Hippychick's Gardens

  (bastrop, Texas)
living a smalltown texas homestead inspired life
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makin' lemonaide from hot hot lemons

ooh mama it is feeling like texas.

today will be day two of triple digit heat.  


so far the creatures have been doing well.  a good great number of the chickenychicas are moulting.  bunbun is placed in the shade and comforted by his very own whirling fan while the kitty creatures and myself seek shelter in the shaded parts of the homestead place.  


i am busy on project this morn in hopes of moving the project on to the next phase later this afternoon.  moving the project on would make time for honey extraction of the frames from hive one and honey pulling from hive two but all in good time.  first things first.  


i had an interesting live active culture bread experience here just the other day.  i set out a jar partially filled with an organic flour and water mix.  no yeast was added just the flour and water.  i let the mix set for a few days, feeding a bit more flour and water each day until naturally formed culture bubbles were witnessed.  the bubbles were present day three, a sure sign that natural yeasts and bacteria were captured and in process of turning the flour and water into a lovely sourdough starter.  or so i thought.  


as the days passed, the starter began to smell cheesy-ish but looked fine.  there was no mold growth, nothing looked odd in color, everything seemed good.  i thought hmmpfh,  that must be what bastroptown yeast smells like.  five days in, i decided to make bread as it was bubbling real good and the homestead bread stores were down.  


again, while rising, i sensed the cheese-ish smell.  cheddar cheese i thought or rather cheddar like.  interesting.  and sure enough once baked and sliced there was a deep cheese flavor to the loaf.  deep enough to fool anyone who might not know it was a cheese-less organic loaf.  so i got to wondering which got me to searching for what might be going on.  i was sure it was something that magically occurred in the fermentation process.  i was not sure what the magic was until i came upon the following. 

Salt rising (or salt risen) bread is bread in which the main rising agent is a bacterium Clostridium perfringens , which leavens the bread along with lactobacillus and other wild microbes, as opposed to mainly yeast or baking soda. It is thought that the salt used in the starter is used to suppress yeast growth and provide an environment more conducive to the C. perfringens bacterium, allowing the flavors from the bacterial metabolic products to predominate over the more typical yeast and lactobacillus flavors; in situations where reduced salt might be necessary, similar yeast suppression results can be achieved by adding a Campden tablet to the starter mixture. Another assumption regarding the name is chunks of rock salt were heated and used to provide a warm, stable temperature in which to incubate a "starter" overnight for the C.perfringens to grow.


Salt rising bread is made from wheat flour, with a starter consisting of a liquid (water or milk), either corn, potatoes, or wheat, and some other minor ingredients. The starter distinguishes itself from a sourdough starter by working best with an incubation period of 6-16 hours at temperatures ranging from 38-45° C (98-113° F); a sourdough starter will usually work best at or below room temperature. The resulting bread is of a dense crumb and favorable cheese-like flavor. The exact origin of this bread is unknown, but evidence suggests that it was well known throughout Scotland and Ireland during the mid- to late-1600s. Currently, the tradition is kept alive by relatively few individuals and bakeries that tend to be clustered in the mid to eastern United States. 

i believe the lack of a.c. in our hot hot temps helped to create a most excellent growing environment for the microbes and yeasts to grow. interesting fact though is that i used no salt nor campden tablet. the process happened all on it's own.

i put to jar another experiment just yesterday. this round is a mix of organic buckwheat flour, organic bread flour (wheat) and water. already it's bubbling. i wonder if it too will produce the cheese effect. all we can do is watch and wait. one thing for sure is that the temperatures are cooperating. i wonder what the yeasts and microbes will do next?

moral of this cheesy bread story...


it may feel hot for you.
it may feel the perfect temperature for others.


so when it's hot and your hankering for something cheesy put a mix of flour, water and time together and see if you too are able 
to make cheesy lemonaide from some hot hot lemons. or rather yeasts and microbes if you dare.

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ooh this could be cool... 2o1o honey harvest two!

future fullterbys feeding on a gone to seed parsnip plant


an interesting day so far...


a profitable day so far...


a sweet sweet day so far...


i had been a bit concerned for the out back honeybee hive the past few days.  i was not seeing the same great numbers of bees setting off for flight as i had in previous weeks and it got me to wondering.


