Sunday, July 30, 2017

Aging Cheddar - Bursting Garden - YOP Week 5


I hope everyone has had a nice week/weekend and is enjoying the summer weather! I know I am. It's hot and humid and wonderful out! As some of you know, I've been pretty much cheese-sitting all week, but I also had a few mornings on the porch knitting to work on one of my Year of Projects projects. I'm working on the back of my beach cover up and it's going very well! I have about nine more inches to knit before I start making the sleeves. I think I should rename this to a fall cover-up since it will likely only get done in September! It's fun though, and very relaxing to sit on the porch and knit. :)


My container garden doesn't know if it's coming or going! Look at all of these little lemon buds forming!! My lemon tree is really thriving but alas...I don't think I'll get all of these lemons growing to their fullest. This tree needs lots of sun and warmth; my hopes are up, but I think they'll all drop before the end of August unless we have an unseasonably hot autumn (fingers crossed!!).


My third round of lettuce is bursting out of the container too. I have to start another container to make sure we have a steady supply in August. We have to get to eating it!


I made a Mozzarella yesterday morning so we'd have it super fresh for our dinner salad! We eat this cheese far too quickly...I may have to start making half-batches to keep portion control lol...


Last night for dinner I made a Caprese Salad. It's basically a tomato and Mozzarella salad with basil, but we added lettuce. I can't wait until we can use our own tomatoes for this salad! Everything else is home grown or homemade! I also made a few Bianca pizzas with our leftover pita bread. This is just olive oil, garlic, basil and fresh Parmesan.


The pumpkin patch is bursting through the fence...but I do see yellow and orange flowers growing! I still have the chicken wire sitting on top of those leaves...I'm paranoid about the birds. People put up scarecrows for a reason! The leaves are strong enough to hold the chicken wire up without it pushing the plants down anyway, so I'll leave it as is for now. The tomatoes are slowly starting to grow bigger...I counted maybe 3 dozen between the regular tomatoes, Romas and cherry tomatoes.


Alex pitted another couple of hundred cherries and we used the last of them. He made more concoctions with brandy, Amaretto and Absinthe and I asked for a cup to do something on my own. I remembered once having a cocktail that had Irish Whisky and apple so I decided to try that combination with the cherries. We'll see in a few months if my palate is spot on or way off!


Drum roll please!!!

My pride and joy of the day :))  My first Cheddar is now coated and aging in my "cheese cave". (More detailed post on Rainy Day Cheese Making). As I mentioned there, this cheese will now age for three months. Alex and I decided we'll open it and taste it on Halloween and we hope it won't be a frightening experience! :) As it ages, I have to flip it daily, wipe off any mildew and make sure the temperature and humidity levels remain constant. I'll be starting another Cheddar this week and if I get my bacteria order soon, I can start a new cheese! I'm dying to make my own poutine so it might be a curd cheese! :)


Now I'm going to sit and enjoy the sweltering heat while I have it! The huskies are happy in the shade under the trees, getting all nice and dirty. I hope this little heat wave continues!

34 comments:

Sam I Am...... said...

Look at you go with EVERYTHING! LOL! You are one amazing woman. The knitting is spot on and your stitches are so even. You really do amaze me and motivate me. The food is making me hungry....I should know better than to read your posts when I am hungry! Ha! Ha! Your garden is going gangbusters and the cheese....what can I say. I think you have a green thumb for the plants and a yellow and white thumb for the cheeses. I am so happy for you as you worked very hard to make it all happen and you did!!! I am taking notes and since we have like 3 seasons here it's not too late for me to replant some stuff but this time I am cutting the chicken wire and wrapping it over the planters like you did. I had no idea the deer would come right up to the walls of my house....those stinkers...they have no shame! Keep up the great work and enjoy your summer heat!
Hugs ~Sam

Stefanie Ng said...

What great huskies you have. I see many dog owners on IG having those small kiddie pools for their dogs. Your cheddar looks awesome. How neat you just keep it out like that and the mozz? Oh man, I'm comin' over for dinna! You made me LOL about wearin' all 'da black b/c I have so much of it in my wardrobe too! It's all city clothes. When I go to the hairdresser I'm all about arming myself with screenshots of what I want on the sides, back, and how to look in the front. Pinterest is my source.

mysparemoments.com said...

I think if you are enjoying knitting your beach cover up no matter when it's done you will love it! You are making great progress on it. Your garden even from last week seems to have just bloomed in everything and how tasty to have dinner homegrown and homemade. I can't wait t to see how the cheddar ages and your mozzarella looks yum! I'm smiling at the Kilbeggan whiskey, the distillery for that is about half hour from my home, Ruth :D

Rain said...

