August 31, 2008

CheeseMaking 101

Curds & Whey after setting the 12 hours
Curd texture like yogurt
Preparing to ladle the curd into the cheesecloth lined colander
Curd draining

CheeseMaking 101

Easy Chevre Cheese

Here’s the directions:
Heat a gallon of pasteurized milk to 86 degrees F.
Add and mix in 1 packet of direct set culture.
Let set at room temperature for 12 hours or until thickened (like yogurt thick).
Ladle curd into cheesecloth lined colander.
Hang and drain 6-12 hours.

CheeseMaking 101

I am making cheese over the coarse of the next couple of days. If you are interested I’ll be adding information as I work.

First on my list to make is my Easy Chevre Cheese.

Supplies You Will Need
Double boiler - (I use a pan inside a pot) to heat and create the cheese in.
Thermometer - To keep eye on temperature.
Milk – I use our raw goat milk.
Culture – I use direct set cultures purchased from New England Cheese
A ladle – I picked one up from a local kitchen store
Cheesecloth – available at Walmart, farm store or cheese supply company
Colander - most have one in their kitchen.

Pan/Bowl to put inside dutch oven/pot. It holds a gallon of milk nicely.

My dutch oven




Due to either to my lack of computer skills or blogger resisting my efforts in adding photos and more information ... to be continued.

August 29, 2008

A Blogger In Real Life

Just as everyone else, I have a few blogs I follow. Those bloggers have blogs they follow. Occasionally I will click on one of the links in my favorite’s list of favorites. (I noticed Blogger is going to have a new thing we can add on about the blogs we follow. Pretty nifty I think.)

I don’t personally know many who blog, have never met any of the folks whose blogs I follow. About as close as I have come to personally knowing another Blogger is corresponding with Barefoot on and off over the last 5 years or so via email and through goat care lists. Though I have never met her in person (would love to some day).

Any hoo, a couple of my favorites shared a favorite blog in their lists. Unfamiliar with the blog, I thought I would visit. I was reading a few of the blog entries, looking at the photos, when a light bulb went off in my head. I recognized a place in a couple of her photos. I read on and realized I had actually spoken to this person. Goes to show it is a small world. I will be seeing this Blogger at the up coming Celtic event. I wonder how surprised she would be if I tell her I read her blog.

Looking at the calendar, beginning to prepare for winter, I realized it is almost shearing time again. Not sure if it has been due to the extreme heat of the summer months or my lack of energy that deterred me from working with the fleeces. I find I have sacks of fiber stashed yet again. I need to get on the ball and decide what to do with it. We are adding roving and a couple of fleeces to the vending tent this year. I hope that at least the roving will sell. Roving is fiber that has been washed and carded into a "rope like" form and is used for spinning, felting, knitting or weaving, well any fiber crafts. This roving is Angora, which is so soft and perfect for spinning yarn or blending. I had been holding on to it for the better half to spin. Since he has been traveling 2 – 3 weeks at a time, spinning is the last thing on his mind.

I started investigating the possibility and cost of sending our raw fleece off to be processed at a mill or to an individual who does the work (wash, card, spin) professionally. Not sure that it would be cost effective for us. A bit too pricey for our wallet. I did find something to do with some of the fleece that we think would be useful and surprisingly not too expensive.

Check out

Click on the mattress pads and pillows link. We like the idea of our own mattress and pillows from our own fiber.

August 28, 2008


This morning is hurry up and wait. I am waiting on BIL to bring the stock trailer to load a few goats that are leaving. I hate waiting. He said he would be here at 7. Here it is a little after 8. I shouldn’t complain he was kind enough to accept the mission. He has to travel across town and country to the other farm to pick up the stock trailer, drive it out here, assist in loading the goats, then drive across town and country to deliver the goats. Yet again drive across town and country to return the stock trailer.

This waiting also throws a wrench in my schedule. I can’t feed, milk or do any of the morning routine until the departing goats have left. You see feed is that all powerful tool that our goats respond to. If you want the goats to do anything as a group other than go out to the pasture to browse all you need is a bucket of feed to entice them. Most of our goats will normally follow me anywhere with or without feed. It is on the days that we want them to do something as specific like load into a trailer, that never fails they will misbehave and run the other direction. So I wait to feed and those hungry mouths will follow me anywhere. Did I mention I hate to wait?

