I can’t stop thinking about cheese.

My whole life kind of revolves around the goats and cheese right now.  Let me tell you why.

Every morning-  Every. Single. Morning. I put on my milking pajamas, because I’m classy and have an outfit for everything,  grab my pale and head outside.  First I feed the chickens, the big chicks, the ducks, the little chicks, the rabbits, the boy goat, the other girl goats, and then grab Cordelia.  I bring her over to her milking stand.

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This nifty little piece of equipment keeps her in place and up high because I want something to sit on so I’m not really reaching underneath her.  I can also lock her head in while she’s eating so she doesn’t really move around.  Not that she really wants to go anywhere – I think it must feel good to not have an udder that feels like it’s about to explode.  I don’t know…I’ve never lactated before.  She eats breakfast and I wash off her udder and milk away.

You’ve never felt pain in your forearms until you’ve hand milked something (as opposed to using a milking machine).  But now I’m super strong and feel no pain.  Squirt squirt squirt. I leave some in there for Baby Piper who still primarily drinks milk.  Then I go inside and pour it through a coffee filter and put it in the jar in the fridge.  DON’T WORRY; CORDELIA IS NOT STILL LOCKED UP. Then every 4 days I have enough milk to make cheese.  But since we only use goat milk whenever we need milk, I use if for recipes as well.  It really doesn’t taste goaty unless it gets a little old.  I also keep it raw.  Which means I’m not pasteurizing it.  I’m not getting in to that discussion here but it’s a choice I’ve made and am so far comfortable with it.

Then there is cheese making.  I’ve pretty much “mastered” your basic goat cheese as it’s not aged.  You just make it and bam you’ve got cheese.  I mean, it takes 19 hours but whatever.  However, this other kind I just made aged on the counter for 2 days, in the fridge for 2 days and now in a jar of olive oil for a week.  Now….if any bad bacteria got in there, I’m not sure I’d know until I get salmonella.  Oh well…that’s time off work.  Or death…whatever.

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I found this picture from UrbanOveralls.net – this is what my new cheese SHOULD look like…we’ll see.

All this work and this is just one goat.  The plan is to have 3 in milk (aka 3 goats that I’m milking) by this time next year.  Doesn’t seem like much but it really will be.  I’ll have to make cheese every other day.  And milking one goat takes about 20 minutes.  3 will take a solid hour.

If you’ve ever thought about growing/raising/making/whatever-ing all of your own food – do it.  I love it.  I need it.  I crave it.  We’ve got eggs, milk, veggies on the way, honey on the way, and meat on the way.

Which segues me (not really) in to my next topic: Bees!

We get 20,000 honey bees next weekend!  I have NO IDEA what I’m doing but it will be great!  Right?!  Think of the honey!  Hopefully Scott gets in to the beekeeping thing because I think he’ll be better at it than me.  It’s all about listening to and following directions.

The next thing on the way is: More Rabbits!

The rabbits don’t get a lot of mention.  They’re pretty quiet and just keep to themselves.  Here soon, though, they are about to play a very important role on The Farm.  We’re planning on having a litter a month so as to have rabbit meat as one meal per week.  Pretty excited for this endeavor – they’re easier to raise than meat chickens and much more sustainable.

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Speaking of meat: Turkeys

I just got 3 baby turkeys this weekend.  Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria 2.0.

Speaking of food: the garden

The garden isn’t super exciting right now… we have gotten some asparagus out of it and the rabbits have eaten some weeds.

Still working on this food theme:

I LOVE growing and raising my own food.  To say it is satisfying is an understatement.  I crave learning new things, raising more things, growing more things.  I also love making a home cooked meal.  Or trying a new dessert.  Or finding ways to make a store-bought thing myself, trying to forever eliminate my need to go grocery shopping.

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I know that many of you do not feel this way.  That’s ok.  But I think everyone should try their hand at a few new recipes every once and a while.  Try and enjoy cooking.  Make it not such a daunting, scary task.  People LOVE trying your homemade goods and no one will ever criticize you for trying…to your face.

My longest friend, Lauren, has started a food newsletter.  While her cooking adventures are quite different than mine (she lives in a tiny NYC apartment and does not have the same affinity for farm animals as I do) – we will thoroughly enjoy a good dinner party, making new things, and can sit down and really ENJOY eating the food as much as we enjoyed the process of making it.  While I may go out to the garden for a fresh squash, she’ll trek all over New York City looking for quality rhubarb. We also are both known to use food as a bribe to get our significant others to do what we want.  What?  Like you don’t?  So subscribe to her newsletter here: tinyletter.com/laurenalexis because you can use your farming skills you learn here to raise and grow the food she cooks there.

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