Friday, October 19, 2007

Visiting with other cheesemakers

I got to see the Amish cheese maker today. Found this lovely little Raw milk cheese plant in Richfield Springs. Dan is a decent sort, clean and simple place, nice cheese. I like him.

Dave, Claire Tim Powers and I were on this road trip. We picked Tim up. Tim took us over the river and through the woods. We had no idea where we were by the time we got there. Got to see a lot though and there were plain and pretty roads along the way. Took Rte 20 back (needed to get Tim some Stewerts coffee and us some petrol). The trip made sense when we got back to Rte 20.

Met the other wanna-be cheese maker. Andelo. He, like Rosemary Belforti, is trying to make a cheese using Kefir cultures. Interesting. Reminded me of some of Brian Rivington's creations he made in our plant last summer. Rind is too dry, paste is yeasty, doesn't have strong goat flavor... Claire liked the older cheese. Not so much his younger one.

He has this neet goat barn and was in the process of making the milking parlor. I'll get photos developed and see about pasting on the blog at some time.

Would love a digital camera, but we need to make it through the winter. Maybe for my birthday...

I bought two wheels of the Caerfili for the market this weekend from Dan. I am short on aged cheeses and he is in need of thinning his inventory. He is learning. I think that he will become a very good cheese maker with time. He has the Margaret Morris book and is an inquiring mind. Something about him makes me think he'll do pretty good.

A couple of more cheesemakers on Rte 20 corridor and we can get a trail! Need that cheese cluster. Want the tourists!

My goats milk project is not so good. Looks like the volume is slipping with the quality. It was 1 mil. SCC again. I have to toss the wheel most likely. I don't need a "late blower" in the cooler. I'm going to put it into a seperate smaller cooler and see what happens. It will be an educational cheese for future workshops, not something I want to sell. I've already dubbed it "Stinking Goat". Some people seem to think that milk for cheese can be crap. Well, no. It actually has to be better than the stuff going into the UHT ultra-filtered bottles of fluid milk-food that supermarkets pass off as a dairy product. You want good-bugs working, not not-so-good bugs working. Neet thing if the goat boys get that.

Our herd will be drying off February/March. I need the goats milk until then. We will be milking about 6 cows until April. I'll be making a lot of cows milk cheese until then (and supporting the whole deal with cheese sales). Daunting yet somehow I like this challange. Bout time the cheese stepped up to the plate.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Splat Dives

My back hurts. I am squerming in my seat. Had to check bank balance for hundredth time. Did market deposit and all it did was cover some moron's bounced check and the bank fees. Thanks! No more favors for anyone. I cannot afford people anymore. I do workshops again, it is on my dollar. No more helping organizations use them as fundraisers or projects to check off of grant projects!

So, the splat dive. We have this handicap ramp outside of our house. It is our way to make the house more inviting to my mother in-law. She is in a wheelchair. I am determined a few times a year, however to try this ramp out to see how far and fast I can do a splat dive onto the ground! I think I have wheel chair envy!

Landed face down. Knee and left hip were involved somehow. Belle showed that she does care. Tail quiver. Tongue crazy trying to lick mud off face and I bring her back to house. Poor pup. I bet she never saw a chubby woman do such accrobatics before!

I am having more conversations with people who are actually interested in sustainable agriculture and great food this year. There was this shift of people in the region this last year. I am finally encouraged. Even looks like Green Rabbit is sold! I hear it is a young couple interested in farming. Great!

Brought Lorenzo home yesterday. Dennis MacDonald did the hauling. I like him. I do think he figures I'm off, but he is game to see what is next on the agenda here. Lorenzo promptly chased sheep, harassed the Kerry cows on the south pasture and jumped the fence to have closer discussions with the Dexter bull doing clean up breeding on the heifers (and now dairy herd). Too much testosterone.

Gailen Bridges finally sent the pedigree info on the KY Kerry cows.

Things are working out slowly. I am just pissed that people can still take advantage of my passions and cause wreckage in my finances just when things are starting to look up (again). A couple more days of wholesale sales and I'll be sorted, but damned if I help again!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

chevre and Steve Baker

Well we finally did it! Charles Farnham Sr. dropped off the first load of goats milk. Had to take sample to Verona Labs to get it tested for SCC and antibiotics. Made Chevre. 25 gal. for the first batch. I was relieved. I was dreading 60 gal for the first batch.

Seemed decent. Goats milk does smell different than cows milk. I've done it before, it is just a smell that takes me a bit to get use to. Thank God it is good milk. I'll get results tomorrow.

We couldn;t kill the broilers (gone mini-turkeys). I gave them to Steve Wratten. In our negotiations for the birds I saw the meanest little white bantam rooster! Dave has been asking for one for his cousin for 5 years! I figured it was an even trade! Steve moves fast with a net! Got the rooster and came home. Dave visits it a few times a day and is grinning from ear to ear! It is pretty with pink legs and a stut about him... Dave named it after Stave Baker. He was a friend from MA who had a run in with the first bantam rooster. Apparently the story goes that Chris Bruelman (when he ran the auction some 20 years ago) let it go from the box at the Northampton Cooperative Auction and it terrorized theplace for weeks! It will be fun to see how this revenge project goes. I hope he lives happily in the haymow on this pretty little farm on Rte 12 in Sangerfield!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

We Must Be Crazy

I have had nothing but emails and calls from people asking my opinion about Farmstead Dairy Processing. 16 requests for workshop information at the Farmers market! I know I am getting cheeky, but two people in 24 hours tell me they are into goats and cannot stand the idea of drinking the milk let alone the cheese! You gotta like the stuff you make. Passion comes from your love of something. You don't love it and all you are is talk.
I did arrange for two workshops. One in November and one in December. I can handle workshops right now. I do like doing them when I am in charge. (I get paid that way) I'm going to lay off consulting after Marjorie and Dave get up and going. They have the most viable of the projects. I like them all, I just need to focus on the me part of things. It is affecting the business, especially this year.
I do make goats milk cheese for a bit, but I will tell all after the first batch. Dave is so not amused with me. I need milk. Sorry.

