Saturday, February 25, 2006

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

I don't know if it the fact that my mom raised us Catholic. I feel this tremendous guilt around me daily. It could be my intense dislike of people who hurt other people's feelings. I don't know. I have this recuring habit of saying the wrong thing and the wrong time to the wrong person who takes a genuinely nice thing and thinks it is bad and I'm mud.

The most intense one I still think about today is an event from High School. This girl came to our school from a neighboring town. I really liked her. She had a quiet way about her. I had friends from that school she went to. I learned that she came to our school to change things in her life. Mainly to get away from a drug problem. I respected that and really thought she was a strong person for trying to change her life. In the school yard, another girl was looking at her and said in a typically ugly way that she thought the other girl was on drugs. I was furious. I thought she was great for overcoming a problem and here was this perennial jerk telling me that she thought this girl was bad. I, in my innocent way, demanded that she doesn't do drugs! I know this for a fact because she came to our school to get away from them.... Basically this girl now had ammunition to hurt both of us. A couple of weeks later the later girl and I were on the school bus with the best friend of the girl who moved to our town. In my typically passive way, I was sitting alone looking out the window. I hear her tell the best friend that I said that her best friend had a drug problem. I was horrified. I didn't know what to do. They left and I dind't sleep, had stomach cramps all night and dreaded going to school the next morning. Sure enough, the girl I admired so much came up to me and told me I was a gerk, among other horrible things that I deserved considering the story she just heard... I was too much of a coward to confront the issue. To this day, I cannot say anything. She looks at me with such hate... well the one time I saw her at UMASS years later. I cannot even use real names today...

Most currently I was talking to a friend talk about a job she has with the government. She is going through some of the same frustrations I went through. I felt the tensoin in my chest as she described what was going on. I was distracted by the computer not working with a tax deadline looming. In my famously obnoxious way, I said that she must love chaos, or be one of those who create it if it isn't around. Basically, I'm talking about me and trying to bring a bizaar comforting parallell to her situation. Well, it was a crapy thing to say. The faltering phone conversation said everything. I felt like crap. I meant nothing more that to say that I had to leave my job because I couldn't take that stress and I was overwhelmed with the idea of her staying to put up with people treating her like they do. I cannot stand it and I slowly eat away at myself in that situation. Rather than say it like I just did two sentances ago, I try something smart and it turns out cheeky this time. I am a moron and certainly not a good friend. What an ASS I am.

The sad thing is that the thought process that goes into saying things and the feelings behind them are often so disconnected that I am so suprised at what I hear come out of my mouth. Even in positive, hey you sound like a rock star - everyone loves you, I am listening to myself and saying, may you squeaked by on that one this time moron. Is there a class or workshop on how to connect what you are trying to say with what you are actually saying? Or- try to think about what you are saying and offer some strategy to your thought process. I dunno. I cannot even articulate what it is that I want from myself in this regard. I just wish that I could just shut up and listen rather than try to take part in every conversation. Just stop getting so excited and be normal...

Sorry Donna and Georgia. I was trying to be nice. I can be a moron and a coward.

sea salt

I got this sea salt from my distributor. It has a lot of sediment. I made brine with it. Didn't think much more than to skim the scum off the top. I brine all of this months cheeses in it. I have this feeling though. I just don't like it. I'm going to make a cheddar next week and dry salt it. I have this cleaner sea salt that I proceeded to crack open the bag of that is in better shape. I saved enough to make a few batches. I'm going to see if I can send in a sample to AgriMark central lab to see what is in the brine before I use it again.

I learned more about sea salt. Boy, it is like cheese. It is so different. The mineralization, coarseness, purity... It is pretty neet stuff. I just have to remember that not all sea salt is the same.

I did just order kosher salt just in case. I'll dry salt with the other stuff until I see that the brine passes muster. After I send in the sample, I'll boil the brine. The cheeses are fine. I do have some over 2 weeks and no blowing. They are fine in fact. I just beeswaxed them yesterday. When I c&w, I'll send a sample into the lab to check. Our inspector does the same for our raw milk. I send a sample into a lab when they do just for insurance.

I just have this obsessive tendance towards cleanliness. Well of the product I'm selling anyways.

I have a grant for a HACCP plan. Now that taxes are done, I plan to look into that more.

It's cold and late. Time for bed.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Piles of Energy

Well, that is what the horoscope said. Boy were they off. Damn Olympics. Finally have something to watch on t.v. and Dave and I stay up to 11pm watching EVERYTHING. We're moving into the curves and laughing at the commentators. I am so flat out tired watching this...

