Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cheese Cave Is Filling Up! Winter Garden and Year of Projects Update (Yop Week 11)


Hello Everyone!

I hope you've all had a nice week and a lovely weekend! Things have slowed down a bit here. I didn't make ANY cheese this week - GASP! Actually as I type this, I have some curd cheese ripening for tonight's poutine! :) I ordered a bunch of new cultures to make new cheeses, I can't wait to try them out! My next attempt will probably be a Camembert! I can't wait! But I wanted to show you my cheese cave...aka the old bar fridge. I have SEVEN cheeses aging!! How exciting! (I posted a more detailed update on Rainy Day Cheese Making).


I did have eight cheeses aging, but we decided to try the Mozzarella on Pizza Night! My little aging experiment really turned out well. I aged this Mozza just for a week but it really changed the texture into a cheese that was easily grate-able. It melted perfectly on the pizza and tasted wonderful!


The two Cheddars were finally dry enough to seal. The one on the left will be aged for a year and the Newcastle Cheddar on the right...well, we'll try to wait until Christmas!! :)


Garden Update: I spent a few days in the garden this last week. I had to move my Morning Glories...they just haven't even bloomed yet, oh well. The tops look healthy but the bottom of the plant is very dry and brittle. Not sure what happened there but I do hope I get some flowers before winter!


One of my projects for the year is to plant a winter garden. I'd been doing lots of reading up on what crops can handle cold climates.  So I got to work on a very muggy but warm afternoon!



The two spots I have planned for the winter garden are on either side of the porch. These are the best areas because they are protected from the North wind plus they are on the South side of the house so they should get lots of sunshine and warmth! I planted carrots, Brussels sprouts, beets, turnips and green onions on one side. Then I planted Miners Lettuce, Corn Salad (M√Ęche), Leeks, Mustard Greens and Spinach on the other side. This is yet another first for me, so I'm hoping with lots of mothering, my winter garden will give me some freshness throughout our cold snowy winter. They are currently protected each night under poly-tarp until I can manage to build two cold frames. I didn't plant too much since it's my first winter garden. If things work out, I'll plant more next year.


I ordered some garlic bulbs to plant as well as a bunch of seed packs for the spring. I'll be planting the garlic at the beginning of October for next year's harvest. I also plan on planting some of my favourite lettuce too...but somehow grow it indoors without grow lights...more to come on that! :)


Knitting Knews: :)  I had to make an extension to the neck band for Jack's sweater. It started to stretch a little and fall down to his shoulders. I'm hoping this will keep it all up and comfy for him!


Enjoying the fall weather with his "twin" Marlene - joined at the hip!


Here is another non-planned knitting project: I finished the "Man Hat" as suggested by Farmgirl Sam, who is a great inspiration to me! It's a nice pattern, very easy! I'm going to knit another one for myself because it's just a wee bit loose on me. I know I'll get a slap on the wrist for this, but I NEVER check my gauge (and you can't make me!)...but it does make for adjustments and sizing surprises now and then! Still, I'm really proud of myself, despite the double-pointed-needle-stress at the end lol! I'm very happy I joined the Ravelry group. It's really got me knitting again! 


Bargain Hunting!!!  Alex and I spent last Thursday hitting the thrift stores, what a haul we got! I've always wanted a Raclette machine, but they are a bit expensive. We got this one for $6 and we tested it, it works! I can't wait to melt some cheese on stuff...lol...another way to add melted cheese to my life, go figure.


I also scored on cookbooks. It's not easy to find English books in this area, but I guess some Anglophone was generous lately with the thrift stores and I snatched them all up!


This book was a great find! I love all things Halloweenie...and we got some  board games for fun too...we are building a huge collection of those! The gal on the "Yum" board game seems to be having fun! :)


We got a duo of blankets and barware too. And we only spent a total of $27 so it was a nice treat!


But honestly? Being out in society...it really takes its toll on us. We spent most of the day Friday in bed watching movies and putting our new little liqueur glasses to good use! Living a hermit life is exactly what we love...but when we need to get out into humanity, our bodies and minds are never prepared for it! I don't know that I'll ever be comfortable around people again...but somehow that doesn't really bother me. :)

54 comments:

Ella said...

