Friday, July 18, 2014

New Babies
















Our first chicks of the year hatched out on Wednesday the 16th.  Momma hen had 10 eggs, and 6 chicks hatched.  Usually we have several hens go broody each spring, but this girl has been the only one to go broody this year. It's a nice change from having a broody hen in all of the nest boxes and having to fight them for eggs.  I wonder what my chances are that all 6 babies are pullets?  Probably slim to none...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Here are some random things that have been going on around here.  I need to blog about the rest of our Florida trip, but I'm procrastinating.  :-)

We've had some strong storms lately, and there have been some very neat looking clouds.


































The kids got a color stick for campfires, and we tried it out one evening.  You put the stick in the fire and the flames change colors.  I couldn't get a great picture, but you can see the blue flame in the center of the picture, near the top. 















I cast on the Three Tams pattern and have been making fairly good progress on it.  Using 2 yarns slows my knitting down a bit, but I've been able to knit several rows each night. 






























Kylee is going to sew a dress to enter in our county fair, so we started working on it the other day.  I helped out with cutting out the pattern pieces.















I'll post pics of the progress on the dress.  I love the fabric, she did a great job picking it out!

I painted her nails to look like strawberries.  I used red nail polish, and the green and black are just acrylic paint.  I covered everything with a coat of clear so it'd hopefully stay around longer.















I'll end with a picture of Elmer, taken by David.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Quick Science Experiment






















The kids and I did a quick and easy science experiment the other day.  We picked several Queen Anne's Lace flowers and put them in water with food coloring. Then we waited.  A day later we could see the flowers starting to turn color, and they got darker the longer we waited.  I added more food coloring after the first day, which made a big difference.  The only one that didn't change much was the purple.  All of the rest are very pretty!

Monday, July 7, 2014

30-Minute Mozzarella

Last year I tried making mozzarella, because I'd read that it's so easy you can do it in 30 minutes.  Well, I tried, but for some reason I failed.  I'm not sure what happened, but my final product was definitely not mozzarella!  I was too intimidated to try again, until recently.  I started reading again about how easy it was, and I wanted to try it again.  I also have lots more goat milk than I know what to do with, so I needed a new use!  I found this blog post and gave it a shot yesterday.  I got out my ingredients and went to work.

I won't post the recipe again, since there are lots of different blog posts on the New England Cheesemaking Supply blog, but I'll just skim over the main steps.

I added the required amount of citric acid to 1 gallon of milk, then heated to 90 degrees.















Then I added the rennet that had been dissolved in water, and let it sit for 5 minutes.  After the 5 minutes is up, I checked to make sure the milk had set up.  Sure enough, it pulled away from the pot when I pressed it. Yay!















Then I cut the curd. I used a cake icing spatula, which worked perfectly.















After the curd was cut, I heated it all back up to 105 degrees, while gently stirring.















Then, the whey gets drained, and the curd goes into a microwave safe bowl.  You can see the bumps on the cheese from my colander.















The cheese gets microwaved for 1 minute, then after the whey is drained off (as often as needed), it gets kneaded like bread. I didn't get pictures of this part because I had my hands in cheese.  This is where the process went wrong the last time, but for whatever reason it went perfectly this time.  I kneaded until the cheese was shiny, then I stretched it, and then formed it into small balls. Then the balls chilled in icewater for about 15 minutes.















Then I ate it!  I sliced up some tomato (not my garden tomatoes yet, darn it), with some basil and mozzarella. Then I drizzled it all with olive oil and sprinkled a little salt and pepper over it.  It was delicious!  I'm so excited it actually worked for me, and I know I'll be making this much more often!!  I bought the rennet tablets from NE Cheesemaking Supply. I think I got 10 tablets, and each tablet will set FOUR gallons of milk, so I've got LOTS of cheese making to do!














I highly suggest you try it.  If you can stir, you can make this!  And I love NE Cheesemaking Supply...Ricki Carroll's book is also a must-have!

Monday, June 30, 2014

My First Yarn!

A while back I posted that I started spinning yarn on my drop spindle.  Well, I'm happy to report I've made my first yarn!  Yesterday I finished spinning the last of the gorgeous blue and purple roving.  I wound the first half into a ball, and the second half on an empty toilet paper roll.















I needed to get the yarn wound around something so I could form a hank (a big loop of yarn).  I thought I had a niddy noddy, but I looked all around and couldn't find it.  I'm still waiting on that fairy to come organize my yarn stash and all my tools.  So I had to improvise.  As Tim Gunn would say, I had to "Make it work!".

Turns out, treadmills really do come in handy for something!















I wound the yarn around the treadmill, then used pieces of string to tie the yarn all around, so it wouldn't tangle.















Then, to set the twist in the yarn (so it wouldn't untwist), I soaked it in hot water.  You can see how much the yarn wanted to twist back up after I removed the hank from the treadmill.






























After squeezing out the excess water and "thwacking" the yarn on the counter (to relax the yarn fibers?), I hung it outside, using a can to slightly weight it and help it dry nicely.





















I'm so excited to use it! I'm not sure how many yards I have, so I need to figure that out before I figure out what I want to do with it.  Our county fair is coming up in August, and there are classes for "handspun yarn" and "handspun knitted article", so I'm not sure if I'll make it into something or just enter it as yarn.  There are quite a few inconsistencies, so I'm leaning toward knitting something in the hopes that the inconsistencies will look more like art yarn than mistakes.  :-)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Road Trip: Part 1

A couple of weeks ago David and I took a road trip with a couple of friends of ours.  We were headed to Florida, to attend a wedding of some friends of ours.  We decided to stop in Savannah on our way down, and spend the night there.

It is about 10 hours from Maryland to Savannah, so we left at 4 AM Thursday morning to head down. We got to town around 2pm, and checked into our hotel for a bit of a rest before we went sight-seeing.  We had a 7:15 reservation at The Lady & Sons, Paula Deen's restaurant.
















I didn't expect the restaurant to be a three story part of this building.  It's pretty big inside.

We spent some time looking around the gift shop before dinner.















After dinner we walked around a bit, and headed to the river walk.  There was a little square, called Johnson Square. Since my maiden name is Johnson, I had to take a picture with the sign.




















































There was a really neat plant that caught my attention, so I had to get a picture (this is a theme for the whole trip).





























The river walk area was so neat. There were shops everywhere, musicians on the corners, artists set up to paint people, and a pretty view of the river.




























































This is Marc and Amanda, our traveling buddies.















WWII Memorial















A fancy honey shop...













































And on the way back to our truck, we saw a horse and cart.  I managed to catch the horse relieving himself....oops.  :-)
















We only had one night in Savannah, and there was so much we didn't get to see. I'd love to go back and spend an entire week there!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grazin' On...
















The sheep and goats are on their second rotation of grazing in their main pasture this spring.  I've been rotating them heavily all around the property, and mainly saving their main pasture for week day grazing.  It's easy for me to keep an eye on them grazing in temporary fencing out in the yard during the weekends, and it's nice to have the security of the main pasture with permanent fencing when I'm at work.  The grass is still holding up very well, and we're due to get some rain tonight so hopefully it'll keep going strong for a while.  Usually we get a drought in late summer, so I'm preparing for that.  You can see they grazed the paddock to the left already, and this picture was when I moved them to a fresh piece.

June decided to go for the good stuff up high, and everyone came over to steal some leaves while she held down the branch.
 














Mulberry leaves must be tasty.















Hi Nessa!






















Hi Barley!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...