Monday, 24 March 2014

Goats! Waxing! Bollards! Wetness!


- does anyone know why our goat milk is tasting alright, and does not have that horrid goaty smell and taste which everyone says that goat's milk has, and that we had experienced in the first litre of milk we got from Blackie few weeks ago, but which has since disappeared completely. And Billy is still with the girls because we have not got round to building him his own living quarters. Nevertheless, the goatyness has gone.
- and just in case you make goat cheese.... if you make a pot of milk in which the starter and rennet have been put, and are then waiting the twelve or so hours for the mixture to turn into cheese....should you have done all this, and all at the correct temperature, then it would be a good idea to remove the pot from the stove should you then, at the same time, be wanting to cook bread in the oven below, which requires a raising of the temperatures in the oven, the heat of which will then permeate all through the cooker unit, and then on up into any pots you have on top of the stove, thus raising up the temperature of any contents within those pots. According to implicit instructions in my cheese making book, 'Do not let the temperature of the pot exceed 72F'. Ah.

It was in the middle of the night when I remembered this instruction. Too late to save the cheese. But what I have made is yoghurt. One gallon. But the bread cooked real good!

So just a helpful hint: remove pot from stove if making cheese, just in case you go into cooking mode and inadvertently push the milk past the correct temperature for setting the cheese.


And on the subject of cheese making, does anyone else have a problem with spattering cheese wax all over the place when covering a cheese with wax. (Wax helps to keep the cheese mold free while it is maturing) I seem to get in ever such a mess when I do this. Anyone have helpful hints about how to stop the wax from getting everywhere.


It was in the night, when we were still sleeping out in the courtyard in caravans, that Lester had a dream. "I had a dream that I was running a band and that it was called The Bollards". Ho, ho, ho, we so laughed at such a thing, that we were not playing any music at all because we were busy trying to get a roof over our heads and anyway I played classical and Lester played Irish and never the twain would meet as far as both of us were concerned, and oh so anyway, my keyboard was packed away somewhere and Lester's fiddle had been burnt on the fire because it had become broken and anyway he was never going to play music ever again.

Ah. Never presume. There are four of us. We are The Bollards. John, (72), Kathy (70), me (nearly 67), and Lester (45). We play Irish (sort of). The Bollards are two weeks old.

We have keyboard (me, fairly skilled), piano accordion ( me but still a novice), fiddle (Lester, excellent), mandolin (Lester, excellent), guitar (Lester, goodish), penny whistle (John ), squeeze box (John), mouth organ (John,), bodhrum drum (Kathy, who plays the drum in her own unique way), and two tambourines (Kathy and me. We have not got the tambourines yet, they are in the post. Yes I know that tambourines with ribbons that fly around as they are waved hither and thither while being played are not exactly connected with Irish music, but I thought that it would look good to do a couple of tunes with them).We all sing, and can hold a tune.

First rehearsal this week. First gig booking June 9th (half an hour, five songs). No pressure then! We are waiting for groupies, would you like to be one?


And with much joy the rain arrived yesterday. First rainfall for over three weeks. Ground all dried to a hardness in that time. Need the ground to be softer so that it can be ploughed up by the new little tractor (when it arrives). Everything exploded into colour yesterday. Just a drop of rain, and wow, spring has truly arrived. Grass now getting a move on in the fields so we can stop supplementing the animal feed, bees out and about in the newly opened blossoms everywhere so we might get honey this year. A drop of rain, and everything is thrusting itself into life. The force of nature is a wonder to behold.

And so off to practice with the piano accordion. Can do five chords (via buttons) on the left hand, and am getting better with running up and down the keys on the right. The only problem, and it is a major one, is that I tend to become so concentrated on what my left and right hand are doing that I forget to push the bellows in and out, so I am either left with a half hearted breathy sound or silence. No air means no sound on an accordion.

Hope you have a great week...


 PS. Does anyone know how to make a sourdough starter? And after that, a sourdough bread? 


Ohiofarmgirl said...

oh no with the oven! but yay yogurt! as for the goatiness, it could do with their hormones.. but probably is because their food has changed in some way. glad that it has lost it's goatyness! for cheese waxing i just put down a lot of waxed paper for easy clean up. now you have to show us your cheese!

