Thursday, December 23, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

December 23rd:  The stockings are hung, tree lit, goodies baked - mission accomplished.  As a look at gifts yet to be distributed I see an amazing thing, most are from our own stores.  There are homemade pickles and relish; pepper, elderberry and grape jellies; pickled beets; chow chow; homemade breads; cookies and cinnamon rolls.  Dozens of fresh eggs will finish the baskets and boxes going to friends and family.  We are to the point where no one needs anything and everyone buys what they want, so this year, we've chosen to give a gift unique to our farm.  Oh, I forgot to mention we still have lettuce in the high tunnel and a bit of Brie to share! It's quite an amazing array for a little backyard farm. 

We are blessed, as a family, a people and a nation.  To have more than enough is a true gift. I wish the same for all of you - more than enough.  Find it in the simple things; the moments spent in front of the fire, scratching the dog; covered up with a favorite quilt on a cold winter morning; a cup of hot coffee warm between your hands, a full pantry and a good wood pile.  Now that's livin'!

"I come in the little things," saith the Lord.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Seasons Greetings

Where have the months gone?  Here we are in mid December, only a couple of more weeks until the new year.  Like all of you, I'm in the midst of Christmas preparations.  Today is a day for baking bread and making pepper jelly.  The house smells heavenly.  The pepper jelly will be the perfect compliment for the Brie aging in the cellar.  This time of year is perfect for low tech aging.  Just keep your cheese in a cool windowsill, away from the kitties, of course.  The cool temperatures coming from the outside, are just about perfect for aging brie in a ziplock bag.  Remember when people started making cheese, there were no perfectly managed conditions.  Cheesemakers worked with the climate, the time of year and the tools available to them.  We can still do the same.  Hope you are enjoying the season. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010


It's hard to believe more than a month has passed by sent a posted anything to my blog.  September went by in a blur!  I've been trying to slow down a bit, to spend time outside, instead of at the desk.  My cat reminded me the other day that life is too busy when you don't have time to pet the cat.  She and I spent some quality time together today! This lovely autumn day is a perfect time to enjoy what is sure to be a limited quantity - a beautiful Fall afternoon.  Yesterday I made cheese all day at an outdoor event.  It is always fun to show people how quickly cheese can come together.  Most shake their heads and say, "You know, I've never seen that done!"  So I go along on my travels, spreading the news of cheese.  I've got some extra milk, so I'm going to make butter and then some Brie.  Jersey milk reigns supreme!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

End of Summer

Labor Day has long been associated with the end of Summer.  It is hard to say how quickly those months pass, but it is usually at an alarming rate.  I am taking advantage of an extra day away from work to do some "homesteading" tasks.  Pickles.  Lots of cucumbers coming on with the cooler weather, sweet peppers, too and the garlic has been harvested and hung to dry.  I roasted some in the oven last week and it was sweet and nutty, the pefect spread for a piece of homemade bread.  Hubby stopped and gathered elderberries, too.  I cooked down the juice last week and will attempt to make jelly from them today. They are always a little tricky to get to gel, but we'll give it a try.  No better jelly than elderberry.  I love the concept of free food, too.  Of course, you have the cost of the sugar and the pectin, but the raw material is free for the taking.  Mind those road side stands of elderberry that have been sprayed all Summer.  Look for those off the road. 

I have Carol King playing on the CD player at the moment, to be followed by James Taylor and Phoebe Snow.   If that doesn't date me, I don't know what does! Music has the power to take you back to a particular age, a moment, a day in time.   So, I'm here in the country listening to the songs of my youth and thinking; you know, it has turned out ok.  We've got a little piece of land to call our own, food in the pantry and gas in the truck.  All things to be grateful for! 

As I finish with the cucumbers, the next thing on the list is to soak sycamore leaves and grape leaves in brandy.  This is a traditional means of aging French cheese, in particular the Banon.  Can't wait to see how this turns out.

 I think the concept of Labor Day is a day of rest for those who labor but rest comes in different forms for different folks.  I do have a good book tucked away for later, after the pickling is finished.   Sounds like a great day to me, the mint tea is brewing, music playing and bread raising.  Heaven on earth.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Where has Summer gone?

Isn't it hard to believe it is just about September? It was not a good Summer in the garden. We had low production levels, in spite of our new raised beds. Even the tomatoes were in short supply. I just replanted lettuce, green beans and beets for Fall crops. Hope springs eternal.

We did pick a few apples yesterday.  This is the first year our trees had fruit.  That was a big day!  I made a pie. 

