The City Girl Farmer


Cow Shares Available Now!
February 8, 2013, 2:57 pm
Filed under: Cows, Raw milk | Tags: , , , ,
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Heifer calf born November 3rd

Well, we have decided to take the dive and do a cow share program at City Girl Farm.  I have been hesitant because we only have Tiddles, our family cow, not a herd of dairy cattle.  That makes the risk for the shareholders a little higher since if something were to go wrong and her lactation ended, there aren’t other cows there to take over.  On the other hand she produces what a herd of 5 or 6 goats produce so there is plenty of milk!  Plus, nothing beats fresh Jersey milk.  It’s the best!  But my children are getting older (one is gone half the time) and we just can’t drink enough milk, make enough cheese, butter and yogurt to keep up with what she produces after having calved in November.

I also see I owe an apology to the people who followed me for having fallen of the planet the last year.  For those of you who care, here are my (pathetic) excuses:

  • lost one farm hand to school and then to work
  • lost another farm hand to a European vacation last summer
  • attended sacred music training last summer
  • became the choir director at my church

Ah!  I fear I will always be torn between the city and the farm.  Glad to be back, though. 🙂

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Butter
July 28, 2011, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Cheese & Other Dairy Products, Cows | Tags: , , ,

Butter ready for the freezer

Some readers have been wondering what I’ve been up to lately.  Well, here you go!  I’ve been making cultured butter and lots of it.  Tiddles gives us about 5 gallons of milk a day and making butter is one way to use it all up.

Cultured butter can be made by adding a store-bought culture to the cream but it can also be made the old-fashioned way of using cream that has been allowed to sit at room temperature for 1-2 days.  The advantage of the store-bought culture is that you control what bacteria is predominant in flavoring the cream.  The advantage to the old-fashioned way is that it’s quick, easy and cheap.  I have been quite pleased with the results of the latter method so that is what I have been using.

Here is how I do it:

  • skim cream into a separate bowl and chill
  • add cream to food processor, and using the bread dough blade, process until the butter breaks
  • line a sieve with cheesecloth or butter muslin and dump the butter and butter milk into the sieve
  • allow the buttermilk to drain away from the butter for a few minutes
  • wash the butter under cold running water and add salt to taste (if desired)
  • form the butter using a mold or by hand and store

That’s it.  Simple as can be and really tasty!

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Cheeeeese!!
February 18, 2011, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Cows | Tags: , ,

I have made soft, easy cheeses with success but for some reason I found hard cheeses more intimidating.  Reading a cheese recipe is like reading a recipe for soap or beer or wine.  It dawns on you that some really complex chemical interactions (magic for an unscientific person like me) are required for your cheese (beer or wine) to come out right.  You have to pay attention to things like acidity! *shudders as science angst grips her stomach*

I decided that I had to face the giant and all that I really had to lose was a couple of gallons of milk, some rennet and some culture (pun intended).  It had been a long time since we had chicken enchiladas and I decided to make some queso fresco for them instead of buying the cheese at the store.

A conventional cheese press and an improvised cheese press

After completing the first magic step of turning milk into queso fresco-flavored curds, it was time to press the cheese.  I used to think that pressing cheese was necessary just to turn it into that nice cylindrical shape that made it easier to store.  I learned that it, too, is another magical process.  Cheese needs to be pressed so that it chemically “knits” together.  Who knew?  I had too many curds for my press capacity, so thanks to my neighbors at Victory Ranch, I was able to improvise a press with a mold, a souffle dish and some heavy books.  I recommend the standard press.

Finished queso fresco

I discovered you don’t really need to understand how everything works in order to make cheese.  Just follow the instructions of a good recipe and all the chemistry will take care of itself.

How did it taste?  Like queso fresco, only as with all the other things that are home grown, it was somehow richer.  Like the difference between home-made brownies and brownies out of the box.  Raw milk aficionados will understand what I’m talking about.

This, my friends, is why a person would keep a dairy cow.



Meet Tiddles
September 17, 2010, 4:35 pm
Filed under: Cows | Tags: , , , , , ,

Tiddles

Tiddles is our new milk cow.  It was no small project adopting her!  I bought her from a dairy farmer in Wyoming.  She was supposed to have come in August but there were several delays and she ended up being a month late.  I hope the new mothers in my life will forgive the analogy but the whole process has really reminded me of having a baby.  She’s been here five days now and the day she was delivered all I could think about was when the cow would finally get here and of course, it took forEVER.  Once she was finally here, everything changed.  All of a sudden a few more hours each day are sucked out of my schedule as I figure out the new routine.  I’m sure that as the muscles in my hands become re-accustomed to milking we’ll shave some of the time off.   In the mean time, I feel somewhat overwhelmed.

I finally have a bit of extra milk, so it will be yogurt and cheese time very soon.  For now we have all the most creamy, delicious milk you could want to drink.   Thomas made coffee ice cream today and tried out the milk shake machine I inherited from our neighbor.  Mmmmm.  THAT’s why we do this.  It just doesn’t get any better.