Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Southern comfort

A house up the road from the dairy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Today we're reaching critical mass. Flowers are decorating the kitchen. People are showing up, some strangers, but all connected to Norma somehow. And like good friends who want to express their love and sorrow in some way, they seem to show it with baked goods. There has been a parade of sweets arriving in the kitchen. Peanut brittle, coconut cake, blondies, chocolate chip cookies, and a magnificent pound cake are scattered all around the formica table. Norma was well known for her skill as a baker, so this is a very fitting tribute.

Little Carrie got to fetch milk at Sammy's this morning. She was up before dawn to experience the glory that is Sammy and his 24 cows. A cheese called Providence is on today's to-do list. Steve describes it as a taleggio-style cheese. It is a washed rind, square-shaped cheese. The texture is a bit chewy, semi-firm with an amazingly complex yet approachable flavor. It has sweet chocolate notes, as well as crème brulee. I pick up some custardy overtones, too. Imagine eating a cheese flavored tootsie roll and you might come close to Providence. I love it.

I observed Steve and Little Carrie transforming the raw milk into Providence while Carrie Carrie and I wrapped the chevre logs that we made yesterday. Some we seasoned with herbs like dill and peppercorns. Some we cut in half. We also make some goat milk chocolate truffles. I would have been tempted to eat a truffle, but I was so full of sugar from all of the other sweets, that the truffles were not a temptation. I might have to force myself to eat one. I've gotta know what the things taste like, I suppose. They look good. They just don't call to me like the peanut brittle does. I'm happy to say that I am not a chocoholic.

A sign of spring: we planted the onions and leeks today! Steve prepared a bed by tilling the winter groundcover of henbane into the soil. Little Carrie, Lee and I set to work, planting the Vidalia onion seedlings. Hundreds of them went into the soft soil. It was almost a mesmerizing task. Make a hole, plop a seedling into it, pat it down, make a hole, plop a seedling into it, pat it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. By sunset we had a bed of onions put in as well as a bed of leeks. I had no idea how satisfying planting onions could be. The only stress came from the dogs. Dickie, the big fluffy goat guard dog likes to waltz across a freshly planted bed and flop down on the straw nearby. We had to replant some sections of the bed several times.

In the middle of planting, a truck pulled up with a small trailer. The piglet are here! We're gearing up now! Twelve little guys will eat the whey from our cheesemaking. They'll get huge, fast. Then off to the butcher to be turned into bacon, country ham, spareribs, tenderloin, pork chops, and sausage. But for now, they are a bunch of smart and cute little piglets. They are so little, and a couple of crafty ones found a way to slip through the fence. We were planting onions when we saw two little pigs racing towards us. "Pigs are out!" I yelled. Little Carrie and I chased them back to their paddock a couple of times. I think Bobby came back and fixed the fence.

Jessie and Nate invited us over to their place for supper. Braised short ribs finished on the grill. Big, primal slabs of beef. We went over to their house and eagerly ate the grassfed beef with a couple of their friends. It was fun getting off of the farm and hanging out with a bunch of folks in their 20s. Lot of youthful enthusiasm. The ribs could have been cooked a bit longer, but it was fun tearing into these large, fatty, meaty, slabs. There was a lot of food. We devoured the locally grown beef ribs and sat around in a communal food coma. Little Carrie and I left early because every day we have to get up early and get a start on the day's tasks.

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