Hippychick's Gardens

  (bastrop, Texas)
living a smalltown texas homestead inspired life
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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.
 
 

Victory Chickens - Last chance for 2oo9

 

 update 12.03.2oo9

all girls are sold for the 2oo9 season

- thank you -

happy hollydays to all!

 

The following are my newest and last group of hippychick victory chickens for the year of 2oo9.  The wee pullets will be available for pick up six weeks from hatch date.

Black Minorca - developed in Spain, Single Comb Clean Legged, white skin. The Minorca is an excellent hot weather bird, early maturing, is a layer of large white eggs. Largest Mediterranean, extra large eggs. (3 available)

Silver Laced Wyandotte - Silver Laced Wyandottes are a wonderful example of American breeding. They are beautiful, productive, and a favorite amongst backyard flock owners for their dependable egg laying, easy going nature and cold hardiness. Each feather is silver edged in beetle blacks. The hens look as if they're decked out for a night on the town! Wyandottes have a heavy body and small rose comb which makes this breed perfect for cold climates because they are not prone to frostbite. The hens are hardy, energetic and faithful layers. (1 available)


Easter Eggers - are not a breed per se, but a variety of chicken that does not conform to any breed standard but lays large to extra large eggs that vary in shade from blue to green to olive to aqua and sometimes even pinkish. Easter Eggers vary widely in color and conformation, and are exceptionally friendly and hardy. Since they are usually quite friendly to children and humans in general, they are a great choice for a family flock. (2 available)

Production Red - The Production Red is the best of the brown egg layers. This hybrid bird is a cross between Rhode Island Reds, Leghorn and New Hampshire. (5 available)

Australorp - Australorps are the Australian take on the Orpington breed. They are calm and friendly, and excellent layers of light brown eggs. The Australorp's exceptionally soft, shiny black plumage has hints of green and purple in the sunlight. Peaceful and dignified, Australorps are an absolutely delightful bird which we highly recommend to anyone who wants a pet chicken that lays dependably. (4 available)

Hatch date for all but the Australorps 11.07.09.  - pick up date december 19 2009
Hatch date for the Australorps 11.14.09. - pick up date december 26 2009 (exact date dependent upon hippychick's holiday travel)

$15 per bird
all sales cash only
limited numbers available - claim your babies now
$5 deposit required to reserve your girls
please email your breed preference to hippychickenfarmer@gmail.com÷

 
 

pretty pretties about the place



 
 

victory chickens - 10-12 week rare and heritage breed pullets available


hippychick's victory chickens - all birds raised on coyote creek organic chicken feed - twelve and ten week old organically fed rare and heritage breed pullets and 1 welsummer rooster.

most girls are at twelve weeks old with a hatching date of june 21 2oo9.

the welsummer pair are younger - they are at ten weeks of age with a hatching date of july 5 2009.


* appenzeller spitzhauben - developed in switzerland centuries ago. beautiful speckled ladies with black fluffy top head feathers. layer of white eggs. (2 available)


* barred plymouth rock - developed in america in the middle of the 19th century and was first exhibited as a breed in 1869. layer of brown eggs (2 available)

* welsummer - developed in holland in the 20th century. layer of terracotta colored eggs. (1 pullet & 1 rooster *sold as a pair only -  as it is clear that they have bonded)


also two girls who are not rare or heritage in breed but are great egg laying birds to add to your flock

* black sex link - is the result of crossing two purebred standard breeds; the rhode island red rooster and the barred rock hen. - (2 available)

$20 per bird
all sales cash only
limited numbers available - claim your babies now
please email your breed preference to hippychickenfarmer@gmail.com
 
 

you want how much for those eggs?

ever wonder about the cost of locally raised organic fed eggs? you should

there are folk that stop by the hippychick universe regularly thinking that my home raised eggs might sell for super cheap - one person offered me a $1.oo a dozen - then politely walked away when they heard me say that my organic fed eggs run not for $1.oo per dozen but for $4.oo per dozen. he then countered with a $1.5o offer. folks the days of a dozen organic fed eggs for $1.5o are over - not with feed prices as they are - feed prices are high and going up up up

just a year ago i was paying $17.5o for a 5olb bag of organic layer feed - it was great - it was more expensive than commercial feed but i expected it to be. now i pay $3o.oo for the very same bag of feed. no kidding. and here is the hard truth - feed folk expect the prices of organically grown grain to climb which means - yup you've got it figured out - the cost to raise organic fed egg laying creatures climbs.

you have to take into consideration the farmers who get paid to raise gmo corn for ethanol and such rather than wholesome organic crops on their precious land - the land they farm, the land that had the possibility of transitioning to organically farmed land - that is now out of bounds for organically raised goods. genetically modified crops and the large uber corporations that claim copyright ownership have pulled that land out of the natural and/or organic mix.

granted many farmers - bless them - are just trying to survive and make hard choices daily - but this particular action - growing genetically modified crops - bears a serious and long lasting consequence.

one must also consider the fact that grain is a traded commodity and the government has been playing heavy when it comes to grain prices for years. thus my sadness when i hear that yet another monsanto player has entered the national agriculture governing board - but then that's a whole other rant.

