Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Welding, dervish cows, yog making.

We are not continuing on with painting the kitchen,
because we need to get the pigs out onto the back paddocks,
so we have been learning to weld.
Which requires that I sit, watch, and keep Lester company,
while he does the job.
Only he couldn't get his new little welding machine
to even raise a spark,
so a phone call to friend John saved the day.

Two leads, one clipped onto the  metal
(and not attached to the cement mixer as Lester had thought)
and the other attached to a clip thing which held a rod.
(if the rod is upside down it doesn't work, hence 'no spark')

...and then there was the hat to sort out,
which Lester had assembled,
but not in quite the right way,
and then on to the making of the gate.....

.....and the raising of a spark,
and the gluing welding of the parts,

..and the megga patience of friend John,
who hardly raised his voice at all,
as he patiently passed on his welding skills to Lester,
who equally as patiently accepted his teaching.

And so L has the basics now
and can make a simple gate. 
Only nine more to do!
He also needs a proper work bench,
and a proper work shed,
so he is going to take over the goose house,
which used to be our office,
which used to be the original chicken and pig lodgings
when Labartere was a farm in the olden days.
He has grand plans for that space.
I think it will turn into a 'man only' zone.

On the subject of cows:

When a cow comes into season she is difficult.
Her milk yield will go down,
she will put her foot in the milk pail when being milked,
she will fidget when being milked,
she will not allow herself to be calmly led from field to barn,
but will slip the lead,
and go for a gallop round and about the place,
with calf galloping along behind if she still has one with her,
both of them thinking it a grand lark to be chased,
both kicking up their heels to show their delight.
This is what happened yesterday.

For months she has been docile,
strolling along betwixt field and barn with calm dignity,
apart from having an occasional urge to munch greenery along the way,
which sometimes has Lester suddenly going from this way to that way.
He had forgotten what a howling dervish of a cow she can be
when she is having a season.
She is a fiend.

On the subject of DIY yoghurt:

It is delish!
Try it!
I used probiotic yoghurt culture from The Cheesemaker

but here in SW France you can buy sachets of yoghurt culture,
not sure if you can do the same in your part of the world,
wherever that may be, bless you.

All you do is heat the milk slowly in a heavy bottomed pan, stirring occasionally to stop the milk from sticking to the pan. When the milk is just starting to bubble around the edges showing that it is just about to start heading towards a boil, then shut off the heat and let the milk cool down until just slightly warmer than tepid. Then into a container, (I use a canning jar). Cover with a cloth to stop flies, etc...from swimming around in the soon-to-be-yoghurt.
Put into a warm place. I put the jar in our bathroom which is always warm.
I have used a thermal flask before, and that worked as well. You do not need a fangly bit of kit like a yoghurt maker to make yoghurt, just a warm place. Even a working kitchen will do, or a dehydrator.
Leave overnight, and in the morning, done!
It tastes far better than shop bought yoghurts, and you can add whatever flavourings you want, although the particular culture I used makes for a calm, creamy, less tangy tasting yoghurt to the ones you buy from the shops, so I mostly eat it plain. 
Anyway, passing this on to you. DIY yoghurt is easy and tastes real good.

And thanks to...

 for being so patient and for being L's best buddy
 Thanks for letting us borrow J for the afternoon.

One nearly finished gate,
one very enthused man now he can do simple welding,
and two happy hens who were just about to be fed.

It is good to learn new things,


rusty duck said...

It is good to learn new things, it keeps us young!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I wish that I knew how to weld and had a welder, so many things could be repaired and built using one. Good that you guys are learning!

Vera said...

Jessica, it does indeed! Keeps the brain active so it does not fog up quite so much!

Sunnybrook Farm, you are right! Have now got a long list of 'things to weld', but first we have to get Lester a proper hat because the one he has keeps falling into his eyes, which is not a good thing if, at the same time as this happens, he is in the middle of welding hot metal!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

great work on the welding! wow! and yes home made yogurt is delish. i've always been able to make it from using a store bought yogurt with active bacteria as a starter. great work!

Vera said...

OhioFarmGirl, thanks for mentioning that you can also make DIY yoghurt from an active bacteria yoghurt bought from the shop. I have done that in the past, and it works well.

Tim said...

Yoghurt making is less expensive if you use a live yog from local shop...
you only need one spoonful in the milk...
the rest can go on your cereal or fruit or straight down your throat.

And you don't actually need to boil the milk...
our local dairy...
up on the hill above us...
sells raw milk [ie: Green Top in UK parlance] which hasn't been treated at all.
I use that and her live yog as the starter...
no boiling, no fuss...
mix and forget until the morning.
One advantage of that is that the cream settles to the top as a "créme fraiche" and is easily removed for puddings.
So you get a lowish fat yog, that sets... and the fattening bit can go with fresh fruit... or into an omlette... or over some courgettes and ham... or.......

A yoghurt making box is dead easy... you need polly-sty-rene blox from packaging to insulate it on the inside.
And put it on the back of the fridge where it will harvest the warmth from the back....
same as wine-making.

Or make a bigger one...
with an air inlet that matches the front of the Excalibur...
doesn't need insulation...
and can be used to raise dough as well.

Suggest you fork out for a welding hood with either a flip down sight screen...
quite cheap...
or better still, an instant change fixed screen...
like reactolite glasses, but quicker in both directions...
means that you can concentrate on the welding.

Something for Lester's workplace later:
I use a white painted floor space, with two 500W work lamps shining on the workpiece...
that also gives enough light to see through the visor.
I am about to replace the 500W lights with LED worklights at 15W each...
which will stop blowing the trip-switch if someone swithces on the kettle at the same time!!
French electrix are really something else....

Vera said...

Tim, oh, it's creme fraiche which sits on top of the newly made yoghurt! I didn't know that, and always eat that bit as quick as I can........

....and we have quite a lot of polystyrene packaging coming into the house from items we have bought over the Internet, so following on from your idea, I shall keep some of the larger packaging to use as insulation for yoghurt making.

....agree about the hat for welding...Lester seems to be managing with the hat he has, but it does have a tendency to slip about. Will pass on the info to him, plus the lighting info....

....we are lucky enough to have raw milk from our cow. I did wonder why the milk has to be almost boiled first, but the info on the bag of probiotic culture I use said to do so, so I do. But might try not boiling the milk next time I make yoghurt, just to see what happens.

Tim, and oh so very many 'thankyou's for taking the time and effort to sent this info to me. It is much appreciated.

Tim said...

Vera, just got back to this...
we are in full "rat" making at the moment...
Pauline's just done one with courgettes, yellow crookneck, French string beans and assorted "rescue" tomatoes for bottling tomorrow.

I think, if you are using a packeted culture, you would probably need to boil the milk first to kill off the natural bacteria.

We just had a bottle of the pasteurised milk from up the road "go orff"...
and instead of the usual cottage cheese, we had a bottle of perfect yoghurt and créme fraiche...
very tasty it has been too!!
So the natural organisms would most likely compete with the packeted ones and probably give some very we-urd results!