My cheesemaking classes are still going strong. We finished another 5 weeks in Hermann last week. I always meet the best people in my classes :) I just wrote a piece about how much I learn from my students. Here in the Hermann area, so many have spoken to me about cheese their grandmothers made. I've done some research to find out what kind of cheese they are speaking of.  I believe it is Kochkasse, a cooked German cheese.  I think cheesemaking draws an off beat group - one of the reasons I like it so much.  I meet artists, people who wish to be more self sufficient, foodies and those with goats or cows.  My kind of folks!  

Try a late season treat - fresh mozzarella with fresh basil, layered with tomatoes, drizzle a little olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, a dash of salt and then enjoy with warm bread.  Oh my!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A New Feature - Followers!

If you would like to keep updated on the inpursuit of cheese blog, please join the followers list.
Thanks!  Janet

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Good Day at the Fair!

Today was the big day - the cheesemaking demo at the State Fair. I talked a bit on my Missouri cheesemaker friends and then went on to make a fresh mozzarella. The first one wasn't all I had hoped for but the second one turned out fine. Several people stopped by for the demonstration. It was an honor to be at the fair.

My husband and I enjoyed the day and went to all the sites including the rabbit barn. What an array of beautiful animals. Then we watched the dogs doing tricks. Amazing. Then on to the Childrens' Barn, my favorite place.  Burros, cows, sheep, pigs, a goat or two, even a puppy and kittens.  I don't think you are ever too old to go to the childrens' zoo.  I remember,  at the height of my goat career, people would always share stories about their experiences with goats at the petting zoos.  Some good - some not so good!  You can imagine the tales. 

We had to share a funnel cake before we left. Oh my.   Diet tomorrow (which is what I always say) :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Just to let you know, I had a total flop yesterday! I was going for chevre and for some reason I forgot and put in 1/4 tsp of rennet. I thought, oh well, I'll go ahead and drain it in a bag. It drained but it did not have the texture I was going for. So this morning I added some left over whey and used my mixer to blend in the whey. I made a big mess in my kitchen at 5:30 a.m. this morning, not a good way to begin the day. I was certain I had made a nice treat for my chickens. As I was going to carry it out to them I though hmmmmmm that looks interesting. I added some salt and tasted it. It is very close to cottage cheese! One of those happy accidents - good for me, bad for the chickens! They have a lot of whey from last night's class, so they'll be happy anyway. The Wed. night group had a full night of cheddar making. All went well. There are always different results. A few degrees of temperature can make a big difference.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Car update

Not good news.  The carpet had to go.  It was foul beyond belief! I found a replacement piece at Wally world.  $10.  So I am not expecting high quality there.  However, the seat, the console, the trim all have to come off.  If you spot me on the highway simply salute by holding your nose.  I'll get the message. 

Basil, basil and more basil

You guessed it - the post is about one of my favorite herbs.  It rhymes with Hazel.  I have an abundance at the moment and I am loving it.  Pesto on everything.  The best thing in the whole world - fresh mozarella, basil and my cherokee purple heirloom tomatoes.  Beyond compare!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A great finish

Last night brought the first cheese class in Hermann Missouri to a close.  It was a great night.  We made mozarella, had a wine tasting that was sublime in the Hermannhof Cellars.  Billy Grace provided a steller wine tasting.  Thanks to Billy and to all who attended the classes.  I meet the greatest people when I am teaching cheesemaking.  Its great to know there are still people who appreciate the simple things of life, who put forth extra efforts to make something special.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Missouri State Fair Bound

Come and join me at the Missouri State Fair, August 21.  I'll be doing a cheesemaking demo and highlighting some of my favorite Missouri cheesemakers.  Hope to see you there. Details coming soon.


I read not too long ago that perfume manufactures are trying to figure out a way to add a scent module to computers so there would be a means to replicate a fragrance when you hit a button.

BE VERY GLAD this has not come about or you would be experiencing the events of the last week, via smellavision. The milk in the back of my car has certainly ripened. Today I have to drive to the city, so it should be an interesting trip. I am allergic to strong fragrances so I can't plant a fake pine tree forest in the trunk. Hopefully, I have 99% of the problem solved. That other 1% is what is worrying me!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It was bound to happen

Cheesemaking is a wonderful skill to have and most of the time I am so pleased I learned this art, along the way.  However, there are days that I question my sanity (about cheesemaking and a few other things)! I made the trip to get milk for my cheesemaking classes which is a bit of a drive.  I made it all the way home with the milk, no problem.  I go over gravel roads, down steep hills, back up the other side....I've done this for over 2 years,  hauling milk in my little yellow Focus.  UNTIL Monday.  Got all the way home and moved the milk crate forward in the back of the hatchback so I could get a grip on the crate.  You know what's coming!  I heard a little ping followed by a whoosh and I gallon of buttery Jersey milk was in the wheel well where the spare tire goes.  I immediately said a few things I regret now, then removed the tire, sopped up all the milk, washed the tire and felt pretty sure I had the problem solved.  I propped open the hatchback just to make sure.