I so enjoy your cheese making adventure. It's just so sad I can't taste some of them, they look so yummy! Well done on the knitting front as well, and congrats on your bargains.

Breathing Life said...

You had me at 'poutine'. lol.

You are a wiz with that cheese cave. I dont know what that machine was you found for six bucks so I am off to google!
Have a great week.

Christine said...

I love thrift stores, great finds. Your cheese looks so good and I'm sure you will enjoy your winter garden.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Well done on the thrifting! You did very well for only $27! I have to say, that hat on you looks so good! The colour is perfect for your hair and eyes. Question: Apart from the sheer joy of eating your own cheese that you made, do you feel you are saving a significant amount of money making your own cheese? -Jenn

Marsha said...

I need to remember to eat before I visit your blog. It always makes me so hungry LOL. Your cheese cave is a great way to reuse and recycle. You have really gotten into the gardening and I am glad to see there will be a winter garden for me to watch and envy too. I think that hat looks wonderful on you and just so you don't feel bad...............I don't swatch either. So far I have been lucky though. Your fur babies are so cute. Jack looks so proud of his newly improved sweater.

Goatldi said...

Nice on all fronts. Don't know how you find time to blog with all the projects at hand. I don't swatch either. But if the yarn is expensive enough and I want to know the project will not be a surprise of the wrong kind I do. Just call me chicken but I don't like putting a lot of work and time into something only to find opps, lol.

Minding My Own Stitches said...

Jack looks very handsome in his sweater/coat.. looks like the neckline mod worked out perfectly!

The Man Hat looks great on you... it matches your top.

I'll be interested to see how your winter garden does. I've been reading up about cold frames and hooped wraps for raised beds, but all my plans will have to wait until the insulation and winterizing is done. Maybe next year?

Gracey is not my name.... said...

So cool that you make your own cheese! I rarely check gauge too and many of my hats have been too big...I add a crochet edge or roll the brim to make them fit....glad you joined up this year,,,

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

You scored big! Walking through thrift shops is always fun. You never know what you'll run across. I'm so curious about your winter garden. I'm looking forward to your results! I did zero gardening this year and it shows. Our landscaping, aside from keeping the grass neatly cut is a mess. But I couldn't stand the thought of adding outdoor work to all the indoor renovations. But we're almost done with all that. Over the winter, I will plan and design my flower beds and the areas I want to grow fruits and vegetables. And come spring...BOOM...we're going to get outside and shake things up!

Leigh said...

Very interesting about aging the mozzarella. Mine is a "quick" version so no aging. But I grate and freeze the extra for when we don't have milk. You've really been gung-ho with your cheese making! Fun, isn't it?

Winter container garden sounds good too. Something should always be growing, I think. :)

Nicole Thomas said...

I can't wait to see more about your winter garden.
The hat looks great and yay about the raclette :)

RO said...

First, I must say that you're absolutely gorgeous! Congrats on making all that cheese and having it work so well. These may make some great Christmas gifts. Like you, I collect cookbooks, and a lot of them are older -- from the 50's and 60's. I like the ones you picked up. Again, your garden is so perfect and orderly. Happy week! Hugs...RO

Treey said...

Good post Rain! You're definitely a looker as well.

Kristina said...

Your cheese looks great. I wouldn't have the space to keep a year, ha ha! I still hope we can dig a root cellar, but who knows. Nice thrift scores. Glad you have the space to store it all.

Mama Pea said...

Wow, Rain, you look like a model right out of a glossy fashion magazine in that picture! I totally agree with Treey above . . . you're definitely a looker!

I'll be so interested in seeing how your winter garden comes out. The only thing I can grow here in northern Minnesota over winter (even under a cold frame) is icicles. :o(

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

What a haul thrifting! I love thrifting! Those blankets are warm...we have a few here.

Good for you for knitting a hat! I have yet to knit hats. Those double pointed needles scare me! :)

I am with Mama Pea....icicles are a specialty here in Manitoba!

