Peaceful Heart FarmCast Intro

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Peaceful Heart FarmCast – Intro

peaceful heart farmcast

Today’s Peaceful Heart FarmCast is about how we came to live the homestead life and how we decided to create a small artisan cheese business.

TODAY’S TOPICS:

  1. What happened last year, where did I go?
  2. Peaceful Heart FarmCast
  3. Updates on the farm and creamery
  4. Preview of upcoming topics
  5. Homestead Recipe

What Happened Last Year, Where Did I Go?

First, I want to address what happened last year and where I am at the present time. I was podcasting regularly, twice a month. And even though the recorded podcasts were 45 minutes to an hour, it took more than an entire day to make that happen. Once spring came on in full force, I was overwhelmed with caring for animals and the garden.

There was no time left for anything that did not contribute to furthering of the farm enterprise. That included my podcast hobby. So, I just stopped it and took care of what was in front of me.

I’ve spent the winter catching up and getting better organized. So here I am, back at it again, this time with a better plan for using my hobby as part of the farm business plan. I’ll talk about the topics I plan to cover a little bit later. For my current subscribers, I hope you’ll decide to stay with me, but if not, I appreciate our time together and wish you the best. You have an open invitation to revisit and rejoin anytime.

Peaceful Heart FarmCast

Now I’m pleased to launch the Peaceful Heart FarmCast. I’m excited about what I have lined up for you guys. If you are a regular subscriber, you may have noticed that the intro with the purpose of the podcast has changed.

While I enjoyed talking about the crazy stuff that is going on in the world, it added little to my life goals on the farm. In fact, it is quite removed from my life on the farm. As I mentioned, publishing a podcast takes quite a lot of time and effort and I need to optimize my time. The farm pushes on and waits for no one. You better be ready. I’ll be sharing more stories about what that means as we go forward.

Perhaps you’ve thought of making the rural life happen for you and your family – or perhaps you’re thinking about a homestead in suburban America. I hope to help you with ideas and encouragement. It truly is a fabulous lifestyle, filled with ups and downs, but well worth it.

Or perhaps you don’t want to make that kind of commitment to gardens and animals yourself, but you want to partake of the benefits of what other land and animal caretakers produce. Perhaps you want to learn to cook from scratch or add variety to your current recipes using the great seasonal products you buy at your farmer’s market. That’s great too.

Much of what I will talk about can be done in even the smallest household, the smallest kitchen, no land and animals required. Just a desire to learn how to care for your family with your own two hands. Technology is great. I’m using it right now. But there is something deeply satisfying in creating safe and wholesome food for your family. There is an inner peace that comes from personally crafting the dishes with ingredients you can trust.

That’s why I’m focusing on tradition and traditional techniques that will enhance our lives and bring a deeper fulfillment to everyday life. The way that happens is creating and/or passing on a tradition. That entails knowing the words to convey to bring wisdom or having skill with a particular technique or method of creating an end product, and passing it on. But more importantly, it means knowing why we do it that way and passing that along as well. A tradition can turn into dogma without passing along the reason why it is done that way.

Why did the tradition start? Is it still relevant for you today? If so, we learn it, do it, and pass it on. That is how tradition is built. There is a reason that things were done a certain way. And if circumstances change that require altering a tradition, it is important that changes are thought about deeply and then incorporated as necessary. These are difficult questions. Just because new technology comes along doesn’t mean it will replace a tradition. These are individual choices that you will all make based on your own set of core values. I hope to provide thought provoking ideas to help you with making some of those decisions.

If you love trivia and history, this is going to be both educational and entertaining for you. If you are looking to live the homestead life or already are, I’ll be sharing my day-to-day learning experiences and ideas to help you with working through the long list of tasks, problems and solutions that you will encounter. At the end of each podcast I’ll give an overview and description of a recipe that may become part of your tradition. There will be corresponding download link to the recipe in the show notes.

Updates on the Farm and Creamery

Now I want to better introduce myself, my husband and a little bit about our history of how we came to be farm homesteaders after professional careers in medicine and information technology.

Present

Let’s start with the present time. We have 62 acres in the Blue Ridge mountains. We are building a creamery to make artisan farmstead cheese. Our cheese is handmade using traditional methods. That requires cows. We also have sheep for meat, goats for fiber and donkeys for livestock protection.

We raise a traditional breed of cow. They are Normandes, bred and raised in the Normandy region of France. Normandes are a dual breed cow. That means they provide lots of milk but also make really, really good beef. I’m going to be talking much more about these cows as I talk about our cheese.

That’s our homestead in a nutshell. But how did we get here? Scott spent 20 years as a chiropractor before entering into the electronic medical records IT field. I was an IT professional for just about my entire career. So again, how did we get here?

I know you’re asking because you might want to get here someday as well. And why did we make that decision? I mean, isn’t having a successful career the be-all, end-all of life? Nope. It’s not. Or at least not for us. Our life experiences led us to a desire to get in touch with the land directly. It wasn’t enough to look at the mountains from afar. We needed to connect to the roots of our spirit. We wanted to go outside at night and gaze in awe at the Milky Way.

After years of dreaming, planning, and saving we are here. We watch the birth of animals and are continually amazed at creation. Sure, there is loss and sadness when an animal dies. It happens often in nature, but there is also life and joy.

Past

We began our dream back in 1999 in Western North Carolina. That’s 20 years ago as of this publication. We met, became friends, and started talking about our dream life. We spent hours reading and talking and pouring over articles and books by Joel Salatin. I think he is the gateway for a lot of people. We began to dream our dream out loud with each other and with our friends and family.

But like for most of you, I’m sure, life happens. It was a great dream, but we had to make money to live, right? It takes a lot to make a small farm profitable enough to support a family. So, the dreams were sidelined for a little while – but not forgotten. We kept talking about it. And we kept dreaming about it. We kept planning what we would do. And in 2003 we bought our first piece of land. In 2005 we married and moved onto that land. At this recording, that first purchase was 15 and a half years ago.