even with more farmers raising gmo crops - commercial non-organic feed has gone up in price. a year ago you could get a bag of the gmo stuff for $12.25 and now you are looking in the range of $17.oo.

so why don't i just switch to commercial non-organic feed?
frankly i feel shamed for even posing the question
but you need to know that
gmo is the voldermort death eater of the organic universe
- at lease in my mind
it is -

let's get big business in the business of raising healthy bees along with other beneficial pollinators and open pollinated crops rather than changing nature as nature never intended!

ohh i am getting a bit hot here - back to the topic
well this is the topic so i guess it's best for you to know this kind of thing get's me where it counts


i will not go the route of genetically modified corn, soy, potatoes, whatever in this lifetime. no way! i do what i do because i want to control what is in my food - i am not interested in messing with the genetics of the creatures, plants and/or of my own self - where is the sense in that? darwin, where are you now? boy i would love to know your thoughts on this topic. and where are the studies of resulted fact and bodily residues relative to that of gmo crops in our diet and in our environment? you don't hear about them do you?

funny this huge burst of autism in young children - you ought to wonder

feed options do exist -
i could consider purchasing organic feed in bulk and i have but the fact about feed for creatures is fresher is better. imagine that - fresh food for creatures just as you and i enjoy fresh food on our own plates. another fact about organic (non-chemical treated) feed is that grain buggies like it too and they thrive best in the hot months so unless you have a big controlled climate storage space, it is best to purchase what you need when you need it - the small batch method - and most small or really small farmers like myself do just that. this in turn means no option for bulk discount.

it's not just tough on the small farmers, it's tough on the feed stores. they do not charge much above cost or at least the great folk at buck moore feed and supply where i get my goods do not. so the truth is that i have chosen to stick to my moral food safety guns and do things right. after all, if i feed the girls right then i in turn feed myself and those who buy the super-d-lovely eggs right. i look it at as preventative health care which can save a person big big bucks. we all know that.

i feed organic now and i will feed organic in the future come what may. so back to the cost of eggs. it's true, the more chickens you have laying, the better the ratio of cost to feed to egg - that's simple. but just how does it work for the wee farmers like myself. let's take a look.

current hippychickenchica facts
this will adjust as more girls begin to lay

  • flock size 16 girlygirls
  • at present 7 laying {we have a new girl's first egg just today!}
  • 7 additional girls are due to begin laying any day now
  • my 2 younger girls have at least 7 weeks before laying their first egg
  • new layers may lay smaller pullet sized eggs for 6 weeks or more and may not lay everyday
  • average number of eggs collected daily 5 to 6
  • perfect world 49 eggs collected per week - not going to happen
  • reality 35 to 45 eggs collected per week
the math
  • cost of one 5olb bag of organic chicken layer feed $3o
  • one bag of feed lasting approx 2.5 weeks = $12 per week
  • avg 6 eggs laid per spring/summer day (less in winter) = 42 eggs per week all things going well
  • 42 eggs laid/12 eggs per dozen = 3.5 dozen eggs per week
  • $12 feed per week / 3.5 dozen eggs =$3.43 feed fed per dozen per week
current minimum charge for a dozen of hippychick's super-d-lovely organic eggs
$3.43

keep in mind the $3.43 does not account for the cost of
  • bedding
  • grit & oyster shell
  • housing, feeders, chickeny health supplies
  • my efforts to care for the ladies
  • girls in moult - not laying - sweetpea girls have still got to eat
i have been charging $4.oo per dozen of large sized eggs - less for the pullet sized but let's look at the following as if all eggs are large sized - thinking positive - as we all should
  • $4.oo charged - $3.43 cost = $o.57 above feed cost
  • .57 upkeep charge x 3.5 dozen per week = $1.99
  • i make a whopping $1.99 per week - not enough to cover upkeep costs
- moral of this math story -
you gotta love your girls for who they are
not for the cash they do or do not bring in

for me, breaking even is the goal - profit - not so much - i would have to charge a whole lot more and frankly, i would rather not do so. i am curious if there are other chicken farmers out there with their math scores - how does it all work out for you? i can tell you that most of us wee farming folk do it for the love of it and for the love of our girls.
so it goes..

- when you are able -
support your local small farmers
most are doing their darndest to charge a fair price

- -

 
 

helping the beez when no rain = no nectar flow

we have had terribly dry weather, no rain for weeks and weeks which means no nectar flow for the bees.in this case, there is no need to load extra supers on the hives. it's also a good time for an inspection to see how the buzzing babes are doing.

here are the goods
hood - hive tool - bee brush - smoker - matches - jar with sugar water - bee gloves
white board for stacking supers - frames - top board and such while i am working

lighting the smoker
notice that i have elastics around my wrists - this keeps the suit bee free

pouring sugar water in my sprayer
- candy for the babies -
keeps them occupied while i am working
readied in the top left of the picuture you can spy a small grease patty. ingredients inlcude - sugar - eucalyptus oil - crisco. the eucalyptus oil fights off the small hive beetle of which i have spotted lurking around my hives. i will place this on top of the frames in the top super.