This is one of those days that is not considered a good day on the farm. Parting with some of the goats hurts my heart. Especially when I have bonded with the goat. I worry that they will be cared for properly at their new home. I can’t dwell on this or they won’t leave. In a perfect farm world every goat that was born here would stay and every goat that needed a home would be welcomed. Unfortunately, it not a perfect farm world and we can’t keep them all. The one good part of the day, my sparing partner and the obnoxious buck Copper Top is one that is leaving today.

With fall approaching quickly we have began to prepare for winter. This means not having unnecessary animals to winter over and feed. This goes back to each animal having a purpose to stay. We had to let those few go today. My perfect number would be 15. Yes, 15 from the woman who at one time had 157 and wanted more. Crazy, yeah I know. My new farm mantra … less is more.

Preparing for winter also means storing hay away for the winter months. The price of hay has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. It is expensive. What we use to pay $1.50 or $2.00 a bale for now is $5.00 to $7.00. We have to start early and squirrel away. To get through the winter months we normally needed 350 or so bales. The bales I am referring to are the square bales that weigh give or take maybe 60-75 lbs. (depending on how tight they are baled). We are not set up for the large round bales that weigh 1000 lbs. or more. No large storage barns, no round bale equipment or round bale feeders. It is much easier for us to store and feed the squares. I can also feed out what we need and there is less waste. We used round bales one winter and there was so much waste. The goats use the round bales like a home, first as a kitchen, they eat and eat and eat. Next as a bedroom they slept and lounged in the hay. Lastly as a bathroom they peed and pooped on it. Not so with the squares that we put into feeders.

With the few that are leaving today we can be a bit more organized. All the does, yearlings and wethers will have their pasture. Our buck and his companion will have theirs. The milk does will have their separate pasture. It makes life a bit easier. I don’t have to worry about anyone being bred accidentally. Yeah! I can schedule breeding once again.

August 26, 2008

Brownies or Brownie Cake

Either way is a chocolate fix.

This is a recipe I inherited from my grandmother, which can also be found on the back of any Hershey syrup can label I do believe. It has been around for quite awhile. Some in the family like this as brownies, some prefer as what we call Brownie Cake due to it being a bit sticky and gooey.

1 stick soft butter
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs
1 (16 ounce) can chocolate syrup
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter, sugar, eggs together. Beat til smooth and fluffy.
Add chocolate syrup and flour alternately.
Add 1/2 cup nuts and beat until smooth.
Pour batter into a greased and floured cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Frost with your favorite chocolate icing.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes.

If you are making as cake divide batter equally between 2 round cake pans and frost as you would a two layer cake.

If you don’t like nuts in your brownies, you can omit the nuts. If you like extra chocolate, add ½ cup chocolate chips to the batter. Of course you could use both.

I drizzle chocolate syrup over the top of the warm brownies instead of frosting.
Another way to enjoy is with a dollop of ice cream, sprinkled with a few nuts, a cherry on top for a Brownie Delight.

Answering Machine

From Rhyme & Reason and Poetry in Motion by Doris Daley

Press 1 for this; Press 2 for that. You can't call a business anymore and get a human being to answer. Here's what happens when the phone menu comes to the ranch.

Thank you for calling Hayseed Ranch. We'll be with you sooner or later. So please stay on the line for the next available operator. Your call is very important to us.

We have a digital recording contraption. Simply listen to the following menu and select the appropriate option:
For brown eggs, stock dog pups, a Farm King mower, Angora goats or Suffolk sheep, Just tell us what you've got to trade and make an offer after the beep.

If those frisky Charolais heifers have jumped the barbed wire boundary Enter their ear tag numbers now followed by the pound key.