  • did i have too many supers on the hive?  
  • were the supers full/empty/in bad shape?  
  • did i miss a swarm?  
  • is my queen in good shape?  
  • is my queen home? 
  • have the wax moths struck again?
  • is there another problem i'm not guessing at in the works?
  • could it possibly be harvest time?  oh please oh please fingers crossed

well there is no better way in finding out than to take a good look inside i thought so this very morning, i got to it.


i put on my new "bees cannot climb right in this veil" bee veil and jacket.  i put on a pair of thick jeans. i put on my rubber boots and gloves and i was on my way.  i got the smoker smoking.  i gathered my tools.  i set up a large swath of heavy weight plastic and a single empty super for the placement of hive parts while working.


the hive was sealed tight.  these bees were serious about keeping things airtight and secure from the elements and from unwanted visitors which might include me, the homestead beekeeper.  upon my first view in, i knew the deal.  happily, it was time for this season's second honey harvest.  amazing what a bit of healthy "keep the blooms blooming" rain will do for your colonies. outside of the frames being full of honey, the colony looked great.  they were all busy and possibly keeping tight inside in order to keep cool. 


super by super i pulled full frames out while transferring yet uncapped honey frames and brood frames (brood are future baby bees tended by nurse bees) into supers that would be returned to the hive structure.  there were several moments when i got a bit too close to the queen and the guard bees got right to business.  i took a few hits to the thigh which in light of my recent stings put me at caution.  i rubbed out the stingers and kept working.  calm and slow, calm and slow.


side note - for those who know about or do not know about my recent bee sting events

i had my recently prescribed epi-pen in the house and at the ready with mr. man also at the ready to help me out in case i got fearful or woozy but lucky for all of us, none of the pesky symptoms showed face.  i was ready at any time to step aside and administer the pen's goods if necessary as survival is an action i very much believe in.  the good news is that even with four stings - three to the front of my thigh and one in the rear - all is well. 

fyi - jeans are not thick enough to keep oneself from being stung.  next time, more layers, thicker layers, damned be the heat!  protection matters.

back to the honey collection report.  the key is to stay calm at all times.  the bees know when you are stressed and they will act up.  if you remain calm and move with a slow steady pace, you have a pretty good chance that the bees too will remain calm.  long story short - i pulled honey, the bees played mostly nice and all is well.


the bees are in great health. woohooo! the population is not for want as i feared, in fact, the population is booming as evidenced by the brood frames in hive which means that our queen is strong.  knowing my bees are strong healthy bees cheers me to no end.  something you might not know about my bees is that i, as keeper, use no chemicals or medications on my bees.  i purchased my two colonies from an aviary that practices organic chemical free beekeeping, has always practiced organic chemical free beekeeping and preaches the importance of doing so for the long term health of honeybees and for long term survival of the honeybee.  i will continue to raise my bees as such with joy and care and that's that.


back to the harvest.  the harvest is good.  the harvest is heavy.  i have not uncapped and extracted the load quite yet but i imagine this mid-summer harvest will prove at least as strong as the spring harvest's happy 50lbs.  and this is just one hive.  i'll not go into the front hive for a few days as projects outside of the farming universe need finishing first.


that said, the full mid-summer honey report is yet to come.


the timing of this harvest is perfect as the honey stores remaining at the bastrop producers market are quite slim.  sales are good, real good and this harvest will certainly fill our little slice of shelf space without a stitch.


one detail i have noticed is that my honeybees very much dislike the black plastic frames.  they avoid them like the plague and turn to them sometimes not at all and sometimes as last ditch effort.  but for the most part, they ignore them.  so i as keeper, want them gone.  this means building more frames and fitting them with natural beeswax.  i've got the parts to do so.  it's now up to me to make the time and get it done.  i think, for now anyway, i'll have enough frames to keep the bees busy with the frames i'll return once extracted.  the frames will return with either fresh wax foundation or as spun frames ready for bee cleanup.


the cleanup frames (those extracted but not fitted with fresh foundation) provide the bees with a natural food source and a base foundation that they will "clean up" and build upon for future honey stores.  the fresh frames will be those that might have experienced a bit too much stress in the extractor and prove in need of new and better supported structure.  honey is heavy.  you don't want your frames falling apart in the hive or upon removal from the hive as either situation could prove most messy and troublesome for both the bees and the keeper.


