fiberaddict: (Default)
FIL went into the hospital Friday, and came home late yesterday. Good thing - Herself was chomping at the bit to go baby-sit him. :sigh: She'll be home Saturday, and her B-day party is Sunday. (She'll be *20*! How on Earth did That Happen??????)

Today was cheese-making day. I currently have Manchego in the press - it's the first homemade goat-milk cheese I ever tried, so it's usually the one I make first. Friday will be a batch of Queso Fresco - it's Herself's favorite. Then I have to knock out a batch of Swiss for Himself.....good thing my new milking machine arrived today! It's.....well. I have an old Surge belly-milker. It's big, it's bulky, and hard for me to pour out of. This? Is....um. 5.8 gallon bucket, but it's shaped like a, well, milk jar. Only HUGE. Weighs 10 pounds empty. :gulp: I was able to get it all assembled, but have to wait to use it - I don't know where the husband put the vacuum pump. :sigh: AND he didn't buy a pressure valve or hose to go from the pump to the balance tank. :sigh:

Still - new milking machine! My wrist will be able to heal soon!

Oh - and I NEED a machine. We're currently getting a little over *3* gallons/day. I used most of yesterday's haul for today's cheese...and I still had enough milk for 15 bottles AND a half-gallon for our use. :blink: Yeah...we have plenty of milk at the moment....:lol:

Today is a lazy day. Tomorrow I need to get at least one of the pods empty, and I want to make some shea or cocoa body butter (moisturizer). I am also going to try my hand at making some old-fashioned cold cream.....yeah, I fell on that wagon pretty hard. I've been using Albolene, but it's...kinda nasty-feeling to me. All petroleum-based and....icky. I have a recipe for the "original" Pond's, so that's what I'm going to try. Why not? :lol:

OH! The husband has a job! It's contract-labor, as an electrician's assistant. We'll see how long he lasts......hopefully a good long time.

:ugh:

Jul. 22nd, 2013 07:57 am
fiberaddict: (Default)
Can July be over yet? Please? Because I'm tired of being the Universe's punching bag.....

Friday afternoon, I decided to start boxing and labeling soap. I pulled the large plastic tub I store my curing soaps in into the living room from the studio...and managed to pull a muscle in my lower back (and I'm not sure how....the box was heavy, yes, but I mostly scooted it along the floor.). Oi. I have NEVER been in as much pain - no, not even after surgery. Without meds. On *my* pain scale, this has been a solid 9. :wince:

Saturday, SG took me to a massage place...it was nice. I could *walk* again! For about 20 minutes. :sigh: I spent the rest of the day, and most of yesterday, on the couch with a heating pad.

Last night I broke down and took a Naproxin. Yes, I'm allergic. Yes, I had a reaction. But - I SLEPT. And woke up stiff, with pain at a pretty solid 4. MUCH better than before!

I was able to make a batch of Farmhouse Cheddar yesterday - and today I'm making Gouda. Cheesemaking, at least, doesn't require a lot of heavy lifting. :lol: (And no more soap for a while...maybe. I have....enough soap to last my family 4.5 years at current consumption rates. However....soap keeps, and gets better as it ages. If the milk supply keeps up, I'll HAVE to make more soap, because I am running out of room in the fridges for cheese. Not that I'm complaining, mind you - it's just something I have to be aware of.)

Hope your weekend was better than mine!
fiberaddict: (Default)
Even though wet stuff keeps falling from the sky - oh no, the sky is falling! :runs around flailing: :giggles:

Have a link: Amazon has PBS's Liberty Kids for $9.99 for the ENTIRE set. On DVD. I've seen parts of a couple of episodes (the kids have seen more, and got excited when I asked if they might be interested in it as a History add-on) - it seems to be pretty accurate. At $10, it's a good deal!

I am a firm believer in using anything that helps you learn things - it's why I sprang for the complete "Schoolhouse Rock" set when my kids were younger. Catchy songs teaching Math, Grammar, and History? I'm *there*! It's also why I have a lot of Musicals - music helps stuff "stick".

In other news, Kenzie tripped me yesterday and I fell. Hard. Thank God I didn't break anything! (By rights, I should have - I landed on my left side. Fortunately, my left knee, hip and shoulder took the brunt of the fall - my wrist ended up on top of my head somehow - it has to be a God-thing, because I *always* fall on my wrist. I'm OK, just battered and have interesting bruises this morning (for the record, Kenzie is FINE. Stupid dog just doesn't know to NOT sit down in front of someone who is walking. :sigh:)

We spent this weekend watching "Camelot" the movie, "Camelot" the musical, and "The Sword in the Stone" - and then we compared/contrasted them. General consensus is that the musical is better than the movie overall, both are better than the Disney, but the Jenny in the movie is a more comedic actress/singer than the one on stage. (I have only found 1 DVD version of a Broadway production - it's from 1983. Not bad, but the actress really can't handle the humorous songs - she sings them too seriously. Sad, because she's a better thespian than the one in the movie version.) Even Himself took part, which is HUGE - he's not big on musicals (and this wasn't an assignment, just for fun!).

Looks like I can finally start my swimsuit - the first fabric I bought went MIA, and the seller refunded my money. I bought a different fabric - well, same pattern, but in royal blue instead of Navy - from a different seller, and it shows it's been delivered. :bounce: I still have to finish taping the pattern pieces together.....:lol:

Today's cheese is Pyrennes. Never heard of it...we'll see how it goes.
fiberaddict: (Default)
We hit the Perot again - I gotta tell you, every time we go I am more impressed with it. The designers put a ton of thought into all the interactive exhibits - and, ALL the exhibits are interactive. Even the stuffed animals have some interactive portion - it's amazing! I wish we'd had something like this when I was in school.....

Himself actually got to play with the robots today! (For the first time ever!). We got there before the doors opened, and he was able to snag a robot before anyone else made it to the 2nd floor (if you follow the planned visit, you go up to the 4th floor and work your way down - which he did, but then he skipped ahead of us to the 2nd floor. Smart move on his part!)

Mom went with us, and treated us to lunch...then we paused at Half Price. I....have a love-hate relationship with Half-Price; I went in with NO intention of adding to my collection. However...Mom had brought me egg money (so I had some spending cash!) and I had discovered $9 in my wallet that I didn't know I had (seriously....how does THAT happen?)....and Himself actually found a BOOK that he was really interested in (which is rare. VERY rare. The book? "Backyard Ballistics".....we are going to be building a PVC Potato Launcher in the next week or so. :evil grin: ANYTHING to get the boy reading again!)

And then......they actually had a book on making cheese. I've gotten bored with the recipes in "Home Cheesemaking" - I have 32 pounds of cheese in the fridge (not counting the 2 pounds of Manchego and the leftovers of Queso Fresco and Chevre) and 6 more pounds in the china cabinet (my "drying" cabinet - the door is propped open so the wheels can dry before being waxed.) Most of it is cheddar of some form or another....but really, I'm BORED. the new book is "Making Artisan Cheese" (or something like that) and it has at least 5 recipes my other book doesn't have. :bounce: I need to make more Ricotta tomorrow (for a local guy - he asked, and I don't mind.), then I think I'm gonna try Caerphilly. Then Romano. And maybe Swiss again....:lol: (Hey, the Lord has blessed us with all this milk, it'd be wrong to let it go to waste, right? Right.)

I'm tired, it's hot - think I'll go take a quick dip in the pool. Hope everyone stays cool!
fiberaddict: (Default)
1. Picard has gone where no(ne of our) goat(s) has(have) gone before - he's ensconced in his new home in Houston. (insert: Houston, we have a problem joke here)

2. Everybody survived the craziness that is 7/4 here - the fireworks freaked out the dogs and goats, but everyone was OK this AM.

3. Yesterday was relaxing - I got 7 new ebooks, and plowed my way thru 3 of them (I read fast. 1 is a collection of short-stories, so it went fast, 1 was a book of essays, and 1 was the finale of a series). Good, relaxing day.

4. Weird weather. It didn't break 90* yesterday....no swimming for me. The kids and SG cut trees yesterday around the pool - they said the pool was cold, but welcome.

5. Yesterday was soap, today is cheese. Swiss, to be exact - at Himself's request. We'll see how it comes out....

6. Today is do what the daddy-man wants....he's playing in his shop while we finish up the school week; later we're going to go drive around. And he promised me dinner out. :bounce:

Shabbat Shalom!

:sigh:

Jul. 3rd, 2013 12:14 pm
fiberaddict: (Default)
I've been avoiding the computer, because I didn't want to have to write this...but Tripp didn't make it. :sigh: Poor little guy - at least he died easy (in his sleep), all doped up with Banamine (but not overdosed. I...couldn't do it. I still had hope....) Herself dug the grave, and she and Himself buried him first thing this AM.

This is the one part of critter ownership that I HATE.

I've tried to distract myself by cheese-making....I'm on batch #2. Yes, *2* - the first was Queso Fresco, a semi-hard cheese, the 2nd is Farmhouse Cheddar. 4 gallons of milk gone - thankfully. Another gallon to SG's aunt...we actually have ROOM in the fridge! For now......

Not much else going on - we're waiting for a possible buyer to come by. :fingers crossed:
fiberaddict: (Default)
and it's not July yet. :sigh: This summer's gonna be a HOT one, methinks - hotter than usual, I mean. Fun times...

We have a sick buckling....I think it's dehydration. No heroics, but we're doing what we can. :fingers crossed: He did just take 1/3 of a bottle, so that's good.

I ordered the stuff for my swimsuit Friday. :gulp: $35.24 for all the fabric, lining, and elastic, and $10 for the pattern. I can buy a similar suit for $80-ish.....so I'm happy there. We'll see how well I can sew it up.....

The Studio fridge froze a half-gallon of milk, so I'll be making more soap in the next day or 2. :lol: Yes, it's drinkable, but why - we have plenty of milk.

Gotta run - I need to do something to the cheese (Manchego). Have a great day!
fiberaddict: (silly: Llama llama duck)
Our pool is officially open (just a little late...:sigh:), and I've been on the prowl for a new swimsuit. Last year's is OK...but not fantastic. The suits I like are upwards of $80 (Retro/Esther Williams/etc style), and....no one here carries them, so I'd have to order blindly.

Then. Oh, then on Sunday I found THIS. :swoon:

So. Somebody tell me that a rank beginner, who's never sewn knit fabric - let alone lycra! - can/can't do this. Somebody tell me this is silly. Or tell me it's a fabulous idea....

I ran the numbers. The pattern + lining + outside fabric will run me about $32 (eBay is my friend! :lol:) Wally-world's unflattering suits run about $25.....and there's very little choice of print/color. I have a serger and machine.....and I am relatively fearless when it comes to projects...but the ruching kinda intimidates me. (I like both, but the blue version is so swoony!)

In other news, I made a batch of Colby yesterday, and my website shopping cart DOES work. :yippie! Thankyou!: :lol: Post Office run will be tomorrow - today we're doubling up on school (tomorrow is also grocery/town day. It's so hot, we decided an early start would be best. 90* by 10 AM! :urk:)
fiberaddict: (Default)
and I thought I'd share, in case anyone else wants to change up the way they school. Hey, it's summer, it's HOT, and I don't want the kids to get burnt-out. So, today we are schooling the Fluxx way!

The way it works: we did Torah Class, then we played a game of Star Fluxx (teacher's choice). The winner of that game got to pick the next subject, and the next version of Fluxx we'd play...and we're doing that for each class.

Yes, it adds time to our day. Yes, it's FUN. It's different, and it's a bit silly (we just finished Martian Fluxx, and are currently watching Lecture 1 of "How to Look at and Understand Great Art". Next up is Monty Python Fluxx (rule: we can't play the same version of Fluxx 2x in a row)...winner picks from the rest of our classes (Hebrew/Math/Writing).

We won't do this every day, but I have to admit it's fun. You could do it with just about any game, I think - of course, shorter games are better for this than long ones. You could even run races or something athletic, if that floats your boat. :lol:

So - what do you do to keep your homeschool fun?

(For record-keeping: Saturday I made a batch of Derby cheese, today it's Colby.)
fiberaddict: (Calvin: Faces)
:sigh: This week hasn't been a good one....thank the Lord it's over!

Yesterday, the kids cleaned the doe barn. Herself was worried about the youngest chick ("Pudge"), so she brought him (her?) up to the house. I ended up chick-sitting...he wouldn't eat, wouldn't move, his eyes were swollen shut - it looked like someone had picked on him - so he ended up in my palm, next to my lap.

I got him to take some sugar water.....then the stupid thing decided to die. :big sigh: Herself's a little upset, to say the least....

Ah, well - that's a part of life. Sucks, but there ya go.

In better news, I made more cheese! (I have to. I figured out the milk thing - I changed what we're feeding the goats. See, up to last year, we'd been feeding a sheep and goat pellet made by the "local" feed mill. They screwed up, and got shut down by OSHA, so we started hunting closer feed sources (I preferred them, even with the distance - feed that was only 1 week old beats feed that's been sitting in a warehouse for months!). We tried *every* sheep and goat feed we could get locally, and the goats hated all of them. We ended up - both to save money AND to coax them to eat - mixing TSC's All-Stock Sweet 50/50 with Alfalfa.

Then I started reading.....seems that Sweet feed - even the "slightly sweet" that TSC claims - is bad for rumens. It can cause acidiosis (bad!).....and *I* decided it really wasn't worth the risk.

So, about a month ago, I took the goats OFF the All-Stock, and switched them all over to 100% Alfalfa. The milkers also get some Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, Oats, and Beet Pulp on the stand.....and our milk production has gone Thru. The. Roof.

Yesterday, I made a 1 pound batch of Fromage Blanc (a soft cheese; it has the texture of cream cheese) and a 2 pound batch of Queso Fresco (semi-hard cheese, simple and quick.) Today, I have Mozzerella started.......then I'll do a batch of...something. Hard cheese, but not sure WHAT yet.

I HAVE to get ahead of the milk, here. I have....3 gallons in the studio fridge, and another 1 in the house. And that's not counting tonight's milk! (We got 2 gallons this AM......I don't know HOW I'm going to get ahead of the game, here!)(Not complaining!!! The cheese'll be nice come December!)

And in other, other news, my bracelet came back from our cousin! Behold:

celtic horse bracelet

Michale Duncan is uber-talented. (This is the cousin that's offered Herself an apprenticeship.) My bracelet is about 10 years old, and has been worn a LOT. He replaced the stone - it's Pixilated Turquoise - because the original developed a fissure; that's the ONLY problem I've had with it. His work....well, if you're in the market for Celtic-themed jewelry, may I humbly recommend that you look at his stuff? :lol:

Gotta run - my Mozz is almost at temp. Shabbat Shalom!
fiberaddict: (Calvin: Faces)
Because, so far, it hasn't been anything great. First up, SG's been sick with the head cold the rest of us have/had - question. Why is it when a man gets sick, he's the sickest sick person EVER, even when his wife has the same thing (in fact, SHE gave it to HIM.)? Just asking...because the rest of us have managed to, you know, actually *function* while not being able to breathe.......while he was stuck in bed, too weak to do anything (except download the first season of the BBC's "Sherlock". And watch movies all day/night.)

Anyway.

Monday was *bad*. Cyn came over - she has to have 2 shots of B vitamin/week, and can't give them to herself. Since I give all the animal shots over here, she asked me if I'd stick her. Sure thing - it's easy-peasy, and I don't mind. Anyway - she came over Monday afternoon, my dogs decided that they'd never seen another human in their entire lives, and said other human was trying to destroy life as they knew it, and said human needed to be put into her place.....and I discovered that my lovely, lovely, Norwegian wheel can't take the stress of a 130 pound Wolfhound sliding into it. :EEEEEEEEEKKKKKKK!!!!!!:

The outside front leg snapped off, right at the table. :shudder: I went into shock - I realize it's only a *thing*, but it's an expensive thing, and I just can't see the USPS taking good care of it while shipping it back to Alden. I shrugged it off - again, it's just a THING - but.....oy! I was (and am!) heart-sick over it.

SG was still "sick" yesterday, but somehow managed to gather the strength to go to his shop, grab the wood glue and clamps, and fixed my lovely, lovely wheel. He even managed to get the peg out, before he re-glued the leg, so the whole thing is even re-pegged. I'm still sick over it, but you honestly can't see the break....and she's whole again.

The kids went to work with me; after we went to the "local" bead store (Artful Beads. Nice store!) She spent 1.5 hours drooling, and came home with $21 worth of beads (and $10 worth of freebies the clerk dropped in her bag, because "I'm kinda tired of cleaning around these. Enjoy!" - yeah, we'll be back!)

I'm in panic cheese-making mode. All my bottles are full, my back-up bottles are full, and my backup-backup bottles (that I just dug out of the various places in the house) are FULL. I'm to the point of making "unusual" cheese - just how many wheels of cheddar do we need, anyway? Monday was Leicester, today is Montasio (never heard of it, but I have all the stuff, so why not?) I'm planning on making a few batches of soft cheese, too - just to use up more milk. I'm not complaining - but I can't quite figure out why we went from not-quite-2-gallons/day last year to not-quite-4-gallons/day this year. The 2 Alpines are NOT giving us that much milk...and the Nubians haven't gone up that much. Again, not complaining.....after all, I'm ending up with a LOT of cheese put up. (And I have to buy some more molds - I only have the one. I need one for Ricotta, and one for soft cheese draining, and 1 that's cheddar specific. And then....we might just need another press. Right now, I can only make 1 batch (using 2 gallons of milk) of hard cheese per day....if I had another press, I could make a double batch (4 gallons of milk) and use it up faster. :sigh:) We're out of containers for ice cream, so that's not gonna happen......(and again - just how many gallons of ice cream does 1 family need?? And ice cream only uses 5 cups of milk/gallon....so....it doesn't really help. Tastes good, though...)

So. It's Wednesday, and things look like they might be settling down. I hope. SG is at work today, and the 3 of us aren't sniffling as much. AND - I have Benedict Cumberbatch to look forward to! :lol: He makes a good Sherlock...I like the BBC version MUCH better than the new US one. (Watson as a female???? Really????? Doesn't work for me......I'll stick with the BBC, thankyouverymuch!)

Oh, chick update: We've hatched out 4, but lost (seriously, we don't know where it went!) 1. Nugget - the first one - is doing fine; we lost one of the Americunas. Not sure if there are any more close to hatching...we're watching. Fun stuff!
fiberaddict: (Calvin: Faces)
Because we are having intermittent internet problems here. We're on satellite - the only company to offer ground DSL sucks. At the moment, Skybeam isn't much better....

Dishwasher is to be installed Thursday. :sigh: Can't wait - handwashing dishes is for the birds! And no, I can't get the kids to do it - neither one would do a good job, and we're looking at only having to do this until Thursday. (Herself did the dishes Sunday evening - after SG assured me HE would do them. See.....she has set routines. Loading the dishwasher - after *2* years! - still isn't perfectly set.....handwashing? Short-term? Really wasn't worth the effort on my end. I was right - she simply rinsed them in cold water and stuck them in the dishwasher. My question is.....SG was watching her. Why didn't he notice the lack of suds? :bangs head: She knows better now.....but frankly? It's just easier for me to do them. Yes, I'm still mad at SG - he promised me HE would take care of them, and dropped the ball. :sigh:)

We did school at the park yesterday - it was a fun change. I think I want to try and do that at least once a week - it got us out of the house, got us some exercise (we parked at the playground/picnic part, then hiked over to the dock - about 1/2 mile - to feed the ducks/goose. Then hiked back to do school), and was FUN. Besides - we homeschool. We should be able to have fun with it, right? :lol:

Made a batch of Parmesan cheese yesterday; it's in the press until 11. SG made a batch of Mozerrella...not sure if he did it right or not, because the yield was *horrible*. Usually, you get 1 lb cheese for each gallon of milk. He used 1 gallon....but didn't get 1 pound of cheese. Not even close. Guess I'll try it today....once again, I have no jars. And we got 2.5 gallons of milk this AM. :gulp: Wonder what other cheese I can make...I've done Cheddar, Colby, Monterrey Jack, Manchego, Parmesan.....I prefer to make hard cheeses, because they last longer. Guess I need to flip thru my book and pick something out.....:lol:

Almost time to start school - see ya later! (If we have internet...)
fiberaddict: (Calvin: Faces)
as it's raining, and I have a batch of Monteray Jack on the stove. I have GOT to use up milk...I have no more jars! :lol:

1. SG surprised Himself and me Friday evening - he took us to Lowe's and bought a new dishwasher! Don't know when it'll be installed, but New! Dishwasher! (Bosch brand. Um. I've NEVER spent that much on a dishwasher before - I really, really hope it's worth the hype! But - he picked it out, so I will NOT complain!)

2. Herself is home and happy. She made some INCREDIBLE beaded jewelry while at Granny's - I have GOT to get photos posted!

3. Anna gave me a new way to look at our "woes". As a "dry run" to an EMP. Which....I am not too concerned about long-term affects of an EMP. Why? Because of 1 little verse in Revelation:

Rev. 11:9 - "And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put into graves." (KJV :wink:)

Now....I've always heard it said that "EVERYBODY" shall see them....which isn't what this says - BUT. It does indicate that many people, from EVERYWHERE in the world, will see this happen. So.....Yes, there could be an EMP (and probably will!) - BUT it won't take the power grids down long-term. (Granted, "short-term" might be a stretch, depending on your definition of "short" - but I don't see it being for more than 1 year, at the most. Which, if I'm honest, is longer than *I* prefer to be without electricity - but it's do-able, for sure. Yes, I admit I'm a little lazy - I like modern technology!) (And I am willing to be proven wrong here - just because I don't "see" us losing electricity forever doesn't mean I'm right. But it's not something I worry about - yes, I've taken some precautions, but I haven't gone off the deep end, so to speak. I do still want to go solar, though...but it's WAY out of our reach right now.)

Now, as for the question: Yes, we have a hand-powered milker (the "Maggie-dan"). It's bad for long-term use, though, because it doesn't cycle - it just *sucks*. All the hand-held milkers are that way - and they will cause teat damage if used more than just once-in-a-while. But! I have 2 kids that know how to hand-milk, and I will take advantage of that! :lol:

I think that gets me caught up.....we start our "new" year tomorrow. I've revamped our schedule - we'll see how it works in real life. I'm sure there will be a little tweaking - but that's par for the course.
fiberaddict: (Calvin: Faces)
as usual. Let's see:

1. Eye doc appt. yesterday. Everything checked out NORMAL - my close-in vision has deteriorated a bit, but that's normal per the doc. (As you get older, your lenses get thicker/stiffer, and it affects your near sight.) I need to budget for my new glasses - $300 WITH our insurance. :shudder: Yes, I'm checking out Zenni Optical....progressive bifocals are pricey!

2. I think we're done kidding. :fingers crossed: All 3 new bucklings are doing well; bouncy and noisy and cute as can be.

3. Every time I think I have everything we need for school, I find something else. :lol: This time it's Anna's fault - she's gearing up to study Musicals. I used to have a nice selection - I LOVE Musicals! - but when SG got rid of the VCR I had to rehome the VHS tapes. I *thought* I had replaced them.....but I only made lists, I didn't actually BUY any replacements. :sigh: eBay is my friend....I have a HUGE watchlist right now; I need to look at the budget and see what I can get. (The good news is that I have the Operas we need, and almost all the Shakespeare plays. So....at least I'm partway there!) (And, I do have an extensive collection of soundtracks...but it's more fun to SEE a musical than it is to just listen to it, especially when you've never seen it before.)

