I think we've managed to do a little of everything this week. Accomplished some, still a lot left to do.
Al has managed to get 1st cutting of hay started. We are late this year. Thank goodness we have over 200 bales of hay left from last year, and in really good condition. Looks like it's just been baled. My job while he is cutting, raking and baling hay is to make sure he has plenty of water. It's been hot here in southeastern Ohio, and the humidity is miserable. Very important to keep him going! Emily thinks that driving in our hayfields with the truck is great. So does Annie, our beagle. We had some hay cut and raked when a heavy, unpredicted, rain popped up. The rain was so heavy, that it flooded parts of our road, and the lane that our cows walk on to get to their paddocks. So, Al went back and tedded the hay out, or spread it out so it would dry and not kill the grass growing underneath. He'll be raking and baling tomorrow. Cutting more on Monday. We have 2 more hayfields to go after this one.
This is normally a small, quiet stream. A culvert pipe runs under the
lane, but after a heavy rain, it flooded our valley. Guess we had our own river!
Emily had a full week of VBS (Vacation Bible School). She loved it! The theme was Bar None Ranch, so there was a lot of little cowgirls and cowboys moseying around the church each evening. Her first night, she won a HUGE cowboy hat. It looked so cute, but she didn't agree. I did manage to get a picture. She also announced that she made a new friend on the second night. I asked what the little girls name was. She said "I don't know." Hmm..we may have to work on remembering names when making friends!
The rain has done some good, even if it may be a bit much at once. My herbs are going crazy! I've snipped off a few and used in a couple of recipes. Very yummy! I've added 3 more herbs to my little collection. I found some pineapple mint, lemon thyme and lemon balm. I love the different fragrances they each have. I'm having a lot of fun with these!
I made it to both farm markets this week. I enjoy visiting with everyone. I was able to take 3 varieties of cheese, Hill Folk Jersey, Boeren Kaas Gouda and Jersey Emment. Looking forward to July, our Summer Swiss will be ready, and I'm anxious to sample it. It is our new cheese of the year.
I think that I will take tomorrow to slow down a bit, catch up on laundry and dishes. It's amazing how that stuff can pile up in just 2 days of doing farm markets!
For tonight, I'm looking forward to opening up some windows and the back door in our living room, turn some fans on and sit back and watch some of the Barrett-Jackson car auction and Speed channel. I love seeing some of those old classic cars restored. It's amazing how much they can bring, too!
It's Friday, already! Not sure where our week has gone, I know it's been a busy one. I've decided to take today and tomorrow off from going to the farm markets. This is because we are low on cheese that is ready to sell, and I want to give the cheese that is just ready another week or so to age out some more.
This morning has been slightly slower than usual, and it feels good! I like to take some time once in awhile to catch my breath. We had planned on making another batch of cheese tomorrow, but since the weather is going to be nice and no rain in sight for a few days, Al will be heading to the hayfield starting today, and won't take a break from making hay until Wednesday, which is our next planned cheese make, and it's supposed to rain.
My work, for the weekend since I won't be going to farm markets will be playing catch up on things. I have about 5 batches of cheese that will be waxed this weekend. We use plastic mats that put under the cheese as it ages in the cooler. This helps let air flow under the wheels. We use the same plastic mats under the cheese when the wheels are coated, so that means some of the coating gets on the mats. I have a stack of mats that will be washed up and sanitized today. I also want to wipe the shelves down in aging area, I do this about every month or two. Wiping the shelves with vinegar and salt prevents any unwanted mold from growing.
I also have 6 wheels of cheese to pack up and get ready to ship on Tuesday, it's going to Jungle Jim's.
So, even though I am taking a weekend off from markets, I still have a very long list of things to do! But, I will admit, I'm moving at a slower pace. ;-)
To go along with the "takin' it easy" part of the day, I've fixed a very easy and quick lunch. It's very yummy too!
On June 1st we shipped some of our cheese to New York, from there it was sent to the Island of Jersey in the UK. This was for an "invite" only awards.
We were very anxious this past week, knowing that the judging would be on Friday, the 11th. Yesterday morning we received the results to the judging. There were 102 cheese entries submitted from 10 different countries, only 38 awards were given.
Our Boeren Kaas Gouda placed Silver.
Our Jersey Emment and Hill Folk Jersey both placed Bronze.
We are very excited! Being our first time entering our cheese in a world competition, we were not sure how we would do against other cheesemakers from around the world.
We're so thankful for a lot of our family and friends who encouraged us to go for it and do this!
We've been informed of another competition held in Europe this fall. We just may consider doing this! :)
We've been able to stay busy making plenty of cheese, and we'll continue to make through October, possibly November. Our goal for the year, to have at least 400 wheels of cheese in our cooler before we take the winter off!
I have done a lot of gardening before, I've grown and canned a lot of veggies. But, I've never raised my own herbs. I've always used the dry herbs you pick up in the store. I've always been interested in the flavor that fresh herbs would give food. So, after looking around at several different places, I found a great selection of herbs for $1 each (some came in containers of 4 plants). Since I really don't have a spot made for a large garden right now, I decided that putting them in containers would be the best thing, plus I can move them into my kitchen this winter. I will be learning as I go!
So far I have 6 herbs, but would love to plant more.
Emily loves to help with them, her job is to water them when needed,
we're still working on the "do not drown them" part, though.
Emily was holding a small leaf from the Chocolate Mint plant.
She was amazed at how yummy they tasted!
Aside from having fun with my green thumb, cheese making has been keeping us hopping! Thankfully we've been able to consistently make a batch each week, and those batches have been close to 150 lbs. each. This week we made cheese on Tuesday, and we'll be making again on Saturday. Since we are actually out of cheese that is aged long enough to sell we'll have to skip farm markets this week. Hoping by next week we'll have a couple of cheeses to cut up and sell.
We have also entered in a competition with our cheese, it is the World Jersey Cheese Awards 2010, and it is held on the Island of Jersey in England. We sent one lb. of each of our cheeses. We will see how it goes! It was an "invitation only" competition, so we're thrilled to receive the invite! It's amazing to have our cheese go up against some of the cheesemakers of Europe!
So glad that summer is now almost here. Our weather has been so humid lately, it almost feels like July or August! The heat is here early this year. The flowers are really blooming, and Emily has been taking advantage of the nice weather to play outside everyday! Glad to, she can run off a lot of her energy!
Our clematis is blooming, they are so pretty!
One of my older hens out enjoying all the grass
and bugs she can find!
Emily having some fun on her swing just outside
of our cheesehouse.
Cooling off in her wading pool.
Well, I see by the time it is getting to be, and the yummy smell in the house that it's almost time for dinner.
I ran across a really good Shepherd Pie recipe in the Gooseberry Patch cookbook, Farmhouse Kitchen.
I've never made this before, but it really is making me hungry as it bakes!