Friday, May 21, 2010

Chickens and Cheese...but not in the same dish

Sugar came home!


Turns out she hadn't gone far though...had hunkered down on a nest in a corner of the big barn. I've got pictures to prove it. Ready to point at Lu and laugh, Angela?

Seems the coop just didn't afford enough privacy for her taste. Now we're just hoping for some Australorp or Buttercup/Speckled Sussex mix chickies to appear in a couple of weeks. We're worried about her safety because she is not in a very secure area of the barn, but she has managed to survive for a couple of weeks, so we're going to leave her be.

I also finished my cottage cheese experiment. It took longer than I anticipated because I had to throw out the first batch of milk. It didn't clabber quickly enough and I decided that maybe the bacteria had died because it was too old or something. So I got fresh and started again.

After 36 hours, though, the new batch still hadn't done anything but get tangy smelling. I looked on the trusty internet to figure out what was wrong, but didn't see much to explain the problem. So, what do I do when I'm stumped and even Google can't help?

I called my Mom.

Poor mom got to spend two weeks with me recently...three, actually if you count the time she was here for spring break before she came back to take care of me after surgery. I say poor mom not because I'm so terrible to hang out with, but because it was snowing and we keep our house at a crisp 60 degrees most of the time. She froze.

"Your house is too cold."

You read it right. My house is too cold for milk to clabber. I hope Jon reads this.

So, I turned on the oven for a couple of minutes and then stuck the pitcher in the oven. When I got home from school, lo and behold: curds and whey!

After a few minutes on a warm burner, it separated a bit more.

I poured it into a cheesecloth line colander and then hung it up to drain some more while I went back to feed my chickens some kitchen scraps and get some photographic evidence that Sugar isn't dog food. Also took the first pictures of my chickens as adults. I'm living on a veritable petting zoo, I tell you.

Side note: my neighbor is raising two bummer lambs for the neighbor on our other side. They are cute as, well, lambs...

Back to the cheese. When I returned from the photo shoot, this is what was awaiting me.

Mixed in some kosher salt to preserve it, poured some fresh cream over it, put some on a salad and the rest in a jar, and stuck it in the fridge. Texture is grainier than most cottage cheese, but it is sweet and flavorful. And it took care of two quarts of milk that would have otherwise gone bad.

Mozzarella, here we come! Which is good, because this

is our Friday night tradition and what would go better with an already stellar pie than to top it with homemade mozzarella?


  1. gorgeous curds, gorgeous hens+rooster, delicious pizza- it's like you're living in a dream!

  2. Leah, I would put some food and water out near Sugar. The less she leaves the nest, the more protected those babies will be. she sure looks like she knows what she is doing.

  3. Mom, Stay wanted to do that, but I was afraid that food and water would attract predators? Raccoons and skunks, specifically.

  4. First, yay for Sugar being home... again.
    Second, your Friday tradition is fabulous. I need to show up on a Friday and partake of your homemade pizza with homemade cheese. :o)
    Third, Sue's hat is AWESOME! She looks fabulous...

  5. Bagckock!!!!! Yay Sugar!! I still don't believe you. I think you threw paint on another one of your chickens and stealthily put her in the barn... I can here you now... "Stay little chicken... stay. This'll show her... heh heh heh..." You should be ashamed of yourself.