Add that to being injured pretty bad while milking Bruce's cows. My back hurts so much that I get this violent stomach ache when I turn wrong or sit in there horrid kitchen chairs for long. I made a 30# wheel of Gouda yesterday and thought I'd die putting it into the brine.


I also had a buck goat help me rip the entire skin layer off a knuckly of my baby finger. Had to wear gloves through making cheese and tonight milking. A hay cut and some random paper like cut add to the injuries.

Suppose to go back to MA this weekend. Not gonna happen. Too much wind and then snow. I dunno. I may meet Marcia in Duanesburg (and Ken who has to drive). I don't want to go anywhere. Well, I do want to say hi to George and see if I could visit a professor I worksed for Dr Smyth. He is in a nursing home. I liked him and appreciated his passion. He did genetic work on poultry. Developed the Midget White turkey in fact. Neet guy. Chris is still at UMASS. I bet he doesn't remember me from anyone. I did want to look him up and visit the library with a copy card worth about $100 and two ring binder notebooks... Someone has to collect info on these rare breeds...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Kraft as sneaky as Phillip Morris?? NO!?!?!

Kraft and Philip Morris Scientists Caught Comparing Notes
In a follow-up report to an extensive three-part series on Kraft and obesity, the Chicago Tribune (Kraft is headquartered in Illinois) published an article entitled: “Where there's smoke, there might be food research, too: Documents indicate Kraft, Philip Morris shared expertise on how the brain processes tastes, smells.” Many people don’t realize that the company responsible for Oreos, Cheese Whiz, and Oscar Meyer wieners is owned by the same parent company (Altria) of the makers of Marlboro and Virginia Slims. The Tribune has dug into documents spanning the mid-1980s though 2001, made available through tobacco litigation against Philip Morris.
The documents reveal that Kraft and Philip Morris discussed investing jointly in brain scans to study how the brain processes tastes and smells. For example, a 1997 planning memo proposed investing in "neuroimaging," or brain scans, and research on sensory neuroreceptors, which are sites on brain cells that process smells and tastes. Also, a 1998 memo suggested that Kraft and Philip Morris collaborate on foods and drinks "engineered to influence" a customer's mood or sense of fullness. The paper said that because Philip Morris has released few documents since 2001, it’s difficult to determine if the cigarette maker and Kraft have collaborated in recent years.
Source: Chicago Tribune, 01/29/06 (with links to documents),1,3082179.story?coll=chi-business-hed


I get this kind of information from COMFOOD-L. In particular the Informed Eating newsletter. I like getting it. I also get newsletters from:
Specialty Foods Newsletter
NY Farms!
I like to get information from all sides. I think it helps someone make more informed decisions.

I'll try to remember all of the other sites/groups I read. But this is a start.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Girl Day Out

Claire and I went to Clinton today. James came back from holiday and I got a 9am hair appointment. Combine that with getting paid by Bruce for milking his cows... Girl day. Should have been put into bank to pay bills, but Claire needed one on one attention and I thought it would be a great way to celebrate not wetting bed last night.

Hair cut went as usual, only with Claire questioning art work, pictures and James daughter, why a customer went into room and laughing hysterically about mommy getting hair cut. Poor James didn't know what to think of someone's enthusiasm over cutting and styling hair. I like the more liberal conversations at the hair shop. A wonderful diversion from the fundamentialism here in Madison.

Next to bank. Deposit my milk check (ok milking someone else's cows check) and Claire begging for lollipop. Back to truck where Claire questions me about children attending or not attending daiy care in the various church looking buildings in the commons.

Short drive (because my coat smelled of cow and barn dog) to other end of common. Go to breakfast at my anti-McDonalds... Bistro 7 or something. I ate Eggs Benedict and Claire two eggies (with wheat toast and potatoes). The later was an offence to Claire because she didn't ask for them, but I was able to concinve her that she only had to eat what she ordered and that it was nice for the lady (with sparkles in her shirt) to give her something she didn't ask for.

Another girl, of maybe 2 comes in. She is with her grandmother. After paying, Claire goes up to say hello. It is lovely how little kids have no inhibitions about approaching a total stranger (of same size) to say hello. Claire must have sensed the candy that grandma snuck to the little girl, because she askingly suggested that the little girl, who still barely noticed Claire, would liek to give her a piece of candy. As I pull Claire away, other patrons smile and chuckle, Claire gets gummy worm and we are out door.

Ah the shop between Bistro and truck has colourful toys in the window and is open. Ok, why not. You have to visit the Duane twins and need presents. Thank God the toys are up scale and cheap. Barbara will cringe and the kids will enjoy them. We had no money for X-Mas, but I was still able to get presentable toys for each child for their birthday. That and the lady at the shop was a joy to talk to. I am meeting intelligent people again with conversations that go above the general native talk of snow mobiles, bad mouthing neighbors and some NASCAR/country music...

I also ran into the market manager. Nice guy with a genuine passion for small business sucess in the town. He took my name down and I said something about considering attending the market. We talked about wholesale vendors at many markets that pretend they grow their crops and the unfairness of it and of Green Rabbit Farm and Suzanne's ability to make a damn good mesculine mix and her new bread making venture. We both agreed that her raisin bread is awsome. I used it for French Toast.

Back home. Dave is learning how to use internet (blood pressur emedicine getting workout on his part). I just finished Bait and Switch by my favorite author Barbara Ehrenreich. I also downloaded last draft of Tim's b.plan to highlight the last bit of info I needed. After I'm done with that, tea and biscuits, turn cheeses in cooler and to Bruce's to milk them long tailed beasts...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Kerry Cows

I've been talking. To breeders and organizations in Canada and US about my beloved Kerry Cows. There is often a problem with rare breeds. Lack of population control. What that means is that there isn't a strong network of breeders in the different gene pool areas (UK, Canada, US and Ireland). There are Societies and the like, but we don't have a clear plan or vision. We don't even know who all of the players are!

What I had proposed to Jane Mullen in Canada and ALBC was the establishment of two things
1) a stronger network of breeders and
2) a better handle of the genetic resources that we have on hand.

Jeannette gave me an run down of the computer programs that can be used, organizations that use them and costs/tech support offered. I emailed the Cleveland Bay Cociety in UK to see what their experience has been with Sparks, a program from ISIS. Apparently they like it a lot. It has helped them control the gene pools in UK and US. Breeders Assistant is another program that appears popular, only it isn't very exportable into other programs - say if it becomes obsolete or something.

I hope to send a letter off to Ireland. We need their approval on anything we do. I'd also like to see if we can get bi-yearly inspections of herds by Ireland if we can and do more promotions/fundraising. Canada and US also need semen.

I started a Kerry Cow group on yahoogroups to see if we can get a discussion of breeders going.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More snow and brine

I have to get thos lugs that I keep promissing myself for brine. This putting bring in 5 gal. buckets thing is absurd and takes up a lot of space. Great for storing brine I'm not using, but not so good for brining as there are only so many cheeses I can fit per pail. Don't want to stack the cheese in the brine. Don't get proper salt penetration. I already threw one cheese out that didn't get turned enough. Tried dry salting every day for a week and then every other day for another week, but threw out after battling mucor a month later. A 12# wheel! That was plain careless and will NOT happen again.

Dave is getting me a proper stir rod for Velentine's Day. Shiney and useful. The later suites Dave and the former satisfies some odd need for something shiney for me. Not going to get bling from him in my lifetime, so may as well settle for stainless steel! It'll save on my back as well, so I will be happy. I just hope he puts a pink bow on it or something ;~>

I have to order the Enlgish cheese book that I had before for that old Lancashire recipe I took notes on. When we get to 2X week processing in March, I'm going to work on perfecting my English cheeses. I'll start with a Caerfili, go to Cheddar and after I like what I'm making, go for the Lancashire in the summer. I have a number of 40# molds. May as well use them right? I think the 20# molds will suite a cheddar and I'll use the Tomme molds for the Cearfili.

I also like to make Cacciocavallo. So many cheeses.... I do have to do 2 makes of that for opening day of markets.

Claire and I have to make beds and vacuum the 2nd floor before going to the library.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

More snow and Gouda

Made a batch of Gouda. Dave had two Ayrshire 2nd claf heifers calve last week. Their milk looks good and is in the tank. I made a batch of Gouda. Looked like 42 gal. Made 5 wheels of cheese. Lost some curd due to stupidity during draining whey, but it wasn't half a baby Gouda. It will sit on the press until 3pm and I'll turn one more time to right pH. I tend to brine right off and rest after. These will be clear waxed.

More lake effect snow. About 6" fell overnight. Seemed to warm a bit, and the snow is blowing around mroe than falling now. Tom is trying to dig out. Bad timing. Trying to get Claire to take a nap while his Belarus wails up the driveway. Dave dug us out right after milking. Milk truck came for the last 3 milkings (I took 4th).