During 13 of those years we continued to work for others. We were making really good money. We were determined to make the journey debt-free. We persevered in pretty radical circumstances. Perhaps I’ll talk about that at some point also.

Buying additional land in 2008 set us back in our timeline to be full time homestead farmers, but in January 2016 we made our last payment on the land and in December 2016, we left working for someone else in the rearview mirrors.

We Made It

From 2003 to 2016 is 13 years. I know a lot of you plan to just sell the house in the city and move to the country and make a living off the land. And maybe you will. Maybe you’re one of those that risks it all and just dives in. You’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit strong and you go for it. Not for us. We took the longer road.

Our priority was to be able to enjoy the life.  We wanted to live without the threat of adverse weather or disease derailing our business plan. When the loan comes due, the bank wants its money. We didn’t want that hanging over our head every, lurking in the back of our minds every day.

The delay provided us the opportunity to learn how to become farmers and homesteaders as well as to develop the entrepreneurial spirit. Did you know that could be learned? Well, we are still learning. It doesn’t come naturally. But if you have the dream and you want to make it work, you need to learn how to make money on your homestead. It’s the slow, sure path for us. I want to give a shout out to Tim Young at Small Farm Nation. He is offering his vast experience in marketing as well as the needed technological tools to help you build a profitable farm. Link in the show notes.

Deciding to build the creamery also set us back in our time line goal to stop working for others. It is a great way to make the homestead profitable, but requires tremendous infrastructure and that means a lot of monetary investment. But like any dream you are committed to, you keep at it until it becomes your reality. All in all, as I mentioned, it was 13 years from first purchase to homestead living. And 17 years from conception of the idea. But we are here now. The last 2 years have been all that we imagined and more.

I can’t convey in words how peaceful and contented we are now that we are fulltime homesteading. It’s a lot of work, no doubt. And it is worth every drop of sweat, every sore muscle, every exhausted night of sleep. There are a lot of those days. And there are a lot of other days filled with awe and wonder at, not just looking at nature from afar or from your house on the side of the mountain, but days filled with awe and wonder at being IN that life.

That’s all I’m going to say about that for right now. Let me know if you have questions about how you might make that journey and what your plans are. I talked about our path but yours will be different. It’s unique for everyone.

Preview of Upcoming Topics

I’ll provide you with more information about our specific journey and the current homestead enterprises we manage in future podcasts. Updates on the status of the creamery will be front and center.

There will be lots of information on cheese – and specifically the history and tradition around this artisan craft. I’ll also include other historical traditions related to living the homestead life.

Some upcoming topics are:

  • how did cheese get started in the first place?
  • how a lot of the different cheeses were developed and where.
  • What were the life conditions present that led to the development of that particular cheese in that area?

Other topics I’ll touch on are:

  • How was food cooked and preserved in the past?
  • Today’s modern preservation – Food preservation is important.
  • How women cooked at the founding of our country. Let’s talk about hearth cooking.
  • Cooking with cheese on a wood stove. We have a wood stove that even has an oven.

These things bring appreciation for what we have today, do they not?

Podcast Recipe

With each episode I’ll offer a new recipe. Either making cheese, cooking with cheese, or making some other homestead recipe from scratch. The link for the recipe is in the show notes.

The recipe for today’s podcast is: how to make bone broth. We really need this winter to keep us warm.

Health Benefits

Let me first address some of the health benefits of bone broth. There are a lot of technical words out there like glycosaminoglycans, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. What I want to talk about is the bottom line without big words. Bottom line, it’s highly nutritious. Bone broth soup is rich in nutrients. One word I will throw in here is collagen. It’s the basic building block of connective tissue. Bone broth is a source of collagen building gelatin. Think joint health.

  • may protect the joints.
  • may help fight osteoarthritis.
  • may help reduce inflammation and heal the gut.
  • may aid sleep.
  • may support weight loss.

 

It has a whole lot of benefits. Additionally, it’s really tasty and is easy to make.

How Much Do I Drink?

How much should you drink in a day. You might drink 8 ounces a day. But some people drink much more – 16 to 32 ounces daily. Usually that is for a short period of time, perhaps to halt the progression of inflammation. Typically, 8 to 12 ounces is a maintenance kind of program that you might try first. Or you may drink it only occasionally and use it mostly in soups and stews.

Where Does One Get Bones and What Kind?

Where can you find the bone ingredients? Your local farmers markets are the best resource assuming there are meat producers selling at your market. If you don’t see it on their price boards, ask. They will have them.

What kind of bones should you use? I’ll be talking about lamb today, but any meat bones will do to make the recipe I am sharing today. Beef, chicken, lamb, and goat are examples. Go with whatever you like and what is available at the market.

Bone Broth

Now on to the recipe. This particular recipe has herbs added to it which is a little bit different than some other recipes I have used. I’m going to give you the instructions on how to make the broth, but some of the ingredients are not required. You can experiment with those. You can even leave them all out.

You may drink it daily or only occasionally. You may use it in soups and stews. If you are drinking it heated right out of a jar or freezer container, you may want all the spices. I use mine a lot in soups and stews. Consequently, I season my stew rather than seasoning the broth.

What You Need

Let’s look at the ingredients in this recipe. A pound of bones of your choice, a tablespoon of olive oil, a large chopped onion, three medium carrots cut into chunks, and three sticks of celery roughly chopped. Three cloves of minced garlic, 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, and five sprigs of fresh thyme. You could use dried as well. In that case, I’d go with ½ tsp of the rosemary and a tsp of thyme. You’ll also need water. Approximately 1 to 3 gallons. The amount will vary depending on the bones you use and the time you simmer the broth. Salt to taste is an optional ingredient.

Onion, garlic, carrots, and celery are a typical base for flavoring any soup or stew. Keep that in mind if you are just learning how to cook. There is so much about cooking that is not really complicated and is used over and over in various recipes.

