Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Weekend update: Monday

"I keep meaning to join the procrastinators' club, but..."

Okay, so it's been over a week now, but I still wanna tell you about the 3rd day of our crazy-busy-amazing Memorial Day weekend. For those who can't be bothered to scroll down, a short recap...ok, I admit, the Saturday post about the New Town Farm tour was kind of long. But you should read it! If you're interested in what you're putting in your mouth.

And of course, Sunday was our "Oh yeah, Atlanta's a big city" visit to the still amazing Georgia Aquarium. I have to say, I wish I could give you a better impression of just how huge that Ocean Voyager exhibit is. It really is a small corner of the ocean plopped down in the middle of Georgia. Nancy, pick a random Wednesday afternoon and just go. You'll always regret it if you don't.

As I mentioned in passing, we were seriously mistaken about the length of the drive to Atlanta. I got up that morning around 6 to get some things done before we left, and we didn't get back home until almost midnight. I would like to take a moment here to recognize a very courageous individual who made the trip 100% better: Rosie, who unexpectedly remained trapped in the house, hungry and alone, for over 14 hours. She was an angel, surprisingly calm when we returned, and not a bit of an accident anywhere. Rosie, you rock.

After feeding and loving on the dog, we crashed into bed ASAP, because we had to be up and out of the house by 9 the next morning, to go to Bosky Acres goat farm! Yes, since I had the day off, I asked Miss Chef if I could accompany her to her second job, making truffles and whatever Michele needs for her various goat-milk product line.

On to the photos! First, we had to suit up:

Those are Miss Chef's feet in this year's Milk Room fashion accessory. This is a separate area that is kept as sterile as possible for USDA regulations. Before entering, we had to swap out our shoes for these lovely foam clogs and put on hairnets.

Now, before I got to enter the Holy of Holies, I put in a little bit of grunt work: sweeping and mopping the entrance / office area, and mixing and bottling two potentially very messy batches of goats' milk lotion (unscented and lavender). I think Michele was impressed at my ability to minimize the mess, so I was in.

While I did that, Miss Chef was busy mixing up the truffles. Once that was done, they had to cool for a while, so the three of us lent ourselves to several other tasks. I mostly washed dishes and equipment. By hand. In a very low sink that made my back ache. But, I did take a few breaks for photo ops.

Miss Chef and Michele started a new batch of cheese in The Vat. This is a 4-foot tall stainless steel pasteurizer which processes almost 50 gallons of milk at a time. According to Michele, it cost as much as her van, so don't plan on running out and getting one for fun!

Here Miss Chef pours 5-gallon buckets into The Vat. Not all of the milk is from Bosky Acres; Michele hand-milks about a dozen does twice a day; if she were to milk enough to supply her needs, her hands would fall off. So she buys milk from a nearby farm.

(By the way, I had to wash all those buckets. Just so you know.)

Here's a shot inside the vat--the propeller keeps things moving. Notice how much more milk Miss Chef has yet to add!

After all the milk is in, The Vat raises the temperature to over 140 degrees for at least 30 minutes--per USDA regulation. Then the temperature is dropped to 80 degrees, at which point Michele adds two things: starter and rennet. Starter is a "friendly" mix of bacteria that cause the milk to sort of ferment, lowering the acidity. Rennet makes it coagulate. For those who are interested, the starter is a white powder, and the rennet is a dark liquid that comes in a bottle that looks for all the world like Dr. Pepper. Tablespoonfuls of each is all that is needed for the entire batch.

Now it has to sit for 24 hours before being drained. But we had other things to do. Michele checked on her latest batch of soap in molds:

She's recently switched from buying beef tallow to using some bought from local farms. This has made her soap softer, so she was chilling it in a freezer to see if it would help release the soap more cleanly from the molds. It did seem to help, but these needed more chilling.

Miss Chef, on the other hand, had her mix as chilled as it needed to be, so she was on truffle duty!

Mmmmm....these were for a Slow Foods dinner with lots of other farmers, chefs and Important Local Food People, so Michele told Miss Chef to make them as consistent as possible. Then she complained that there weren't any imperfect ones she would have to sacrifice by eating. Careful what you ask for...

Eventually, after scrubbing the floors and more equipment, we managed to finish everything on the "to do" list. Finally, it was time to visit the goats!

One of the yearling does.

The obligatory "nose in the camera" shot."

A couple of "can I take them home?" shots of the new babies.

I think the one on the left is a buck Michele's keeping--he has the longest ears in the world!

And let's not forget the other farm denizens: Jack & Meg, two Pyrenee mixes. Jack was feeling antisocial, but Meg is always ready to get in your face. Don't let those sweet eyes fool you; she's a handful!

Oh, and then there's this girl:
We let her into the milk room only when she's done her chores.

Wanna see more pics of the milk room, the animals, and the Bosky Acres family? Check out their old blog!


  1. This may sound crazy, but this is my DREAM DAY! OMG!!! I would have loved to do all that, even washing the buckets in the low sink. How fun! I love that kind of stuff. Maybe we were twin sisters in another life :-)
    Great post. Thank you!

  2. Hey Flar... you look sexy in them CROCS, woman!

    Love the post! A little learning, a little lusting (after the truffles and goats), and a reminder of how very cool you and MC are.

    Keep 'em coming!

  3. You and Miss Chef have such fun adventures!!

  4. I would so enjoy a day like that. At first, I was wondering if you were going to make goat cheese. There is a gal at the Farmers Market that sells the best goat cheese ever. You look real cute in your crocs and with your mop. I just love all these adventures.

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm originally from Northeast Ohio on Lake Erie. How about you?

  6. Looks like a great day! Those goats are adorable, but of course I would think so!

  7. What a FAB blog post! Loved it! Felt like I was right there! Great pictures too! I wish we had enough milk to make those truffles. Oh, who am I kidding. Mine would end up looking like big goat turds. MC's look like artwork.


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