Vera said...

OFG, will take a photo of the cheese when I figure out how to use my new camera! Thanks for the advice about the lack of goatyness.

The Broad said...

Oh, Vera, it's such a joy to read your post! So positive and so full of energy ... you are utterly amazing!

Jean said...

A soudough starter can easily be created from almost fresh air I believe:

John Gray said...

I was told to keep goat milk in the fridge very cold.
To make it taste better

Jean said...

I will look out for The Bollards on our travels through France!
We enjoy a spot of live music and something lively would be just the ticket for a good night out !!

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hi Vera, yes the goatynees has to do with what the goats are eating. Remember they love to eat brambles and eat pine shoots and other tree bits. The really love to strip the bark off of Pine and Spruce trees.They also love to eat the new buds from trees. You've been feeding them lots of Hay lately so that's where the lost goatyness has gone.;-)

Marie said...

How long do you age the cheese after waxing? Does it improve the flavour much? Do you use a cheese press first?

Vera said...

The Broad, thanks, I just keep going because if I stopped I would stay stopped for good!

Jean, thanks for the info. I have searched on the internet for ages and not found any simple explanation as to how to make sourdough, but the info on this link was very useful, so thanks for taking the time to give me the link.

John, ah that might be the reason for the non-goatyness, because Lester recently turned the fridge onto a cooler setting!

Jean, I think you will have no luck in searching for The Bollards, because we only have one gig booked and that is at a church fund raising event in our village! But if you are ever in region 65700 you could always look in on us and we could sing you a song or two!

Horst, you treasure! You are right, the goats have been indoors for most of the last three months so their diet has been hay and grain. Also, they are not allowed in the field which has the copse of trees in it because they are killing a lot of the young trees in the copse, so they are put in the side field which is grass only, although I do supplement them with brambles cuttings. This, then, is the reason for the non-goatyness, plus the fridge got turned down so it is cooler which John (above)thinks might also have contributed to the better state of the milk. Vx

Vera said...

Marie, I have been making a Caerphilly cheese, which takes three weeks to mature, and this is what I have been waxing. I gave up with making hard cheese because I don't have anywhere to keep it, so until I have a proper cheese storage area I shan't be making any more hard cheese. But the Caerphilly is easy to make, and is quite a firm cheese so I can use it in cooking if I need to. I keep it in the bathroom, which is the only room here which is warm and humid enough.
The Caerphilly I make with cows milk, and it is pressed in a simple cheese press, and after trying several methods of protecting it from drying out too much I now use wax as the cover for the cheese.
I have not made hard cheese with goats milk, although I think you can, but we mostly drink our goat milk although I have just made a soft cheese from a starter, which sort of turned out yoghurty because the pan of milk over heated! It is very yummy. I put a portion of the cheese/yoghurt in a small cheese mold with holes in (that is half eaten already by me!) and the rest I put into a bigger cheese mold, again which had holes in the sides. This I have pressed although I don't think I needed to, and I shall have a look at what is happening with that later on today. Vx

Jean said...

There was a scene in the TV series called "The Village" where the milk co-op threatened to buy no more of the family's milk because it tasted of garlic.
The sale of milk was virtually the whole family's only source of income so they spent the next day and all the night digging up the wild garlic plants that were growing in the field by hand.
It was a fairly grim series about how miserable people's lives were at the outbreak of WW1. Interesting but not at all uplifting.

northsider dave said...

Hi Vera, Please post a video of Th Bollards playing on your blog. I enjoy reading blog posts.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Vera this link[video] on how to make your own sourdough starter might be helpful. Website seems to cover anything and everything about bread :-)

I'm trying to bake a nice spelt loaf. 1st attempt was a concrete brick--used chemical yeast silly me!

Vera said...

Jean, those were hard times indeed. But smallholders and farmers are still battling one way or another!

Dave, a video will be a long time coming I think. I can play piano and keyboard OK, but that accordion, ....well it is coming along but very slowly!

Niall & Antoinette, thank you for taking the time to post that link for sourdough. Will have a read of it, and will defo have a go at making a starter.