There are two ways that you can prepare the bones. 1. Thaw them out and throw them into the pot or 2. you can roast them in the oven prior to putting them in the water. I’ll give those instructions and feel free to leave off that second step as needed.

What To Do

Place the bones in a roasting pan and bake them for 30 to 40 minutes until they are browned.

With either method, in a large stock pot add the oil and heat on medium. Next add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and rosemary and sauté them for about five minutes. Add the bones and scrape any fat and juices from the roasting pan (if you did the roasting method) and put that into the pot. Add a gallon of water or enough to cover the bones. Allow it to come to boil before reducing the heat to low. Simmer anywhere from 8 to 24 hours uncovered. The longer you simmer, the more nutrients are extracted from the bones. Add more water as the water level drops. The amount of water you use will depend on how long you choose to cook it and how many bones you have in the pot.

After the broth is cooked for your desired length of time, strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer. You can use a tea towel or an old T-shirt. You are looking for that clear liquid that can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Likely you will have more than you can use right away. It’s easy to freeze it. Or, if you’re skilled with pressure canning, that’s an excellent method of keeping a larger amount on hand.

So, there you have it. That’s the basics of making a very healthy bone broth. I hope you’ll give that a try. Again, the recipe link is in the show notes. You can print it right from my website.

I hope I’ve simplified it for you. Not only is it easy to make, but there’s a lot of variety and personal creativity you can incorporate as you gain confidence. Perhaps you will make a family tradition around bone broth. The entire family sitting around the fire in the living room on a cold winter evening, sharing what brought you peace on that day is a fine vision.

SUMMARY:

That’s it for this podcast. It really is all about the journey, the dream. Dream the dream. Talk the dream. Take baby steps everyday toward the dream. Our baby steps, over 15 years, brought us to where we are today. And don’t be afraid to try a new recipe or a new cooking method.

Next week I’m going to talk about how the fermented food called cheese came about.

If you’ve got a specific topic you’d like me to cover, please post on our Facebook page, @peacefulheartfarm.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for listening and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Recipe Link:

Bone Broth with Herbs

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NEW!! Peaceful Heart FarmCast Episode. Enjoy!

Podcast Reboot

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Podcast Reboot

podcast rebootHello everybody. Melanie Hall here. Hope you are doing well. Are you ready for the podcast to get going again? I sure am. One change you’ll notice is that going forward I’ve rebranded the podcast. The name changed from Village Wisdom Podcast to Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

If you’re a subscriber, you don’t need to do anything . . . I’ve updated all the links so you’ll still get the podcast automatically in iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music or wherever you listen. But you will now find the podcast episodes and show notes on the Peaceful Heart Farm website.

Next, I’d like to tell you why I rebranded and what to expect going forward in the Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

You can expect traditional lifestyle education, entertaining anecdotes about history and traditional methods of cooking – and most importantly, Cheese, Cheese and more Cheese.

As my long-time followers know, I have quite a few passions. I’ve covered a lot of ground on the Village Wisdom Podcast. And Of course, I’m still passionate about philosophy, education, personal responsibility, living a graceful and productive life. It’s what I’ve been podcasting and writing about via the Village Wisdom Podcast for quite a few years.

However, I’m also passionate about the homestead lifestyle and making cheese that reflects our local terroir. Hand-made Artisan cheese created using traditional methods and techniques.

How Did I Get Here?

At Peaceful Heart Farm, we’ve gone through several iterations on what our central business enterprise would be. First, we were going to raise vegetables, then chickens, then sheep, we raised a lots of sheep — and then the Normande cows came on the scene.

We got them because I wanted to make cheese for our family. I wanted raw milk and I wanted to make real butter that I knew came from pasture grass only. The Normande is a dual breed cow that provides both milk and meat. I immediately fell in love with their beautiful coats and gentle nature, and that is what sparked my interest in making cheese for more than just our family.

A fire lighted in me to make cheese for my local community. I want to share my love for the cows and the cheese with the world.

Pieces of the puzzle clicked into place and we knew that a farmstead creamery is what we wanted to build on the homestead. It’s a huge time and financial investment. We ended up working for others for several years longer than originally planned in order to make this dream a reality. Even today, we continue to put one foot in front of the other, making slow progress by some business standards. We are full time on the homestead now and living the way we do makes it all worthwhile.

And while this lifestyle has all kinds of upsides, the business end of small-scale artisan cheesemaking is challenging. The business end takes time. It takes a lot of time.

As farmers we don’t have employees, managers, investors or a board of directors. There is no marketing department. We have to do it all. And there are only so many hours in the day.

When we started, there was a lot to learn. We were on information overload learning how to grow our own food in this region, animal husbandry, breeding, pasture management, meat processing, and now, cheesemaking and building the creamery – and the list goes on and on. The tasks go on and on. As do the chores. And like most small-farm owners, our marketing efforts have been just about non-existent.

We Will Make our Small Farm Work

As I said, I’m passionate about making cheese and providing Artisan cheese to the local community. I’m passionate about the traditional methods. Hand-made in small batches.

So, I’ve been really busy over the past few months; making and testing various cheeses, developing our unique cheeses. I’ve been developing the farm website. I’ve been preparing to join the Farmer’s Market community, getting marketing materials together. And on and on. It’s never-ending.

Busy, busy, busy. No time for focus on anything outside of the homestead and making Peaceful Heart Farm and Creamery a viable small business. And I love it.

You may recall the number of times I mentioned the farm in the Village Wisdom Podcast. The homestead is my greatest passion project and it needed my full attention.

But this is more than just our farm and homestead. It’s a place to produce fabulous, nutritious, traditional food. It’s a place to offer our knowledge to others via classes and workshops. Did I mention the commercial kitchen that is part of the building project?

Oh yeah, not only making the cheese for you, but showing you how to make the cheese, and how to cook with cheese. Or heck, just showing you how to cook whatever you want with your own two hands.