securing the hood - very important
my sliced finger is healing up nicely - it's not perfect but working plenty fine for me

hello in there!
smoking each level before moving in
my gloves are wayyyyyy too big!

time to take a look
prying out a frame - bees incredibly calm today
excellent

this frame was nearly full with honey - no brood here
i decided to leave it in the super so that they could feed themselves when needed

back into the hive

two pulled supers and the queen excluder
still a few bees flying around - i tapped them out once all was said and done
remaining bits of sugar water - i'll drench the hive so as not to waste it

peeking in at a center frame
this is a nice strong hive - lots of bees moving about

this frame is full with brood and pollen stores
baby bees in the making
- good - good - good -
i have got to get smaller gloves, clumsy fingers just don't work well in the hives

- everything back together - less house to keep clean -
- happy beez -
- happy hippychick -

hippychick's victory chickens - rare and heritage breed pullets -

Here are the updated available baby chicken pullet girls by breed - most babies are at four weeks old.  i was able to pick up a few welsummers, ameraucanas and marans last minute - they are at two weeks of age.

i will not release the girls until they are at least five to seven weeks of age.  this ensures that they are indeed girlygirls and that they have made it through their largest growth spirt in good health.

if you are interested in reserving one of the girls - contact me at hippychickenfarmer@gmail.com.  a deposit may be required.

* speckled sussex - developed in the county of sussex in the early 19th century. layer of creamy to light brown eggs - 5 babies ( 2 claimed - 3 available)

* dominique - developed in new england in early 19th century. not distinguished from the barred rock until apa standards were developed. most modern dominques may be traced to stock developed by a. q. carter after 1900. layer of brown eggs. - 3 babies   (2 claimed - 1 available)

* appenzeller spitzhauben - developed in switzerland centuries ago. layer of white eggs. - 5 babies   ( 1 claimed - 4 available)

* golden laced wyandotte - developed in new york state and wisconsin in the late 19th century. layer of light to rich brown eggs.- 2 babies   ( 2 claimed - 0 available)

* barred plymouth rock - developed in america in the middle of the 19th century and was first exhibited as a breed in 1869. layer of brown eggs - 3 babies   ( 0 claimed - 3 available)

*ameraucanas - south american breed. layer of blue green and tinted eggs. - 3 babies   ( 3 claimed - 0 available)

* cuckoo maran - developed in france in the early 20th century. layer of dark chocolate brown eggs. - 3 babies  ( 1 claimed - 2 available)

* welsummer - developed in holland in the 20th century. layer of terracotta colored eggs. - 3 babies   ( 1 claimed - 2 available)

and a few who are not rare or heritage in breed but are great egg laying birds to add to your flock

* black sex link - is the result of crossing two purebred standard breeds; the rhode island red rooster and the barred rock hen. - 3 babies   ( 0 claimed - 3 available)

 
 

hippychick's victory chickens - new arrivals -

hippychick's victory chickens welcomes the new arrivals

next up
hippychick's victory chickens - rare and heritage breeds include
  • speckled sussex - developed in the county of sussex in the early 19th century. layer of creamy to light brown eggs - 5 babies ( 1 already claimed)
  • dominique - developed in new england in early 19th century. not distinguished from the barred rock until apa standards were developed. most modern dominques may be traced to stock developed by a. q. carter after 1900. layer of brown eggs. - 3 babies (2 already claimed)
  • golden laced wyandotte - developed in new york state and wisconsin in the late 19th century. layer of light to rich brown eggs.- 2 babies
  • barred plymouth rock - developed in america in the middle of the 19th century and was first exhibited as a breed in 1869. layer of brown eggs - 3 babies
and a few who are not rare or heritage in breed but great birds to add to your flock
  • black sex link - is the result of crossing two purebred standard breeds; the rhode island red rooster and the barred rock hen. - 5 babies
hey there i need a logo! i have ideas but i would love to work with another artist. any great artists out there? contact me - throw me a look see at some of your work - let's talk
i love this idea
help!
 
 

hippychick's victory chickens pullets availalble June 13th!

hippychick's victory chickens heritage and rare breed pullets available june 13th.

these young girls are nearing nine weeks of age. they have been happily raised on coyote creek organic feed. if you are interested in raising your own chickens then give us a call. prices will vary with breed.

 

 

here are the breeds available -

* cuckoo maran - developed in france in the early 20th century. layer of dark chocolate brown eggs.

* golden lakenvelders - developed in germany in early 19th century. golden lakenvelders are not standard. layer of white to lightly tinted eggs.

* welsummer - developed in holland in the 20th century. layer of terracotta colored eggs. * blue wyandotte - developed in new york state and wisconsin in the late 19th century. layer of light to rich brown eggs.

* easter eggers - south american breed. layer of blue green and tinted eggs.

also available - dark cornish juvenile hens and roosters

* i raise the dark cornish as a meat and egg laying breed. they are a great bird, smaller in size, energetic and are known to be fantastic parents*
 
 
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