Hi Sam :)) Thank you! :) When I started knitting many moons ago, I taught myself, and this was WAY before You Tube...think Commodore 64 days lol...my stiches were SO TIGHT. I had trouble knitting and couldn't figure it out, I'm glad I relaxed over the years and gave it another try! I am really hoping to reach the arms by the end of the week. The group is so motivating. I laughed so loud at yellow and white thumb for the cheese, my neighbours must think I'm loony hee hee. I hope your next season works out well with the chicken wire, though I have found it a big painful bother to work with, gloves and all. It does work though but I wish I had another way. Maybe Snow Fence...we have that around the property but it's so much more expensive, not as "ouchy" though!! Soon I'll be planning my WINTER garden!!! I've been reading so many books and I'm really hoping I'll have some success. I have to get more organized, I already have some seeds that are winter hardy, but I need to get going on the raised beds and cold frames!! Snow won't stop me ha ha!

Rain said...

Hi Stefanie :)) Aaah, the days of wearing only black...can't do it anymore unless we only get black-haired pets hee hee. We do have a kiddie pool for the dogs! The huskies walk through it and basically use it for a big water dish though! They prefer to jump into the lake. I don't walk them on weekends because of the annoying tourists who don't leash their dogs, but every week day they get to go for a swim! My other dog Jack the hound, he prefers a sofa and a/c, lol...The Mozzarella, so I've read, SHOULD be kept out...but I can't keep it out too long because of the cats. I keep it in the fridge but it gets sticky...I have to look more into that and see what I can do. The Cheddar goes into our old bar fridge and stays put for 3 months. If I had a "mouse-free" cellar, I'd just leave it out on a shelf, that's how it's normally aged. One day...Alex and I plan to buy our property and home (hopefully!) by 2019 and we're definitely going to build a cheese cave! I have a few pics of how I want my hair, so fingers crossed...but the last hairdresser saw the pics and butchered me, so I'm still nervous! This is a new gal. She's done Alex's hair and it looked great so we'll see! :)

Rain said...

Hi Ruth :)) I do love sitting on the porch knitting, it's really nice. And I don't want to fall into the trap of "having" to get it done or I'll make mistakes. I want to enjoy it, so I think you're right. It gets done when it gets done! I'll have something nice to wear over my bathing suit next April when the sun is hot but the snow is still on the ground lol...I'm so excited about the Cheddar!!! We'll see...I should do a live unveiling lol...Oh lucky you! Kilbeggan is my absolute favourite Irish, it's so much smoother than any other I've tried and we have a great selection here!

Treey Stynes said...

Hi Rain,

I've got this picture of you in my mind and you'wrapping a scarf round the cheese to stop it from getting a cold and you're reading bedtime stories to it.

Please tell me I'm only imagining it and that it isn't true.

Mama Pea said...

Oh, you silly girl! This heat and humidity is not setting well in this here house! Neither of us do well in the hot weather. 'Bout did ourselves in yesterday trying to get the lawn mowed (didn't finish) and do what needed to be done in the garden. By the time dinner was finished, we were both staggering around asking to be pointed toward the shower.

I'm still in awe of how you've jumped into this cheese making thing. Oh, to have the time and energy and enthusiasm for it as you do. We're enjoying my homemade cottage cheese this summer, but that's as far as my talents go.

Yes, you do have very even, lovely knitting stitches. It's fun for me to see the beach cover-up progress. Keep up your wonderful enthusiasm in all you're doing.

So many tomatoes in your garden already?! Wow. Just wow.

Rain said...

Lol Terry...wait, how did you know?.... ;)

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :))) Lol...I LOVE the heat and humidity! I think it's because our winters are so dang long in this area. I'm the type who can sit out and melt then run into a cold shower and feel revived! :) But honestly on really hot days like today, it went up to 38 C (I think that's near 100F), we don't do much. Dinner is club sandwiches with pre-cooked chicken, I don't even want the oven on!!

I have never made cottage cheese so there, you're a step ahead of me!! :) I love the stuff though, I need to look into making that too. I'm really loving the cheese making...bacterias and moulds...love it! :) And thanks re: the knitting, I have to really concentrate. Actually I haven't decided about the Hudson's Bay blanket if it'll be stockinette or garter yet, are you going to make one?

The tomatoes are tiny at this point! But those are all the ones that I started indoors in early April. I can't wait to see how many I get!! :))

Blogoratti said...

Really lovely indeed, hope you enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. Wonderful garden and thoughts and photos. Greetings!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

BAHAHAHA! I was getting ready to write something fun and then I read Terry's comment and couldn't stop laughing. A snorting kind of laugh πŸ˜„ MYGOSH...his comment was so funny.

I love your simple and wonderfully joyful life!

Nicole Thomas said...

OMG that cheddar looks fantastic. I can't wait to hear what it tastes like. Caprese salad is my favourite. I hope by the time by tonatoes turn red I will have all my cheese supplies and will be able to make my own mozza :)

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Oh that cheese!! I can't believe you made your own cheddar (or mozzarella for that matter). I discovered caprese salad last summer and just love its simplicity. I grew basil but will likely have to buy tomatoes. Happy knitting! -Jenn

Becki said...