Karen Baase came by with this Dairy Profitability facilitator. Sorry facilitator, I liked our conversation this morning, I just don't remember your name. I was being a good girl and answered their questions as best I could and as truthfully as I could. I think I have to be a little less blunt at times. I was pretty good there though.

I am plowing through the Kerry Herd Books Judy Sponaugle of Jams Hundred and the Legacy Dexter Project gave me (I borrowed). Editing the ones I've done right now. Photocopied the other two I didn't enter or scan. I want to get the books published on the web site and credit her for loaning me the books. I would like the Irish books 62 and earlier. I am not trying to form another registry. There are enough. Kinda two things. The Irish Strategy did say that one of the limitations to the genetic study of the breed is that it is in book and not electronic form (except for more recent pedigrees). I will get them a copy of it. I also want us (U.S.) to do a genetic study of the U.S. and international herd as well. We will genotype the remaining cows. I also want an analysis of the pedigrees with as much data as possible to help us develop a strategy for conserving our Kerry cattle. Judy was a HUGE help.

I did pull off the first Kerry Cattle Breeders Meeting since 1917! Robert Reilly and his assistant secured the space at the First Ever Shaker Settlement in Albany. Patti Adams, Dana Wakefield and Dave Adams helped tremendously before the meeting. Jonathan White brought cheese and bread from his operation. The conversation was great. ALBC and Rare Breeds Canada were there... See picture above...(need to figure out how to place photo where I want to in this blog).
Let me see, ~back row~Dave Adams, Jeanette Beranger (ALBC), Ted Lawrence (Rare Breeds Canada), Sean Stanton, me, ~front row~Robert Reilly, Liz MacKenzie (Rare Breeds Canada), Patti Adams, Dana Wakefield, Jonathan White and Jonnie Larason (Plimoth Plantation). Photo taken with Patti Adams camera.

Tom Tucker rang back tonight. The lads are in CA. Well some are there/were there... They are laying the new surface for the Thoroughbred Race tracks. After that one horse died from the leg break, most of the surfaces on these tracks are being done over. It is kinda neet. He will ring back with a start date for the aging/farm market building.
Have to get two more pages edited and go to bed. Chevre tomorrow!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Fall Market Cheese

I'd like to start the blog with a title that actually reflects my mood. I don;t think it is appropriate for a mother of a 5 year old to swear that vehemently.

Day started ok like. Dave agreed to run the trailer plug to John and Lisa Kirby (yup John you are mentioned in the blog again). Claire and I went to church. A nice place. I like the people there. They had this dedication for a stained glass window. It is pretty. I'd like to hire the guy who installed it. Looks like he actually knows how to work on an interior of a house. Kinda rare to find in these parts. We stayed for cidre and muffins/cookies/cake. Claire got to tell people we were going to kill birds after church...

We got home. She was cooperative for the most part and did agree that changing out of her fashion statement of the day into something that is ok to get grubby in was fair enough. I went to cheese plant to acid wash cans and clean up some more. Move the small fridge back to the house. Get the drains cleaned. You know, tiddy time!

Well! While filling the vat up with water for its acid wash, I looked at the fridge. It was making on off sound. Sure enough, the Gouda's on the top (you know the ones ready to market this weekend) were kinda melty. The ones on the next shelf were cracked and melty!!! Crap. Powerful stink while I open the cooler door. Damn, the hose I dropped in the vat just flapped back at me and drenched my right leg...

82 degrees F after the door was open while I reached in to get the thermometer!

Cheesemakers need pigs.

Vile smelly unruly undisciplined (however tasty) pigs eat cheeses that go off and then supply you with the most wonderful bacon and chops...

So much for fall market Gouda! I only have one wheel in the house right now.

Did talk to the goat guys. Goat guys don't even drink their goats milk. Not sure if that is a good thing. They say more than a couple words on this visit. They have less milk to offer than I thought. Maybe I can help them this winter...

I need about $7000 - 10000 to finish this cheese project. I make damn good cheeses in a retrofit milk house attached to our barn. I age the poor buggers in reach in coolers (kinda like shack farming).

I hate shack farming! We did that when we bought the place. Looks a lot different now. I feel better about inviting people here. Sheeps don't have the best place, but at least the pastures are nice this year. They get posh digs over the next 12 months.

I'll keep on this digression mind thought instead of trying to paste lines here and there. I have a hard enough time making sense of this vent, let alone trying to edit a vent!

Basically depressed in afternoon. Craving any carbs after this allergy sniffing diet thing. Coffee is one of them, by the way. Cannot have that nectar of the gods anymore...


Went to Quacks with Dave and Claire to consume carbs. Had a Reuben sandwich and their horrid fries. The sandwich was good. Claire likes the grilled cheese. Dave not so much his meat/gravy/potato thing. He never likes it and yet orders it most every time. I guess expecting that you will not like it, yet with the hope that maybe you will like it is an ok menu item search technique.

I don't know. I guess I will have to bite the bullet and sell Moose (pregnant with Irish semen) and Lorenzo. Damn the cooler!