until i extract, i won't really know the condition of the currently pulled frames.  for now the honey frames lay quietly in two large plastic totes with covers.  i hope i hope i hope, to extract in the morrow.


until then folks - happy day to ya!

hippychick

summer days n' chickenyways

chickenychica's relaxing in the big run

time for a bit to eat in a shaded space

rooroo with his adorable chickenychicas scratching about

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hippychick is offering a skillshare course at the bastrop producers market

topic – brew your own kombucha tea

  • when: saturday, july 24th, 2o1o, from 1o:3o am - 12:oo pm
  • to attend: please sign up at the bastrop producers market
    • note attendance will be limited 12
  • sign up now!
  • facilitated by: michelle habeck a.k.a. hippychick
  • $3.oo optional donation

skills shared between grasshoppers

  • i will demonstrate and explain the basics of brewing and bottling kombucha.
  • topics to be covered will include brewing materials, brewing methods, how to grow your own kombucha scoby, exploring kombucha tea using organic sugar, conventional sugar and/or other natural sweet options, bottling your home brewed tea and more.
  • samples of brewed kombucha tea will be provided.
  • kombucha tea starter kits and kombucha tea brewing jars will be available for sale.
  • one lucky grasshopper will take home a free kombucha tea starter kit!

hippychick’s kombucha experience

  • i have been brewing kombucha for over two years.
  • i maintain a blog at http://hippychicksgarden.blogspot.com
  • intended audience
  • this skillshare is for any grasshopper who is interested in brewing and bottling
  • their own kombucha tea or wants to learn more about kombucha tea.

*about hippychick’s skillsharing experiences

hippychick seeks to share practical skills enabling folk to live more happy and healthy lives. hippychick hopes to exemplify that baby steps, in practice, are in fact giant leaps toward living a more sustainable lifestyle. hippychick believes that learning is a daily experience. we are all grasshoppers, few are masters and the road is ours for the traveling. life is to be lived with eyes open. experience is to be shared. please join hippychick for this and for future skillsharing experiences. cheers!


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hippychick offers private & group in home kombucha brewing classes!

Concerned about maintaining the benefits gained from delicious healthy kombucha tea?


Hippychick is ready to offer private in home kombucha brewing classes for you and/or for a larger group of like minded health concious folk.


Sound interesting to you?

Classes are immediately available for scheduling in the Austin, Bastrop, and Smithville area*. Kombucha brewing materials and starter cultures will be provided. Gallon brewing jars are sold separately.


Private in home sessions - $35

Group sessions - $35 basic demonstration fee plus $7 per group guest fee


*I am based in bastrop - a small travel fee may apply for further distance areas.


contact me at hippychickenfarmer@gmail.com



the above photo is credited to spooning online mag

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hippychick's wildflower honey now available @ the bastrop producers market!!!

hippychick's wildflower honey is now available at the bastrop producers market! get it while it lasts - there's only so much to go around and you'll be sorry if you miss it.


hipppychick's wildlower honey is

  • extracted the old school way - by handcrank
  • raw and unprocessed to keep the goodness in
  • filtered to keep the waxy bits out
  • made by bees who live a healthy organic & chemical free life 

give it a try!

  • 1 pound bottle @ $7.50
  • 1/2 pound bottle @ $3.85

yummy! yummy!

hippychick wildflower honey

ah come on, you know you want it!


bastrop producers market

Tues-Fri 11:00am - 7:00pm    Sat 9am - 6pm    Sun 1:00pm-6:00pm

977 Hwy 71 --  bastrop, texas

between FM20 and Hwy21

512-308-9989

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homemade & homegrown goods from hippychick's gardens available now

 hippychick's super-d-lovely eggs

cheers for local organic fed chickeny egg sellers! the chickenchicas at hippychick's gardens provide beautiful fresh eggs daily. *i feed the ladies coyote creek organic feed. they also enjoy organically grown greens, tomatoes and the occasional melon from the garden, along with any goodies they can scratch up with their own two chickeny feets.

