and he found some Yorkshires for me. The kicker is, he'd like me to raise 2 for them too. He will help with feed and trade grass-fed beef that he is raising. How can I say no to that?

So 2 pigs became 4 pigs. Let me tell you a secret- I'm kinda scared of pigs. And cows. So this will be way outside my comfort zone. Pray for me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gotta Go


Don't be fooled by her pretty face, Fawn is trouble through and through. She is just too smart for her own good. She and her twin, April, are sold, but I've been boarding them as her new mama got fencing in place and then had to go out of town for a little while.

In the meantime, Fawn has learned to break into the chicken coop and out of the fence. Daily, I find her browsing landscaping or chicken feed. I have reduced the size of the chicken door, but she still squeezes in. Any smaller and the rooster won't be able to fit. I've repaired the stretched holes in the fence with extra wire, but she still manages to push through.

Additionally, I don't get milk from their mama, Onyx, in the evening even though I have to put her on the stand to maintain Caprine pecking order and her weight. She needs these girls weaned so she can put some weight on for breeding, but I don't have another pen in which to put the doelings. I'm about to just keep the little girls in a stall 24/7 until they move.

The Turkeys

I'm tired of all meat birds. The turkeys are big. They need to go. It's not Thanksgiving yet and I don't care. I'll give them until September then it's freezer camp for them.

The Geese

See comments above about meat birds. I butchered one of the male Chinese who kept attacking me. Now the other male Chinese has taken over that duty. I have to hold the dang thing by the neck to do my chores out there. And they're so loud!!! The one I butchered only weighed 5.5lb so I was hoping to get them a little bigger before killing the others, but I can't take them any longer. I just need to find the time to do the deed.


This used to be a patch of sweet potatoes. We have a family of deer who have decided to take up residence here, presumably because Asher unwittingly protects them. They make him crazy and I hear him barking at them several times a day. I guess the deer are as happy as the goats that Asher keeps predators away. Thank God it's almost hunting season. I may have to get a license and take a few of these out myself.

The Worms that are Eating My Peppers

Enough said.

My LG French Door Refrigerator

I hate this thing. I hate that there's no space for tall items. I hate that the ice maker (that has already broken once) does not make enough ice for a family of four. I hate that it condenses moisture in the ice dispenser and gaskets. I hate that LG's solution for that was to turn off the Energy Saver feature. I hate that their solution didn't work.

Have a great day, y'all. I'm going to work on getting these things GONE!

Monday, August 12, 2013


I'm back, I'm back.

The fleas are about licked. I'm still picking a couple a day off the cats, but my ankles aren't being chewed anymore. I still need to vacuum every other day- it's been 3 days since I've vacuumed. Fail.

Unhappy kitty after a flea bath.

Weekend before last, we had a butcher day. 49 Cornish X met their demise.

I packaged some of these as cut-ups for my family. It's so nice to be able to go to the freezer and grab a pack of breasts or leg quarters.

I have still been on my cheese making journey. The crottin turned out so good!

A beautiful bloomy rind.

Lovely smooth textured paste with a delicious goaty flavor.

I also made chevre wrapped in bourbon-soaked fig leaves. It's about time to try one of these. I'll let you know how it is.

Today's project is a Valençay. I am going to have to sell some of these. There's no way I can eat it all!

Homeschool started last week. It's going really well. I'm happy with the new curriculum choices I made- Saxon for math and Sonlight for English. It's been easy to organize and we are rocking and rolling through it.

Better go, it's after 10 and I haven't milked. Poor goats. I do have some extra milk this week if anyone is interested.

Friday, August 2, 2013


I have been (and will continue to be) MIA for a while. Last week, I discovered fleas on my indoor cats who are treated with Frontline Plus. These fleas have managed to spread all over the house. I put flea powder and borax in all the rugs, changed the cats to Advantage II, gave them flea dips, and vacuumed daily. There were still fleas so I called the exterminator. I hate having chemicals in my environment, but I can't take this anymore.

I had to be out of the house for 8 hours on Wednesday. The cats got locked in the kids' treehouse. Now I have to vacuum daily for 7 days and every other day for two weeks thereafter. All this vacuuming takes about 2 hours a day!

To top it off, my milk pumps broke. Yes, plural- pumps. So much for a backup. My hands are really hurting from handmilking and all this vacuuming and I have 49 chickens to butcher tomorrow. Replacement parts should be here Monday.

I'll be back when things settle down around here.