Monday, 23 December 2013
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Our goats are still producing milk. It's about 1 litre a day and this small but regular supply means that our fridge and freezer rapidly fills up with milk. The answer to all these problems is goats cheese. 5l of milk roughly produces 500g of dairy goodness. The process involves pasteurising milk and then adding rennet with magic ingredients to the room temperature milk. The next day, there is a pan of separated curds and whey which looks like a massive blancmange. This is seperated by a cheesecloth and then the curds can be pressed to make cheese.
We've nailed the process down and seem to be able to make three or four varieties .Hard cheese can be made by the addition of calcium chloride whilst the omission of this leads to a smooth cream cheese. We have made a white camembert-esq cheese and a blue cheese by adding a small remnant of cheese source (usually bought from Tescos) to the cool milk and allow mould to grow on the final cheese. We've also made a Goaty mozzarella by heat treating and hand pressing the curds.
All the cheese taste great and slightly goaty - they all improve by waiting a week or two in the fridge, if they can last that long!
Monday, 28 October 2013
I've finally managed to find a way to automagically download The COFE daily prayers and make them appear on my kindle. A combination of wget (to download), perl (to tweak the HTML) and calibre to convert the html and then upload to my e-book library means that I can read without the temptations and distractions of the internet morning and evening prayers whilst watching the dogs run around in the garden.
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Our flock of birds have finally come good. We are averaging about 3 eggs a day. They range from a mini to goliath size. The cockerels are fattening up nicely and a couple have made it to the pot. They are very tasty and come with a big layer of fat inside. The remaining cockerels routinely have singing competitions at early hours of the morning just to let us know that they are awake. The chickens keep the goats on their toes as well by stealing little bits of food away from them when they are not looking or are not nimble enough to get to them. We do have one odd aggressive chicken which does like to peck Andy on the head and feet when he approaches her. The eggs are a lovely addition to our growing organic farm food which this year has been remarkably successful due to Andy's hard work and amazingly good weather for it.
It is a pretty wonderful feeling just wandering out into the garden and either picking your own food, selecting eggs, milking or eyeing up the next meat meal feast :)
Sunday, 18 August 2013
I've just returned to the online world after spending a week teaching english at a camp. Samm has done an awesome job looking after the farm and our friends have been an amazing support of energy, food, love and company to her throughout the week. Returning to the internet, I'm surprised to see that the world hasn't fallen apart, the ice-caps haven't melted, etc and the world has only incrementally changed. Thankfully, nothing major happened (ala Russia 1991) but it has caused me to re-evaluate my priorities.
I'm not going to be checking out of the internet but certainly trying to improve the quality not quantity of time spent online
One of the Joys of being away was reading using my 1st generation kindle which samm lovingly gave me one Christmas. The beauty of the device is that it is just an e-ink reader (it can read books out too which is great as I get travel sick if i try to read) but has no other major feature. This means I'm not distracted by other things and I can focus in on the details. The only downside to kindling is that I remember written works by layout and relative position of important text within a paragraph in a book. Depending upon how I move around in the document, the kindle unhelpfully reformats and changes the layout for me. This slight disadvantage is overcome by the ability to make and remove notes so If i jot something down in the book, I'm not remind of my stupid thoughts for the duration of the book's life.
I'm now trying to convert long web articles onto my kindle. The process isn't tricky just a few steps. First, i save the web page, then opening it in Sigil and resave at as an epub file. this is then covert to mobi within calibre which can be automagically sent to the kindle. This enables me to enjoy, read and return to short Web-essay with out the need to check my facebook status every other second.
Tuesday, 6 August 2013
Very exciting day today as I've harvested, by hand, our first oats. The photo doesn't look very impressive but the wheelbarrow is full of organic oats on their stalks. The oat seed were from taken from the Rabbit feed and were then planted in an unused piece of rotovated land just to see what will happen. The biblical sowing technique worked but it made harvesting very hard as the random pattern combined with weeds meant that it was easier to uproot the whole crop then attempting to swing a scythe or sickle.
I'm not going to thresh the harvest but feed everything to the rabbits who will have a field day munching through this. Overall, this has been a success and I will be dedicating more land to growing traditional farm food including alfalfa, sunflowers, oats to help lower our animal feeding costs. In order to realise this, I'm probably going to have to invest in a small seed drill to ensure straight lines of dense crops which will reduce weeds and hopefully improve yield.
Monday, 1 July 2013
Following on from my tweet today about mediation (here), I been thinking about defeat and bouncing back from this post. I'm not sure how I am coping with failures, how I (if I) pick myself up after another problem, set back or defeat. Maybe I'm too much of a scientist and not enough farmer, too analytical and not enough "next season will be better".
Today as I was preparing to repair my internal fence for containing Goats. My friend pointed out that the potatoes which I thought I have killed in spectacular style, with lack of water would actually produce new potatoes. Armed with a garden fork and shovel, We dug up our first potato harvest which were 100% organic free-range spuds. They were really tasty boiled as part of our lunch.
This was definitely a seizing a victory from the jaws of defeat