-- $4.00 per dozen (brown, white, blue green, dark brown - each carton is a mixed dozen)


also available

-- fresh ginger lemon kombucha tea - $2.75 pint

-- fresh kombucha tea - $2.75 pint

-- kombucha tea starter kit - $12.oo pint jar w/tea, sugar and kombucha culture

-- home canned peaches $8.oo quart

-- home canned stewed tomatoes $7.50 quart -- $4.oo pint

-- home canned tomato sauce $4.oo pint

-- home made and preserved blueberry ginger jam $3.75 1/2 pint



hippychick gardens is a hand to hand sustainable ad-venture

hippychick gardens is located in historic bastrop, texas

all sales local and sold from the homestead

all sales cash only



email me

@

hippychickenfarmer@gmail.com

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eggs eggs we have beautiful organic local eggs

hippychick's super-d-lovely eggs are booming - cheers for local organic fed chickeny egg sellers!  the chickenchicas at hippychick's gardens provide beautiful fresh eggs daily.


*i feed the ladies locally milled coyote creek organic feed. they also enjoy organically grown greens, tomatoes and the occasional melon from the garden, along with any goodies they can scratch up with their own two chickeny feets.


-- $4.oo per dozen (brown, white, blue green, dark brown - each carton is a mixed dozen)


also available at the farmstead

-- fresh ginger lemon kombucha tea, kombucha starter kits

-- home preserved and canned - peaches, stewed tomatoes, tomatoe sauce and blueberry ginger jam.


email me @ hippychickenfarmer@gmail.com - - all sales cash only -- hippychick's gardens is a hand to hand sustainable ad-venture.  come on by!


new chicks at the hippychick homestead!

brought home a few chickiebabygirls today !


 here they are checking out the view from their new digs


- future egg layers round the hippychick homestead - thirteen in all and happy little peepers are they.  i've housed them up in the freshly cleaned tin shed coop.

  • they've got sweet smelling pine shavings, bright light, clean water and munchies for their delight.  
  • i keep a small fan blowing about as it gets pretty darn hot in our central texas parts.  
  • i've covered the entrance to the outdoor run with fine mesh wire for now.  the wee ones are not yet ready for the big world.  soon enough they will be, soon enough i am sure.  


what kind of lovelies might they be?  i'll tell ya..

  • ameraucana - layers of blue and/or bluegreen eggs - with puffy cheek and chin feathers (3 ladies)
  • barnevelder - layers ofvery dark reddish eggs - lovely brown flecked ladies (3 ladies)
  • dominique - layers ofbrown eggs - beautiful lookers with black and white barred markings (4 ladies)
  • welsummer - layers of rich terra cotta brown eggs - red heads, what more can i say (3 ladies)

the good news for these girls is that now that there is a friendly man in the hippychick universe, the chickies enjoy not only the love and affections of their chickenmama but that of their chickendaddy too.


woo - chickie - woo -woo!


i just checked in on the wee birdies and they are doing more than fine.  several were snoozing.  others were admiring the fine view and others were pecking away at the tin - i imagine making music or sending out the wee chick rap to the rest of the girls on the homestead.


welcome welcome wee chicks - you are in a good place.  


that brings the hippychick homestead chickenycount up to fifty-three.

"one for every week of the year, and then some"

as chickendaddy says.

- - note - -

#53 is our most handsome australorp rooro. 

or

#1 depending on how you look at it. 

cheers to that!

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starting the day out eggy homemade

well i just finished off the last bits of the fall honey harvest - mmm mmm good.  it was a good harvest, not a huge harvest but fine enough to share with family members, good friends and to gift a few very special folk on a job well done. 


i enjoyed my bit of honey over a few soft boilers atop of my early morning whole wheat eggy muffins.  yup eggs on eggy muffins.  there are times in a chickenfarmer's days when the egg supply exceeds the demand.  and it is the clever and creative farmer that finds ways to make good use of them. 


round here, we

  • soft boil um'
    • eaten over rye crackers
    • eaten over steamed greens
    • eaten over soups
    • eaten over crusty bread
    • eaten solo with fingers - yummy!
  • hard boil um'
    • quick snacks
    • nice sliced on crackers with fresh veggies and maters
  • poach um'
    • love them poached if you're feeling fancy 
  • make a few good quiche
    • always a good way to use up some extra eggs
    • 1 pie crust baked half way and/or to directions on package
    • 6 eggs beaten
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • dash salt
    • dash pepper
    • double dash of nutmeg
    • fillings - cheese, veggies, shrimps or fish, sausage or whatever you might think of...