Got in the car on Tuesday to go to work and immediately the sour smell was all around me.  I stopped and bought Fabreeze.  Now I had 2 bad smells going at the same time! I stepped out of the car and the odor seemed to penetrate my clothes and my hair.  I felt like a walking cheese curd.   Last night I used baking soda.  Someone else said vinager.  You know if you haven't done a science experiment in awhile = you can make a volcano in the back of your car - in the place where the spare tire ususally goes.   I cleaned this up and got out my Dr. Bronners peppermint soap.  That helped quite a bit.  I drove to work today with the windows up which is am improvement.  Of course it has been 100 + degrees which has not helped my situation one bit.  I had equipment in my car, so I locked it leaving the window down enought to let some of the remaining funes escape.  When I got to the car after work the odor was very much present, so I investigated a bit further.  I flipped up the seat and guess what?  I was making cheese there, too!  Finally got rid of the curds and whey, washed it all out again and now I am praying to the God of all that is HOLY that my car will be smelling at least 75% normal tomorrow.  Hope springs eternal.  My husband wants to sell it!  Oh ye of little faith.   I'll keep you posted on this development.  Life in the fast lane.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Learning new skills

The budding cheesemakers in the Hermann, Missouri class are already in their 4th week. This is the week to make cheddar, America's favorite cheese. It is so wonderful to watch people as they learn, gain confidence and create something that is totally of their own making. In a room full of 18 people, everyone doing the same thing at just about the same time, there are 18 different results.  I checked the Brie they made last week and we are getting white mold development.  Beautiful!

I'm looking forward to doing a demo at the O'Fallon Farmers' and Artists Market on Saturday, August 14th, 9:30 a.m. I'll be making cheese on the spot and talking about the basic principles of cheesemaking. Stop by if you can.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A New Trick

I've found the perfect draining bag for chevre. The local Dollar Store has nylon laundry bags. I bought one ($1) and washed it to remove any dye. Then I turned it inside out, so my chevre wouldn't get caught in the seams. After that I poured in my curds and whey, Miss Muffet style and let the bag hang overnight in my kitchen sink. The next morning, ta da, perfectly drained chevre. Rinse the bag out in cold water, toss it in the washer (I always do my cheese making towels and bags by themselves), hang to dry and the bag is ready for next time. This is why chevre is my favorite cheee, so easy. For a busy working country girl, every step saved is a help. Now I've got to go and get a few chives. I'll have to compete with the bees! We have cucumbers today, so pickles are also in the plan. I hope I don't run out of day before I do chores!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cheesemaking 101

I'm all excited about cheese, as usual. I have a new class going on in Hermann, Missouri and it is so wonderful to share something I enjoy so much with others. This week was the 2nd session so my prospective cheesemakers had their orientation last week and made chevre this week. Everyone is always skeptical and many comment, "Oh, I won't be able to do it." Of course, by the end of the evening when they are taking home their cheese, their faith is restored.

I just cut fresh chives which are out in abundance. So we'll have chives to add to their next make. With goat cheese, I think the simple additions of chives or herbes du provance make the cheese sing! Singing cheese, now there's a thought.

Remember to check out my website at

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

NEW website

Check out my new website and learn about the next series of cheesemaking classes coming soon.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Article from the Missourian click share

Summer time

And the living is easy, or so the song goes. Weeds, weeds, and more weeds in the garden! The only thing good about them is the chickens enjoy eating them. Of course, someone (me) has to pull them for that to happen. We are keeping the chickens in their yard, away from the dog and the tomatoes! The first tomatoes are almost ready. It will be a big day when we eat the first one, grown from seed this year. Heirloom varieties, too!

Lots of cheesemaking going on, too. Good goat milk from friend, Sue. I made chevre and a molded goat cheese last night in preparation for the cheese class tomorrow. The class in Hermann filled quickly and we have scheduled another session for July 28th. I had no idea when I started teaching cheese just how many people would be interested in learning to make cheese. It is so great to be able to share my love of this art with others. Some of my students are surpassing me! Their innovative techniques and drive to create is inspiring.

