Well the leaf drop has come and gone...
Good news for Max and Mum Pig,
and here is Max (right) chopping and dribbling at me,
but not in a cross way because his tail is swishing to and fro,
signalling his happiness at being let out.
'Let out' to where?
..... the middle of the three veg plots, their job now being to feed themselves,
lose weight and fertilize the land while doing so,
and till the land for us as they do so.
Veg plot three has already been done by the previous batch of piglets,
the last one having just been put into the freezer.
She was a big pig.
Took all week to get processed.
No sausage, or ham, or any other somesuch delight,
just jointed, some minced, some shredded.
Not very inspiring,
but there was not time to do anything else,
and I am quite good at inventing different ways to serve up our meat so that it does not taste the same two days running.
Anyway, our two adult pigs are now out and about in the veg plots,
and hopefully soon we shall be 'expecting' next year's batch of piglets,
and then I shall have a go at ham, etc, but not blood sausage, never that, never would we hang a pig up in the air by its hind legs and cut its throat so it can pump its blood into a bucket.
Ours see their last seconds out by lying on the ground,
with us standing by, keeping watch as they go.
Meanwhile, back indoors.....
....we had a 'messy' Sunday, Lester at one end of the kitchen table and me at the other.
The lilac terry towelling fabric on the left belonged to a pile of tea towels I was cutting up, ready to hem later on today. The fabric was bought a couple of years ago, when the colour scheme for the house was different to how the house has now turned out.
Not to worry, the fabric needed using up and we needed tea towels bigger than the handkerchief sized ones that are available commercially, which only dry a plate and not megga sized pots.
Farm kitchen tea towels is what I am making, and they are big.
Shame about the colour, but hey ho....
So what is happening at the other end of the table?
This is what is happening...
(Please excuse fly swot. Lester is Chief Fly Swotman and always feels the need to have this most efficient fly killing tool to hand)
.....so all the other bits of man stuff are so he can do this:
..... which is wire up the little STC1000 temperature controller (on the right)
so that it monitors the interior of the fridge (see below)
switching on the fridge if too hot,
or switching on the heat pad if too cold,
thus stabilizing the interior temperature of the fridge to between 50 - 55 degrees F,
which is the required temperature for maturing cheese.
Not the fridge on the left...this is full of milk waiting to be used,
it is the fridge on the right that the box of wires is going to be sat on,
and this fridge is.........THE CHEESE FRIDGE!
So....the Cheese Project is now on forward movement,
but not at the moment because that tray you can see is full of meat waiting to be processed,
because I have not yet as made any cheese!
But I am still making lots of soft cheese, yoghurt, and butter.
To date I have made
just over 21.5 kgs of butter,
which is all stored in the freezer apart from that which we have used.
This might sound a lot of butter, but this has to last us until our cows are in their next milking season. Meanwhile I continue to make butter.... and cheese once I get going with the Cheese Project.
This was the start of the Cheese Project in 2013:
I got off to a rollicking good start, but failed to mature the cheese successfully because the only storage facility I had was the salad drawer..
.... which did not keep the right temperature for maturation of the cheese,
plus the fridge sat in a leak for a day or so which did not help, as can be seen from the floor beneath the fridge, plus there was a lot of dust from the ongoing house renovation in the air which probably did not help to make healthy cheese either.
Plus the problem of pressing the cheese prior to maturation,
now I have a proper cheese press, but in 2013 this is all I had:
Oh well, trial and error leads to much learning experience!
As for the 2014 milk season....most of it went to feed the pigs and piglets.
I did have any kitchen to work in, so no cheese, butter, or yoghurt was made.
But now I do have the right facilities, so no excuses now Vera, come on girl, that cheese fridge is waiting to be filled!
Saying bye for now,
and leaving you with the last photo of our veg plot before a dusting of frost finished off the flowers: