Friday, November 30, 2012

New edition at HillTop

The suspense is is the latest edition at HillTop...hard to take the smile off of K's face...

Harley Ferguson here we come!
It is a 1982 Massey Ferguson!  Perfect little tractor for HillTop's needs!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Edition to HillTop

We have a new edition coming to HillTop Farm....we should have her here by the end of this week...I am going to keep you in suspense until then and we are very excited to have her join our farm!

What could it be? (and no it is not a monkey)

The Day of Kraut

The sauerkraut that we made the other day seems to be doing its magic.  There is lots of brine so I think that is a good sign to a successful kraut making day. 

It was such a treat to have our neighbor (who has lived in the same house that he is in now, his entire life) come over with his wife and teach us the traditional way of making sauerkraut.  The cutter is handmade by his grandfather who was the original homesteader of our property..

Taking the outer leaves off of the cabbage and then cutting them in half and placing them in water is the first stage of the process.  You then take the cabbage and slice them in the cutter...this one being handmade with old scythe blades as the cutters.  After you cut up a good amount of cabbage you place it in a bucket or they would have used a stoneware crock or wooden barrel

The next step is to stomp the cabbage until you bring out the "juice"/brine that it will ferment in.  This is done with a handmade stomper from one solid piece of wood and carved out to fit into the is a beautiful piece and just think of how much sauerkraut this piece had a part in...I am thinking we can't go wrong
You know that you have stomped enough when the cabbage starts to stick to the bottom of the stomper.  Once you have reached this point, you place a plate with a rock on it on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged in the brine for the fermentation.  That's it...and you let it sit and do its business for a few days keeping an eye on making sure there is brine.  We had 70 pounds of cabbage all from our garden and it made a bucket and a half of kraut.  The buckets I got where from a local grocery store from their hot food section and they were free as they were going to throw them out.  They worked perfect for the kraut.
It was such a great day in many ways...the company, the weather and the opportunity to make the sauerkraut with a person who lived here all his life and grew up on our property and to learn this traditional skill.  We will definitely be doing it again next year and this time having a sauerkraut making festival!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lunenburg County Sauerkraut

 The day in pictures...story to follow.
The gang getting the Cabbage ready for slicing

This slicer has been in use for generations...

Putting cabbage in bucket to be stomped

Stomping the cabbage to bring out the juice for fermentation

Monday, November 19, 2012

Putting the Garden to Bed

What do you do with

A large amount of bagged leaves.....


A big pile of seaweed from the beach
 You put it here
Garden emptying of produce and filling with mulch for the winter
 to get ready for it to look like this in 6 months.

HillTop Farm garden coming into its peak

Monday, November 5, 2012

Latest Creation...Goat Cheese Mozzarella

Yes...Goat Cheese and I would have to say from the feedback that I received, that it was a success.  A friend of mine has a couple of milk goats that she shares their milk with me and her Mom.  We have been making chevre and I have quite a bit in the freezer (it makes a DELICIOUS cheesecake!)  I also want to try to do some goat milk soap which I will attempt as the winter slowdown continues.

Anyway, I had some time the other morning and decided that I would give the Mozzarella a try. 

Heating up the milk
It was a fairly straightforward experience, just needed some time for the steps and making sure the right temperature is achieved at the right stage.

This is the milk and whey separating and forming the curds that need to be kept at a certain temperature for a certain time for the magic to happen.
Blob of curds
This is what the curds look like separated from the whey and this point does.not look very appetizing...

Me and my Mozzarella
They step before it is actually a solid cheese, I could not take a photo because it needed both of my hands to do it.  You have to heat up the curds in either water or the whey (which I used) to 155 and then bring it out and stretch and squeeze it so that most of the whey comes out to give you a mozzarella.  A little hard for a photo and stretching 155 degree cheese curds...K got home just in time to take the finished product...and taste some too!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Putting up the Garden

Research for latest experiement
This is my latest attempt at preserving some of our harvest...carrot jam.  I have never tried it and was chatting with a vendor at the West Dublin market and she mentioned she makes it, so I gave it a try...

Boiling limes, carrots and sugar
Finished product
The result in the jar looks great...I love the colour!  Now to see what it will taste like...