Spring is definitely on its way. Fossil Cove is bursting into bloom. My property is all native bush — seven acres of mostly gum trees of various sorts — but there are plenty of other things in the understorey. Right now the various acacias are blooming. Some are in full bloom, others just starting to bud. There are quite a few different species of acacia on the property, including ground covers, bushes, and various sizes of trees. Some are delightfully fragrant. I must go have a walk around to see if any of the wild orchids are up yet. There are quite a number of different types of orchids that bloom at different times and in different conditions. Many are very tiny, almost impossible to see if you don’t know they’re there. With so much in bloom, the birds are in abundance too. I’ll tell you about the birds here in another post. They’re wonderful!
Just an update on the cheese-making caper. Over the weekend, with the blush of achievement still fresh from my camembert workshop, I got online and ordered a bunch of cultures and moulds, and such. Well, they’ve arrived, all the way from Queensland! Tomorrow I shall have to get a cheese-making book and a thermometer. I’m ready to branch out. What will be my next cheese? I need to find someone with a cow. Or convince my son (Randall) to get one. He’s had cows in the past, but got tired of milking, and his wife, Anne, got bogged down with too much cream. She made ice cream, butter, buttermilk, etc. and had so much she couldn’t give it all away. Lucy was a wonderful cow, with gorgeous limpid eyes. She had a sweet little calf, called Willie. Short for Willie Tastegood. Maybe I can get their household enthused about cheese-making too . . . I’ll buy the cow; they can milk it. Sounds good to me! By the way, if you are interested in trying your hand at making your own ricotta from whole milk, check this out. It’s a webpage I made on Squidoo with step by step instructions and pictures. It’s soooo easy! And soooo yummy! Try it!
In the meantime, I can buy Pyengana milk (which Mary can testify to it’s being wonderful.) It’s pasturised, but not homogenised, so is the next best thing to being straight from the cow. You can spoon the cream off the top if you want. Mary and I had a wonderful trip to Pyengana while she was here in March. It is located in a peaceful, bucolic valley in the northeast of Tasmania. It should take at least four hours to drive from Hobart. Any less and you’re missing the point! The cows in the lush green valley must be the most contented on the planet. It’s one of my very favorite places in Tasmania. Anywhere, really. There is a family-run cheese factory, making mostly variations on cheddar. It is wonderful. Their ice cream isn’t bad, either! Here’s a photo to show you why I’m so passionate about Pyengana . . .
Work is underway to get the henhouse and chook run ready for some new chooks. (Chooks are chickens, for those of an American persuasion). I hope to get some little bantams — preferably Pekings — and maybe a few full-size battery hens from a local egg producer. Those poor chooks are housed in little cages, usually two to a cage, where they have no room to move around. They never see anything green;their beaks are cut back so they can’t peck each other, and to add insult to injury they never have a chance to learn how to scratch. As much as I love the beautiful fancy breeds, I also like the prospect of liberating some hens from the barbaric cage environment. They do learn to scratch, and to enjoy proper food and bugs, once here. So I’ll have some of both. I hope none of you buy cage eggs! Free Range are by far the best; next best is barn laid.
On that note I’ll give it a rest (before I get really wound up about chooks!!) MM