Now it’s time for me to relaunch my podcast. You’ll hear from me weekly. The content will be focused on giving you the best information I have on cheese; various types of cheese, cheese around the world, how cheese is made, the history of cheese and cheesemaking, cooking with cheese – and as a bonus, I’ll be offering additional wisdom on traditional cooking methods, cooking from scratch, and preserving your own food to use in your recipes – especially those cheese recipes.

Here’s to helping you “taste the traditional touch.”

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a comment on our Facebook Page
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

To help the show:

Thank you so much for listening and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

NEW!! Peaceful Heart FarmCast Episode. Enjoy!

History of Cheese

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History of Cheese

history of cheeseThe history of cheese. Exactly how did cheese get started? What’s the tradition there?

Overview

— Farm Updates
— History of Cheese
— Lemon Cheese Recipe

Farm Updates

I don’t have a lot to report today about the farm. A bit about hay, the creamery and a story about the goats and their antics.

Hay and Creamery

Scott laid the first row of blocks for the walls of the creamery. Yay!!! He is off getting more hay today. He will be back at it tomorrow and every day as long as the weather holds. We work long hours around here. They are shorter during the winter due to the amount of daylight. As the days get longer, we will get more and more done on any given day.

Why is he getting more hay? As I have talked about, our cows are 100% grassfed and raised on pasture. They get stored grass in the winter – that’s the hay. Cows need a lot of energy to stay warm when it is cold. They handle the cold very well. But they eat more – sometimes a lot more – when it is really cold. We came up short on the amount of hay we needed due to the excessive cold this winter. The are eating a lot more to keep warm.

That brings up another quick point that I want to make. We endeavor to have 2 years of hay stored for just this reason. You never know when you are going to run short. Perhaps this year we will get that hay storage back up to snuff. It was there a couple of years ago. Sometimes these things just slip when other priorities demand our attention. It’s a daily juggling act. I think we are passable jugglers at this point. Still need improvement though.

Goat Antics

We had yet another case of unauthorized breeding on the farm a little over 5 months ago. Here’s the story.

After manifest evidence of unauthorized breeding, Scott looked to his calendar of events for more information. He found the facts of the incident on his calendar. I didn’t even know it happened. It was a small blip and he corrected it immediately. Let me back up a little.

We essentially maintain two herds / flocks of animals. One we call the “the boys” and the other is referred to as “the girls” even though there are a couple of “the boys” in there right now. That’s our authorized breeding in progress. Unauthorized breeding happens when “the boys” meet “the girls” on their own schedule outside of our desired parameters. As I said, we had an incident a little over 5 months ago.

Every morning during milking season we bring up “the girls” usually just the bovine species. We only milk the cows, not the sheep or goats. However, sometimes the other animals come up just for kicks. According to Scott’s calendar/diary, on September 30thlast year when he was returning the cows to the pasture, he noticed that a couple of the girl goats had joined the boys. With goats you never know how they get through a fence. But believe me, if there is a way, a goat will find it.

Goat Kids

So, Scott got the goat girls back with the rest of “the girls” herd. The renegade girls were in there for no more than a half hour – maybe 45 minutes. It just doesn’t take long does it? Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago, Scott was checking the herd and putting out hay. He noticed several goat babies running around out there. Of course, this had to be a day just before freezing cold was to come again. There you have it. Only 30 to 45 minutes and 5 months later – goat kids. Scott came and got me and we began goat kid rescue operations. Get them to shelter.

Immediately I found a set of badger marked twins from one gray badger colored doe. But Scott had mentioned that on first arriving with the hay he had seen a tiny black kid trailing after one of the black does. We searched and we searched and we searched but we could not find this kid. Goat kids are exceptional with hiding and camouflage. Scott finally decided he must have been mistaken. We both had trouble accepting that because it is really hard to mistake one of those tiny newborns for the grown ones, even it if was one of the smaller does from last year. But after a couple of hours and looking in every nook and cranny we could find, we gave up the search.

The next morning Scott came and got me again. This time he was holding a tiny black goat kid. God only knows where that kid was hiding. We reunited him with his mom and he seemed pretty happy about that. He was larger than the twins. We believe he could have been a day or even two older. Also, a single birth as opposed to a twin makes for a bigger kid. We estimated the weights of the twins at 3.5 and 3 pounds. The single was a bit over 4 pounds.

Joy and Loss

The story has a bit of a sad ending. The black one was running around fine for two days and then we found him dead one morning. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he was stressed from a night away from his mom and was immunocompromised. Maybe he got too cold that one night. We just don’t know. Goat kids are extremely vulnerable in their first week. On a happier note, the twins are doing spectacularly.

Those are the only two kids we will have this year, knock on wood. There is also a nagging thought in the back of my mind that in another week or so we could have a few more. I’m not sure that we separated the baby boys from the herd before the oldest buckling was sexually active. I’ll let you know if anything changes there.

While I’m on the topic of births, I’ll mention a couple of other things. Like I said, no more goat kids this year. We paused on breeding the goats this year because we are evaluating whether we want to switch from cashmere goats for fiber to meat goats. We are looking at kiko goats which are a meat breed. We are not growing more goats until we make a decision about pressing forward with our original fiber plan or deviating slightly to the meat plan.

Sheep and Cows

As far as the sheep go, the ewes were bred on schedule and are due to deliver sometime after March 20th. We will move them to the pasture outside my living room window as their time gets closer. They are strong in pasture birthing but keeping our eye on them is important. Taking excellent care of our animals is high on our list of priorities. We will supplement their hay just a little with mineral-fortified feed two weeks ahead of their expected delivery. Losses, heartbreak and experience have led us to that added step.

We expect our first calf on March 30th. The good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, we will have 5 healthy calves this year with no veterinary bills.

Alright, switching topics.

The history of Cheese

I don’t know if you think about how things that we have and do today evolved over time. From time to time, I ponder it. Throughout my life I’ve had a penchant for history and tradition. Just how did we come to the place where we are today? How did “this” or “that” method or tradition come to be? Why is it always done that way now? Here’s a deep one. How did humans figure out that traditional committed pair-bonding between two individuals led to a stable family and continuation of the species? Who figured out why that worked? And what were the traditions passed down through generation after generation to ensure that it happened? What about soap making. It’s a chemist’s endeavor. What brain came up with the method?