Press 1 if you're selling insurance,
Press 2 if you're from the bank
Press 3 if you want to tune our piano or clean the septic tank.
Press 4 to deliver your yearlings.
Press 5 if you'll be here at dawn. If you want us to adopt a tiger, hug a tree, sponsor a wolf, save a whale, save Air Canada or save the Liberal Party.... Dial 1-800- DREAM ON.
Press 6 if you want to go hunting.
Press 7 if you want to buy hay.
Press 8 for help with high school rodeo or 4-H Achievement Day.
Press 9 if you'd like to keep holding, it shouldn't be much longer now. The grassfire is almost under control and so is the prolapsed cow.
Your call is very important to us and here's what we urge you to do: Just stay on the line until your call is no longer important to you.

© Doris Daley

August 24, 2008

New Baby Chicks

I found a mama hen and her new brood of 10 chicks hidden in the back of one of the goat shelters. I gathered the group up (against the hens wishes) and moved them to the chick pen. The chick pen is a rustic built cage covered in chicken wire, large enough to hold a small pet carrier, water and feed. They will stay in the chick pen until they are large enough the peafowl won’t eat them. You wouldn’t think the peacocks would eat baby chicks, but they do.

This little hen is a good mama. She's meaner than snot, protecting her babies. That is one reason the photos are outside looking into the pen. She attacks whenever I open the door.

The chicks are various colors. Hoping most will be hens.

August 20, 2008

Our Big Fat Irish Family Gathering

We are two weeks away from the annual all in our Irish family weekend gathering. You could call it a family reunion of sorts I suppose. Four generations will be gathered in one place.

This is our crest.
This is our family tartan.

I’ll try to make this long story short… This annual family event began a few years back.
My parents (Mom to be specific) became passionate about tracing our roots, which lead to her (then and now) active participation in the local Genealogical Society, which lead to her connecting with more of our Celtic ancestors. Dad a true to his roots Irishman decided that the best place to find information on his ancestors, family history, etc. was to go where all good Celts gather…the Celtic Festival and Highland Games. They enjoyed the festival so much, connected with many distant and some semi close kinfolk that they ask their children to accompany them the following year. Being the dutiful children they were, they respected their elder’s wishes and attended. Those children in turn ask their children to join in the family affair and so on and so forth.

Basically we do this to make our parents happy, our kids do this to make their parents and grandparents happy and it is a good excuse for all of us to get together. Pretty much we have a darn good time. We dress up in costumes and kilts, eat too much, laugh a lot and put the fun in dysfunctional.

This year home base for the gathering is the farm. I should be scurrying around preparing and organizing for their arrival instead of sitting here typing. Right now I don’t feel like scurrying, know this later will bite me in the butt and I will regret it.

My costume for this year is almost done. Sister is sewing matching skirts for us. She is coming down a few days prior to the gathering to do the final fitting and hem. We are planning a "girls day out", a day at the local salon for a bit of pampering. Gotta look gawgeous darlink for the event. We also take this quiet time before the gathering to put the finishing touches on all the vending products and get things organized for the vending booth. We have a vending booth (more about that later) and the parental unit host a clan tent at the festival.

My main concern right now is the menu for and feeding the 20 some odd people while we are not at the festival. I have decided on a family favorite for Friday evening arrival dinner, our late grandmother’s recipe of spaghetti and meatballs, plus garlic bread and veggie salad from the garden. I can keep the sauce simmering on the stove and it only takes a few minutes to cook up the pasta. Should be simple to have ready while they filter in during the evening hours.
Wanting to keep the food in with the Irish weekend theme gave me a bit of grief, though I believe I have figured it out.
If you were to go to Ireland, a traditional Irish breakfast would be - scrambled or fried eggs served over a piece of toast, bacon (AKA Rashers), 2 links of sausages, sautéed mushrooms, a grilled tomato, fried potato's, black and white pudding.
Definitely not in the mood to stand over a hot stove and cook all this for the family, especially the puddings. Ick. I will take the easy way out relying on another traditional Irish item served for breakfast – oatmeal. Nix on having oatmeal porridge, decided to bake oatmeal muffins to go along with our version of Scottish eggs and a fruit tray.
For the family dinner after the festival I have narrowed it down between 3 main dishes, Corned Beef and cabbage, Shepherds Pie or Irish stew. Decisions, decisions. Will make up some scones/shortcake, brown bread, along with creamed peas and potatoes. Unsure of desserts at this time.