4. Life of Fred is currently a hit. *Herself* is even participating! I'm doing it as a read-aloud, and Himself is doing the problem sets mentally - at the moment. I've already read this book; I thought it was kinda stupid on my read-thru, but then I didn't do any of the math. I have to say, I'm impressed. Herself actually *got* how to figure out going from a negative number to a positive (ie: How many floors do you actually go up from the 3rd basement (-3) to the 85th floor? Answer: 88. You have to go UP 3 floors to get to the ground, then you go up 85 MORE. She NEVER got that before! :happy dance:)

5. The GM cheddar is looking fantastic! I tasted some of it as I peeled the cheesecloth off - it has a really nice flavor now. Can't wait to taste it in 4 months!

6. Made 2 batches of soap yesterday - Moonlight Pomegranite and Heather & Hyacinth. The H&H is WAY too floral for my tastes, but it seems to be settling down. We'll see how it cures.

I think that catches me up.....I gotta skitter. School and Sabbath prep today - Shabbat Shalom!
fiberaddict: (Default)
Don't get too excited - I don't think I can keep it up. :lol: (Well...this week I might be able to. We'll see...)

1. Ali - no, I didn't Lute the Cashmeres. They were only in with the buck for 1 week, so I *know* when they have to be due, but I don't know who got bred, when. I figure, 5 days before, 5 days after - so, 17 days to watch. Zorra, I had caught her in heat the month before, wrote it down, and calculated it for the month we bred. According to *that*, she was due Sunday - but I might not have calculated her heat cycle correctly. THIS year, I plan to track heat cycles better - because I only caught each doe in heat 1 time last year, and did a lot of guess-work. (The milkers, we could see evidence of breeding; the others, not so much.)

2. Himself's foot is doing remarkably well. He's tired of the antibiotics, but he has to take the whole bottle. :evil grin:

3. SG is waxing last week's cheddar - I know it's young, but it sure is tasty! Today (after grocery shopping), I started a batch of goat's milk stirred-curd cheddar. Basically the same cheese as last week, but this recipe was designed specifically for goat's milk. We'll see if it tastes any different.....

4. Tomorrow is a busy day. Pest guy in the AM, eye exam in the afternoon, and I HAVE to make some soap. And Friday I should probably make another batch of some sort of cheese.....we're getting almost 3 gallons/day out of 4 does, and we just can't drink that much. :lol: (Not complaining!)

5. I really need to get back to the loom - I've been avoiding it. I HATE purple, I'm on towel #5, and I really need to get these done so I can do "pretty" ones. :lol: The next set has stripes of rust and sage-y green; really pretty in the cone and on the warping mill, so I have high hopes for them. Then it's on to overshot placemats and THEN onto the tallits. :whew:

6. Herself had a doc appointment today. I'm...not sure about them - I haven't refilled her prescription for 2 months. The nurse we saw today? Didn't know that - the records apparently don't show refills. I didn't mention it - yet - because I want to make sure Herself is stable for more than 2 months before saying anything. Still, she's doing well, and I am pleased.

Gotta skitter - I'm tired, and tomorrow will be busy.
fiberaddict: (Firefly: Josh Whedon)
OK, it's been a busy and weird week. So....let's do a list! :lol:

1. Monday was recover and hem the dishtowels day. Didn't get that accomplished - but I did get all the towels ironed and pinned. :shrug: It was also a major post-office day; we got all the books I had ordered for Himself (he's "ready" to start Trig....according to Singapore, anyway. *I* don't think he's really ready - he doesn't remember stuff we *just* studied - so I decided to hit the pause button and do Life of Fred as a review. I had most of them, but needed Geometry, Advanced Algebra, and Trig.), and our new cheese press. Yeah, I caved - the one we built isn't sturdy, and was seriously starting to lean the last time we used it. This one was $99....but it's smaller and sturdier.

2. Tuesday was work.....and it sucked, because FA's office can't do their jobs. Or tell us when they update a program. :bangs head: 3 hours of my life lost because I had to upgrade to the new QuickBooks...which doesn't work correctly due to "known issues". :sigh: 'SAlright, though - I got it done.

3. Yesterday was Cheese-making day! 1 batch of Manchego....the press worked GREAT. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy, as they say - the cheese looks....well, professional. I also got all the dishtowels hemmed and sorted - I only got 2 of this warp (which is GOOD! I thought I'd end up with a lot more, because it was such a problem to weave off!); the other 12 are put up, ready to be handed out. :lol:

4. Today was soap-making day - gotta use up the whey! 3 batches of my Plain Jane soap are currently gelling; I would have made 4 but I ran out of coconut oil. No worries - we're getting 2.5 gallons/day out of our 4 milkers, so....I see lots of cheese and soap in my future. I can only do 1 batch of cheese per day....but that's OK. I need to figure out Ricotta - that's another way to use up the whey. (In soap, I use it to mix the lye in. That way, I figure I'm not diluting the Goat's Milk with water (the "normal" way to mix lye), and my soap is lighter/whiter than if I used GM to mix the lye. Not that I care, but some people apparently do.)