Susan said...

I am right there with you on checking the gauge on anything knitted - NOT doing it! Your cheeses look fabulous! And what a score at the thrift!

Jenn said...

The grated mozza looked perfect! Also I had to look up what a raclette is...lol! Looks interesting!
Love the 'man hat'. I had a friend knit me a hat last year with a pony tail hole in the top and I just love it!!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i have major cheese making envy! they all look terrific. and what a great buy in a raclette machine. i have a couple of them....we love raclette! you can make nachos in them too!

Rain said...

Hi Ella :) Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying the cheese journey, I am too! :)

Rain said...

Hi Mary-Anne :) Lol...wait until you see the poutine I come up with...I'll post a photo in a few days, it was drool-worthy! :) The raclette machine is wonderful. You just fill the trays with meat, veggies or whatever and put "raclette" cheese slices on top to melt it. Just another way of having a cheese fondue type of dish! I've wanted one forever and I can't believe we found one!

Rain said...

Hi Christine :) I do hope we have a winter garden to enjoy. The book I read was written by a lady in Nova Scotia...they have milder winters than here in the Laurentians, but I'm giving it a go!

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :) Oh thank you :)) I only noticed after that my eyes looked REALLY green in that photo! My next hat colour will be red, wonder what colour my eyes will be lol? Honestly? If I only count cost of milk and bacteria...YES, the expense is much less than what I would buy at a QUALITY cheese shop. Obvious you can't beat when Cracker Barrel is on sale for $4.99 at the grocery store...but then, what exactly are you eating right?

Last week we were so much into wanting to try one of the Cheddars that we ended up buying Balderson's Cheddar. It's an Ontario cheese and really delicious at $9.50 for 500g. I have to weigh it to be sure, but my Cheddars are at least double that amount, and the cost would be the same.

If I add up all the equipment, then we're talking a different ball game, but over time (since I NEVER plan to give this up!)...the cost will definitely outweigh the store bought stuff!

Rain said...

Hi Marsha :) Lol...I need to eat before I blog too lol...For now, the little cheese caves works really well and I can probably double the aging cheeses in there. I think eventually I'll have to get a bigger fridge though, just something used, because I am basically obsessed with cheese making now! I do hope the winter garden works out! My fingers are crossed...Jack does have lots of pride, when I try things on him, he seems to really enjoy the attention! :)

Rain said...

Hi Goatldi :) I think once I graduate to more expensive yarns, I might be convinced to swatch too lol...but I kind of always know my gauge is okay. So far it hasn't been too much off!

Rain said...

Hi Lynn :) I'm really happy with the neckline modification I made for Jack and he absolutely loves his sweater! I have to think of another one for him. Thanks, I really like how easy the hat was to knit too, though I'm not a big fan of the seed stitch - only because I need to focus too much and with all the pets, I get easily distracted! I wasn't able to even think of a winter garden until this year because our money was dedicated elsewhere. I have a wee bit of wiggle room this year and lucky enough to have two spots that will be safe from the wind and in the sun all day long. I thought about hoop houses but I don't think that would be strong enough...we get a lot of snow and wind. It's going to be a daily thing to check on the garden, shovel snow, open up the cold frame on really hot days etc...but I do suffer cabin fever and S.A.D. so I thought it might be a really good motivator to get me out of the house every day too! Stay tuned, I'll keep everyone posted! I think your climate might work well for a winter garden too.

Rain said...

Hi Tammy :) Great idea about making the crochet edge. So far I've been lucky that my knitting isn't too far off. Glad you enjoy the cheese posts! :)

Rain said...

Hi Martha :)) We did score big! And we got lucky, the one in St-Sauveur is only open twice a month and we happened to drive by it, not really knowing it was there. We got most of the good stuff at that one! You were busy doing the house...I think that when Alex and I move, I probably won't have a garden at least for the first year. That'll be sad but you have to prioritize. Winter is fun for the garden planning!! I get my seeds from Ontario's William Dam seed company, so far I've had great results! I'm so excited about the winter garden! I read Nikki Jabbour's The Year Round Vegetable Gardener

, she's from Nova Scotia so I figured she knows the Canadian climate. I hope it works!!

