Saturday, May 11, 2013

God's Garden Bounty, Honey, and Homemade Butter!

God was SO good to us on Thursday-well, He is good to us all the time! When I got home from work I went out to the garden to pick what I thought might be about a gallon bucket of green beans, only to find my bucket filled to the rim in only a few feet of picking. We ended up with 6 gallons of beans, pretty ones with almost no bug holes at all. Then on to the squash, ours have never produced this much before! And they are full of blooms and I even saw a few small patty squash. There are cucumbers about ready to pick and Jeff dug a few potatoes yesterday and made potato salad for supper-it was so good! And we got rain later that evening-lots of it in fact. We weren't too happy about the hail we were getting, but it did only a little damage to the garden. It rained again on and off yesterday and through the night, so we've been greatly blessed and the garden is VERY happy.
 Jeff and Mr. Tom worked our bee hives the same day. The older one had built a good bit of comb up between the frames, so they took it out. We have the one jar of honey, but still need to put the rest of the comb into jars.
 We finally got around to making butter today. I started out shaking it, but was also working on making cheese again at the same time, so Jeff came to my rescue and took over with the shaking.
 It's butter! Jeff said someone ask him one time what he put in it to turn it yellow. He said nothing, God does that!
All the buttermilk worked out and now it's ready to try. We had some left over yeast rolls from supper last night and it was wonderful on them!

Lady and her calf, she still doesn't quite have a name, are doing great. The calf is finally growing and filling out good, she was just so scrawny when she was born. We've had 2 litters of bunnies born this week, one has 7 or 8 and the other only has 3.
Mother's Day is tomorrow-wishing everyone a happy one!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Garden Pic #6 and New Pen for the Pullets

 Garden Pic #6-It's growing great, but we do need some rain!
 Green beans-we'll be pickin' 'em by the end of the week-Yummy!
 Little tomatoes!
 Baby squash-pay no attention to the grass! :)
 One of the many little cucumbers-pickles will be here before too long!
 We brought the 12 Americauna pullets up here to Coldspring last night and Jeff got the old dog kennel fixed up for them today. They were really enjoying it-they've never been on the ground and were enjoying scratching and fluffing around in the sand.
 More beans-or is this the same pic? ;)
And last but not least, the 2 squash Jeff picked today. We have them cooking right now for supper, sure smells good-can't wait to eat!!!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My First Attempt at Cheesemaking!!

 I finally had time this morning to give this a try, and if I can say so myself, it's actually pretty good, despite the trouble I had. Note to self-buy new/fresh ingredients-don't use the stuff you bought years ago and never used!

 A gallon of fresh, raw milk. Not this mornings, but day before yesterdays. Look close and you can see the cream line. Lady is doing GOOD! Haven't made butter yet, but will be working on it soon-maybe sometime this week?
 Things are starting to heat up-this is most likely where my trouble began. I used old citrus acid and old rennet tablets. Thought I'd give it a try since I couldn't find either in the grocery store yesterday. I heated the milk to 88 degrees, then added the citrus acid and rennet, then let it sit for an hour. The recipe said it might take 2 hours-it did. It was supposed to get to a consistacy kinda like yogurt, where if you put your finger in it, it just kinda breaks. Well mine never did, even after the 2 hours, adding more citrus acid and rennet and letting it sit for yet another hour! So...
 I said to heck with it! I heated it up to 108 degrees now for 35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Well I got to noticing that the curds-looked alot like cottage cheese-were sometimes resembling melted mozzarella-oh which by the way was the type of cheese I was trying for!-melting in strands. So I went ahead and drained off the whey, there was lots of it-and put it in a bowl and put it the microwave for 40 seconds. Then drained more whey off and kneaded and stretched it. It was HOT by this time-the recipe said you might need rubber gloves, but I don't have any in the camper, and the whey was still working out of it. Since my hands were a mess by this time, I didn't get any pictures. Anyway, it went back into the microwave for another 20 seconds at which time it was really hot, but I managed to get it all stretched and formed into a small ball.

Jeff had made it home by this time so he held it while I got a picture. After a little while in the frig, we went ahead and sliced it, and it's actually very good-Surprise! I took some up to Mom and Shorty and they liked it, too. Can't wait to find fresh ingredients and try again!
Jeff went with his uncle to pick up his hive of bees today in Navasota. Shorty got an email saying his aren't ready yet due to the cold and windy weather we've had this week, so that's another trip next Saturday. The wind has just been awful the last few days, beating the garden up. We've had to start watering, no rain in nearly 3 weeks. We do have little tomatoes, squash. cucumbers, potatoes and looks like we'll be picking green beans by next weekend for sure!
Gotta get out there and take some pictures-the sun is shining and it's beautiful out today!