Now...I have some questions. I can't figure out how to set up a poll here, so I'm just going to ask - please answer! Disclaimer: participating in this doesn't mean you're gonna score free stuff...nor does it mean you won't. :wink:

a) What do you consider a "set" of dishtowels? 1? 2? 8? Does every towel in that set have to match in both color/pattern, or can they just be related (same colors, for example, but in a different weave pattern, or vice-versa)

b) How many towels do you usually use/have out? (I can't answer this one, because I am ALWAYS grabbing a towel....we go thru 6+ per week. It's why I keep weaving them....)

c) Placemats - yes/no? Again, how many in a set and do they have to be matchy-matchy?

d) Do placemats and dishtowels have to match your decor, or does anything go?

Almost forgot!

e) How do you feel about being gifted "seconds"? I do my best, but sometimes stuff still screws up. I try to pull the worst offenders....but sometimes the only problem is a wonky selvedge (because sometimes threads break, and that wonky-fies things). It doesn't affect the use...it's just not perfect-looking. (Again - gifted, not sold. I won't take money for something that's not as perfect as I can get it.)

I'm trying to figure out the best way to market/gift my handwovens. Right now I'm on a dishtowel kick, but I'm starting to feel the urge to branch out into placemats (helps that Tigger just ATE one of the last set I wove....:grrrrr:) And table runners......:lol:

Gotta skitter - need to go bottle feed the kids. And get the boys listed on CraigsList - we disbudded the last of them last night, so they're ready to go. :fingers crossed:
fiberaddict: (Calvin: Faces)
(don't ya just love alliteration? I do....) Today is cheese-making day. Farmhouse cheddar, since my Manchego hasn't been turning out exactly right lately. Not sure why....maybe I'm not calculating the press weights correctly? Anyway - cheddar. It cleared out most of the milk in the fridge - which was needed.

I spent a few hours last night working on next week's lesson plans. We've finished Minimus Secundus, and are going to start Wheelock's Latin next week. :ack!: I *knew* it was a college-level text (used in some AP Latin classes in High School), but I had NO idea of how.....well, intense is a good word. Especially when you add in the supplementary books. I have a plan for the year.....wow. It's going to be intense. I might have to slow down the schedule....we'll see.

I think Texas has decided to skip straight to winter this year - it was 41* this AM. :shiver: I wish the weather would decide what it wants to do - it's supposed to hit 80* today. That's Texas for ya....

Need to start gathering stuff for school. Shabbat Shalom!
fiberaddict: (Firefly: Josh Whedon)
Herself had a doc. appt, so there went our morning. Got home, got waylaid by the neighbor, who REALLY wants to sell us his back acreage (and we DO want it, but SG wants to pay cash. Um....that ain't happening any time soon, hon. :bangs head:). Then the kids came out...Penny tried to eat the sofa. Or Kenzie.....whatever. SOMEone ate the sofa. :sigh:

So. I have milk heating on the stove now for a batch of Derby Sage. I've already picked the Sage, rinsed it, and boiled it for 15 minutes, then strained it. The liquid is in with the milk right now (I stuck it in the freezer for 10 minutes or so - it's a little batch.), and I'll mix the leaves in when I salt the curds (in 2.5 hours or so. :sigh:)

The soap looks good, but is still a bit soft. I'm not surprised - my scale decided that I was taking too long in weighing out my oils, so I think I super-fatted all the batches. I'll check it again tonight/tomorrow, and cut it when it's firm. I'll just let it cure a wee bit longer (6 weeks, instead of 4) and we'll be good to go.

Speaking of, provided we're here after the Fall Feasts, I'll willing to make custom soap batches. Please tell me what scents you want; if I don't have 'em, I'll buy 'em next week (on payday!) and get them going. It takes 4 weeks to cure soap - yes, you CAN use them before that, but they'll be soft, get slimy, and not last as long (some people *ahem* don't care, but I prefer to sell firm soap. Even if I DO use mine the next day, because I need to....test....the batches. Yeah, that's it - I'm performing quality control. :nods:) I have tons of scents now, but I bought what *I* like....so I may not have what *you* are looking for.

They're $5/bar, but I am willing to negotiate. :grin: I can do goats milk, whey, combo, or water - or even tea if you want something different (Chamomile tea makes for a nice soap - very mild. I use it in my shampoo bars.) (And hey, why NOT shill 'em? Might as well - we can't use all the soap I make, and people seem to like it, so........)

Wish I could figure out how to share the cheese...but I think SG might have a problem with that. :lol: (And us....my first batch of Manchego is GONE, because, well.....it was tasty. I'm eyeing the 2nd batch, but SG wants to try waxing and aging it. I think I'll need to make another batch next week, and eat this one....:lol:)

The kids and I had a nice long chat today about predestination and free choice. It was AMAZING. And very thought-provoking. I think we need to take long car trips more often.......
fiberaddict: (Default)
never ends. :heh: We were back up to 2.5 gallons of milk, so I need to make more cheese (I'm out of lye, or I'd be making soap. Ah, well....)

