Thursday, June 12, 2008

Goings On at the Farm

We just got five new pigs at the farm. Pigs are very important little animals. They eat all the stuff that would get thrown away otherwise. When you make cheese, the biggest by-product is whey. And you can technically pour it down the drain, but, obviously, that's not the best way to get rid of it. And since I don't think there's a way to use it as biofuel, the only thing for it is to feed the pigs with it. They love it, and it fattens them up for, well, you know...sausage, tenderloin, all those things that people love to eat. I'm not much of a meat-eater myself, but I think I can agree with some farm-raised, local pork.

Otherwise, things are relatively calm at the farm. Pigs are rooting, chickens are laying, and goats are...being goats. You know, I recently read that the reason goats produce milk (or any other mammal, I guess) is that when they kid, hormones are released, causing milk production. After that, the sucking of the baby (or of the milking machine) causes the animal to keep producing. Amazing how that works. It seems almost sacred. Or maybe I'm just sentimental.

Chris has started leaving me alone in the cheese kitchen for long stretches of time, and I absolutely love it. I get into a groove--a cheesemaking high, I guess--and I just feel so accomplished. It's a great feeling to do something right. Understanding it is another matter. I understand the basics of what happens when you add a culture and rennet to milk--acidification, coagulation, all that--but it's so damn complex. I suppose that for centuries cheesemakers just relied on their senses to make cheese, and I can't help but think that might be the best way to do it, but it all makes sense and it helps you know if something is going wrong with your batch.

So, as a footnote, I'm interested in making a solar cooker. If there's anyone out there who knows of a good way to build one please let me know.

No comments: