Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Ruben

Its been about a week since Ruben left us after living with us for about a month. Ruben was in need of a place to stay in Hungary as his tourist visa has run out and he was still in the process of applying for a humanitarian pass. He was a friend of a friend of a friend of OACi.

Overall, he was a great motivation for us, he helped us build an extended electric fence area for the dogs and helped clear up our garden. He also house sat for us whilst we were on holiday and provided a memorable quote re goats.

"I let them out for a walk and Wonky sat down and started to give birth, so I called Laurie and said Help, this isn't in my skill set"

He also was fun, positive and a joy to be around. He suffered at the hands of Romanian paperwork but it never got him down and he saw the good in all situations. 






Monday, 11 August 2014

Giant haystacks

Hold your horses ITV wrestling fans. This isn't a post about Martin Raune  but a post about our latest buck breeding rabbit called Giant Haystacks. He is a MASSIVE dutch rabbit and in this photo fills Kimberley's lap. Hopefully, his descendants will share this attribute

Saturday, 9 August 2014

One step forward...

Today has gone differently from planned. The tree cutter didn't turn up and Andy was supposed to be fitting some shelves into the utility room. However, whilst putting up the shelves, Andy managed to put his foot through the floor. The washing machine is leaking and it now seems that our flooring is directly laid on the ground. The increase in moisture has lead to the floor moving.

Shelf installing cancelled and Monday will be spent laying a concrete floor

Bio Mowers

Loads is happening at the farm so there will be lots of posts in the next few days. The last addition to the farm is a pair of bio mowers aka sheep. We've bought a pair of  unrelated Black Racka Sheep (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racka) who hopefully will breed this autumn. Their immediate job is to eat all the wild grass and hopefully we will be adding 3 more lady sheep in September to the flock. We are planning to keep about 5 sheep and have the rest for meat.
The sheep are called She-epy and He-epy :)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Balastya Brie

The Balastya Brie
This is one of the early batches of white cheese which I've made from our pasterised goats milk.
It has an authentic smell and colouring. The texture is quite strong and not very runny whilst the taste is definitely not standard goats cheese but has very mild french-esq taste.

These difference have occurred as the cheese slowly matured in the fridge for a few weeks before allowed to stand at room temperature.

The cheese is about a 6/10 and most of it will be used as a cheese starter for a second generation brie.  

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Change m'dear and not a moment too soon

The title is inspired by the first words of the (underrated) 6th doctor and this summer has been a period of reflection for us both and one thing which has cropped up is how we use our farm. For the last few years, we've tried to be self-sufficient and that has included trying to grow lots of crops. Our first year was very successful but this year hasn't really worked as well as we hoped, so we've decided to scale back the vegetable patch and focus our efforts into animal rearing and fruit trees.
The main reasons for this are 
  1. Time: Animal feeding takes about 1 hour a day, everyday with cleaning/maintenance a extra 2/3 per week. Working the land requires periods of hard long work. This small regular time commitment fits in better with Andy's other responsibilities which are mainly located in Szeged.
  2. Resources: We've had problems efficiently watering our plot and to maximise our yields would require major investments
  3. Energy/Motivation: We are currently more motivated to make fruit and dairy based products to eat than to spend hours hacking bindweed out from between potatoes.
  4. Cost: The killer is that we can go Szeged's Mars Ter market and find big good-quality vegetables which are extremely cheap. Home-grown is supposed to the best but is does not make financial sense to work hard and long hours to produce expensive, bad food. Meat, on the other hand, is expensive and having Goats/rabbits/chickens and their by-products to eat does make sense.
So next year, we are going to simplify the veg patch, potatoes, peas and grains (probably oats) and make a small kitchen garden for growing a few tomatoes, peppers and herbs. We'll see how this goes :)

Here is the moment :)

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Goat update and Burnt Milk/Cheese

We have swapped Brownie boy goat (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RS44IHI8lY and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmDtwOkEs6s) for a white baby buck from Mako which we've named Jimmy white (left on the photo below). He is completely unrelated to any of our goats  so breeding in the autumn this year should be fine and should happen naturally. He also is quite full of life and love and is very hard to distinguish (from a distance) from Snowdrop
Jimmy White (left) and Snowdrop(right) with old and new (white) chickens 
One of the side products of this swap is that Goaty is producing lots of milk (~2 L/day) and so with careful management, we are starting to make cheese again in 10 L batches. However, disaster struck during the pasteurisation of our milk - Our 10 L enamel pan has started to burn milk! There is a scratch/fault on the bottom of the pan and this has resulted in the current batch of curds being tainted with a nasty burnt taste. The Dogs will be come mid-class for a while and dine on Goats cheese and Mixed dog food whilst the big pan will be relegated to water-heating duty and large pasta/potato and rice cooking.

The solution will be a nice 15L Stainless steel pan which can be mercilessly scrubbed without affecting any subsequent heat treatments