Rain said...

Hi Leigh :) I have definitely been gung ho and I do love it! :) It really is fun. The Mozza recipe is the "traditional" one and the author Gianaclis Caldwell (love her!) ages hers so I gave it a go and happily it worked! I think you're right that something should always be growing! I'll have my window sill "garden" going too!

Rain said...

Hi Nik :) Yay about the raclette! I've wanted one since your holiday dinner last winter lol...

Rain said...

Hi RO :) Oh thank you! You're so sweet :)) I think the cheese will be gifts only for us at this point! ;) I really can't wait to try them out, but I have to make sure they age enough or we'll never have that flavour we are hoping for, it's hard to wait though! I remember you mentioning that you collect cookbooks! The ones I got are all pretty good with some nice recipes!

Rain said...

Thank you Terry! :) That's really sweet! :)

Rain said...

Hi Kristina :) I had to find the space for the cheese...I was even willing to buy a used fridge for that job! We're lucky we have a basement here in the rental so it's all being used pretty much as storage for everything.

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :)) Thank you! :) I was saying that I didn't realize how green my eyes looked in that photo until after I posted it. They really take on the colour of the hat!! I remember you saying you didn't have much luck with the winter garden...I hope I can grow more than icicles!!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :)) Those blankets were just $2 each, they had a bunch more, but we had to stop ourselves!! The DPN's...I really feel terrible stress when I use them, it's crazy...but it's the only way to finish the hat because my circulars are too long. I found a company called Yarn Canada, based in BC...I ordered some yarn and needles from them to make some socks. Their prices are really good and they have a flat rate of $5 for shipping, which I also like! I'm really enjoying the knitting adventure! Just started a red hat! Lol at the icicles!!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Susan :)) I think I don't check gauge because I just want to get started on the project! I hate the cast-on phase, so I like to get that over with quick lol...and thanks, the cheeses are really a thing of beauty and pride! :)

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :) The grated Mozza turned out so amazing! I didn't think it would! The raclette machine is going to be put to good use FOR SURE...my grandparents had one, it looked a lot "beefier" though, but then everything was better quality back in the day. I fell in love with it! Oh that's cute about your hat with the pony tail hole!! :)

Rain said...

Lol Joyce, cheese envy! Oh, interesting, I never made nachos in a raclette machine, but why not? That's a great idea thank you!!! :)

Becki said...

Oh my goodness, Rain - so much to look at here and drool over - again! Of course your cheese is always drool-worthy, and your winter garden - I'm so impressed! I will enjoy the progress reports on that. Your Man Hat looks great - and it matches your pretty eyes! I have no idea what a Raclette Machine is. So after I post this I'm off to learn something new. I've also never heard of the yum game. Do let us know what you think when you play it. Or maybe you have played it and knew exactly what you thought of it when you bought it. Great finds in your thrift store haul. :)

Pam Jackson said...

Okay....the making cheese thing blows me away. Never knew anyone that made their own cheese and or a winter garden. That is cool. Great buys on the thrifting. As for being a hermit, I am more then I care to be since I retired. I try to make myself get out and about just cause the dog and the cat get tired of hearing me talk to them!! haha

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Hi Rain, You are doing so great on your cheese making! I love the idea of your winter garden and will be waiting to see how it does. I don't like to clothes shop or grocery shop! Have a good rest of the week! Nancy

1st Man said...

I will have to admit, I had to google "raclette machine". I had no idea. And now........I WANT ONE! Ha.

And I'll be right along there with Octoberfarm......CHEESE. ENVY. I'm SO going to have to dip my feet into cheesemaking (wait, that sounds gross, ha) dip my FINGERS into it. You are inspiring!!! Keep it up!

Rain said...

Hi Becki :)) Thanks! I really have high hopes for the winter garden. Though I had high hopes for my summer garden too and I'd say it was 60% successful! But the good thing is that I'm learning a lot for when we move and have more land for a big garden. I'd never heard of the Yum game either! But it was right next to Boggle, so we figured for fifty cents, why not? It's another one of those word games, we haven't played yet. We will definitely be going back to that big thrift store!