Today I want to talk about the path of our ancestors that led to preserving milk and making cheese – also significantly contributing to the survival of the species. I’ll share and pass on some tales about how it MIGHT have happened. And a bit about where we are today as some traditions fall away and others evolve.

When did people first begin to make cheese? The most repeated story is that it was discovered by nomadic peoples. People who traveled by foot or beast of burden; horse, donkey or camel. The story goes that they found that the milk they transported in bags made of animal stomachs solidified during the long day of jostling along on the back of a horse or donkey. Young ruminant animal stomach is the key there. Calves, kids, lambs. And while that may be the most oft told story, it’s not the only way cheese may have evolved.

We know that it doesn’t take a camel trip to cause milk to curdle – The rennet in the stomach of the ruminant will do that for sure. But leaving a bowl of milk sitting outside any hut or tent for a couple of warm days will do the job. Separate the curds from the whey and voilà – cheese!

I’ll provide greater detail on that process going forward, but that’s the basics. Warm the milk, add rennet or let the natural aliveness of the milk do its thing on its own, drain the whey. Cheese!

The Monastic and Small-Town Cheese Traditions

Moving forward in time, the Greco-Roman era produced documentation of cheese making. Cheese was an important food for the people of Greece and Rome.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the monasteries rose to prominence. They were responsible for the survival of education and culture after civilization deteriorated with the fall of Rome. The monasteries perpetuated and protected the documents. Additionally, early medicines were developed in rudimentary pharmacies. You saw important advances in art, music, and cooking.

The monks were generally the most educated in that period of history. They were the landowners and the country folk of the land were their responsibility. Monks tended to the spiritual needs of the people, as well as their health and the process of growing, preparing and storing food.

The monasteries became a prominent developer and keeper of cheese making tradition. It was during this time that regional and distinct types of cheeses first arose. Maintaining a thriving small industry using the milk produced on church-owned land was central to the survival of the community. Monasteries used local labor and ingredients.

Peasant farmers and herders also made cheese from the milk of their sheep, goats and cows to feed their families. Cheese was one answer to the question of what to eat in the season when no milk was available. Traditional methods were developed.

Isolated valleys existed throughout Europe and were home to local societies with traditions and foods that were unique to their small worlds. Many still exist and have influenced the wonderful variety of European cheese we know today. There are hundreds of these cheeses passed down from generation to generation that are still available today. Many still operate under a type of “patent”. The cheese must be made in a specific region with milk obtained from a specific breed of cow, and processed using specific methods to be labeled with a specific name. Camembert d’ Normandy and Parmesan are two examples.

Industrialization

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries as urban society grew and food for more and more people was needed, cheese making was gradually taken over by industrial concerns able to produce huge amounts of cheap cheese for distribution over larger and larger distances. Because industrial production was able to mass produce cheese for masses of people at lower cost, it almost wiped out the market for small producers and cheese makers.

Mass production led to centralized industry and regulatory bodies. Why? Because quality is often sacrificed for quantity. Large quantity operations open the door for unsanitary conditions and unsafe manufacturing processes in an effort to save time and money. More people are involved. More places where contamination can occur. The next logical step is enforced and costly regulation for sanitation and production standards. This made it less and less profitable for artisans to continue. Their small operations do not have the same sanitation and manufacturing issues though they are still required to pay the price.

One exception is France, which, because it started with a very large artisan community, was able to maintain a presence in the field. However, even now, the European Union is gradually instituting policies that are difficult for some farmstead producers to comply with, leading them to give up their craft. As we move forward with technology, hand-crafted products made with love and devotion and the accompanying tradition sometimes get left behind. The tradition becomes hidden away like a fine painting stored and nearly forgotten in a closet. As with most developments in society, there are positive and negative sides to industrialization.

Today there is a revival of people like us who are wondering if something valuable has been lost in the process. We are looking into the closet and retrieving the priceless art stored there. The desire for transparency in food production is becoming a public demand. The desire to know the composition of our food is probably the biggest reason we started on the path of making all of our own food. We wanted to know exactly what we were eating. Perhaps you do to.

And let’s talk about the environmental impact. Long-distance transportation carries a high cost to the environment. Our Farmer’s market and many more like it attract those who desire more and more to choose locally grown and artisan produced food over imported and industrial produced foods. A product lovingly crafted by hand costs more. But it’s not about money is it? It’s about the physical health of our families, the economic health of our communities, the humane treatment of living creatures and conservation of the planet we inhabit.

We are seeing growing interest in our craft. Every year sees an increase in artisan cheese consumption, though the number of small-scale cheese makers is still quite small. It ain’t easy being cheesy, but we want you to be able to experience the taste of fresh handmade cheese and discover the joy of creating a wonderful food made from a simple ingredient: fresh milk.

Cheese Trivia

Number one: the terms “big wheel” and “big cheese” originally referred to those who were wealthy enough to purchase a whole wheel of cheese.

Number two: Cheese was once used as a currency in medieval Europe. Cheese and other agricultural products were regularly used to pay church taxes. Some “tithe barns” (ancient buildings where the portion owed to the state, land owner or church was collected) still exist.

Today’s Recipe

The recipe for today’s podcast is: lemon cheese

Lemon cheese is a very simple fresh cheese that you can easily make in your kitchen. It is a moist spreadable cheese with a hint of lemon taste. If you make it in the evening, this rich and delicious cheese will be ready to spread on bagels or hot croissants for breakfast in the morning!

The ingredients are simple and the steps are few. Let me first provide a list of equipment you might want to gather.

