Monday 30 November 2015


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) 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:



Dawn said...

very ingenious your hubby, I look forward to seeing how the cheese making goes, the pigs look good, I hope they do a good job in the veg garden for you :-)

rusty duck said...

See... you do (did) have flowers! Love the autumn tints on the hill behind the house too.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

THAT CHEESE FRIDGE IS TERRIFIC!!!! wow!!!!!!! great work! i'm jumping for joy to see it! and glad to hear from you - been wondering how things were going.

Jean said...

I am full of admiration for you....making your own cheese, no less. I bet there aren't that many people who do that!
Good luck with the cheese project.
And from now on I'm not sure I can ever eat black pudding again.......

Vera said...

DAWN, when we had piglets that patch of land would have been cleared and dug up in about a week, but Max and Mum Pig are much more laid back so it will take them a lot longer to make a dent on the weeds! Lester installed the temperature controller with the help of several YouTube videos, and the temperature unit came from Amazon, and cost around £12...just in case you need to get a cheese fridge installed for when you start milking your goats!

JESSICA, dearest one,...yes indeed.....we did have some flowers this year although they were rampant and very much went their own way, including growing over some brassicas and cabbages, which was a good thing as it protected those plants from butterfly / caterpillar attack!

OHIOFARMGIRL, I think you mentioned the temperature unit in one of your blogs a long while ago.... and yessssss! Cheese should start being made here soon because that is quite a big fridge I have to fill up!

JEAN, oh dear, I didn't mean to put you off black pudding, but that is how the blood is 'captured' to make the pudding! Cheese is quite easy to make, just time consuming..... but like most things, it is worth the effort!

Onevikinggirl said...

I am looking forward to again learn how to make and mature cheese. Now I think I might be ready to try it (but don't tell the anybody, I live in professional cheeseland).

PioneerPreppy said...

So you had hubby wire the cheese fridge that is now a meat fridge because you haven't made any cheese but you can't make the cheese until you have a cheese fridge?

Neat wire job BTW!!!

I have never tried my hand at cheese making. It looks far too complicated for me.

John Going Gently said...

Healthy pigs.......good meat on them !

Cro Magnon said...

Do you not have a cave for the cheese? So much in this posting that I'd love to comment about, but instead let me say how much I admire all your industry!

Vera said...

ONEVIKINGGIRL, making cheese is not hard, just slow..... have you made cheese in the past, if so then perhaps you can give me a few helpful hints!

PIONEERPREPPY, you are right..... but the meat stored in the cheese fridge was only temporary, and once the temperature control was set up I took the meat out! Cheese making is not hard, just lots of steps which involve regulating temperature, timing, waiting, and stirring. But we need to make cheese so we can store the milk from the cows for long term use...just us prepping for the future!

JOHN, nooooooo! We could never eat those two pigs! They might be full of good meat, but they have also worked hard for us! And mentioning very quietly that they are too big for us to get into the freezers anyway!

CRO MAGNON, no, we do not have a cheese cave, or any cave, because we are very close to the river and when the river runs high it would flood the cave, so a fridge it has to be. Hope your fog has lifted. x

Coco said...

Congratulations on the new set up! I wonder if you have a source for cheesemaking supplies? So far I´ve only done yoghurt in the slow cooker, but I have ambitions.

Athene said...

Glad to see you back on the blog, very impressed with the Cheese Fridge (Frigidaire du Fromage?). I do admire your hard work, I hope the cheese is very successful.

Rhodesia said...

Bet you are looking forward to the delights of your cheese fridge, yum yum. Love those flowers before the frost had them :-( We are off to the UK 16 Dec for two weeks, will be bringing my dehydrator back :-)))) Take care Diane

Kerry said...

Wow, those cheeses look amazing. Not sure I have the patience to make them but I do like the idea of making large tea-towels, brilliant idea x

Vera said...

COCO, I send away to The in the USA for my supplies, although I think I shall have to source in Europe in the future because French import tax was very high! You can go through the cheese making process using a slow cooker...... will be interesting to know how you get on so do keep in touch!

ATHENE, thanks.....November was a real shut down month for me in regards to blogging...not sure why that was, just no words came out of my head which were worth reading!

DIANE, you will love your dehydrator! Flowers all gone now. Heavy frost last night!

KERRY, the tea towels were easy to make..... I bought terry towelling on line, cut the fabric up, then hemmed it all round. Once they have been used and washed, I shall sew bands of other fabric across them to pretty them up.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

How exciting about your cheese fridge! Are you making cheese from goat or cow milk?