I did survive the winter. Winter is still here, but I am more opptomistic about things. A lot has happened... All cheesy things too.
Got to go to Long Island to help with the shooting of an t.v. show called "Kitchen Nightmares" with this chef Gordon Ramsey. The premise is that he goes into a restaurant in trouble and tries various things to help them succeed rather than fail. This restaurant was an Italian one. Tuscan influence I believe. I was there to make sure the fresh mozzarella bit worked out. I had many contingencies planned for. Even brought stuff to do the direct acidified version if needed (tricky for a newbie who needs it "on" for the camera. They did do a good stretch for the camera. He got bits about the making of the actual curd wrong, but he did do great for such short notice and only working with this buffalo moz. in the UK. It was fun and I enjoyed the whole bit.
After that, I went up to Orford, NH to work with Bruce and Christine Balch with their 100% milking devon herd. BOY was that milk different than Kerry and Ayrshire milk. Very high fat and solids. Like working with jersey milk, onlu not musky like that milk can get. I liked the color, the clean smell and the way it made a lactic curd (quark). Any of you considering a blue cheese, get yourself a herd of these cows! I am impressed.
I did learn that I do not like the vats made up there in NH. The man was helpful and did take questions at all hours, but the vat had a 2 degree difference from the top to the bottom for a raw milk cheese. The agitator was very quick, even at the low speed and you have to be a rather tall person to work in the 35 gal. vat. It was designed to be a chevre vat I guess. That is about all I would recommend it for.
Started to make cheese for the year. Commercial batches, not the stuff I do on the kitchen or cut&wrap room counter. Made my standard, gouda. Dave and I piped over the hot water from the propane hot water heater to help stabilize the cook temperature. That made things better.
I have been experimenting with blue cheeses for the last month. The devon milk intregued me. I have this bloomy rind/blue thing in mind using those Italian molds I bought 3 years ago and never fully utilized. That and I will play with bloomy/surface rind cheeses with those moulds regardless of the blue thing going on..
Computer is not in a happy place and has to be replaced.
Sheep had lambs. I think the high grain prices will spell the end of many flocks this year. I already heard about a couple rather large flocks selling out. Too bad. They use to be such a great "beginner" farmer animal. I love the calm, simple needs of a sheep. They are also wonderful for children to work with. Who can resist lambs in the spring? They are Maple Sugar for me (early spring thing).
Have to get back to getting farm stand ready for the season...