Time to sign off. Tomorrow's another exciting day. Green beans to pick, eggs to pickle and cheese to make. Life is good.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Better late than never

Summer is here, no matter what the calendar says. Our garden has been a challenge with all the rain here in Missouri this Spring. My husband and I decided to put in raised beds. We had about 6 and they have been doing great. We've had beets, lettuces, chards, peas, etc. but the main garden, traditional rows, has been a mess. So, even though it seems a little late, we transplanted the few seedlings that are growing and then built a series of raised beds. We are hoping for the best. Eternal optimists, we are already making plans for next year! However, I still have high hopes for this one. I've been out weeding, weeding, weeding. The only bonus is, the chickens love the greens! A few green beans are coming on now and the yard long beans are blooming. We had a steady diet of those last year! Tomatoes are on the vine, so all is not lost. In dirt we trust.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Snow peas and chevre

It's time! The snow peas are ready. The pea vines are full of fresh pods and blooms. Enjoy a simple pleasure, snow peas stuffed with chevre. Simply run a knife down the pod to open it, stuff with fresh chevre and top with black pepper. Enjoy!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hello to MaryJane's Farm Readers

Hello Farmgirls! I just got my new issue of MaryJane's Farm and I am so pleased to see goats, hats and cheesemaking as current topics! I started making straw (raffia) hats two years ago and have been having fun ever since. It is amazing how many of the things I am interested in show up in MaryJane's magazine! Haystacks, outdoor tubs and showers, sunflowers, and all those things that keep life interesting.

It looks like rain here in Missouri and I've got to get the rest of the tomatoes in this afternoon but tonight, be sure, I'll be kicked back and reading MJF from cover to cover! If you don't know about this magazine go to and find your long lost sisters! Farmgirls rule!

Read the previous post to find out about my cheesemaking classes in Hermann, Missouri.

New classes coming soon

Are you looking for a way to be more self sufficient? Learn the art of cheesemaking! Classes are geared to the home cheesemaker and require no special equipment. I will be teaching soon in Hermann, Missouri in conjunction with the Dierberg Educational Foundation through the Hermann Farm.

New classes staring in June for guests of the Inn at Hermannhof and in July for the general public. We will work with goat and cow milk. Enjoy hands on instruction and learn to make 4 different types of cheese. After you learn the basic techniques you will be able to make an amazing variety of cheese in your own kitchen.

Come to Missouri Wine Country, taste the local wines, make cheese and have fun! Check back next week for a schedule. Email me at for more information

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cheesemakers Unite!

Hello to all my cheesemaking friends. I am happy to report there are up and coming cheesemakers in Missouri. The class at East Central College in Union will come to a close this evening. We will have our farewell flatbread pizza! This is becoming a tradition on the last night of class. A super flatbread crust topped with fresh mozarella, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes and other goodies.

Now my sites are on the Hermann Farm and new classes to begin there in June and July. What a perfect venue. We will have a bit of wine with our cheese experience which will give us a better understanding of the whole concept of wine and cheese pairings. For some reason it has always been a bit of a mystery - what to pair with what? We will break it down into easy terms and have a flight of wine to go with our freshly made cheese.

For more information about the classes go to

Thursday, March 4, 2010


One of my farmer clients has fresh herbs for sale, already! She and her husband start their plants in January and they are now ready to go. I have to go and get some fresh basil and chives. I bought chives in the grocery store and they are huge....more like scallions, not the delicate wispy greens I was hoping for. Every Winter I vow to keep a pot or two of herbs going and every Winter, I get side tracked and the frost comes. This year I did pull my wine barrels into the little greenhouse, which did prolong the inevitable. However, hubby did some housecleaning and mid January pulled them outside. So much for that experiment! My plan now is to buy some of the ready to go herbs and create a fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil arrangement. Oh, for fresh garden tomatoes about now! Those luscious sun warmed orbs, nature's perfection! Soon, soon! The sun is out and the lady bug (beetle) brigade continues. My home is surely the designated landing space for their entire population.

I'll post the moz recipe soon! Anticipation.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Back to the blog!

I'm back! I've been taking a break from the blog to finish my book and teach a few cheesemaking classes. It is amazing how many people there are who want to learn to make cheese! Cheese is one of the those mystery foods that no one is sure exactly what is involved. So it is great to be able to share and bring the joy of cheese to those who are interested. We meet for 5 weeks and learn to make chevre, a molded goat cheese, a bloomy rind, cheddar and mozzarella. My goal is for everyone who takes the class to be able to make cheese on their own. So far, so good! We are linking up cheesemakers with milk producers, so it is a win win situation.

My neighbor's goats kidded last weekend, so there are kids running about the neighborhood! What fun. Kids and lambs are surely the best cure for the winter blues. They hop, skip and tumble and make me smile just thinking about them.

Tonight's cheese making selection includes: Chevre with crushed black pepper and a soft goat cheese served with pears, pecans and local honey. This combination is elegant and impressive.