Equipment

  • 5-quart pot, stainless steel, glass or ceramic
  • Any food thermometer that measures 165 F.
  • Large spoon
  • Fine strainer or colander
  • Butter muslin (a clean old t-shirt will do in a pinch)

The ingredients are simple:

  • 1 gallon of milk (do not use ultra-pasteurized, it will not set up)
  • 2 large lemons or ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • salt

The steps are few:

  • Warm the milk (to 165 F). Stir often so as to not scorch the milk.
  • Add the lemon juice to the milk. Stir and set aside for 15 minutes.

NOTES: The warm milk will separate into a stringy curd and a greenish liquid whey. It should be clear, not milky. You can add more lemon juice if your milk did not “set” (coagulate).

  • Line a colander or fine strainer with the butter muslin. Pour the curds and whey into the colander.
  • Tie the four corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang the bag of curds to drain for an hour or so. Or until it reaches the desired consistency (think spreadable cream cheese).
  • Remove the cheese from the cloth and place it in a bowl. Add salt to taste, usually about ¼ teaspoon. You can also add herbs if you like. Fresh dill comes to mind.
  • Store in a covered container in the frig for up to a week.

That’s it! Enjoy! Recipe link is here.

SUMMARY

Hope you enjoyed the farm updates. Follow us on Facebook @peacefulheartfarm for some cute pictures of those goat kids.

Did you learn some new things about cheese? The traditional methods we use to make our artisan cheese evolved from those roots.

Let me know how that lemon cheese went for you. Feel free to ask me questions and provide feedback on your results. Leave us a comment on our Facebook page. Again, @peacefulheartfarm.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for listening and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a comment on our Facebook Page
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

To help the show:

Website

www.peacefulheartfarm.com

Patreon

www.patreon.com/peacefulheartfarm

Facebook

www.facebook.com/peacefulheartfarm

NEW!! Peaceful Heart FarmCast Episode. Enjoy!

History of Cheese

History of Cheese

History of Cheese

history of cheeseThe history of cheese. Exactly how did cheese get started? What’s the tradition there?

Overview

— Farm Updates
— History of Cheese
— Lemon Cheese Recipe

Farm Updates

I don’t have a lot to report today about the farm. A bit about hay, the creamery and a story about the goats and their antics.

Hay and Creamery

Scott laid the first row of blocks for the walls of the creamery. Yay!!! He is off getting more hay today. He will be back at it tomorrow and every day as long as the weather holds. We work long hours around here. They are shorter during the winter due to the amount of daylight. As the days get longer, we will get more and more done on any given day.

Why is he getting more hay? As I have talked about, our cows are 100% grassfed and raised on pasture. They get stored grass in the winter – that’s the hay. Cows need a lot of energy to stay warm when it is cold. They handle the cold very well. But they eat more – sometimes a lot more – when it is really cold. We came up short on the amount of hay we needed due to the excessive cold this winter. The are eating a lot more to keep warm.

That brings up another quick point that I want to make. We endeavor to have 2 years of hay stored for just this reason. You never know when you are going to run short. Perhaps this year we will get that hay storage back up to snuff. It was there a couple of years ago. Sometimes these things just slip when other priorities demand our attention. It’s a daily juggling act. I think we are passable jugglers at this point. Still need improvement though.

Goat Antics

We had yet another case of unauthorized breeding on the farm a little over 5 months ago. Here’s the story.

After manifest evidence of unauthorized breeding, Scott looked to his calendar of events for more information. He found the facts of the incident on his calendar. I didn’t even know it happened. It was a small blip and he corrected it immediately. Let me back up a little.

We essentially maintain two herds / flocks of animals. One we call the “the boys” and the other is referred to as “the girls” even though there are a couple of “the boys” in there right now. That’s our authorized breeding in progress. Unauthorized breeding happens when “the boys” meet “the girls” on their own schedule outside of our desired parameters. As I said, we had an incident a little over 5 months ago.

Every morning during milking season we bring up “the girls” usually just the bovine species. We only milk the cows, not the sheep or goats. However, sometimes the other animals come up just for kicks. According to Scott’s calendar/diary, on September 30th last year when he was returning the cows to the pasture, he noticed that a couple of the girl goats had joined the boys. With goats you never know how they get through a fence. But believe me, if there is a way, a goat will find it.

Goat Kids

So, Scott got the goat girls back with the rest of “the girls” herd. The renegade girls were in there for no more than a half hour – maybe 45 minutes. It just doesn’t take long does it? Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago, Scott was checking the herd and putting out hay. He noticed several goat babies running around out there. Of course, this had to be a day just before freezing cold was to come again. There you have it. Only 30 to 45 minutes and 5 months later – goat kids. Scott came and got me and we began goat kid rescue operations. Get them to shelter.

Immediately I found a set of badger marked twins from one gray badger colored doe. But Scott had mentioned that on first arriving with the hay he had seen a tiny black kid trailing after one of the black does. We searched and we searched and we searched but we could not find this kid. Goat kids are exceptional with hiding and camouflage. Scott finally decided he must have been mistaken. We both had trouble accepting that because it is really hard to mistake one of those tiny newborns for the grown ones, even it if was one of the smaller does from last year. But after a couple of hours and looking in every nook and cranny we could find, we gave up the search.

The next morning Scott came and got me again. This time he was holding a tiny black goat kid. God only knows where that kid was hiding. We reunited him with his mom and he seemed pretty happy about that. He was larger than the twins. We believe he could have been a day or even two older. Also, a single birth as opposed to a twin makes for a bigger kid. We estimated the weights of the twins at 3.5 and 3 pounds. The single was a bit over 4 pounds.

Joy and Loss

The story has a bit of a sad ending. The black one was running around fine for two days and then we found him dead one morning. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he was stressed from a night away from his mom and was immunocompromised. Maybe he got too cold that one night. We just don’t know. Goat kids are extremely vulnerable in their first week. On a happier note, the twins are doing spectacularly.

Those are the only two kids we will have this year, knock on wood. There is also a nagging thought in the back of my mind that in another week or so we could have a few more. I’m not sure that we separated the baby boys from the herd before the oldest buckling was sexually active. I’ll let you know if anything changes there.

