Saturday, 27 December 2008

Cheesed Off

We've now made three batches of cheese, using 8 pints of milk for each batch (about 4.5 litres). The resulting cheese for each was between 400 and 500 grammes. Shamefully, we threw the whey away. We had thought to try making Ricotta, but it was Christmas and we had a million other things to be doing..... next time, maybe.

The first two batches were soft cheeses, one we blitzed with some garlic, the other we left and it has the taste and texture if a very mild Cheshire.

We decided to try a hard cheese for the third batch, and this one needs three months to mature so it'll be a while before I can tell you what it tastes like. DH is busy melting wax to coat it with, all good fun.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Say Cheese!

We're embarking upon our latest home-made notion, cheese.

Bought some freeze dried starter culture, and made it up last night. It's all been divided up this evening and portioned into little pots in the freezer, with one batch left in the fridge to make our first cheese.

We're going for a simple soft cheese, and will be making it tomorrow afternoon.

Can't wait!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


I used to own two Dales ponies.

One of them was a really gorgeous (and cheeky) boy called Peter. He's been at a new home for some years now, and the lady who now has him very kindly sends me an update each Christmas.

He's doing sooooo well with her, and I love reading about what they've been up to. This year, in addition to the usual competitions, she's taken him to ride in the sea. He was always a complete wuss, and it sounds like she had to work really hard to get him to go into the sea ("don't like pebbles....., ......don't like sand...., ......don't like the waves" But she goes on to describe the exhilaration of galloping down the beach once she'd got him over these fears.

And she's met Peter's son! He only had the one before he was gelded. And it's amazing, they look identical!

I know it's a bit pathetic, but it made me cry. Not with regret that Peter has gone to a new home, not at all: K is exactly what Peter needs. Not with wishing him back - I so very don't.

I think it was probably a little bit of happiness for him and for her; and, perhaps, a tinge of sadness that he wasn't right for me.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Who's egg?

So, we've been lucky to have had eggs from Milly every day now.

Today, there was a brown egg in the nest, next to Milly's, and we're not sure who laid it. My first thought was that Delilah ("Leelu") had come back into lay after her 8 .5 week break for moulting... but it seemed a bit small for her. Maybe she needs to build up to big eggs again?

DH looked at it and said that he didn't think it was Leelu's. It was a bit darker than Leelu's eggs normally are, and it has tiny speckling on it.

But Jasmine (Welsummer) is going to lay mahogany coloured eggs. The colour of the speckles, but that colour all over. So it can't be hers. Can it?

Well, we don't know who's it is. So, we'll have to try and catch one of them in the act. A bit difficult as it's been so cold we've had the kitchen door shut for the last few weeks.

I'm sure the mystery will be resolved soon....

Oh, and it's been musical bars again. Tonight Jasmine was sleeping in the next box; Milly had moved over to the other side of the roosting bars; and Leelu was sleeping at right angles to everyone.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Home Made Brekkie

At last! This morning Milly delivered her fourth egg, so we had enough to make poached eggs for brekkie.

Home made bread for toast, home made butter, and home grown eggs. Mmmmmmmm.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Major muckout

I normally split cleaning the Cube (and the bit of Run that is part of it) and the WalkIn Run. However, the weather has been so wet lately that I kept putting off and putting off doing a deep clean. I continued to rake the Run every week and dust with Stalosan, plus changing the nestbox bedding (and of course cleaning the poo trays).

The forecast for today was "sunny intervals". As long as it wasn't raining, I had decided I would do it today. 9am, I started. I wanted to detach the Cube, take it apart, pressure wash it and all its bits, and then leave it to drip dry while I got on with the Run.

The actual cleaning of the Cube takes just a few minutes with a pressure washer, and a few more minutes to pressure wash the poo trays, roosting bars., nest box divider, back of the Cube etc.

I left all the bits on the terrace in the "sun" and raked up all the Aubiose from the Cube area. Then I sprinkled Stalosan, and started on the Run. First job, take out all the toys. Second job, pressure wash the poo of their kiddies' bench, then pressure wash all the fixed roosting bars. Next, start to rake out all the old Aubiose.

This took sometime. My compost bins are full, so I had to bag up the stuff and I put it in the trailer for use to take to the Tip. Then, fresh bedding (Hemcore this time), in the house to scrub the feeders and drinkers, put those back out.

Dry off the Cube and bits, and spray with petsafe disinfectant. Leave that to dry while reconnected the Cube to the Run, and then started to put all my tools away.

It took me 2 hours in total, which is unheard of. When I do them separately, it takes me about 30 mins for the Run, and about 45 mins for a deep clean of the Cube, including reassembly and clearing up. It only takes me this long because I have to hoik all the flower pots off the skirt, and then undo the fixings which connect the Cube's run to the main Run...and then put everything back afterwards.

Part of the problem was that the ground was wet, and I moved the Cube bits onto the paving by the compost bin to wash them., instead of washing them on the grass as I normally do. Unfortunately, I hadn't really considered the implications of using a pressure washer there, and I ended up with clean slabs, but carp all over the Cube bits.

Off to the tip, as we had a load of other stuff in the trailer already; and then on to B&Q to get some corrugated plastic roofing to put down half of one side of the Run. We currently have the Cube winter cover up to give some protectin to the Girls against the rain and wind, but it keeps a lot of light out. I noticed that they haven't been toosting on their Bench ehy didn't bother sitting on their bench so much, and I'm sure it's because they can't see out. So, we decide dto put some of the Corolux stuff down part of one side to provide protection without blocking the daylight. We didn't go all the way to the top of the panel, as we want plenty of air to circulate still.

By the time we got home and had cut the panels to size and DH had fitted them, the Girls were ready for bed. It looks much lighter in there now, I'm sure the Girls will appreciate it. So it's been a good day from a chickeny point of view, but not really as productive as I expected from my own.