Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cheese, Composters, and Blessings

Thursday, 31 March 2011

  • Cheese, Composters, and Blessings

    A huge benefit of living on a dairy farm is having abundant milk.  Milk to drink, to make ice-cream, milkshakes, and cheese.  I haven't made cheese in a long time, partly because we live close to Hornings :), and partly because I seem to find other things to do rather then take the time to make cheese.  However, it is cheaper for me to make our own, even though Hornings has reasonable prices, and we love homemade cheese.  Dave has been after me to start making it again, so we will see if I can be consistent (which is not one of my strong points), and make some each week.  It is rather simple and requires few ingredients.  If you have access to raw milk, maybe you want to give it a whirl.
    Muenster Cheese
    Huge kettle, timer, thermometer, cheesecloth, cheese press, 4 gallons milk (if not raw, whole, for sure), 2 cups cultured buttermilk, 4 tablets junket, 2 tbsp. salt, and time.
    Pour milk, buttermilk and junket (dissolved in 1/4 c. water) in kettle and heat to 86 degrees.  This is lukewarm to the touch, just in case your thermometer don't go that low. Turn heat off.  Let set for 1 hour.  Cut curds and heat to 102 degrees. Turn heat off.  Let set 1 hour. Drain off whey by pouring into a cheesecloth lined strainer (whey is suppose to be very good for you and you can use it in your baking, too).  Mix the salt into the curds and gather curds into cheesecloth.  Put into press for about 1/2 hr, then flip block of cheese over and press for about 1 -2 hrs. with 15-20 # of weight.  Cure for 2 months (if you really can, we can't leave ours alone).      
    Calves, pigs, cheese 001
     Calves, pigs, cheese 002
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    Calves, pigs, cheese 007
    Something that we have been thinking about is composting.  It seems we usually have alot of food scraps, not that we are wasteful people, we're not , but we do not like the stems of broccoli, or carrot peelings, or the wrinkled outer leaves of cabbage, or cores of apples, or things that are found in the back of fridge that smell funny.  I found this really neat website that gave instructions on making a compost bin and the boys were all game to help make one.  We could envision this rich composted soil that worms would love and that we could put on the garden, instead of what we were doing...tossing the scraps across the street in the weeds and wondering why we smell skunk every now and then!   After some discussion, though, George decided to purchase not one, but two composters, and I think this is a much better deal than making one.  What do you think?
    Calves, pigs, cheese 011
    Scraps in....sausage and bacon out....win - win solution!  Have you ever gotten close enough to one of these critters to notice their eyes?  Almost creepy... they are so human like.....
    I wanted to share something that we have been doing for years that has blessed us as a family.  Life gets so busy sometimes that we forget, or neglect, to pay special attention to each other.  We each seem to get lost in the shuffle.  We have a laminated chart on the fridge with the days of the week going down the paper.  Each of our family names are cut out and laminated so they last longer.  At the beginning of the week, we put all the names in a bowl and pick one out at a time and put them behind the days....like this....
    Calves, pigs, cheese 005
    We each have a special day on which we, especially, get prayed for and get a special place setting at supper.  Each week the names get shuffled again and our special days get changed.  The boys just love setting that special spot and love being named in the prayer.  Something simple, but meaningful to us.  We find that summer time is not so easy to do this, for if we are busy with outside work, our meals are not always so organized, but this works really well in the winter time.  It just so happens that our names hold out for the number of days, but if it don't for you, you could repeat names or put other people's names in a place and then pray for them, give them a phone call or send a card.
    Calves, pigs, cheese 006
    Until next time................

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