I mentioned that we built a Dutch Cheese Press......for some reason I HAD to have it NOW. Don't know WHY, but I HAD to, so.....we did. Here, have a photo:



Total cost for our press: $16. It would have been $0, but Himself and I ran out to pick up pulleys and hooks this AM, to increase the mechanical advantage of the press, and *decrease* the amount of weight needed to reach the proper pressure. (Sounds like I know what I'm talking about, huh? :wink:) IF I've done the math properly, this press gives us 10x - for example, for every 1 pound attached to the pulley, we get 10 pounds of pressing weight. (It's actually a little bit more - my scale tops out at 10 lbs, and 1 pound got me an error message. This is close enough.) (And anyone out there that's better at Physics than I am (that would be ANYBODY!), I'd welcome input. The lever length is 30", the drop is 4.5" from the pivot point, and we have a single pulley on the bottom and a double pulley on the top. Help?? I figured the MA for the lever alone was 6.3333...but I'm not sure that's right.)

The press is made out of scraps - which is why it's kinda ugly. The plastic on the base is from a cutting board SG bought 2 or 3 years ago - I honestly don't remember how much it cost, but it wasn't much. All the screws and bolts were in the shed.....and the cord is Texsolv from my loom. :sigh: We bought 10' of cable this AM, but didn't get any crimps, so we can't use it. I'll replace the Texsolv with it later - I need to go back anyway and pick up more lye so I can make soap.

Anyway, I have Manchego in the pot - SG wants to wax a wheel of it, and see how it ages. Can't wait to try the press out - I'm impressed with the kids and my work (we did most of it - SG just sanded it nicer and drilled the holes.) (And, for comparison's sake - the cheapest dutch press I've found is $100. Um. $16 is a LOT better! Granted, most of the ones for sale are a LOT larger...and that's a problem for my kitchen. This is much better for us.)

Need to go add rennet - have a great day!!
fiberaddict: (Default)
Stayed up for the entire Das Rhinegold last night...11:00 PM. My bedtime is 8:00 PM. I get up at 5:15 AM. I am ded tired. :yawn: But it was worth it! Tonight is Die Walkurie.....we'll see if I can make the whole performance again!

Cheese press: The kids and I got everything cut out, and the base assembled. Started to do the tower...and it said "Cut a slot x" by x" " and I said "Nope! We'll get SG to work on it tonight!" and put everything up. Then I started actually THINKING about it...the base, as specified, was 3' x 1.5'. That's HUGE. I don't have a space in my kitchen large enough to set it up (unless I put it on the floor...which ain't happening with my dogs/kids.)! So I did more googling....

We ended up decreasing it by 50%. It took SG and I maybe 10 minutes to reduce the base, then I tossed the plans and we brainstormed the tower and lever part to make it easier to do, with the wood we had on hand. He got everything set up, but quit before getting it all finished - it was 7:15, we hadn't had dinner, and he was losing light in the shop. I figure, maybe 30 minutes tonight will have it done - and the cost? $0.00. It's not pretty, but it was made with found wood, and that's worth a lot!

What took the most time was sanding all the wood. I sanded the base, because it was old and gray and had dirt.......HE didn't like my sanding job, so he switched out the sanding disks and started hitting it with the 200 grit. (I had used 60. It's not furniture, so.....:whatever:) It looks nicer, but it's still found wood. :wink:

I don't know WHY I all of a sudden HAVE to HAVE this...but I do. So, we're putting it together. I'll be making another batch of cheese tomorrow (probably Manchego - he wants to wax a batch and see how it ages, compared to cheddar.)

Oh, Hearth? You don't HAVE to use fresh-from-the-critter milk to make cheese; you can make good cheese using store-bought pasteurized cow's milk. Easiest cheese is 1 gallon milk + 1/4 cup vinegar - you can google the instructions, and they even have You Tubes on it. :wink: It's a soft cheese, but it's easy. And good. (Bit bland, but that's what herbs are for!) If you get into it, you'll want starter cultures (www.cheesemaking.com has a good selection, and decent prices. You can beat the prices if you hunt, but we usually order from here.) You don't need molds unless you start making hard cheeses.....and that's when you'll need to find a press. There's lots of different types, but the Dutch press seems to be the easiest to calibrate. (The ones with the board that rides up and down on dowels/all thread? Suck, because you can't consistently hit the proper amount of psi; the spring-loaded ones are just as much a joke. Seriously - we have one of these (without the springs) and...honestly? SUCKS. It's why I spent the last few days hitting every cheese forum I could find, searching for advice and plans.)

RH begins Sunday evening....I got to get work-work done, and finish tidying the house. This is the CLEANEST my house has been since we moved in (not that that's saying much! :wink:), so at least I'm not having to shovel it out this year. :lol:

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