I am looking forward to all being here. Know it will be non-stop activity for 3 days, though well worth it. I'm looking forward to seeing the animals at the festival. Love the herding demonstrations. Last year a young lady had Shetland sheep on display, which are on the top of my I Wantitis list. Who knows maybe I will bring home a lamb. Woo Hoo.

If you would like to check out the festival information site, here’s the link (if I can get it to work)

August 19, 2008

Another Fall Project

Here's the canvas, our 500 gallon propane tank. Would like to paint it. There are no restrictions, we own it. It use to be silver with a blue lid. There's a bit of red showing on the lid, imagine from the original manufacturer colors.

Have seen similar tanks painted as cows, you know the black and white splotches like Holstein cows. Here are a couple photos of a propane pig and the other photo is truly creative, the propane submarine.

Sister(the artist in the family) thinks we could do a landscape, our farm logo, even possibly a farm mural. I think a goat would be nice.

August 17, 2008

Fall Projects

After the new paddocks for the goats have been fenced and the new milk room finished, we have been discussing adding a Pergola. I went in search of plans and ideas.

This would be nice...

but I just adore this one!

August 15, 2008

Farm Rules

Where the animals are concerned there are only 2 farm rules.

#1 - Each animal has to have a purpose to stay on the farm.

Chickens (eggs/meat)

Turkey/geese/ducks (eggs/meat)

Peafowl (eggs/hobby)

Dairy goats (milk/manure)

Meat goats (meat/manure)

Pigs (meat/tilling)

Sheep (meat/fiber)

Angora goats (fiber/manure)

Outside dogs (predator control/ herding/ guarding)

Barn Cats (rodent control)

Inside dogs (pets/companionship – yes is a purpose, haven’t you heard how pets can lower your blood pressure?)

#2 - No animal will hurt me.

I refuse to put myself in harms way to raise any animal. I refuse to work with difficult animals. All animals on the farm will and do come to the sound of my voice. No animal runs from me (with the exception of the poultry). Mean, obstinate or animals with an attitude are not welcome on our farm. Bluntly, if they piss me off they go to the freezer or they are out of here.

That’s where I am at right now, in between madder than …and he’s out of here. Copper Top our Angora herd sire has been testing my patience’s for quite awhile now. Knowing goats, normally I can over look his pushy attitude, after all boys get a bit bucky at different times and they want to be in control of their herd. He has to be first to greet me at the gate, first to get a pet, first to eat.
He has those horns that turn out like Long Horn cattle and he knows they are there. Beautiful horns really, very majestic and impressive on a goat. More than once I've seen him send the smaller goats flying with just a twist and flick of his head and horns. This is not constant, just any time I approach their pasture. That irritates and worries me that a baby maybe harmed. Yeah, I know he is the boss and they need to learn that.
The last couple of weeks Copper has been showing more aggression towards my entering to feed. He stops in front of me and dares me to walk. I step forward to move, he steps forward, head down in charging position to stop me. We do this two step for a minute or so until I have had enough. I set the feed bucket down, grab his horns and hold him, to show him who is boss and in control. No, not being mean, I hold and pet, hold, talk and pet, scratch his back and tell him such a good boy he is. The entire time he is trying to pull away because after all he is the boss. Wrong! I am the boss and I will let go when I am good and ready. Good and ready is when he stops attempting to pull free and decides he likes being petted. He normally will let me pass and runs ahead of me to the feed trough. Of late he is letting me walk by then shoving into me from behind pushing me towards the feed trough.
Yesterday he was in rare form, more aggressive than I have seen before. He was in full attack mode, head down and charging me before I could step into the pen. He slammed his head and horns into the gate as I was opening it. I had to push him back to step in, then I positioned the feed bucket under his nose, to get his attention and walked backwards to the feed trough. Nope, this is not going to work.
Granted, the weather has started cooling off and nearing the time of year bucks go into rut. You don’t want to get between a buck in rut and his does. Knew another goat owner who got in a pen with her Boer bucks during rut. A buck charged, attacked and broke her back. I can learn from others mistakes.
Copper Top is not showing signs of rut. So nope that is not it. He has always had an attitude since he came into his own, over a year now. Which has been annoying, just never this excessive.
Shearing time takes his attitude down a notch or two. Afterwards he is docile and shows no interest in getting close to me. Imagine you wouldn’t get near me either if I shaved you bald, gave you your yearly vaccinations and trimmed your hooves. There’s no way I am going to be shearing this fella once a month to settle him down. I am so aggravated with him right now. I am not sure what we will do with him, I just know he is out of here!