heat your oven to 350?f and/or bake pie crust as per directions on package.  bake only half way, you want to finish the baking as you bake the egg mixture in the crust.


 while the pie crust is baking, beat eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg together.  set aside.  remove the pie crust from the oven when baked half way.  place any fillings you wish into the pie crust.    slowly pour the egg mixture on top of the fillings.


place the pie pan into the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done.  the quiche will rise in the oven and fall once cooled - do not panic.  it's a natural process.  allow the quiche to cool or risk a burnt tongue.  quiche stores well in the fridge and is easily enjoyed hot or cool.

  • eat our eggs aside morning eggy muffins 
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup milk
    • dash of salt
    • 2 tablespoons of butter
      • if you like i go without since i use raw whole milk
    • 1 cup flour
      • 1/2 cup half organic white
      • 1/2 cup organic whole wheat

heat oven to 350 ?f.  grease or spray muffin pan.  mix batter in a blender or food processor, just until mixed and a bit creamy.  pour batter into muffin pan filling only 1/2 high.  bake for 30-40 minutes depending upon the true heat of your oven.  turn out onto a cooling rack.  enjoy warm or cool.


and there are other ways too

  • rice pudding, custard and a good iced cream which i have yet to make for fear of eating the whole of the batch all in one go.  i am a big fan of each so it's best i not resort to puddings and custards and creams unless a hoard of hungry company is on the way.


today's dinner will include these homegrown goodies

  • carrots
  • roma beans
  • artichokes
  • beets
  • pesto

all sounds good to me, when's dinner?


there is much to do today - a friend gifted me with a large boot box full of green gage plums. so to greengage jam it is and a few plum tarts i thinks too.  sound yummy?  let's hope so.


have a great day folks!  cheery cheer cheers to you.

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still farming in smalltown texas

hey folks! i know it's been a while - nearing a month now and no posts - not to worry, i'm still here and i'm still farming and i'm still gardening and making plans for future endeavors.


life has been focused in scattered places as of late

  • going up for tenure at a big university - readying files and documents and more documents - this takes much time and thought - we'll know in late december if i get to keep my university job... nuf' on that
  • advising, reading and editing thesis from several of my superfine now graduating graduate students
  • cultivating a relationship with a lovely man - a very nice addition to recent days - he's a great fellow and a fine farm hand too - he's quite flirty with the chickenychicas and they like that...
  • keeping the farm running - four hands are better than two i do believe i do believe
  • gardening - more to come on this - we've had good rains as of late - fingers crossed they keep on coming
  • beekeeping - one hive is now at seven supers high the other at three - looks like i'll be harvesting honey real soon
  • putting up foods - maters maters and more maters - i collect the not so beautiful from a local farm stand - they don't have to be pretty to taste good in my world
  • making yogurts - just ran out - time to makes me some more!
  • playing in the mud with me birthday boyman at the austin texas muddy buddy - we finished smiling thank you very much!
  • cheering on my favored chelsea fb team - now champions of both the premiere fb league and the fa cup finals - go blues!
  • keeping up with family and friends
  • nursing an injured ankle - kind of - i'm a bad bad patient

- everyone is well -

bun bun, operakitty, mr. t supercat of the universe, the super-d-lovely victory chickens and we the humans who stomp around the place and try as we might to spoil the heck out of all.


thanks for hanging in and waiting on a sometimes occupied elsewhere smalltime farmergirl. i'm off to market to deliver eggs and some good foods to a friend. i'll be back


for now,

enjoy the restful image of a spoiled supercat

(a.k.a. termite, a.k.a. mr. t.)

fully contented

cheers!


stay tuned~!

the story of hippychick the double wammy cyclopsegirl is soon to come~


true stories of a girl who was stung by two bees and a hornet

one day the left eye

another day the right eye

all in the time span of a week

woo hoo!


it's a swell story

eh eh eh


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flowers ain't the only bloomin' beauties round here!

sweet snow peas in texas


snow in texas?

nope

nuh uh


snow peas in texas

yup

uh huh!


