more cheesemaking July 2012


After the last workshop in June, I got a bunch of requests for yet another cheesemaking class. I was hesitant, as the goats begin to dwindle in milk production this time of year, typically. Despite my fiasco last time of feeling totally cluttered and terribly bad as a teacher, I went right ahead and scheduled another course. Workshops are complicated to put on, but they are financially very lucrative if well attended. It’s on tomorrow, and I have 8 people coming from as far away as 3 hours from here. No pressure or anything. Yikes.

So the past few days I have been working on my written hand-out, my mise en place out in the workshop pavillion, my lists and my cheeses. Even though I have been making cheese since 2004, I still feel like such an amateur. Maybe that makes my cheese workshop a good experience for folks, keeping it real. I focus on simple cheeses that are generally no-fail like paneer, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and introduce cultured cheeses like chevre, feta and farmer’s cheese. But I have totally messed up on some of these in the workshops before. It’s humiliating! There is lots of tasting and seeing how it is done (or not done), as well as demonstrations of the various cheeses at different stages of their processes. That means I have to be super organized and use every single pot, big bowl and colander in the house. No wonder I get flustered.

over the top

I don’t know what it is about this year, and this month in particular, but I feel a little insane. June was right about when I felt in my groove, we were rocking it, on top of most things. But this month has left me speechless. Thank goodness it’s just about over. But then the hecticness of August and September await.

Normally I can consult my to-do list, get stuff done and feel accomplished. Not this year. The garden explosion, the hay melodrama, the oodles of baby animals needing tons of tip-top care, the crazy-making heatwaves, all the sudden canning and preserving needing to be taken care of ASAP, the big projects that have been going on forever and never seem to be finished, the gobs of farm income going out to fund these big projects….eeeeee. As we plan the day together in our farm meeting, most mornings I stare at my coffee after milking time, waiting for this black gold to work some black magic and tell me what to do next. It’s a really weirdly humbling feeling. We did all this, we manifested it, we waited all winter for this time to come, and here it is, and I am just plumb tuckered out!

So why not order 22 tons of gravel to finish off that duck barn? Why pay $250 to rent a bobcat, when we have muscles, not money? Why the heck not? As I canned pickled green beans before milking tonight, I heard the massive delivery truck backing up in the yard. Normally, I’d be all excited, dash out to take pictures. But not this time, not this one. This is gonna be HARD work folks. Andrew used to move tons (and by saying a ton it’s not figurative. A literal ton is 2,000 lbs, and 22 tons = 44,000 lbs) of rock and dirt when he was a stone mason. But even he, with his burly chest and mongoid arms said he could really only handle moving 3 tons a day. How long will this take us? I’ll let you know.

Luckily it’s my turn to do deliveries to town tomorrow. These will be very small deliveries as our oldest ducks have ceased laying eggs after the heat wave, choosing to go into moulting phase. The newest lady ducklettes are beginning to lay now though, so soon we’ll be back in the swing of things. I have a couple small orders and also errands to run, like picking up the solar panel we’re going to be using to light our new duck barn. I’ll also be visiting one of my sisters at her new place, and seeing some Aunts who I haven’t gotten to visit with for a long time. I will avoid that gravel pile as long as possible, but will plow in so we can have the new duck barn in full swing by Saturday, when we have our Open House. Hold onto your hats, we’re gonna get through this!


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