Earlier in the year, due to my wanting to concentrate on breeding for black and white fleece, we had decided to sell Copper Top (red) and use Sundance (black) as our herdsire. We had a buyer, who at the last minute changed his mind. So Copper Top stayed. I highly doubt we will try to sell him again, due to his aggressive behavior. We don’t believe problems like this should be passed on to endanger someone else.

August 14, 2008

Jelly & Jam

A fruitful day it was.

Cantaloupe Jelly
Peach Jam
Blackberry Jam

August 13, 2008


Each year the garden seems to offer a bumper crop of one veggie or another. This year it seems to be the tomatoes.
Waste not want not...I canned more salsa.

Zesty Salsa

Makes about 6 (16 oz) pints or 12 (8 oz) half pints.

You will need:
  • 10 cups chopped cored peeled tomatoes (about 25 medium)
  • 5 cups chopped seeded green bell peppers (about 4 large)
  • 5 cups chopped onions (about 6 to 8 medium)
  • 2-1/2 cups chopped seeded chili peppers, such as hot banana, Hungarian wax, serrano or jalapeño (about 13 medium)
  • 1-1/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce, optional (I don't use)
  • 6 (16 oz) pint or 12 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands


Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
Combine tomatoes, green peppers, onions, chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, cilantro, salt and hot pepper sauce, if using, in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot salsa. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
Process both pint and half pint jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

August 12, 2008

Good Morning From Prosperine

And a beautiful morning it is here on the farm. These are the days I enjoy being out and about early. The cool, quiet, calm mornings that I wouldn't trade for anything. You can hear the oldest roosters crowing about 4:30, the sun begins to peek over the fields about 6. Stepping out on the porch being careful not to bang the door closed, you listen...all you hear is the faint music from a wind chime dancing with the light morning breeze, not a sound from any animal. No maaaaaing from the goats, oinking or grunting from the pigs, dogs fast asleep from their night of patrol, peacocks and chickens quietly perched on their roosts and in the trees. If you are quiet, you can tip toe down the back steps, with morning beverage of choice in hand, slowly cross the yard to the wooden bench where you can sit and wake up with the farm.
Sarah Beth munching after morning milking.

Homer, Lorek and Tango the GP pups enjoying their morning meal.

Axle coming up for breakfast

Cookie scratching her rear on a tree

Thumper the wild tame rabbit

Angoras eating their breakfast
Copper Top (big horned fella) not wanting to share. Note his standing in the trough, looking extremely put out that the others are ignoring him.

August 10, 2008

From The Garden

More cucumbers

I love these sweet banana peppers! They are wonderful stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled with olive oil and baked.

More tomatoes...
Honeydew, cantelope, green and red peppers, peaches.
Fresh basil

Canning jars ready to be filled.

August 7, 2008

Tomato Chips


So what you gonna do with all the tomatoes from the garden?

You have canned spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato puree, salsa...towards the end of the growing season, when you feel you have canned all you can can and the freezer is bulging at the seams with fresh frozen tomatoes, consider dehydrating.

Dehydrated tomatoes, peppers and onions are wonderful for winter stews and soups.

How about something a little bit different?
Tomato Chips for snacks.

