Cheese Time

Winter has been a long dreary drag this year in the Ozarks. It isn’t that I don’t have plenty to keep me busy over the winter. I do.

It isn’t just the cold. This year was colder than the last ten years. Bundling up helps. A good wood fire helps.

It isn’t the snow and ice. We’ve had plenty of that this winter. None of it lasted more than a couple of weeks.

What really hurt me this winter is the scarcity of milk.

Since I depend on goat milk all year, I do my best to plan ahead. Most of my does will milk for two years so I breed some this year and some skip to next year. That way I have a few milking all winter.

Everything went haywire this year.

"Let me out of here." says Goat Town USA Gaius after snow imprisoned him for a week.

“Let me out of here.” says Goat Town USA Gaius after snow imprisoned him for a week.

Gaius got to visit with the herd one afternoon in September. Some of the does were really friendly to his delight.

Then I bred the ones I wanted bred. Gaius was again a very happy buck.

The cold moved in. Gaius’ pen is not built for a lone goat at twenty below. He absolutely refuses to wear a blanket. So he got to visit with the herd again in January and February.

Having a pen in the corner was not a deterrent. Gaius is pushing two hundred pounds now. The pen panel was just a hurdle to climb over.

The net result was almost no milk for several months. No milk equals no cheese. It’s amazing how many things I like to cook that require cheese.

Jewel and buckling

High Reaches Precious Jewel with her buckling.

The arrival of kids has meant a little more milk. Those bottomless pits drink plenty. They are growing quickly. This is a buck year so I can sell some wethers in June.

But I get enough more to have a little extra. The cheese pan came down off the shelf.

Pot of goat milk

Extra goat milk equals cheese.

There are hundreds of kinds of cheeses. Cream cheeses are nice but my house and cats put those on a wish list.

Hard cheeses require aging. The aging must be at a certain temperature and humidity for the cheese to cure properly. I have no such room.

Some cheeses take lots of time to do. I avoid those as well as I am already pretending a day has forty hours in it.

block of mozzarella

Mozzarella cheese equals pizza.

So my list of cheeses is limited to fresh milk ricotta, cuajada and mozzarella. This extra milk became mozzarella. Pizza time!