Rain said...

Hi Pam :) Lol...I talk to the dogs and cats constantly! Alex and I really do love recluse life, but I think that when you become too much of a recluse, it's hard to readjust when you have to be around other people, at least that's how I feel it is for us. But we can't really avoid others all the time, so we just kind of go with the flow when we can! The cheese making has been such a wonderful hobby/project. I only started in July and I have no plans to ever stop! I'm hoping to never have to buy cheese again at one point!

Rain said...

Hi Nancy :) Have you ever thought of a few containers for a winter garden? Or does Coco like frozen treats too lol? At one point down the line I would love to have a big greenhouse so I can plant more things in the winter, but I'll start with this! I hope it works out!

Rain said...

Hi 1st Man :)) Ha ha ha...I'm realizing that the raclette isn't as known a machine as I thought. Maybe here in Quebec it's more popular because of the "cheese culture"...cheese is a huge part of our diet! At least mine! :) I'm going to challenge myself to make a raclette-style-Swiss cheese soon. I just remember going to my grandma's and having raclette, but she had the nice big machine that you could warm your food on top of while the cheese melted underneath. ha ha, dip those feet into the cheese hee hee!

John M said...

I think dog sweaters are cute and practical.
Your cheeses look good. I admire your skills.

Rain said...

Thanks so much John! :)

baili said...

Best of luck for your new cheese resolution dear Rain!

jack looks irresistibly adorable in your sweater ,extension made sweater prettier .
i really am amazed with your knowledge for plants observation too as though hubby is but i am not as expert to detect some defect in plant growth .
i am sure you will get some flowers before winter my friend!

what clever choice of place for winter garden ,it will grow safe and look beautiful for sure .

How alike! either i never been much among people ,feel always uncomfortable if i had too.
getting back to my place sounds like relief

Rain said...

Hi Baili :)) I know how you feel...when Alex and I were driving home, we both felt relief too! Home is where we want to be, and if it were possible (it's not though!) we'd never leave the house! I really hope the winter garden works out because the temperatures are usually -20 to -40 Celcius from December through to March and sometimes April too. But I read lots of books and did a lot of research on what plants could survive and how they could. I'm going to baby that garden like I baby my cheese lol! :)

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

You are such an inspiration to ME!!!! You are so beautiful too and not a wrinkle in sight....how did you do that? LOL! Your cheese cave and winter gardening is what I aim to do....if I live that long! LOL! Your knitting is exquisite...you are a pro when it comes to knitting and look at Jack's sweater....LOVE!!!! And your girls and boys are part of my family now too....I love them. Jack has definitely stolen my heart.
I love your thrift finds....I can't understand people that insist on paying full price! LOL! What is a raclette? It must be French? I've never heard of them but they sound like something I would really like! I understand what you mean....I go out for little bits of time and then I'm so glad to be home with my girls again....I get it! Hugs to all of you! Sam

Rain said...

Lol..the power of the selfie! Actually Alex and I noticed that on the newer Android phone cameras, the selfies have some kind of "wash" on them that (for lack of a better word) cleans up the image. I have wrinkles! :) But I was blessed with young-looking skin so I'm happy!

Jack stole my heart the moment I saw him waddling around the shelter (waddling because he was 30 pounds overweight!!)...I wanted him that moment but we weren't sure we could take on another pet so quickly after Charlie and Oscar the cat. Alex said I talked about Jack so much during that week that he knew we would be back to adopt him within a week and he was right! :)))

Raclette, I think it's French or Swiss...you basically melt cheese on those little trays. There is a heater under the top. Then you pour the melted cheese over your meat, potatoes, veggies etc...some of those machines are really fancy and they have a grill on top too. I'm so glad we found one used!

Hugs right back!!! :)

Stefanie said...

Oh boy I'm craving cheese right now.

Rain said...

Hi Stefanie :)) Nice to see you back! I crave cheese constantly lol!