par-sell-eeeee

ooooooooooooh

aaawwwww oooh oooh oooh


russian kale

never imagined such a show

should have known

with the

lovely laced leaves

and all

of course this little lady should shine

and

so she does

she does so

indeed


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hippychick’s smokedy chipotle aged cheese

 

hippychick’s

smokedy
chipotle
aged
cheese


rich, smokey flavor

russet in color


a homestead recipe of my own

 




ingredients

  • 1 1/2 gallons of raw milk (if available)
  • ta61 thermophilic starter – 1/8 teaspoon
  • organic vegetable rennet - just short of a 1/4 teaspoon (diluted in 1/8 cup chlorine free water)
  • lipase - just short of 1/4 teaspoon (diluted in 1/8 cup chlorine free water)
  • home grown, smoked and dried chipotle peppers - ground to a fine powder
  • smoked sea salt
process
  • in a clean cup mix 1/4 cup of chlorine free water with 1/4 teaspoon of lipase - mix and set aside. lipase takes a good 15-20 minutes to dissolve in water
  • in a clean cup mix 1/4 cup of chlorine free water with 4 drops liquid rennet or 1/2 tablet of rennet - mix and set aside
  • in a container larger enough to hold your pressed cheese, add 1 cup of smoked sea salt to 2 cups of water. stir until salt is fully dissolved and set aside. this is your finishing salt bath.
  • line a colander with high quality cheese cloth (note store bought cheese cloth is too loose a weave).
  • place the colander over a larger sized pot or a large sized bowl. the bowl will catch the whey when straining the curds. a good note is to use a bowl or container that can catch as much liquid as you use milk - 1 gallon, 2 gallon, etc.
  • prepare a hot water bath set up – set a smaller pot (*1 gallon sized) in a larger pot (*2 gallon sized) – place water in the large pot – place milk in the small pot.
*use pots sized to those that you have on hand
  • heat milk to 90?f - use a cheese or candy thermometer to measure
  • turn heat off and remove pot from heat
  • add 1/8 teaspoon of ta61 thermophilic starter
  • stir in starter for 2 minutes using a non-reactive spoon
  • cover and let set for 30 minutes
  • stir in lipase/water solution for 1 minute
  • cover and let set for 5 minutes
  • stir in rennet for 3 minutes (If using store bought milk you need stir only 2 minutes)
  • stir in 1 tablespoon of fine ground *chipotle pepper - modify amount for your own taste.
*i grow, smoke and dry my own. you can purchase dried chipotle peppers at a local market and grind them down in a coffee grinder. Remove the stem and seeds from the dried peppers. Break the peppers up into penny sized pieces. Set your coffee grinder to the espresso/fine setting, then grind them up.

ps. i am saving my seeds for next year's peppers


  • cover and let set for 35 - 45 minutes or until the curd gives a clean break
  • with a clean knife, cut the curd to 1/4 inch sized cubes.
  • heat the curds to 100?f slowly increasing the temperature by 2? every 5 minutes. slowly stir your curds throughout this process. this is a good time to think or to relax quietly or ponder something deep.
  • when the curds reach 100?f, remove from heat but keep stirring for another 30 minutes to maintain temperature and to keep curds from matting.
  • set the curds aside for 15 minutes to rest.
  • drain curds from whey
  • once the curds are fully drained gently mix in the pepper bits to the curds - gently gently
  • line a cheese press with fresh cloth and load curds into press
  • press curds at 10lbs pressure for 10 minutes
  • remove cheese from press, flip it over, reload cloth and cheese into press
  • press curds at 10lbs pressure for 10 minutes
  • remove cheese from press, flip it over, reload cloth and cheese into press
  • press curds at 40lbs pressure for 12 hours
  • remove cheese from the mold
  • remove cheese cloth
  • place cheese into smoke sea salt bath and set aside for 24 hours - flip the cheese every 4 hours or flip the sealed container every four hours - whichever works for your set up
  • remove cheese from sea salt bath and set aside to air dry for 3-5 days flipping the cheese each day.*
*wrap loosely in a cloth if you have kiddos, pets or counter investigating creatures about. best to place cheese on a wood cutting board. the wood absorbs moisture.
  • once the cheese has formed a rind, wax cheese
  • allow the cheese to age for 3-6 months
  • enjoy
waterbath set up - note the large post hosting the smaller pot - the larger pot is filled with enough water so as to surround the smaller pot but not so much as to over flow. the smaller post hosts the milk.

cut curds now floating in whey - notice the pepper bits mixed into the curds - i am a fan of the golden whey

drained curds now ready for the press

the humble cheese press
the big finish
cotswald on the left and the smokedly chipotle cheese on the right

up next
cotswald herb-ed cheese!
 
