Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Tam

I just finished knitting up a tam....one of the Three Tams pattern. I knit Tam C, because I liked that pattern the best.  It was a fairly easy knit, once I got reacquainted with holding 2 strands of yarn.  The main color of my hat (the blue) is Cestari Traditional Collection wool yarn, and the contrasting color is Noro Kureyon. 

I ended up tinking (taking stitches out...tink spells "knit" backwards) back and re-knitting the same several rows several times, which got to be a chore.  Turns out, the pattern did not say to move the marker before each decrease row, but luckily many people left notes on the Ravelry page explaining the issue. 

I love how it turned out, and I think I'll enter it in our county fair coming up in August!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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!
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