Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Thirty years ago when I first began milking my beautiful Nubian Dairy Goats, and drinking the milk           -raw- (gasp), I was constantly ridiculed about my life style. Yes, people couldn't imagine eating "Goat Cheese" or even fathom how wonderful and tangy freshly made yogurt tasted.
 You see, I knew that the food typically sold in the grocery store was not what I wanted to eat or serve my children.  Growing most of our food was a top priority on my list.
Goat cheese was a main stay, a quick cheese set with vinegar was easily made within a few minutes.  Squeeky Mozzerella still warm from the colander, sliced and layered between freshly picked tomatoes, sprinkled with basil, drizzled with olive oil and dash of mineral sea salt brought sighs of contentment.  Adding cheese and chopped herbs to the centers of squash blossoms, rolling them in batter and deep frying, was one of our favorite meals. 
"You eat what?"
"You mean you pick the blossoms and eat them?"
"You put goat cheese in them?"
I really tried to be patient with people and not let the comments get to me, but I just couldn't resist feeding them (we have lived in quite a few towns so no one will know for sure where) a delicious pasta salad filled with fresh veges from my garden and freshly made goat cheese!  We had gathered together for a potluck meal and several even told me how delicious my salad was.  I just smiled and said thank you, but thought to myself, "I wonder what they would think if they knew they were eating (gasp) "Goat Cheese".
Today I am sitting in a motel, I am fortunate to be taking a portrait painting class and I am exhausted.  For several days I have been standing hour after hour painting so intensely my head swims, I am  sitting on the bed with my aching feet propped up on a pillow.  What a great experience!!!! I learned so much, having the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest painters on earth is such an honor!
As I flip through the TV channels finding something to watch, I don't have cable so I always enjoy watching the home remodeling and food channels when I am out of town.  Tonight I am watching cooking competitions.  What, -------one of the contestants is being coached by some famous female chef, I don't remember her name, but guess what they are making------- fresh squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese, battered and fried----- and in the next show goat cheese was used again.  I know it has been the "in" thing in fancy restaurants for a while, and it sure is great to see it becoming main stream and offered in your local grocery store.  However, it just doesn't taste as good as your own home made.

How to make easy.

Use regular vinegar to set the cheese.  Lemon juice will also work.

Heat the milk in a large stainless or enamel pan. Heat it over medium heat. 
I generally use 1 or 2 gallons.

When the milk is hot enough it will form a skin over top.  I usually let mine come to a boil and promptly remove from heat.  Let sit for about 5 minutes.  Add the vinegar and stir it in. I add 3/4 cup vinegar for each gallon of milk. The acid in the vinegar will immediately set the cheese.  Leave it to rest for an hour or more.

The acid separates the fat solids immediately.

In about an hour it will look like this.
Pour the cheese and whey into a colander placed over a large pan to catch the whey.  Use the whey in your cooking or feed it to your chickens.
The whey left over from making mozzarella cheese can be made into a ricotta cheese.

When the whey has sufficiently drained off, add sea salt.  Let the cheese sit overnight in the colander to continue to drain.  You can also place in a cheese cloth and hang if you prefer a denser, firmer cheese.  Keep refrigerated.  

For more of my easy quick cheese recipes check out the book Caprine Cooking 
by Mary Jane Toth

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

2001 GARDEN JOURNAL and a note to all followers

I came across an old Garden Journal the other day.  

It is a photo album, nothing fancy, just the kind with a sticky page covered with plastic.  You can use almost anything you have around the house as a journal.  I have even used the photo albums with the individual pockets  that hold photos.  I particularly like this kind as I can organize my seed packets, placing them in the pockets.  After the seeds are planted I split the seed envelope apart and put the front and back in separate pockets.  This allows me to see at a quick glance what I have planted and the important information provided on the back of every seed packet.
  When notes are kept, use a file card, cut to size of necessary, and slip it into a pocket also. And of course take pictures of your garden's progress and slip the photos into a page. You can always find these older albums at a thrift store.

A small section of the garden.

Types of crops planted, maps of crops grown, and planting dates are good information to record.

I love this!!!  He even drew my HAT!

Mom in the garden, a portrait by my 5 year old (who is now 6"1") and has flown the nest.

A Heirloom Choigga Beet

A page listing the things I hoped to get done that day.
And a mention that the day before the W-I-N-D did not blow with it's
usual gale force.  Now that is worth recording!

A drawing of Heirloom tomatoes from the green house.

Journals of your gardens over the years are a joy to read as you sit by the fire 
waiting for Spring!

click here to see

This is the front cover.  I used a bound art book filled with recycled brown paper.

I will start today, making plans, and keeping track of seeds I am starting indoors.
This year's journal is going to be spectacular!  That is if I can stop pulling weeds, watering, harvesting, transplanting trees, chasing gophers, shewing away hungry rabbits, hunting high and low for a shovel, all the other 1001 menial chores to get done, and sit down to make a few entries.

I have a large metal mail box at the farm I often keep the journal in.  This is handy in the spring when I am planting so I can quickly record the crops planted before I get back to the house and forget the dates and varieties.  

The format for following was recently changed by blogger.  If you were previously a follower of this blog and your name was dropped from the followers box, it is because you now must have a google account to be a follower.  I  personally did not eliminate you from this blog, I appreciate all my loyal followers, please get a google account and sign back up!  

Friday, February 5, 2016

A New Year

A new year.  A new beginning.  A time to re-evaluate, re-dedicate, re-vise, and re-vamp one's goals and priorities.  I had contemplated about re-linquishing this blog to the universe and figured that you all had heard just about enough from me.  Beside, what else can I write about,  there are only so many ways to pluck a chicken and writing about things more than once seems a bit
So I made a plan or a goal if you wish.......I chose a number one day out of the blue and thought to myself, "if this # of people look at my blog today (within a 24 hour period), I will continue to write."  Well,  much to my surprise, the fairly high number I had chosen was exceeded by 45 visits.   "It must have been a coincident", I thought to myself.  "In the near future I will randomly choose another number and if there are not that many visits that particular day, I will re-tire from writing about my beautiful little organic farm.  The day was chosen and as I drove to the public library to use the Internet, I was ready to accept my fate.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered nearly 400 of you had stopped in for a visit that day!  I guess maybe you do find something interesting to read about, or maybe it is just good to read about someone elses' mishaps so your life seems a little more normal.
Anyway, I am going to keep writing for another year.  I sure would appreciate some suggestions of what you would like me to write about.  Leave your suggestions in the comment section.
Thanks to All
 for stopping in for a visit once in a while!
Yes, 2016 is going to be re-ally great!