Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Nodding off, Waxing, and Lester goes off......

'Twas a day, today, when nothing seemed to want to wake up, but only in me, everyone else was up and doing, after all it is Spring, and as the winter lethargy slips away from the animals,
their need to get up to mischief increases. Up to now, Bonny (one of our cows) has managed to get out of her pen by 'climbing' over her wall. Lester found her busily munching her way through the day's food rations for the pigs. She has also broken the gate to her pen.
She is being very naughty.
Lissie, our other cow, is better behaved, although did have a gallop round and about but not in the direction of her pen but everywhere else including up and down the lane and back again. This was last night, when she had had a day out on the field, the first for a few days. Lester got into quite a sweaty state trying to catch her.
Bonny also did a run round, but was encouraged to get herself back to her pen by me waving my red cardigan at her. You could see her looking out of the corner of her eye at me. She did not like my red cardi. She went inside at a good trot.
 
Anyway, back to today, this morning....
So I was sitting in the bathroom, putting my shoes on. I was by myself. No dogs bothering me, asking for food, attention and action (as in adventures outside), it was warm,
and somehow, I know not how, I fell asleep as I was bending over to tie the laces of my shoes.
Yes, I did!
But not a 'sleep all night' sleep, which would have had me tipping off the chair and on to the floor,
no, this was a deep, deep, nodding off, but one which kept me on the chair.
 
The 'nap' lasted at least ten minutes, after which I fumbled my way to the settee in the sitting room, and there I slept on for another hour.
The day has not been a particularly energetic one subsequently,
I dare not sit down on any comfy chair otherwise I shall fall asleep again.
Ah well, tomorrow is another day, so perhaps I shall have more of the vigour of Spring inside my body, or if not, then perhaps the day after.....
 
An artistic creation?
 

Noooo, just a wheel of cheese made two days ago receiving its coating of wax, which is quite messy the way I do it. I did try melting a big bowl of wax into which I dipped the previous cheese that I had made, but I did not feel safe as I did so. The wax has to be hot, so the bowl I was using was over a big pot of steaming hot water. The wheel of cheese had to be dipped so that half of it was covered in wax, which was then allowed to cool, then the other half was dipped.
 
"Too risky", that is what I thought, as I nearly dropped the cheese into the wax.
Hot wax is inflammable.
"Flames everywhere", that is what I suddenly had a vision of,
so I got my pastry brush and slopped the wax on to the cheese a bit at a time.
The cheese does not look exactly tidy or pretty, but at least it is covered.
 

 
I am trying wax instead of bandaging the cheese wheels with lard and muslin because of the way the mould grows on the outside of the bandaging, which makes us worry that the whole cheese is rotting. It never has so far, but the mould does not look nice, that is what I think.
Anyway, I love cheese making, love eating the cheese, and am now comfortable with saying that I can actually make a eatable wheel of cheese.
 
As for the excess milk, some of it goes to the pigs, some to the dogs, some of it goes into yoghurt, custards, etc, and the rest I am freezing. And then of course there is the butter from the cream. I did use a cream separator when I first wanted to separate the cream from the milk, but it was such a faddle to have to clean the equipment afterwards and a lot of milk was wasted.
So now I just dip a ladle into the thick layer of cream sitting on top of the milk.
 
 
 
Two day old milk is best as the cream has had time to ripen.
 
For freezing the milk, I put a plastic bag into a square plastic container, then pour the milk to the top level of the container. This encourages the milk to freeze into a shape which is easier for storing.

 
 
 
My stash of milk in the bottom of the freezer. I am not sure how it will defrost though, because I have heard that the milk might separate if defrosted too quickly. Not to worry, trial and error....sometimes there is success, but sometimes there is non-success, which is not 'failure' as such because the learning along the way is always worth  having had a go in the first place.
 
And Lester coming out of the  back gates....
 
 
...... on his first mission this year, which is to finish the fencing along the river side of the far field, his intent being to get some extra grazing for the animals, particularly the cows.
 
 
Unfortunately the river has eroded quite a chunk of the field, making it a possibility that should a cow venture too close to the edge of the steep bank she might fall into the river and therefore become deceased.
To fence the bank, therefore, is a priority.
 
 
..... and off he goes,
only to return a few minutes later in a very low mood after he took a look at the river bank.
A family pow wow has come up with the plan to keep the field as a hay field and not use it for grazing. It was decided that the expense of putting a fence line up only to have it fall into the river in a year or two was not worth the effort.
We love living by the river.
Just wish it would stop eating our land so it can make a nifty little island in the middle of itself.
 
Must go and give that cheese wheel another coating of wax,
so, bye for now,
 
Vx

14 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

Yes fencing is such an expense, one will be facing again soon, the only other alternative is hedging but that takes years to establish. The cheese looks great and the cheese fridge is impressive :-)

Vera said...

DAWN, it is sometimes hard to know what fencing to do where, isn't it! I agree about hedging...we have self sown hedges in the places we don't want them to grow and none where we do want them to grow. I am quite proud of the cheese fridge as well! You will be getting milk soon from your goats, so perhaps you will also have a cheese fridge soon!

DUTA said...