While I’m on the topic of births, I’ll mention a couple of other things. Like I said, no more goat kids this year. We paused on breeding the goats this year because we are evaluating whether we want to switch from cashmere goats for fiber to meat goats. We are looking at kiko goats which are a meat breed. We are not growing more goats until we make a decision about pressing forward with our original fiber plan or deviating slightly to the meat plan.

Sheep and Cows

As far as the sheep go, the ewes were bred on schedule and are due to deliver sometime after March 20th. We will move them to the pasture outside my living room window as their time gets closer. They are strong in pasture birthing but keeping our eye on them is important. Taking excellent care of our animals is high on our list of priorities. We will supplement their hay just a little with mineral-fortified feed two weeks ahead of their expected delivery. Losses, heartbreak and experience have led us to that added step.

We expect our first calf on March 30th. The good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, we will have 5 healthy calves this year with no veterinary bills.

Alright, switching topics.

The history of Cheese

I don’t know if you think about how things that we have and do today evolved over time. From time to time, I ponder it. Throughout my life I’ve had a penchant for history and tradition. Just how did we come to the place where we are today? How did “this” or “that” method or tradition come to be? Why is it always done that way now? Here’s a deep one. How did humans figure out that traditional committed pair-bonding between two individuals led to a stable family and continuation of the species? Who figured out why that worked? And what were the traditions passed down through generation after generation to ensure that it happened? What about soap making. It’s a chemist’s endeavor. What brain came up with the method?

Today I want to talk about the path of our ancestors that led to preserving milk and making cheese – also significantly contributing to the survival of the species. I’ll share and pass on some tales about how it MIGHT have happened. And a bit about where we are today as some traditions fall away and others evolve.

When did people first begin to make cheese? The most repeated story is that it was discovered by nomadic peoples. People who traveled by foot or beast of burden; horse, donkey or camel. The story goes that they found that the milk they transported in bags made of animal stomachs solidified during the long day of jostling along on the back of a horse or donkey. Young ruminant animal stomach is the key there. Calves, kids, lambs. And while that may be the most oft told story, it’s not the only way cheese may have evolved.

We know that it doesn’t take a camel trip to cause milk to curdle – The rennet in the stomach of the ruminant will do that for sure. But leaving a bowl of milk sitting outside any hut or tent for a couple of warm days will do the job. Separate the curds from the whey and voilà – cheese!

I’ll provide greater detail on that process going forward, but that’s the basics. Warm the milk, add rennet or let the natural aliveness of the milk do its thing on its own, drain the whey. Cheese!

The Monastic and Small-Town Cheese Traditions

Moving forward in time, the Greco-Roman era produced documentation of cheese making. Cheese was an important food for the people of Greece and Rome.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the monasteries rose to prominence. They were responsible for the survival of education and culture after civilization deteriorated with the fall of Rome. The monasteries perpetuated and protected the documents. Additionally, early medicines were developed in rudimentary pharmacies. You saw important advances in art, music, and cooking.

The monks were generally the most educated in that period of history. They were the landowners and the country folk of the land were their responsibility. Monks tended to the spiritual needs of the people, as well as their health and the process of growing, preparing and storing food.

The monasteries became a prominent developer and keeper of cheese making tradition. It was during this time that regional and distinct types of cheeses first arose. Maintaining a thriving small industry using the milk produced on church-owned land was central to the survival of the community. Monasteries used local labor and ingredients.

Peasant farmers and herders also made cheese from the milk of their sheep, goats and cows to feed their families. Cheese was one answer to the question of what to eat in the season when no milk was available. Traditional methods were developed.

Isolated valleys existed throughout Europe and were home to local societies with traditions and foods that were unique to their small worlds. Many still exist and have influenced the wonderful variety of European cheese we know today. There are hundreds of these cheeses passed down from generation to generation that are still available today. Many still operate under a type of “patent”. The cheese must be made in a specific region with milk obtained from a specific breed of cow, and processed using specific methods to be labeled with a specific name. Camembert d’ Normandy and Parmesan are two examples.

Industrialization

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries as urban society grew and food for more and more people was needed, cheese making was gradually taken over by industrial concerns able to produce huge amounts of cheap cheese for distribution over larger and larger distances. Because industrial production was able to mass produce cheese for masses of people at lower cost, it almost wiped out the market for small producers and cheese makers.

Mass production led to centralized industry and regulatory bodies. Why? Because quality is often sacrificed for quantity. Large quantity operations open the door for unsanitary conditions and unsafe manufacturing processes in an effort to save time and money. More people are involved. More places where contamination can occur. The next logical step is enforced and costly regulation for sanitation and production standards. This made it less and less profitable for artisans to continue. Their small operations do not have the same sanitation and manufacturing issues though they are still required to pay the price.

One exception is France, which, because it started with a very large artisan community, was able to maintain a presence in the field. However, even now, the European Union is gradually instituting policies that are difficult for some farmstead producers to comply with, leading them to give up their craft. As we move forward with technology, hand-crafted products made with love and devotion and the accompanying tradition sometimes get left behind. The tradition becomes hidden away like a fine painting stored and nearly forgotten in a closet. As with most developments in society, there are positive and negative sides to industrialization.

Today there is a revival of people like us who are wondering if something valuable has been lost in the process. We are looking into the closet and retrieving the priceless art stored there. The desire for transparency in food production is becoming a public demand. The desire to know the composition of our food is probably the biggest reason we started on the path of making all of our own food. We wanted to know exactly what we were eating. Perhaps you do to.

And let’s talk about the environmental impact. Long-distance transportation carries a high cost to the environment. Our Farmer’s market and many more like it attract those who desire more and more to choose locally grown and artisan produced food over imported and industrial produced foods. A product lovingly crafted by hand costs more. But it’s not about money is it? It’s about the physical health of our families, the economic health of our communities, the humane treatment of living creatures and conservation of the planet we inhabit.