 

sweet girly geek farming dreams

tonight presents another round of freezing temps.

we are at the cusp of winter time conditions here in smalltowntexas.

freezing temps may be no big news for some folk in the upper part the of the states but around here, it's news. some folk love the news of an oncoming chill like myself and others of which i believe there are more others in these parts than the like me folk, prefer the milder, no need for snow, ice, sleet or any related frozen condition thank you very much kind of days. these no thank you folk often freak out when there is or even could be a chance of snow or ice.

i look at it as a chance to wear a favored winter sweater or to pull out the winter running gear. i head out in the morning, steaming coffee in hand to set watch over the heaping compost piles, steaming as well - farm geek that i am. damn proud farm geek too. this morning, upon the looking into the steam, i recalled...

i had a dream last night.

i was walking about another house recently purchased outright - i think from an estate auction which meant that anything on the land was also included in the purchase price. odd though, i remember that i was not able to look around the entire place until after the auction was over.

when looking about i learned that i was the new owner of a creamy milk paint white old style tractor with pale pink and pale blue curly line work and little flowers -
borage and forget me nots painted on her nose. oh my gosh! i cried, she's beautiful! i was beside myself happy. i loved the pink, blue and milky white colors (boy am i proving more girly as the days go by).

i woke before having a chance to fire her up but the gift of a tractor surely put a smile on my face. she had an old open style seat that sat high enough for short girl farmer to see over the top. the wheels were hard, the frame sturdy and the
axles clean not rusted.

of course upon waking, i learned the she tractor exists only inside the universe of hippychick dreamland but she exists and she is beautiful and she is girly and useful and just the right size. the old style pick up has not yet shown herself but i do believe that once she does, she may need a paint job just like the tractor.

and that is one decision solved. i have always wondered what color, if ever i did invest in an old style pick up, what color she would be - now i know. thank you dreamy land.


at present, we have no need for a tractor on our wee little 1/4 acre but maybe someday our beloved 1/4 acre will grow to a 5 or 10 acre universe... the good news is that i know where to find her. visiting hours always open in dreamy dreamland space and what a nice space to visit.
 
 

chickenybabies first snow on the way

70 percent chance for friday snow
woooohooooooo!

this is very exciting for a chicago transplant who thought she would never see the day!
and and and
it will prove to be chickenybabes first snow
truly special
i wonder...
will they need
eeny weeeny snow shoes
or
eeny weeeny galoshes?

the wee ones are now in the metal shed which is loaded with three heat lamps that will keep them cozy and warm. if we experience a power outage, i will head out and move the creatures back into a brooder pen located in the house.

most all of the garden is tucked in - that which needs it

other bits may prove to do just fine
i will be setting leaves and hay around the goods later today for a bit of protection

the bunnies were gifted with a good bit of hay for burrowing

the outside side of the north side of the crazy coop is protected by stacked and covered bails of hay along with an outdoor curtain cover to protect from blowing wind.

the inside of the north side of the coop is protected by canvas covers.
the area above the roost is also covered with thick canvas protection.
i hung two heat lamps for the cool 20? nights we are soon to experience - i do not want the girls to freeze their little combs off. they help prevent frostbite.

the canvas protection wraps around the interior coop with a special moving blanket hung in the south doorway. they have full protection from nasty blowing air and from wet which is most important. i have hay stacked on the east side but have left this side without cover to allow healthy ventilation.

this is the south side of the interior coop. you can see the hay stacked on the right - this is the east side of the coop. the moving blanket in the door is secured only at the top and partially down one side so that chicken keeper me can easily enter the space. it's nice and cozy in there now. the pale canvas allows for light to bleed through so it feels like a cool kid fort.

the run is not insulated. this gives the girls the opportunity for hunkering down or playing about.
 
 
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