A cold front has brought quite bitter weather for us here, temps haven’t even reached 30F yet and a brisk wind makes it feel even colder. Fortunately I purchased a pair of ski overalls in a thrift store a few years ago and they sure make a nice difference. Everyone got their regular morning meal at 6 this morning and even though we filled the buckets with hot water some of them had frozen over again. So out again at 10:30 to give everyone a midmorning hay snack and warm up those buckets. Did it feel wonderful to come back in and stoke up the woodstove! There is a split pea soup simmering on the back and the tea kettle in front which takes up almost all the top of this little Jotul. Daisy, the 15 year old Lhaso mix and my shadow has taken up station right in front of the stove and feels quite toasty.
Yesterday I started a batch of chevre and that is now ready to be hung to drain, chevre is the easiest cheese to make and requires little supervision. I use DVI cultures that come in foil packets, for chevre I normally use MM100, let it culture 10 min. in the milk and then add the proper amount of rennet for the volume of milk. Let it sit over night, hang to drain over night, herb & salt and eat! For those interested in making cheese I just recently found another site that you should check out: http://www.dairymaiden.com/about/about.htm
Another to-do is getting the ground wheat soaking for bread making tomorrow. I grind up 2 cups of whole wheat berries, add 2 cups of goat milk and let it sit out. Now if it’s very warm I’ll use water instead but this soaking really helps the full flavour of the wheat to shine. When ready for bread making, I add instant yeast, another cup of water and unbleached flour to make a dough and let rise in the pans - I like to bake the bread at 425F for 20 min. As you can tell I like to keep the breadmaking simple since we go thru 4 small loaves a week.
A cold day is just the reason to sit near the woodstove and peruse seed catalogs, design the drip irrigation system and a new Hen House. I found a UK site with designs I really like aesthetically and they really look pretty straightforward to build. I don’t feel too bad about using their designs as a springboard since they aren’t sold here in the US but for folks in the UK, check them out: http://www.hen-house.co.uk/index.html I think the Hargrave will definitely make the Hens quite happy.
Hope you all are staying warm and happy too!