Friday, September 3, 2010

Since the last full moon...

According to my digital camera, I took this photo of the beautiful moonrise over our yard on August 15th --but the lunar phase calendar says the full moon wasn't scheduled until August 24th, so I don't know what is going on with that. But, in looking through photos from the past couple weeks, I  noticed that we have been working pretty hard and have accomplished a lot of projects that haven't made it to a blog post. Since this blog is serving as our Squash Blossom Farm journal,  here are some blogworthy accomplishments since our last full-looking moon:
When Cadence left for Mexico, besides  having to milk the cow solo, I also had to deal with all the milk.  Meaning, I had to learn to make cheese!   I have now made Monterey Jack,  traditional cheddar, manchego and gouda.  Here is my second wheel of lovely gouda, just out of the press. (All those little round bumps are where the cheese tried to press through the holes in the mold where the whey drains.) At this point, the cheese is air dried for a week or so before being  waxed.
Here I am waxing my very first wheel of cheese, Monterey Jack.  The wheels have gotten a bit prettier since this first one. 
We used up the last of Cadence's fresh  mozzarella and some of her awesome parmesan on a yummy pizza featuring Rog's sourdough crust and tomato sauce, veggies, garlic and herbs from our garden. Other than the pepperoni, which we purchased at the Farmers Market,  all the ingredients for this pizza came from our farm.
On one of our evening walks, we harvested the wild elderberries growing along the road and Rog made elderberry wine.  After simmering the berries to make juice, he pressed them through the chinoise with the wooden pestle to remove the skins and seeds. (That chinoise has been one of my most rewarding thrift store finds!  )
The wine is now fermenting. It will be ready to bottle in about a month, ready to drink in about 7 months.
Rog helped me deal with our cow's relentless milk supply by making yogurt.  Now that we have let LaFonda go dry, this will be our last gallon of yogurt from our own cow until next spring. We have been enjoying a bowl of it every morning with nectarines, raspberries, walnuts and a drizzle of honey--a concoction that a friend titled "Bucolic Breakfast of Bliss."
It's tomato season.  Last year I planted 100 tomato plants and had to deal with 1000 pounds of tomatoes. I learned my lesson and only planted 50 plants this year. 
However, because of burgeoning life demands, I did not get the tomatoes properly staked this  summer, so they are sprawling wantonly all over the place. It has been so rainy that most of the fruit has split, some tomatoes have virtually exploded. And then there is the slug infestation.  Long story short, the turkeys and chickens are feasting on the half of the tomato crop that is split and slug-nibbled and I have many fewer to preserve this year. Nevertheless,  I have roasted and frozen quite a few tomatoes--with plenty more batches yet to go.
Finally, after trying many less-than-satisfactory approaches, I have successfully raised two crops of micro-greens - pea shoots and sunflower shoots.  They are mighty tasty! This is an experiment to potentially expand my little sprout operation. Stay tuned to find out how it goes...


katiegirl said...

You all have been very busy! The cheese looks great, and the pizza looks so delicious. Great work!

Vic said...

That pizza looks amazing! Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

Just be glad you can grow such volumes of tomatoes. We work really hard here in the Pacific Northwest to grow them and half the time the results are rather sad. You are quite lucky indeed.