Dehydrated Tomato Chips
What You Will Need

Firm ripe tomatoes
Garlic powder
Dried oregano leaves
Dried sweet basil leaves


Wash and dry tomatoes with a clean towel.
Slice tomatoes in 1/4-inch slices.
Sprinkle tomatoes with garlic powder, oregano, basil, salt and pepper or your favorite spices.
Place tomatoes on dehydrator racks.
Dry 12 to 24 hours. Tomato chips should be pliable to slightly brittle.

Don't have a dehydrator? Try oven baked.

Oven Baked Tomato Chips
Makes About 40 Chips
3 pounds (about 14) plum tomatoes 1/4 cup (about) extra-virgin olive oil 1-tablespoon sugar Freshly ground black pepper to taste Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line three baking sheets with aluminum foil
Cut tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, discarding the stem ends. Lay tomatoes on prepared baking sheets without overlapping, and drizzle lightly with oil. Sprinkle with sugar and lightly with pepper.
Bake until well-dried and caramelized, about 3 hours. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
From Celebrate!
Nutrition facts per chip: 20 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g carbohydrates, 0 g protein, 3 mg sodium, 0 g fiber

August 6, 2008

Mercury Down

Hello from the farm! It’s a good day here on the farm, a much welcomed, much-needed break from the high temperatures! I can’t and won’t complain about yesterday’s dark cloud that hung above us bringing whopper waves of storms lasting into the wee hours of the morning. Knew the thunderboomers, lightning strikes and flooding would usher in cooler temps.
Our area has been under excessive heat warnings, temps in the triple digits and just miserable. Temperatures not fit for man nor beast. The animals have been miserable. The chickens and goats panting, searching for the coolest, shady spot that may offer a bit of relief.
Morning Mom, It’s Milking Time
What do I find when I opened the front door? Louise lounging on the front porch in the cool of the morning waiting for milking time.
Around here when the animals get out, I don’t worry. They don’t run away from home they come to the front door and knock.

Swimmer Pup
Not sure if I mentioned our litter of Great Pyrenees pups. They were born early May. When they were a few days old, we noticed that one of the pups had not progressed as well as its littermates and took the pup to the vet. Turns out he had a slight case of what she referred to as Swimmer Pup. A condition of his gaining weight too fast, staying attached to his mother in nursing position more than normal (his front legs extended to his sides and back legs pointed directly behind him, flat chested and looked like a walrus). Correcting the problem involved puppy therapy. Pulling his legs up under his body, working with him in getting back on his feet so to speak. Homer is doing exceptionally well, still a bit flat chested but out and about doing all things puppies do on a farm.

Time To Go
It seems like yesterday that this year’s feeder pigs were delivered. Actually it was 5 months ago. They have a month to finish out, then they are off! We have booked the processing appointment.

Those are mainly white pigs, now muddy brown. That is how they kept cool, cover themselves in mud.

Eating Green
Have you ever watched the Planet Green Channel? We have a free month preview of it right now. We subscribe to a very basic package on satellite, the smallest, least expensive our provider offers actually. Each month they offer free previews of different channels in hopes of luring you into ordering and subscribing to the more expensive package that free channel you just watched all month, then it suddenly disappeared and you can’t live without happens to be a part of. Any hoo, a program listing on Planet Green caught my attention. It’s Emeril and his new "green" cooking show. Can’t remember the name of the program off the top of my head. He has partnered with Whole Food Market in this program. If you like Emeril you’ll like it. A question was posed to Emeril about how long he had been cooking "Green". ( It sometimes amazes me how odd these questions are.) I was impressed with Emeril explaining that cooking "Green" is nothing new, it’s been around a long time and it was actually known as sustainability.
Another "Green Food" program took you on a tour of a farmers market, explaining the journey that food took from farm to table. Explaining that most food traveled 1300 miles before ending up on your table. I asked the better half (an over the road trucker) how far he thought most food traveled before ending up at the local grocer. He guesstimated 750 miles. He was even surprised at the distance food traveled.
So do you ever wonder what happens to your food while traveling that 1300 miles?

August 5, 2008

Goat Milk Yogurt

I started making goat milk yogurt years back using the Yogotherm. Wonderful gadget I have to admit.

