Before I begin, there is something I feel compelled to share.
Not to make a big deal out of it, but just to put it out there and get on with it.
We'll call it the "whine" to go with that cheese.
I haven't been writing much. Because this summer (like last) I'm on antibiotics for Lyme disease. Yes, a new round, a new infection.
When I have Lyme I've found it's pretty tough for me to write, type, and spell. So pardon my (even more prolific than usual) typos. Thanks.
So things have been quiet over here. I have lots of things I'd love to share but instead I'm focusing on family, farm, and health. Now you know.
I'm slowly working on some other projects and I'm writing here when I'm inspired and have the energy to do so. When I'm not or when I don't things will stay quiet.
Instead of writing I'm cleaning wool. Sewing quilts. Ignoring my garden.
Thank you for understanding and for being all-around the most lovely readers on the interwebs.
And with that, let's get back to our regularly-scheduled programming. You know. Cheese. (Something I probably shouldn't even be eating since I have Lyme, but to hell with it. I'm eating it. Because I live here and I have a cow. That's just how we're gonna roll.)
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Two weeks ago we weaned the calf.
Our more experienced farmer friends told us it was time for the calf to be moved to his own pasture. At three months old he was pretty rough on his mama, and she needed to reserve some of her energy for fattening up for winter.
After we figured out it was time to wean, we had to determine how. Being a sensitive "but-how-will-they-feel?" bunch over here (Okay, not everyone. Mostly it was me. Alright, alright. It was only me.) it was a process that took some time to work out. But we did.
After those questions were answered the next was: what will we do with all that milk?
Because immediately after weaning there is lots of milk. Lots. Weaning meant switching (for the time being) from once-a-day milking to twice-a-day.
And for the first few weeks Pete and I were in charge of all of the evening milkings and half of day milking.
Oh, the milk.
So. Much. Milk.
A really unbelievable amount.
We quickly ran out of gallon and half-gallon mason jars. Also of room in the fridge.
It got a tiny bit insane.
I started making yogurt a gallon at a time. (And I perfected my technique for crazy thick yogurt - new tutorial to come soon!) Finally, there was no more stalling. I had to make cheese.
And I made, um, a lot.
Last week I'm positive that I made whole milk ricotta, cottage cheese, ice cream, cheese curds, butter, garlic cheese spread, green onion ricotta spread, and a full half-gallon of tapioca pudding.
There were probably others but I've blocked them out.
This week is looking like more of the same.
I'm stocking the freezer with soft cheeses for winter lasagnas and I'm sharing it with friends. The chickens are pretty jazzed about the whey and the funky that-didn't-quite-turn-out-no-one-will-eat-this batches of cheese.
So. Much. Cheese.
Yesterday my mom helped with our morning milking (her first time in her seventy-some years) and I'm sending her home today with the milk she helped us collect. It was so very fun to milk with my mom!
But I digress.
Since we're so flush with cheese, homemade crackers and soft cheese spread have found their way into nearly every meal.
Recipes. Do you want recipes? I don't have it in me today to write down proper recipes, but at least I can get you started in a good direction. I'd love to write some for you in the coming weeks when I'm feeling stronger. Is it a deal?
Edited to add: an hour after I posted this I baked perhaps the two best cracker batches of my life, shooting from the hip with my own recipes. And I wrote down what I did so I can share them with you. Win! Take that, Lyme disease.
The garlic- and green onion-ricotta cheeses I made up as I went along. But I'm sure you'll want to make some too if you are dairy-inclined. Quick, easy and crazy delicious. I suspect this will be the first recipe I jot down for you. It's addictive.
The crackers have been an experiment. I decided a month or so ago (after reading this) that I don't want to buy silly processed foods that I can make at home. Like, say, crackers.
Crackers are easy. I'm just lazy and don't usually make them. But after reading that article I got pumped to make my own and have had some delicious (and so affordable!) batches that we've devoured.
Because ideally I want grain-free crackers I found this recipe to be an ideal starting point.
I keep going back to it and trying modifications of my own. We've swapped out the sunflower seeds with ground cashews and with almond flour and we've added sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and garlic. Whoa. Yum.
And with that, I have to go. There is a gallon of milk heating on the stove and it's almost milking time again.