This 'stash accumulating' habit is one I am trying to break, but not with fabric and wool, but with the produce in my food larder. Maintaining the same 'best save for later' mentality I now have dehydrated vegetables from 2013 still sitting my shelves, the same for jars of canned meat and veg, the same for meat and produce in the freezer. I am good about jams and chutneys though, and these I do use. But the cheese I make - I really feel the need to save it, and can get quite uppity with Lester when he does a raid on the cheese fridge. I feel the need to guard the cheese stash against such raids. Bless me, but sometimes I do feel I have daft moments. After all, he looks after the cows and milks the cows, so he deserves to eat what he likes from the cheese stash in the larder.
Just got back in from feeding the lamb, Lester is out at the moment (had to change the gun he recently bought) so I am in charge. Sheep in a real fed up mood. Been in all day, ......they dislike having to stay in the paddock so will moan and moan about the injustice of it all. One sheep had her head jammed in the fence wire. Nearly took a chunk of fence wire with her as I got her head free. Had visions of the whole flock disappearing through the damaged wire. Fortunately the 'vision' did not come to fruition and the fence wire held, but will need mending. Will wait for Lester to be in a good mood before I tell him that though. He is still trying to get the gates in the cow pens mended after Bonny decided to wrestle with one of the during the night. One gate and gate post came off worse, and now she has started on the second gate.
Took Boolie with me. He is very good around the sheep, and apart from one head butt from a miserable sheep all went well, and he managed a quick lick round the rear end of the lamb to clean him up a bit. The lamb hasn't a mum, so Bools does come in handy for odd clean up job. He has done this for all the bottle fed lambs in the past, so there will be a job vacancy when he passes over (tumour still busily growing) Neither of the rottweiller girls would be allowed to take the job on because they mess around too much and would want to play 'football' or 'chase' with the lamb. They are in the 'dog house' at the moment. Managed to get through the courtyard gates just as the cows were coming in from the field last night. It was not the best moment for the girls to do this because the cows did a gallop down the lane with the girls bouncing along in jollity behind them. Lester was fuming.
So.......... back to my food stash, and my belated New Year resolve to use up the food on the shelves, and in the fridges and freezers, and fight against my tendency to want to 'keep things for later'.
The Meat Stash: I am gradually working my way through the three freezers and have stopped worrying about having enough meat to feed us. If we run out then we can go vegetarian until we get the stocks back up again.
The Canned Goods Stash: We have finished up all the jars of potatoes, cherries, pears and apples, but still have one jar of rhubarb and several jars of blackberries still to go. Plus several jars of green tomatoes, two soups, and a few jars of meat. We still have lots of dehydrated cherries, figs, apples and plums though, so still have fruit in the larder.
The Cheese Stash: I have given myself a talking to, and realise we really do need to eat what I am producing without me going into 'Save the Stash for later' mode.
In an effort to break the stash habit of thinking, yesterday I broke open four wheels of cheese. The one top left is a salt brined Caerphilly, of the two on the right....one is a Colby, the other a Farmhouse cheese, and the cheese beneath them is possibly a Monterey Jack which has some of its muslin and lard wrappings removed.
Question: Had the mould on the lard and muslin wrapping of the Monterey Jack migrated into the cheese?
No. The mouldy covering looks very ominous so we expected spoilt cheese, but no, the cheese had a lovely full and rich taste and was aging just fine.
Question: Had the Caerphilly gone rotten, because the outside was sticky and vaguely slimy.
No. The cheese was still plump and creamy, although had a stonkingly strong taste. We have to use this cheese up first because it will not store in a food saver bag and goes rank ('off') quickly. It will store in the fridge for a while though.
Question: Have I ruined these two cheeses because I did not put a protective covering of either lard, wax, or salt on them.
No. Although they both had quite hard skins and had dried out quite a bit, both are doing alright. One in particular is deliciously mild and we are eating that one up immediately.
Cheese Stash Plan: Cut these wheels in half, wax one half and put into longer term stash storage, put the other half into food saver bags for the 'eat when the need comes' stash.
The Dehydrates Stash:
At long last I have the much waited for shelves in the front kitchen, upon which is to go my dehydrates. There is plenty of room to fill the shelves up once the harvests start coming in, meanwhile I continue to use up all the 2013 and 2014 dehydrated produce, and am working my way through the 2015 harvests. It has been a surprise to me that none of the dehydrates have either gone off, gone mouldy, or got rotten during their storage, which makes me sold on dehydrating produce, but this has only come upon me during the last month or so, now I have got the dehydrates stash sorted out and I am more organised. But these jars are only the front line of the stash. I also have a cupboard in which is stored the larger bags of dehydrates.
And today's lunch.....
Potatoes, carrots, sprigs of cauliflower (shop bought) - cubed and steam cooked, cauliflower sprigs as is.
Cooked minced hoggett (young sheep_. (ours)
White sauce....milk (ours), butter (ours), flour (supermarket), rehydrated leeks and tomatoes (ours), cheese (Caerphilly, ours), seasonings (supermarket)
Potatoes and carrots,......a layer put own as a base
Then the mince, warmed up.
Then the rest of the veggies.
Sauce over the top, and encouraged to ooze down to the other layers.
Grated cheese on top.
It was yummy.
... and a good proportion of ingredients were from our food stash / larder.
Trying to remain stoical in my efforts at lose the 'Don't use now because you might need it later' habit of thinking......
And yesterday's photo of the Lester and the lamb:
.... and our gorgeous black Orpington cockerel.....
Bye for now