I think this is the longest break from work I have taken in years... Off a half day on the 22nd, back to work on the 3rd and only a half day in the office in between. Sheer freakin' bliss.
On the 28th I made cheese with my neighbor. She had The Cheese Kit. I had done this with the food crafting girls a while back, but since it was a while ago, it was like starting all over. Except that I also tried some cheddar. You inoculate the slightly warmed milk the night before with some yogurt or buttermilk and let it sit at room temp. By morning it was certainly thicker than regular milk. I walked it over to the neighbors as we were doing this in her fabulous kitchen. Then you add the rennet and let the milk sit for an hour. Which we did. Only we used my rennet which had apparently lost its kick. So the first 30 minutes nothing happened. We added new rennet and 60 minutes later we had a lovely curd - lesson learned, keep your rennet in the freezer. (We were doing other things along the way, making mozzarella, drinking tea and eating home made toast). The curds were cut into tiny squares, then stirred gently for 15 minutes while the whole thing was held between 90-100 degrees. The whey was drained off, and the curds were put into a clean cloth fitted into a clean tomato can with both ends cut out. I then took this home and placed one of the can ends on the top of the cheese which was on top of my cooling rack. On top of the can I put a smaller can (tuna, full and unopened) and and a couple of fat cookbooks (the Joy, and 1000 Chinese Recipes). We pressed it overnight on the counter and then wrapped it in fresh cloth and stuck it in the fridge where it will hang for a week or two until it forms a rind (which appears to be happening) then I am supposed to put cheese wax on it. But I will probably eat it instead.
We went to dinner at our other neighbors house. Cold roast beef, roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts and Christmas pudding with hard sauce. Yum.
I went shopping with Cho to the new fabric store. All I could do was think that those lovely upholstery fabrics would look great in the garden pavilion. Or the goat barn.
I walked to the Tea House with my chummy and had a pot of tea.
I made goat stew from the Frugal Gourmet. I messed with the recipe.
I made no knead bread. And messed with the recipe (adding 1/2 cup oatmeal and a bit of wheat germ to tone down all the whiteness) and had success.
I got a comment on my blog from the MENews people regarding my dissing of the garden planner. I was corrected.
I moved heavy things.
I saw an owl fly through our backyard.
We worked on the garden pavilion and goat barn plans. We made a model of the goat barn in cardboard.
See how much fun I am when I don't work? Someone should buy me out so I can be a stay-at-home homesteader and blog about it.