Breeder came and bred Clara. Used the Russell Basil semen from Plimoth Plantation. She is on the fat side and I think I finally have Dave convinsed to lay off the silage. At least for the Kerry group. Moose looks like she took and possibly Eva. Siobhan is still to breed, only she seems to come into heat when relief breeder is on. Mmm.

Time for another cuppa. Dave just said the water is on and I can just start to feel the wood heat coming up the stairs to the landing (computer area). Looks like a good time to sit in my rocking chair in front of the stove reading another recipe chapter I found (Stocking Up book from Rodale Press. Good cheese chapters).

Monday, February 06, 2006

Arapawa Goats

Al got the Arapawa goat society web site up. I think it is . I looks good. We are listed as breeders. Marilyn in OR is going on February 10th to see Betty on the island and view her goats. Wouldn't that be awsome. Attached is a family photo of some of mine.

It is Knick with Lynn (younger doe) and Heather. They are in the lower pole shed near the outdoor cubby hole.

I get to change bucks this year. I have Kool as well, but I've requested this other senior buck with genetics that don't match the ones I have as much. Hopefully Marilyn can get some semen as well. Woo hoo! These are awsome goats.

January thaw, February Freeze

Well, so the old adage holds. Lake effect off Lake Eirie today with little snow. Tomorrow there will be more. a foot or better according to Dave. It is finally cold. Bruces barn wasn't so warm and two sweatshirts was adaquate. Better than milking in a tee-shirt in February. THat wasn't right.

The kerry/aryshire bull is not a good drinker. Tongue off the side of his mouth. Kicking with front feet. Needed two of us to feed him. You get that sometimes. They on occassion cannot drink off the mother too. This one stayed with mommy too long and refused to drink off a bottle. Depending on the cow, we try to keep calves on cow at least all night or if outside during the day until the next milking. Seems both do better.

The cattle dealer picks up both bulls this morning. Claire finally understands that it is a fact of life that "girl calves" stay and "boy calves" go to the cattle dealer. She cried when the twin bull went. We haven't had to explain the part about what happens to the bull when it goes and what will happen to the free-martin heifer that stayed. When she asks, we'll tell her though.

Taxes to work on today. Revise Tim's plan and send out the letter and invoice to the Guild. I also have to email Mark to see if the Guild sent him anything to close the grant out. Silly people. I don't know why they have to get so greedy. I was the one being nice about things. They got ugly for no reason at all. A mentor of mine once said that people who do mean things have it come around. If they do it often, it comes quicker. Considering the history of the group...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

It's awful grey

The day that is. My mood too. It was windy last night and I don't sleep well with the wind blowing. Claire woke up early. She brought her pillow into the bedroom. That wasn't bad, only her knocking everything off the side table wasn't a great way to start the day. I later burned myself while sitting in the rocking chair next to the woodstove. It wasn't the woodstove that burned me, it was the tea.

I will be looking through my cultures in the freezer. I have to use up all of the funny stuff I bought for the workshops and for earlier experiments before they go off. Funny stuff only refers to cultures that aren't 400.1 or Aroma B lately. EZAL also switched to Danisko or something and I have to adjust all of my recipes to account for this change. I need to borrow a gram scale and weigh out stuff and get a plan of action for spring make season.

Tuesday and Wedneday look like my make days this week. I may go with Tim to see a dairy in the north country. He is keen on goats. $100 for registered does and he wants to wait! Oof. I'd be interested in starting some if my cash flow warranted.

I'll be writting letters to all customers this week. Right after I finnish getting tax information ready. I also have to ring accountant and get appointment.

A VT ayrshire had a kerry/ayrshire bull calf last night. I felt bad for Claire because she waited patiently all morning to watch and the cow had it after she came in for the night. My white Ayrshire is next. It should be another kerry cross and I hope it is a heifer.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Spring Cleaning in February

I'm in a light sweatshirt today. Unseasonably warm. Little snow left and the crocusus are starting to come up. Makes me want to sweep out the dirt and grime and start fresh.

I start the commercial cheesemaking season Wednesday. I ordered the clear cheesewax that I needed and the extra cheesecloth. Today I scrubbed down walls, replaced gaskets and cleaned the windows.

Marcia and Ken left for home today. Only a few more days until Jen and Cecil are due back.

Heard coyotes singing all night. Opened the window at 4am and they quieted down. Dave checked on sheep. Everyone ok.