Thoughts from Thursday

This morning I stayed indoors and helped with some stuff in the house. My first task was checking on the cheese I was pressing last night. I became aware after the cheese was done that I had made a mistake and used twice as much rennet as I should have. The result is a super hard cheese that does not want pressing or molding. I have moved it into the cupboard to air dry for a few days. It looks terrifically ugly, but I suspect it may turn into an edible cheddar after all.

Having moved the offending cheese out of sight, I went to making yogurt. My goal with this yogurt is to make a plain Greek yogurt. Mr. E messaged me and said he thought I could use the whey from yesterday’s cheese to maintain a mesophilic culture. I believe he’s right, but I had tossed out the whey to the pigs, except for what I had used in my cheddaring process, which was waiting to go the pigs this afternoon.

Therefore, I went dumpster diving. I will spare you the details, but I was able to heroically salvage some cheese whey.

I added a healthy helping of the whey to my yogurt mixture, along with some yogurt culture. I also opened and added a probiotic pill that we had on hand. This should be some healthy yogurt!

My new plan is to use the whey from the Greek yogurt as my culture for my next batch of cheese, assuming we don’t all die from a micro-culture stowaway from my morning’s salvaging.

The yogurt is now incubating until suppertime or a little later. I plan to strain off the whey overnight. If the stuff proves edible, I’ll save a bit of the yogurt as my future yogurt culture and the whey as my future cheese culture.

If the postal system opens up again, I’m hoping to order some actual mesophilic culture and make a pure starter from that. Until then, we must rely on ingenuity. Once the postal system opens up, maybe the airlines will. Then you can come visit us, and I will serve you fresh Greek yogurt.

While I was doing other stuff, Steph was making granola and macaroons. The granola is amazing. The macaroons revolted.

Last week was the first week Steph started a new system for tracking household chores for the children. Each chore completed equals ten céntimos (or three cents). On Monday, she has Store Day. The children can use up the money they’ve earned in the meantime to buy various treasures, including candy! I would say the first week was a success, but not a smashing success.

There is a section of “extra” chores that each child can complete in a day. They range from mopping a room’s floor to putting all the toys away, from feeding the kids to scratching each goat’s neck for a minute (to tame them). Each extra chore counts as an additional ten céntimos, but if ten of the extra chores are done in a day, there is a bonus fifty céntimos. No one made the bonus any day last week.

However, when Store Day rolled around and all the glorious goodies were laid before their eyes, their motivation went from none to some. More extra chores have been done this week, but no one has yet made the bonus–until today.

Anne took it upon herself to get the extra money. Steph has a little purse in the store that costs S/8. Anne has awoken to the joy that she can actually buy the purse if she puts in the work. It was a pleasure watching her buzz around the house, mopping floors, helping with Seth, putting things in order, and so on. The other children saw her adding points to her chart and could not stay out of the competition. They too will get the bonus!

Except it is harder for a four-year-old to remember how much he likes to buy chocolate on Store Day when there is a puppy on the front porch to hold. And it’s hard for a five-year-old to remember that he wants to beat his sister by hanging up a load of wash when there are butterflies he must catch. Yet, all in all I do believe the new system is working.

And I really do like the clean floors.

It’s supposed to be yellow-orange.
The initial press
The overnight press

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