I envy those who can take an hour nap during the day. With me there are no naps, only 5-7 hours of sleep, which can be quite inconvenient in the afternoon hours when I come home from my activities. So, whenever I feel tired I'll usually try to resist the idea of a 'nap' , and opt for an early night sleep.

Nice tractor and cargo platform! Pity the fence project doesn't seem possible right now.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

you did a terrific job with that cheese! great work! i always thought it was a fun thing to do. sometimes you can do another coat if you want it to look pretty. i had one brush just for the wax.

PioneerPreppy said...

I would start planting something to stop the river eating away my field. Around here we plant Cedars and put a lot of big rocks down on the bank. What will they let you do there?

Maybe you can put a hole in the cheese wheel and use a dipping string with the wax?

Vera said...

DUTA, your method of coping with tiredness during the day is one I try to follow, but often fail at doing!

OHIOFARMGIRL, I remember your cheese making efforts, which inspired me to have a go at making cheese once we started having milk coming in to the kitchen. As for waxing... it does look much prettier than the mouldy looking lard and bandage coverings I was using!

PIONEERPREPPY, the modern thinking about the river is that it should be left to go where it wants to go, so I don't think the river authorities will let us do anything to try and stop the erosion. Another difficulty is that we do not have sufficient knowledge of the French language to argue our case, although we have thought about approaching our local mayor to see if something can be done. Big rocks would be a good idea, and then we could plant trees on the bank.
The hole in the cheese wheel also sounds like a good idea, except that the wax might seal up the hole each time the wheel is dipped! But a good idea nonetheless!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

You must have really needed some sleep! I have never seen green cheese was before.

The Broad said...

Oh, my dear, the picture of you falling asleep while bending over to tie a shoelace is quite priceless! I call that tiredness 'Spring Fever'. The cheese looks great and I am sure it tastes even better!

My Life in the Charente said...

Vera I am so impressed with your cheese, wish you lived a little closer so I could buy some. As for freezing milk, my ex boss used to always freeze his milk and I don't remember him ever having a problem with it separating it. He just used to leave it in the fridge (I think) to unfreeze.
Wish I could nap, if I do I will never sleep at night which has ever been easy then. I blame my poor old Mum, she passed on the bad habit of not sleeping easily to me I think! Enjoy the arrival of warmer weather Diane

Vera said...

LISA, I found a web site in the UK who sold green cheese wax, and thought it looked quite a nice bright colour!

THE BROAD, I am used to falling asleep at the computer but never bent over tying my shoelaces!

DIANE, thanks for the reassuring me that the milk will defrost alright. We don't sell our cheese, but if anyone visits us they are invited to have a taste. Friends of ours did just that the other day, and ate nearly half a wheel of cheese!
I never used to take naps, but we get up early and have long days so sometimes I get so tired that I sort of keel over, like I did in the bathroom!

LaPré DelaForge said...

Diane is correct... milk is fine if allowed to defrost naturally and slowly in the fridge... done it many times... as did my mum! "Emergency Milkman" was mum's name for it....

With regard to fencing, around here most beefstockers use a simple single band electric fence along the riverbanks...
seems to work nicely...
and it all gets tucked away and maintained [I presume] in winter.
The milkers in Centre are all kept indoors and their "breakfast in bed" is supplied by the farmer! The only ones outside are the heiffers and the ones drying out.

And if you are getting that tired, change you regime...
try power-napping at 1pm till 1:30pm...
it almost trebles the productivity...
power naps are not just for kindergarten kids...
I've done it all my life...
to keep up the pattern, I do it here from 2 to 2:30...
YOU NEED A GOOD ALARM CLOCK....
er...
WAKEY-WAKEY!!

Kerry said...

We freeze our milk all time and defrost on the worktop. We've even plunged it into a sink of hot water in emergencies. Always comes out fine, it's made of sturdy stuff or we are :)

Vera said...

LaPré DeLaForge, the river bank on the side of the field is quite steep, with the river undercutting the bank so making the top of the bank fragile..... we did think of using the single line electric fencing but do not trust our two cows not to barge through it because they are not used to electric. Thanks for the info anyway.

Ah, power naps! I have taken your advice and have designated a half hour slot after lunch. I am trying to get more order into the day, and looking forward to a power nap from 1.30 to 2 seems to drive me on during the morning! You are right about needing a good alarm clock though!

KERRY, I think it is the raw milk which has to be defrosted slowly because the fat globules can separate if the milk defrosts too quickly, but I shall continue to keep on freezing the milk and defrost it slowly in the fridge. Thanks for giving me the info though.

LaPré DelaForge said...

Vera.. the cows never seem to need training...
they can feel something and keep a wary distance from the fence!
In fact almost all animals and birds sense the electric field and keep clear.
The only animals that seem to have problems with electric fences are humans...
and dogs.. not bitches...
if you've ever seen a dog cock a leg against an electric fence...
you'll know what I mean!
As for us hooomanz... we just can't feel these things...and if we know it is an electric fence, most men* will totally UNDERestimate the power of the shock...
think a bit guys, it is meant to get through thick hide!!

*Men that fell asleep during physics lessons in school, anyway... and probably the ones who like to round of an evening out with an ESV!#


#[A Leeds curry house used ESV as the dish name for an extra-strong Vindaloo]