Early Spring Sunrise Snow on the Silo

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Busy! Busy! Busy!

The three goats all went together to a new home! It is so nice to be able to milk without the LaMancha doe constantly pulling the stall door open to grab some grain. I'm really happy to be back to my all registered Oberhasli herd too, though I think I might need another doe or two.I have baby chicks, ducklings and guinea keets everywhere! In the dining room, the bathroom, on the porch and in the barn. Really, EVERYWHERE!
While the calendar and thermometer still say summer, it's time to get into the fall phase of gardening. I've got about 5 weeks until my average first frost. Things really get busy this time of year. For the most part, tomatoes set after the first of September won't have time to ripen so now is the time to prune new growth. This will help the green fruit to ripen as well. The same rings true for winter squash.

While there is still time for lettuce and spinach, all the other fall crops should be planted by now. It is also time to put in green manure cover crops and get garlic into the ground for next years harvest. Horseradish can be harvested and replanted. Be sure to grate and prepare the root in a well ventilated area, the fumes can be very strong!
Lots and lots of canning and preserving happening too! I have pretty much run out of shelf space and the counters are filling up fast.
I thawed out about 20 pounds of frozen venison and canned it up. So glad to have all that out of the freezer! Today I will can some tomatoes and the last of the green beans.
Boogie likes to help with the canning, but it wears him out. I guess I work him too hard! Wish I could sleep that well. I've promised him a camp out in the yard with a fire and s'mores, guess we will have to get on that soon since summer is quickly coming to and end, but I think we will wait until after the rain stops.
Enjoy your Labor Day weekend.

Boating and Fishing - Yay! Awesome!

Some of my posts really mean little to anyone who isn't an close friend or family member, and this is one of them. Lots of pictures of a handsome little boy learning to do new things and having lots of fun! On our most recent visit to Grandpas, Boogie got to go on his first boat ride, watched Grandpa catch a fish and then tried a little fishing of his own.
The northern was teeny tiny, but Boogie still thought it was pretty cool.
First he tried real fishing, which can be a little slow for someone who is 2 1/2.
Then some toy
fishing.A new Thomas toy, thanks Grandpa!
But he still loves to play with all the ol
d toys at the cabin.
Drip, loving all the attention.
A little rough-housing with Grandpa!

Helping out with some chores
A walk in the afternoon
I'm hoping we can get over for one or two more visits before Grandpa heads south for the winter. Walworth County Fair starts next week, that would be lots of fun!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fresh Goat Milk Mozzarella

I took the time the other day to cook up a batch of mozzarella cheese from some of my goats milk. While I have made all sorts of cheese in the past, a friend organized a coop for a Mozzarella/Ricotta kit from New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. at a price I couldn't resist and it included a a simple mozzarella recipe I had to try. I had taken a two day seminar from Ricki of NECS a few years back at the University of Wisconsin and knew that have very high quality supplies.First I mixed citric acid (from the kit)into a gallon of milk and heated it to 90 degrees using the supplied thermometer. Then I added dissolved rennet (also in the kit) and let the milk sit to form a curd. You can see see the custard like cheese has separated from the watery whey. I then cut the whey with a large knife into 1" chunks and then heat them to 110 degrees while gently stirring. Viola', curds and whey!
After draining the whey I was left with a relatively small amount of curd, which is normal in cheese making. The whey can be used in cooking and baking and animals love it!
The trick with this method is you can use the microwave to heat the curd for stretching. After removing as much whey as possible, I heated the curd in the microwave for one minute, i again drained the whey and added 1 tsp of salt and folded the whey into a chunk.

I heated the curd again for about 30 seconds, I'm aiming for a temperature of about 135 degrees to start stretching and forming the cheese. You can pull the whey into string cheese, form it into a ball, little mouthfuls or a braid and then place it in ice water to set and hold its shape.
Here I've made a classic Caprese salad with Brandywine tomatoes and basil from the garden.
Melted on spaghetti, our favorite with garlic bread!
This cheese can be made with store bought milk and I'm sure you have the utensils necessary in your kitchen, so give cheese making a try. It's very fun and rewarding! What a great way to get picky children to eat dairy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Doelings (and a buck) that need to go!

I think it is time for a couple of the girls, and one of the boys, to go. I don't need that many to milk and I really would like to have an all registered Oberhasli herd.
Both of these girls are about 7 months old and come from a friends dairy herd. They were bottle raised on pasteurized milk and are very friendly. They have been dis-budded, vaccinated and wormed. The girls have been running with an older registered Oberhasli buck, so it is possible that they are bred.
Alpine type doeling
LaMancha type doeling

I also have an 8 month old registered Oberhasli buckling I would like to sell.

Registered Oberhasli buckling
I'd like to get $75 each for the does, or $125 for the pair of them. I'm asking $150 for the buck, but I am open to trades too.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Great Squash Invasion

Apparently this is a good year for winter squash, at least in my garden, despite some squash vine borer damage. The vines are sprawling every where and they are loaded with fruit. There are already ripe pumpkins, Delicata and Australian butter squash. Lots of spaghetti squash, acorn, butternut and and buttercup ready soon.
Sugar Pie Pumpkin
Australian Butter Squash

Ivory AcornSpaghetti Squash
I've been very happy to see bees out pollinating in the mornings when it has been a bit cooler, but not nearly as many as I have in the past. I think I will have to learn beekeeping and get hives in the future, it sounds really fascinating!
In addition I've had a few volunteer vine pop up in the yard! There were some 'Blue Moon' pumpkins left out over the winter, but I have yet to see a fruit on these vines. They grew in the shade and are producing only male flowers that I can see. One is right outside the kitchen door!The zucchini and yellow summer squash are still producing well due in part to the late second planting I tried this year to help thwart the heat and bugs.
Today I'm going to put up some bread and butter pickles and try to can a batch of wax beans. The rain yesterday brought some respite from the steam room heat and humidity, but the bugs seem to be getting worse day after day. A batch of guineas are in the process of hatching (seven live keets so far). If the rain can stay away, I'm hoping to get caught up on at least some weeding, the potatoes will have to wait for another day when the ground is not so wet.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Things that go boom in the night

Well, today started at about 1 am when a front and thunderstorm blew through. After sprinting up and down stairs to close windows against the deluge and turn the brooder light on the new ducklings to keep them warm, I was able to get back to sleep. The power stayed on for which I am thankful as the large incubator is full and there are about a dozen newly hatched chicks in the brooder.
This morning found another section of one of the large, old trees around the house down in the driveway in between the buildings, but right on the back of the stock car.
You can see how lucky we were, the shed is to the right, the house in the background and the chicken coop is in the foreground to the left. The damage to the fencing does not not appear to be too severe. Yes, that is the cat perched in the middle of the mess.

Some dead limbs fell elsewhere, like this branch that went through the particle board cover on one of the rabbit pens.
Over all a total of nearly 2" of rain, along with winds of up to 60mph made for a fun night. Most of the tomato towers had toppled and needed to be re-staked this morning. The weather is predicted to be hot and muggy all week long, so I think any canning will be done outside.
The old air conditioner decided not to work after all these years. I generally only need to run it a few days every year and this year, while it cools, the fan refuses to work. I've searched all the stores in the area and the only thing available are the very expensive models, so I guess I'll just tough it out unless I find something on Craigslist.

Today I need to finish sexing the last two litters of bunnies and separate them into buck and doe pens
. I also need to launder a ton of diapers, I really wish Boogie would get more interested in using the potty so I can eliminate that chore! Hopefully, that will happen soon. I'm off, the sooner I get started, the sooner I'll be finished!