It requires no electric, has simple easy to follow directions and comes with yogurt starter culture. I was content with the consistant results. I did find a couple slight drawbacks to the Yogotherm. I needed smaller containers to store the yogurt in (we never consumed 2 qts quickly enough). And also I have an issue with using and storing milk products in plastic, fear of bacteria leaching into plastic. The inner works of the Yogotherm is a plastic container.

I did the glass jar in the oven method, but never felt quite comfortable with the temp control there either.

Then by accident I found the EuroCuisine yogurt maker. I absolutely love it! Comes with 7 glass storage jars, has temp control and auto shut off. So easy!

The most difficult part in yogurt making now is deciding what flavor to make.

Yogurt Recipe


1 quart whole milk (I use our fresh whole goat milk)
1 packet of a yogurt starter culture (I use the DS Yogurt culture from New England Cheesemaking Supply Co.)
¼ cup sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses or artificial sweetener. (This is optional, though if you are use to store bought yogurt this will help with the transition to homemade.)
¼ cup instant dry milk (Also optional, it does produce a creamier, thicker yogurt and will increase the protein content in your yogurt by 2 grams per cup)

Scald milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. When the temperature reaches 112º to 116º (don't want too hot, heat will kill the active bacteria), remove pan from heat, stir in the sugar or other sweetener. Once sugar or sweeteners are dissolved you may add other flavorings if desired.
Add instant dry milk, stir well.
Add culture, stir well.
Fill all jars, place the jars into the "machine" and follow the manufactures cooking instructions. It will take 6 to 12 hours (I leave mine to set overnight), depending on the type of milk you use, and the firmness desired.
When done, chill the jars in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. You can keep your yogurt for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Culture options:
Though I use a commercially available direct set yogurt culture, you can use 1 - 2 rounded tablespoon of store bought plain yogurt (make sure it has live bacteria cultures) as a starter culture. Use only unflavored.

Additional flavorings:
You can use 1 tablespoon of extract such as vanilla, lemon, almond, banana, etc. to flavor your yogurt.
You can also flavor with 1 tablespoon ground spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or other favorites. 1 tablespoon of instant coffee, instant Chai tea mixes or the General Foods International instant beverage mixes can also be used for flavoring.
For jam or fruit preserves, add 1 tablespoon into the bottom of each container and pour the warm yogurt mixture over. Incubate as normal.
For fresh, canned or dried fruit, it is best to add these after the yogurt has incubated. The acid content of some fruits can curdle the yogurt mixture and prevent proper fermentation.

Helpful Hints:
Only use one pan during the yogurt preparation process.
If you use soymilk, make sure to use UHT soymilk, which contains fructose, honey or malt. These ingredients are necessary for fermentation.

Remember - Homemade yogurt will never be the same texture or flavor as store bought.

August 2, 2008

Muck Boots

Day 10 and all systems are beginning to return to normal. For most I don’t believe would take as long to recover from this intestinal bug, but when you push yourself to the limit, it takes a bit longer to bounce back.
There is no one but me, ill or not, to feed, milk, do the daily routine of animal care – regardless of how the head is spinning, the stomach aching or the intestines roaring, I care for the critters. They were too busy wolfing down their ration and bleating for their alfalfa to notice their ever faithful feed bucket was stooped over in pain, feeling faint from a fever and ready to toss her cookies at any given moment.

Farm Fashion or Farm Fashion Felony
This year’s latest farm fashion in mud/muck boots

Last year for Christmas, my parents gave me a pair of black and white polka dot mud boots. I was elated to receive them. Thought they were cute. Mud boots, muck boots, work boots, all are a part of farm fashion basics so absolutely I was happy to have a functional thoughtful present. The downfall - the cutesy bootsy didn’t last long. Obviously city slicker boots are not made to withstand the rough and stumble of a barnyard. On their last visit, the family noticed that Polka dots were not adorning my feet. Not too long after, Sister calls and says be expecting a package. She wouldn’t even give me a hint as to the contents. Yeppers, I was definitely surprised when I opened the package.

I believe the family is finding humor in farm fashion.

Guess the goats really won’t care if the feet are pink plaid or polka dot.