People, where exactly DOES the time go? This is not a rhetorical question so please feel free to chime in. I would really like to find where it goes so that I can go collect it and bring it back. I am hoping it just takes a wheel barrow and a shovel, but if I have to rent some heavy equipment, I am willing to do so.
To revisit... The LB, Cho, and SHG and I all made cheese Oh, about 3 weeks ago. Maybe more. Here are some of the highlights of early in the evening, before SHG went and got her camera.
If you want the play by play of live cheese making, you will have to go here.
The spread. What is the point of getting together if you can't eat, drink and be merry?
The peach auditions. Three different types of peaches, all likely to be grafted onto rootstock by a local farm and on offer for sale as small trees in the spring. We liked the Beekman. As did my friends the following evening. Deee lish.
Heating the milk with citric acid for ricotta. Someone was watching the temperature, I am sure as it is critical. It must have been the LB. She was SERIOUS about the cheese. She did the research, bought the kit, gathered us, and kept us on task.
Here the curds are being ladled gently into the cheese cloth lined strainer per the directions.
Here we give up on gentleness and dump the mothers in there.
The long and the short of it is that we really need a cow. We are all totally in agreement on this.
The following day/evening/day was spent in Warrenton, visiting some of my chick friends from waaaaaay back. Six of the original 7 of my old supper club got together for dinner, in from London, New York, State College and The Ville. It was pretty near heaven, but way too short a visit.
After that, the SB was home again, and we were off on our usual wild ride of gardening, housework, etc. When he is away, I forget how much time this relationship stuff takes ....
Anyway, from the garden, we snuck out one evening and carefully dug under some of the potato plants to see if we had any new potatoes. We never got blossoms on the plants and I read that is the time you can start harvesting new potatoes. Well, apparently you don't need blossoms. Check 'em out!
These are fingerling potatoes of a variety called La Ratte (thanks Barbara Kingsolver). What do you do with a handful of small fingerling potatoes you ask.... Well, you cut them into more or less even chunks and boil them gently. While that is going on, you saute half a pound of Babe in the Woods local hot sausage with an onion and when things have browned nicely you add in potatoes and a big bunch of chard from the front porch and you add a little white wine or chicken stock and let the greens steam in there for a bit. Then at the end you wonder if there is enough starch in it to keep the SB from having to go for a 2am snack, decide no, and throw in a cup and a half of leftover cooked pasta and warm it through. While it is hot, you plop on top several spoonfuls of fresh ricotta (see above). You watch with delight as your dinner partner snarfs down enough food to feed a family of 8.
There is another small success in the garden in this year of very few real successes.
Some of the tomatoes planted on the hillside have produced! The yellow one is Wonder Light, the two directly behind it is a Tigarella (a little stripey) then there are the Black Plum Paste (with the greenish tops) and Grandma Mary's Paste, the sort of blocky shaped ones. Grandma's Paste is amazingly prolific with a minimum (no let's be fair - ZERO) care. I have been enjoying my potted tomatoes... Crimson Carmello (nice, but not the best tomato ever - the consistency is sort of mealy) and Persimmon (lovely yellow peach and very mild but not a great producer). If we had a little more rain, I think I would have been inundated. Which was sort of what I was looking for, but I am happy, I haven't had to buy much in the way of tomatoes lately.
In other news, we (the SB and I) spent and entire day and *almost* decided to build a chicken tractor. We opted out when we went to Lowes and priced it out at over $100. We decided to scrounge more and go for a permanent structure. Now we may be back to the tractor as the SB is questioning my long term commitment to chickens. The nerve.
We have also been talking a lot about ducks. What we hear is that ducks are messy. Apparently they fling water around like crazy when they eat and they poop. A lot. I am undaunted. I am sure that we can find leaves and chips and sawdust and straw to put down. And it gives me a good excuse to get some Wellingtons.