Wednesday, May 7, 2008

now that's mozzarella!

i've been experimenting with making mozzarella. the first two times, i did a long and tedious version using buttermilk to culture it. this third time, i followed a quick, easy recipe that used citric acid and only took about an hour from beginning to end.

here's the recipe: mozzarella in 30 minutes. now, it took me twice as long as her title states but it was so worth it. i gobbled up two balls tonight!

every day, i've been chipping away at the garden, trying to get things in here and there. it all adds up! before the rains hit, i managed to get in all 55 tomato plants, the last 20# potatoes and mulch them. mulching means that i have to go to the goat barn, load up a cart with goat bedding, pull it back to the garden, unload and repeat 3 times. i managed to do that this am while sage napped, bless his soul for sleeping so long! it took about 2 hours.

here are some boring looking garden shots:this is a shot of my original garden - 6 raised beds. in the back left bed, i have garlic. the front bed is horseradish in the front and asparagus in the back. the bed next to that is strawberries. all the other beds are fairly empty with the exception of weeds. the soil is quite yummy but it is a pain trying to keep the beds and paths weeded. the compost i purchased a few years back from a commercial lot (stupid move on my part) was full of bindweed root. now, our farm is overrun in it. thus, back to conventional gardening for us:to the left, middle you can see the edge of the last raised bed. the right front side of this garden will be full of herbs. the left front most likely will be sweet potatoes or pumpkins. the covered hoops in the very back are my brassicas. on either side of that are potatoes and onions. closer this way is where i planted the 3 rows of tomatoes (not shown in this picture). the garage is cut off in this picture but it is just to the right of the concrete pedestal.

this is the other side of the garage, taken from the back porch steps. due to the shade from the house, it's hard to see what's going on. the circular area in the front/right side is my defunct herb spiral (too much shade) so i turned it into a flower bed. there are pansies, dianthus, hollyhocks, evening primrose and golden rod. hopefully they will like it there. to the left of that are some herbs. behind the green house and to the right of that area are more herbs. behind that you can see the covered hoops for the brassicas.

i thought our garden space was fairly big until i started planting it. it's starting to seem real small now given the amount of stuff i have yet to plant: okra, 4-5 types of winter squashes including 2 varieties of pumpkin (what was i thinking?!), beets (4 varieties, one being a mangel to store for goat feed in the winter), oats, spinach, lettuce, a few more summer squash, watermelon (optional for me because i don't care for them!), green beans and another patch that greg still needs to till up for corn. oh, and the sweet potatoes that should be arriving soon.

i am out of soaker hoses so we'll be hand watering over half the garden. ugh. let's hope it's a fairly wet summer.

the bees are doing really well. they are all abuzz when i go by, coming in heavily laden with pollen and nectar. go bees!

this weekend, market opens for the season. i've been busy preparing for it. i don't think i'll be fully ready (still lots of products that need updating) but i should have more this year than i was able to produce last year.

we've had several wwoofer's contact us to work on the farm this summer. the latest kind of put me over the edge. i had emailed them saying:

What types of projects are you interested in and what do you have experience with? Our needs range from putting up fences, weeding and gardening, preserving, butchering, assisting with market, candling eggs, milking goats, caring for animals, tethering the goats, moving the chicken tractor, harvesting herbs, making herbal products, etc. Is that what you are looking for?

and they replied:

Yeah, definitely keep us on the list; we would love to work on your farm. As for
the projects we are interested, neither of us have any experience, but we are
both willing to learn everything you have to teach.

I know that I would especially be interested in gardening, harvesting herbs, and
making herbal products; although I am open to pretty much anything else.

I think my friend is in agreement with me about dealing with animals, in that we
would be more than happy to feed, milk, and care for them; but could never bring
ourselves to hurt them in any way.
anyone care to venture why i was annoyed???? that last line did me in. i mean, i'm all for vegetarianism. but come on. we raise our own food, including meat. that's part of what we do here. why volunteer for a farm if you're not willing to help? what, are they just going to leave for the day every time we butcher? i wanted to write back 'oh, we don't harm them. we give them a very loving, happy life here and then we quickly slit their throats. they don't feel a thing.' whatever.

i need to amend our listing so that it states: vegetarians please don't apply. we love you but we love to eat our animals. it's a fact of life here and we can't rearrange our lives to accommodate your convictions.

if anyone reading this is a vegatarian, please don't be offended. i used to be a vegetarian myself but my body type just isn't cut out for it.


hillbilly2be said...

Hehe, that's dang funny, Tansy. Yeah, I think the majority of people nowadays are very disconnected from nature and where their food comes from. I love my chickens. But I'm gonna eat most of them. Just like they eat bugs mercilessly. It's just the way it is.

I loved your pictures. Yeah, the garden seems pretty small when trying to plant everything under the sun. :)


The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

I'm in the opposite garden realm. I do not have much in it as of yet and am thinking do I have enough to fill it? LOl. I guess we will find out this weekend. May have to inter plant some clover and other greenies for the animals...
I would be irritated at the statement too. But by not having any experience shows they are newbies. Not a bad thing being a newbie, just shows they have yet to learn respect and consideration for what they are seeking as farm help. Goes with actually READING the ad completely ..Besides who can walk in and tell a boss that you are willing to only do 3/4 of a jobs requirement. That makes me laugh.

karl said...

lol @ wwoofers.

i have lost more than one (vegetarian) friend since i started killing my own animals. it was fine for me to eat meat when i bought it in styrofoam packages, but now that i do it humanely and with respect, i am evil.

is that how you spell styrofoam? whatever.


Gina said...

I also was a vegetarian for 13+ years. My guess is that they are young and new to "not harming animals". I think I would have written something like that while in my youth; however, I agree that they should have read the ad a bit closer and looked for something closer to their philosophy. Funny thing, like T. I also became "evil" for eating my own animals, even my mother who used to punish me for not eating meat (as a child), now says things like, "I don't know how you can eat those animals-I could never do that..."

Vegetarians (and I was once in these shoes) don't understand that people like us that raise our animals in the most natural way we are capable are actually helping, not harming, farm animals.
I love what hillybilly2be said about loving his chickens and eating them too. That pretty much sums it up!

Herbwifemama said...

Wow, that's interesting- I am in no position to move to a farm right now, but in looking through most of the farms, it says, "no children, vegetarian meals only". :( I have a two year old, and I need to eat meat too- seems like we might be a good fit, too bad dh isn't on board.

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