Bread & cheese on a wet day

We had 47 mm of rain on the first day of June; just over the June average for Melbourne. Then another 23 mm by the end of the following week, 20 mm last night and it’s been raining all day today. The gauge is visible from the bathroom window and it looks like another 20 mm so far. The 3 pools at the rear of the property are brimming. I’d be happy if I was a duck but I’m not. The chooks are disgusted; they’ve been confined all day to the only bit of their playground that’s covered by a tarpaulin and their holes are just puddles. But not muddy ones thankfully; the soil is sandy and water drains quickly, so I don’t expect any cases of chookfootrot.

It was obvious no outside work was going to be done today, but I had a batch of bread lined up to make and also some cottage cheese. I’m making the cheese weekly now, using the recipe from Green Gavin’s e-book, Keep Calm and Make Cheese. It’s a bargain, downloadable from Gavin’s blogsite for just a few dollars, as are his other e-books.

The bread turned out fine:

bread 007
As did the cheese. Here it is draining in the sieve:

bread 003
From a litre of milk I get 200-250 gm of cheese, depending on how long it drains. I keep and freeze the whey to use as stock:

bread 004

The cheese has a lovely fresh taste and it’s free of all the additives in the commercially made stuff. One day I’m going to have a go at a hard cheese.

Out in the garden, I’ve been making more hugelkultur beds from sticks, raked-up litter and leaves. The bed I made last year has been invaded by fungi which is good because it means the underlying wood is being broken down:

fungi 001

I’ve been adding wood ash and chook poo compost to the bed and I’m hoping to get a good crop of pumpkins from it this summer.

The garlic and potato onions I bought from Yelwek Farm earlier in the year are growing well. The garlic took a long time to eventually sprout but it’s OK now:

wednesday 004

These are the brown potato onions. The nets are to keep the blackbirds off. Their constant digging is driving me crazy:

wednesday 006

There’s not much else happening at the moment. It is winter after all. I’ve planted Sebago, Desiree and Kipfler seed potatoes and still getting lots of greens and two (small) heads of broccoli. It’s almost the winter solstice and time to think about what tomato varieties I’ll be sowing this year. I may wait another month and start sowing in July. Time to get out the seed bank and do some sorting out.

7 Responses to “Bread & cheese on a wet day”

  1. narf77 Says:

    Today we get the “walls” up on our huge enclosed veggie garden and you are panicking me talking about tomatoes again Bev! ;). I have to get my garden beds started for spring let alone planted…I have a crazy friend who keeps pressing spring veggies on me and telling me to plant them. We haven’t had a whole lot of rain but we are getting plenty of cold weather and wind (cheers to you guys for sharing). I am looking forward to an “interesting” spring, whenever it chooses to rear it’s green head. Have a great weekend enjoying that gorgeous loaf of bread and that lovely cheese 🙂


    • foodnstuff Says:

      It takes time to get a good veggie garden going. Don’t despair…you will get there!


      • narf77 Says:

        We got the rope up and we got the netting on one of the sides and tomorrow we will finish off netting the garden. One problem I discovered was that the 6 trailer loads of composted horse poo that we got for free from up the road is situated on the other side of the garden to where the gate is…if we net that bit I will have to barrow the lot around…not likely! I will be shovelling for all I am worth for the next few days to create a nice pile of dung within the parameters of the new garden so that I can shovel at my leisure once we get the walls up 😉


  2. Liz Says:

    I was just thinking about tomatoes too. I’m thinking I will do a mass sowing of everything mid July and then resow anything that doesn’t germinate in mid August. Your garlic is looking good. I bought a few more seedlings last week as I haven’t planted nearly enough and don’t want to use all my culinary stock for seed.


    • foodnstuff Says:

      I think I will stagger my tomato sowing this year to see if I can get them to keep producing well into autumn. I’ll sow just a few of each variety about the middle of each month, starting with July. If I prepare loads of pots ready for sowing and keep an eye on the calendar, it shouldn’t be too hard (famous last words!)


  3. rabidlittlehippy Says:

    It’s a bit early for tomato sowing here as our last frost date is the first week in November. Spuds too, although I’m thinking to put a few in a raised mesh bed in my greenhouse. I’m still picking and ripening tomatoes too but only the ones in my greenhouse. Their flavour is nowhere near as good I must say but still lovely to have fresh organic tomatoes at mid-winter. 🙂 I’ve also put in potato onions, 2 lots of both brown and white. I’ve never grown them before now and had all bar 1 of the white variety sprout and only a few misses with the brown ones. Still time to see if they sprout though. I also have onion seeds I had given up on (direct sown) that are sprouting and my 3 beds of garlic are all coming along nicely. 2.5 beds up and green and the ones I thought weren’t going to do anything are finally slowly coming up. I’m not sure what’s more exciting in the garden, winter or spring! 🙂
    Your hugelkultur beds will be beloved by your pumpkins. From what I’ve read the curcurbits do very well in them as they’re not nitrogen loving plants. Spuds too. I’ve got a flat raised hugelkultur inspired bed that currently has some broad beans just coming up and then pea straw over the rest of it that is destined for spuds in late September to mid-October. And I’ve bought a soil blocker that I will sow my spring/summer crops into which is very exciting. 🙂


    • foodnstuff Says:

      I think spring is more exciting. The promise of all those tomatoes!!

      Could you blog about that soil blocker, please? I’d like to know more.


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