Saturday, 10 September 2016

It has rained!

Delivered by a long thunder storm yesterday evening,
which eased so much tension from the air that I suddenly felt a million times better than how I have been feeling over the last few days.
And it has got chilly enough at night for the rottweiller girls not to want to go outside during the night. Last night Maz wanted to go to the loo, Blue followed her as far as the front door but got no further as the cold night air wafted over her. They are such ladies, these rottweiller girls. They like their home comforts, as do the cows who will  have to start being brought back into their own overnight accommodation because they have taken over the sheep barn and will not let the sheep into it,  horning them to keep out should they try to get shelter. The cows and sheep have been out in the field all summer, with access to the sheep barn during the day if the flies or heat are a bother to them. But cooler nights have meant that the cows want to stay under cover, which is why they are bullying the sheep in to having to stay outside, which has been alright during this long dry spell, but now the rain is hovering around something has to be done.
Lester's job today is to clear out the rest of the manure from the cow pens, and put new straw down ready for the cows to be brought in tonight, and so the winter cycle of their care begins, which reminds me that I need to have a look at my supplies of cheese and yoghurt cultures as another season of cheese making is on its way.
I think it is a good idea that we have the calves at the start of winter. To make cheese and manage the processing of the vegetable and meat harvests would, I think, be just a little too much for me, but now the vegetable harvests are finished, which only leaves the meat harvest from this years lambs still to be done, which should leave space in the day to get the cheese made.
But a problem with the cheese....I have found that it is difficult to store it long term, especially the hard cheeses like Cheddar and Parmesan. This may be because I refuse to use animal rennet which help sets the milk into curds and whey, but instead I use vegetable rennet. The animal rennet comes from the stomach of new born calves. It is the traditional and commercial method of making cheese, but I can't bring myself to use it. There must be a difference between the two types of rennet which is giving me a problem with storing hard cheese. Not to worry, the solution is that I don't make hard cheese! But the semi hard cheese does alright, providing the cheese wheels are not allowed to mature beyond six months at the most. I am also thinking I might have a go at Brie and Camembert this season.
Meanwhile, I have been making some underpants for Lester, himself preferring the wide soft floppiness of DIY underwear to that of the commercially made pants, which, he says, confine him too much and scratch him in places he does not want to be scratched. I personally would prefer to be making some patchwork curtains for the kitchen, which is I think is far more creative.
Onwards with the day,
and hope it is a good one for us all.
Bye for now,


Rhodesia said...

Lucky you, still no rain here though it is forecast for Wednesday. I hope we do not get storms though we really need some long steady rain to soak in. Good luck with the cheese. Diane

Cro Magnon said...

No storms here, but promise of 3 days rain for next week.

I've never heard of anyone making men's underwear before. Mine come from Leclerc.

Vera said...

DIANE, me and the cheese project is presenting me with a very long learning curve!

CRO MAGNON, we are forecasted some rain soon as well, which will be good. As for making men's underwear......simple really, just make wide legged short shorts, sort of! The French underwear fits too snugly for Lester's liking!

northsider dave said...

I can send you some rain if you want me Vera? We are never short of it in Ireland. You both seem to be kept busy on your farm in France.

Vera said...

NORTHSIDER DAVE, thanks for the offer of sending some rain, but I think we have some on its way! We are not as busy as you think, especially during this long spell of very hot weather. Mid-day, and we are done for the day...nothing for it but to sleep, watch the internet, and generally be slothful!

Kerry said...

Love the idea of homemade undies, made me smile.

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

I love seasonal rain (not excessive rain) and the rain after a hot spell of weather at our house in France and our home in Australia. Currently I can only dream of a lifestyle like yours, but hopefully one day I too will be eating my own home made camembert, sewing (but not undies) and ensuring that my geese are safely locked away from night time France and Australia! In my eyes, you are definitely living "the good life".

Vera said...

KERRY, .... he does like to have plenty of room to manoeuvre in his undies, and shop bought ones tend to be too skimpy for his liking!

ELIZABETH, bless you....sometimes we need reminding that we are indeed living 'the good life', especially when the harvests are rolling in and we are feeling overwhelmed with keeping on top of things!

Kev Alviti said...

Now that's a good woman that'll make a mans pants for him! I'll send you my size! My wife has knitted me gloves for me in the past.
As for the timing of things it is difficult, I almost look forward to the winter as I have less to do each night and morning, bu then everything I do is so much harder because of the rain and the mud!

Leon Sims said...

Well Vera - a very interesting posts on the way of country folk - although we are enjoying the transition to the country from Melbourne, we will still be "Townies" in our little village of Trentham. Like you, we a getting a bloody good dowsing of rain here (pics on out blog).
As for the undies - Hmmm, my preference is for the support rather than just hanging about.
Good luck to you in the coming of winter while we drift into summer.
Leon and Sue.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Could you store the hard cheeses in the freezer and only take them out when you are ready to use them?

Vera said...

KEV, you are so right about looking forward to the shorter days, but not the rain and mud that go with them!

LEON, thinking of you both as you head towards your warmer weather.

LISA, I did try freezing the cheese the first time I made hard cheese, but I don't think it worked out very well, but I shall have another go when I start making cheese again. Long term storage is something I need to experiment with, so thanks for making the suggestion.

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

Thank you Vera for dropping by and leaving a comment today. I would love to join you for some cheese making. Bon week-end.

LaPré DelaForge said...

Vera, I love the new header.... it seems very "you"!!
Goes with the blog perfectly....

On the storage side, have you thought about an old-fashioned "root cellar"....
we intend to put one in when we do the open barn floor... nowhere else is far enough above the normal water-table... they need to be damp but not flooded. They can keep a steady 50 Far-hen-height all year round.
And they are dark, so perfect for the spuds as well!
The idea is to mimic the conditions inside caves.... so are meant to be perfect for hard cheese [as per Cheddar or Cantal]
The advantage of making your own is that you can make it .... RODENT PROOF!!

Vera said...

ELIZABETH, ....and it would be nice to have someone keep me company whilst making cheese because it is quite a long process!

LaPré DeLaForge...... thanks for your feedback about the new header. Good idea about making a root cellar, and will file the idea away for future reference.