Saturday, July 14, 2007

One of those really good days

Today was one of those days that started with no particular purpose. I knew Lonnie wanted to do some canning, and there were a couple of small projects looming.
Breakfast was French Toast with homemade peach spread that Lonnie made while I was back in Texas. He used a combination of fresh and frozen peaches. The frozen peaches were Georgia peaches that we had put up last summer. He added no sugar to the mixture as he cooked it down, just a few spices. It was absolutely fantastic. Creamy, mildly sweet, and intensely peach flavored.
I milked the goat, did some laundry, stirred up a batch of sourdough starter, tidied my room and the living room, and headed outside to spray Round Up on the fence lines and around the trees to make mowing easier. Kathleen washed jars for the canning project, vacuumed the house, and dusted. Lonnie mowed and weed-eated the goat pasture. Goats are not much for grazing, and the grass gets tall if you don't keep it mowed. We need a miniature horse or donkey to eat the vegetation that the goats ignore.
The goat milk had been accumulating, so I started a gallon batch of cheese. It's a rather extended project, requiring slow heating of the milk, innoculation with the culture, addition of the rennet to make the curds, then stirring and heating and draining and salting and pressing. This part of the process takes several hours, and then the cheese curds are placed in the press under certain amounts of weight for varying times. I find the process very interesting and challenging.
Lunch was leftovers. Pork roast, roasted onions, veggie goulash that I had made the other day with home grown veggies and basil from the herb garden.
After lunch, I got the cheese into the press, and Lonnie got the kitchen set up for jelly production. We made cherry jelly, mixed fruit jelly (blackberry, strawberry, gooseberry, peach), and one batch of mixed fruit with jalepeno jelly. The flavor is exquisite!
Supper is going to be homemade from-scratch pepperoni and Italian sausage pizza.

Monday, July 02, 2007

My homemade cheese press

I used the directions from Fiasco Farm to make a cheese press today.

I had a piece of leftover kitchen counter top from when we built our house in 1979, cut it in half, rounded the edges, drilled the holes, cut the dowels, and put the 'feet' on. I made the mold from PVC pipe. I drilled holes in the PVC at the bottom edge and at 2 " intervals up the sides. For the follower, I am using a PVC fitting that was a hair too big to go in the pipe/mold by using my belt sander to sand down the edge 1/8 of an inch so that it fits inside. I cut a circle of plexiglass to put under the follower to make a smooth top on the cheese.

I will have to come up with a spacer to put between the follower and the top board, and I'll have to find my son's old free weights for pressure.

The only things I bought were the pipe, fitting, dowels, screws, and washers. All together less than $10.