Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In progress...

Sheep are in the middle of getting transitioned to grass hay for the winter, while still foraging in the pasture. I don't know if this little moorit hued ewe likes it...

I'm in the middle of another pair of socks (sock weather really brings out the sock knitter in me).


Fred's in the middle of munching on his hay and waiting for "playtime" with the girls.


Baby cable rib socks are nice knitting, with Trekking #76.


And trees really are in the middle of fall. About half de-foliated now I'd say.


And! Middle of the week.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Purple Wool.

Purple wool. Two words that make me happy. 8 oz of it spun, into 655 yards of about a worsted weight yarn. 3 skeins. The light is really low now, I'm actually looking forward to the time change!


Two hanks of fiber, one from Laura, one from Angela. The colors were similar so I spun the singles and then plied them together. The Laura skein was the greyer one, the Angela skein the brighter one.


I'm spinning up the rest of the natual colored wools I have, and contemplating the Big Blanket. I'm thinking of color schemes and patterns now. The blanket will be my biggest handspun project to date.


Sheepies are well, in a little bit here, we're turing Fred back out with the ewes, and hope for lambs in the Spring. Baaaaaaaaa! Lambs! I can't wait.


Ahhh, Friday. Last day of the Farmers market tomorrow *sniff*. Time to stock up!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cherry Leaf Shawl

Finito! Evilla 6/1 laceweight yarn, about 1/2-1/3 of the 205 g that Theresa sent me.


I LOVE this. In fact, I've been wearing it around my office just for fun.


It was 32 degrees this morning, but the sun peeked out, and Wilco wanted to help me take a few quick pictures to share.


By the time I was done with this shawl, I had the leaf pattern memorized, which is rare for me!


It was my first time knitting an edging onto a shawl too, and I think it turned out all right.


Fall, perfect time for shawls.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Busy!

Fall Harvest is done. Pumpkins, finally picked, green tomatoes now ripening inside, and the only things left in the garden are leeks and onions (I had some brussels sprouts, but the sheep/goats ate those).


So, you don't like mowing your lawn? Me either :).


The squashes for the winter, butternut, Potimarron, a funny hybrid one, and the pumpkins of course!


Let the sheep/goats/llama mow for you! Free fertilizer and dog entertainment too.


The cheddar is waxed, and put up til December now. Last night I made a gouda, which is a brined and washed rind cheese, that one will be ready by Thanksgiving.


Still working on putting all the tomatoes up, but everything else from the garden is done. I've knit, a little, and spun, a little. The main thing is the Cherry Leaf shawl, its done and blocked. And gorgeous. I just need to take some pics of it!


Have a good weekend everyone, I'm off to Phoenix for a work conference tomorrow!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Gray and White

Gray North Ronaldsay yarn and white Bowmont yarn. Both handspun 2-plies from batts, part of the British Rare Breed wool sampler that Kristen and I split.


Gray Telecat playing with white Bjork the goat yesterday morning by the garden.


Gray kitty looks at white yarn.


More gray and white handspun.


Gray wilted leaves from my zucchini plants. Frozen to gray. Alas, the pumkins have now been picked.


Fall is here!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More Cheese Please!

This is a rarity for me, a post with no pictures, only words!

But, I wanted to address some of the comments about home cheesemaking, and the cheese I posted about yesterday, give everyone a little more information.

Questions and Answers:

1) From Pam, You MADE cheese? Yup :). See cheese? I made it! Elizabeth also asked this question, hee!

2) From Jo, How on earth did you find the time/inclination/recipe to do that?!!? Well, cheese is my favorite food, I love making food, and I've been interested in cheesemaking since high school. In fact, I dragged my mom to a cheese workshop in high school once, took my aunt, mom, and Nate on a farmstead cheese tour of Vermont back in 1998-99, and pushed the limits in Paris dragging Nate and his mom all over the city looking for a cheese shop that had moved addresses when we had yet to see the Eiffel Tower. Among other cheese stories.

Then, Oh, January of 2006 I took a local workshop on cheesemaking. Then Nate bought me a book. Then we moved/got a farm/etc and I forgot about it. Then a coworker found a good source of local, organic, raw milk and I remembered!

Recipes: http://www.cheesemaking.com/ I use her book, "Home Cheesemaking", and have ordered basic supplies/kits from that site. Very user friendly!

3) From Angela, So what time is dinner? Hmm. Well, tonight I'm not sure, I've got to finish work, go home, pick tomatoes, finish making the lamb rellenos and sauce, bake them...em, late?

4) From Peri, How cool is it that you made cheese? I'll default to Peri's answer, Mega! hee.

5) From Bezzie, Was it difficult to do? Well aside from the waiting? Not really, it really is more of a sciency-project than cooking. The main thing is you do need some basic stuff: large pot, two pretty accurate thermometers, real cheesecloth, a mold, milk, rennet, and starter culture.
Then, you need time. Start to finish it took about 5 hrs for this cheese, but you put something in, wait 45 min at a certain temp, repeat. Active time is about an hour or so.

You do need to be patient, and enjoy sciency type things. Kids of a certain vein definitely might enjoy this.

The hardest part actually is getting real milk. If you're like me, the hormones and crap in "conventional" milk scare you. So, at the grocery store, you shell out more for Organic milk without that crap. But, you can't use Ultra-pasturized milk for cheesemaking (because the proteins are completely denatured, and all the good enzymes are gone) and unfortunately in big grocery stores all the organic milk is UHT/Ultra pasturized.

Ideally, you want raw milk for cheesemaking. Unfortunately, this is hard to find unless you know dairy people, or have a good natural food store that sells it (but man, it can be $$$ in the natural food stores).

I have 2 local sources for raw cows milk, and I pay $3 a gallon. For hard cheeses, 1 gallon of cow or goat milk = approx. 1 lb of cheese. Which, is a dang good price I think considering if you're a cheese lover like me, you have paid, much, much, much more than that for raw, farmstead artisan cheeses in the past.

I also have a raw goat milk source, but haven't tried this yet, but plan on it soon! 1 gallon of goat milk = approx. 2 lbs of fresh goat cheese like Chevre!

Ooh, and the sheeps milk. One day. One day. (I'm seriously thinking of getting an Icelandic ewe next Spring and the following year doing the sheep milking thing with her...you know sheep milk has the highest protein/fat/solids content of any milk? From 1 gallon of sheep milk, you can get almost 2 lbs of hard cheese, almost double the yield of cow/goat!)...

Ok, promise, tomorrow will be back to pics and spinning and knitting and garden :).

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cheese, Glorious Cheese!

So, I did it. I took the plunge and made my first "real" cheese. The kind that needs aging and all. Farmhouse Cheddar, made with raw cow's milk.


I like the color of natural raw milk. So much butterfat and yummy stuff it gets a nice yellow-ish hue. Top pic, no flash, bottom, flash.


This will age for a few months before we can try it. I think that's the worst part, waiting!

We got our first freeze of the season. Sigh. That means time to harvest and process all the rest of the freeze-sensitive plants. Eggplants. Peppers and chilies, tomatoes. Just a sample of what I have to do every night after work this week...





Bezzie, I included extra produce pics just for you :).