Cheese sitting - lol. Now that's the life! :) The cheddar cheese wheel looks amazing. All of your food and garden pictures are just wonderful, Rain. Very inspiring.

Rain said...

Thanks Blogoratti! I'm enjoying the heat today too. :)

Rain said...

Lol Martha, I'm glad you weren't drinking milk at the same time as snort-laughing hee hee! Thank you for your comment, I'm really loving the simple life we're building for ourselves, it's so rewarding! :)

Rain said...

Hi Nik :) Thank you! The Cheddar...I'm so proud of her...or him...I shouldn't make it so personal lol...this was our first Caprese salad and it was SO GOOD and fresh! I could see it being yummy with goat cheese too. Oh, I hope you have your supplies soon! The Mozzarella is so nice when it's fresh!

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :) Thanks! I'm so happy about the Cheddar!! :)) We used our fresh basil too, it was so delicious, it'll be a keeper salad that's for sure. I hope you get more sunshine!

Rain said...

Hi Becki :) Ha ha...this IS the life. I'd much rather cheese-sit then commute and work a 9-5, even if it means living more frugally and simply! :) Thank you! I think the Cheddar turned out really well - so far! We'll see on Halloween!

Susan said...

I think you are the only person I know who actually LIKES heat and humidity! I wilt. Your cheese looks fabulous! It is so exciting! That beach/summer cover-up will be perfect for early fall days, so you go, girl!

Rain said...

Hi Susan :)) I think so too, even Alex is indoors during this weather! I just get so "SAD" during our long winters that I want to be outside as much as possible when it's summery! The cheese is a big source of pride! :) The cover up is going well, but I'm finding it hot on my lap as I knit...I think it'll suit the fall much more!

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

You are just rocking and rolling all over the place - you are truly my hero! :)

That cheese!!!!! Wow. I for one cannot wait for Halloween (but not for cheese reasons) and I can't wait to see how it all goes! What a process though!

We have been having incredibly humidity so my gardens are very wilty (along with their owners) and watering only does it a little justice. Today we are sitting right at 39 celcius. So gross. We are also under a thunderstorm risk which would help the gardens. They always bounce back after rain. Our humidity has been this way since last week - it needs to break. I am getting cranky! :)

Stefanie Ng said...

Hiya! Thank you for researching those grill tips for me. Yes, my husband has to try out the indirect method and he will be getting regular briquettes. He has that brand but the quick fire was way too hot. It was only this week I was able to get a lot of reading done. I put Kindle books on hold on Overdrive and sometimes I get a few in at the same time. I am usually a monogamous reader with Harry Potter as back up. OMGosh, thank you for the fun laugh at your BBQ experience. I'm glad you weren't hurt and nothing valuable burned down. I'm followin' your blog now via Bloglovin'. ^__^

Jenn said...

Lots of progress on things! I think knitting is something I'd like to try one of these days. I may be too impatient to make cheese but I love seeing how you're doing!

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :)) Oh thank you! :) That's sweet :)) I know, I can't wait for Halloween for more than just the cheese too! :) I would trade anyone's hot humid weather any time of the year, really. I'm just so down in the winter that I really look forward to summers here. My tomatoes aren't looking to healthy but surprisingly have some tomatoes on them...they look thin..."eat, eat, you're skin and bones" I tell them, but they don't listen lol...

Rain said...

Hi Stefanie :) You're welcome. :) I hope you find a good way to bbq before your big party. I think that was my problem, the fire was too hot, but I had regular aren't barbecues MADE for that reason? Yeesh...I'm surprised my wacky neighbours didn't call the fire department on me, there was so much smoke! Thanks for following! I'm following yours too! :)

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :) For me it's the opposite, I find I get impatient with the knitting, but I guess it's hard for me to just relax. I have to force myself to just sit, breathe and knit...WITHOUT my laptop nearby to distract me lol! Once I get going, I do enjoy it though! The cheese making for me is a lot of fun

Breathing Life said...

Now I have to count down until Halloween to hear how your cheddar turns out. It is quite the commitment you have there - babysitting that cheese.
You puppies look cool indeed and I can't wait to see your cover-up - it looks gorgeous.

Rain said...

Hi Mary-Anne :)) I'm definitely counting down!! We are having internet problems so it's giving me a chance to knit more. I might get the cover up done in August after all!

John M said...

Tomato salad with fresh basil and cheese is something I love.

Rain said...

Hi John :) Me too, especially when it's all home grown and home made!

Lucy Bowen said...

Your cover up is lovely and I can see it being finished very soon. Your salad is thriving, ours had a great start but has been attacked by something - probably caterpillars. We have also started to get our tomatoes, waiting atm for our cucumbers. And the cheeses are just splendid, can't wait to see how the cheddar tastes.

Rain said...

Thanks Lucy :) Hmmm...some of my lettuce has some holes in it, I never thought of caterpillars, but I'm going to keep my eyes peeled. And thanks for your comment! :) I hope I get my cover up done before the summer ends!!!