It has been very cold lately, and thus our snow has been hanging around, which is nice since we didn’t get any to speak of until the last couple of weeks.
The guinea fowl continue to dislike the snow – which is not a surprise, we had heard they hated snow before we ever got them. Daniel had built a roost outside their coop for them last summer, but they never used it. Well, now they have decided that it is the place to hang out so that they don’t have to stand in the snow. All except Dino, the outcast, they wont let him on the roost. Poor little guy.
The “Cheese Sink”
We make a lot of cheese with our raw milk, especially the sheep milk. Right before the move we ate all the cheese that we were aging in the “cheese cave” (converted refrigerator) because we didn’t want to have to deal with it through the move. Then, once we got somewhat settled at the new house and I was ready to start making cheese again I realized that I couldn’t. The kitchen at the new farm is a wonderful, big farm kitchen. But it has two problems. First, the sink is tiny. Like barely bigger than the sink in our camper. Why someone would build such a big kitchen and put in such a tiny sink is beyond me. I can’t even wash big pots in it, I have to take them to the bathroom tub to wash because they don’t fit in the sink. The second thing that bugs me about the kitchen is that the hood over the stove is very low. This causes issues for a farm kitchen because when I am canning, or using my large stock pots to make stock or something else in large quantities, the pots barely fit under the hood and it is very difficult to take the lids on and off and pull anything out of them or even stir them.
Many of the cheeses that I make require indirect heating, which means not on the stove. So I heat them by setting the pot in the sink and putting hot water in the sink to heat them. I drain and add more and reheat as needed to keep the temp where I want it. Well, at the new house the sink is way too small for my cheesemaking pot to fit in (I make the cheese in two-gallon batches, which is a bit pot). And with the hood being so low, I can’t figure a way to set up a double-boiler-type set up on the stove to try to indirectly heat it there. So all summer, while we were milking, we froze all the sheep milk because we couldn’t figure out how I was going to make cheese at the new house.
We planned to just replace the sink. But as we moved forward with that plan and Daniel looked closer at how things were built, it became clear that to do that we would have to put in all new counters and potentially deal with some cabinet issues as well. Not going to happen right now. So that plan was out.
We had a utility sink in storage, and we started looking at the end of the kitchen that is connected to the mud room. There is a strange diagonal section of counter that butts right up to our second refrigerator, which is kind of the start of the mud room area by the back door. Yes, we have two fridges – family of 7 living on a farm and milking sheep and goats means a second fridge comes in super handy. We decided we could install the utility sink there, and it could work nicely for cheesemaking, as well as a nice place to wash the bigger pots and milk buckets, and to wash hands and such when we come in from outside. It even had the backsplash already there, so we wouldn’t have to come up with something and try to make it somewhat match.
We found a very inexpensive cabinet at a thrift store. It doesn’t match, but I am OK with that because eventually we will re-do the whole kitchen anyway. Daniel was able to do quite a good job of making it mesh right in with the rest of the counter and such, and in some ways it feels like it was always meant to be there. I am really happy with this new addition and how useful it will be for all things farm-kitchen related.
I have to step in here a minute and say that my man is so amazing. I come up with all these crazy ideas and he can always figure out how to make them reality. I am so blessed by his abilities in this area. This homestead wouldn’t be half of what it is without him being able to figure these things out and I am so grateful.
So now that I have my sink, I need to start chipping away at a freezer full of frozen sheep milk waiting to become cheese. We got the cheese cave up and running and I am hoping to make my first batch this week. I would like to get through all of it before we start milking again. Our first dairy ewes are due in March, and with 28 gallons of frozen milk to get through (at two gallons per batch) I need to get going on this project.