We are seeing growing interest in our craft. Every year sees an increase in artisan cheese consumption, though the number of small-scale cheese makers is still quite small. It ain’t easy being cheesy, but we want you to be able to experience the taste of fresh handmade cheese and discover the joy of creating a wonderful food made from a simple ingredient: fresh milk.

Cheese Trivia

Number one: the terms “big wheel” and “big cheese” originally referred to those who were wealthy enough to purchase a whole wheel of cheese.

Number two: Cheese was once used as a currency in medieval Europe. Cheese and other agricultural products were regularly used to pay church taxes. Some “tithe barns” (ancient buildings where the portion owed to the state, land owner or church was collected) still exist.

Today’s Recipe

The recipe for today’s podcast is: lemon cheese

Lemon cheese is a very simple fresh cheese that you can easily make in your kitchen. It is a moist spreadable cheese with a hint of lemon taste. If you make it in the evening, this rich and delicious cheese will be ready to spread on bagels or hot croissants for breakfast in the morning!

The ingredients are simple and the steps are few. Let me first provide a list of equipment you might want to gather.

Equipment

  • 5-quart pot, stainless steel, glass or ceramic
  • Any food thermometer that measures 165 F.
  • Large spoon
  • Fine strainer or colander
  • Butter muslin (a clean old t-shirt will do in a pinch)

The ingredients are simple:

  • 1 gallon of milk (do not use ultra-pasteurized, it will not set up)
  • 2 large lemons or ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • salt

The steps are few:

  • Warm the milk (to 165 F). Stir often so as to not scorch the milk.
  • Add the lemon juice to the milk. Stir and set aside for 15 minutes.

NOTES: The warm milk will separate into a stringy curd and a greenish liquid whey. It should be clear, not milky. You can add more lemon juice if your milk did not “set” (coagulate).

  • Line a colander or fine strainer with the butter muslin. Pour the curds and whey into the colander.
  • Tie the four corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang the bag of curds to drain for an hour or so. Or until it reaches the desired consistency (think spreadable cream cheese).
  • Remove the cheese from the cloth and place it in a bowl. Add salt to taste, usually about ¼ teaspoon. You can also add herbs if you like. Fresh dill comes to mind.
  • Store in a covered container in the frig for up to a week.

That’s it! Enjoy! Recipe link is here.

SUMMARY

Hope you enjoyed the farm updates. Follow us on Facebook @peacefulheartfarm for some cute pictures of those goat kids.

Did you learn some new things about cheese? The traditional methods we use to make our artisan cheese evolved from those roots.

Let me know how that lemon cheese went for you. Feel free to ask me questions and provide feedback on your results. Leave us a comment on our Facebook page. Again, @peacefulheartfarm.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for listening and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a comment on our Facebook Page
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

To help the show:

Website

www.peacefulheartfarm.com

Patreon

www.patreon.com/peacefulheartfarm

Facebook

www.facebook.com/peacefulheartfarm

Lemon Cheese

Lemon Cheese

Lemon cheese is a very simple fresh cheese that you can easily make in your kitchen. It is a moist spreadable cheese with a hint of lemon taste.

If you make it in the evening, this rich and delicious cheese will be ready to spread on hot biscuits, toast, muffins, bagels or croissants for breakfast in the morning!

Print Recipe
Lemon Cheese
Lemon cheese is a very simple fresh cheese that you can easily make in your kitchen. It is a moist spreadable cheese with a hint of lemon taste.  
Lemon Cheese
Keyword soft cheese
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 gallon milk do not use ultra-pasteurized, it will not set up.
  • 2 large lemons or 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Keyword soft cheese
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 gallon milk do not use ultra-pasteurized, it will not set up.
  • 2 large lemons or 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Lemon Cheese
Instructions
  1. Warm milk to 165 F, stirring often to present scorching.
  2. Add lemon juice. Stir and set aside for 15 minutes. The warm milk will separate into a stringy curd and a greenish liquid whey. It should be clear, not milky.
  3. Line a colander with butter muslin. Pour the curds and whey into the colander. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang the bag of curds to drain. After an hour, check for the desired consistency. Think cream cheese.
  4. Remove the cheese from the cloth and place it in a bowl. Add salt to taste, usually 1/4 tsp. You may mix in herbs. Fresh dill comes to mind.
  5. Place cheese in a covered container and store in the refrigerator. It will keep for a week, perhaps a little more.
Recipe Notes

Notes:

  1. You may go up to 190 F to help your milk coagulate.
  2. You may add more lemon juice if your milk doesn't coagulate.
Share this Recipe
Peaceful Heart FarmCast – Intro

Peaceful Heart FarmCast – Intro

Peaceful Heart FarmCast – Intro

peaceful heart farmcastToday’s Peaceful Heart FarmCast is about how we came to live the homestead life and how we decided to create a small artisan cheese business.

TODAY’S TOPICS:

  1. What happened last year, where did I go?
  2. Peaceful Heart FarmCast
  3. Updates on the farm and creamery
  4. Preview of upcoming topics
  5. Homestead Recipe

What Happened Last Year, Where Did I Go?

First, I want to address what happened last year and where I am at the present time. I was podcasting regularly, twice a month. And even though the recorded podcasts were 45 minutes to an hour, it took more than an entire day to make that happen. Once spring came on in full force, I was overwhelmed with caring for animals and the garden.

There was no time left for anything that did not contribute to furthering of the farm enterprise. That included my podcast hobby. So, I just stopped it and took care of what was in front of me.

I’ve spent the winter catching up and getting better organized. So here I am, back at it again, this time with a better plan for using my hobby as part of the farm business plan. I’ll talk about the topics I plan to cover a little bit later. For my current subscribers, I hope you’ll decide to stay with me, but if not, I appreciate our time together and wish you the best. You have an open invitation to revisit and rejoin anytime.

Peaceful Heart FarmCast

Now I’m pleased to launch the Peaceful Heart FarmCast. I’m excited about what I have lined up for you guys. If you are a regular subscriber, you may have noticed that the intro with the purpose of the podcast has changed.

While I enjoyed talking about the crazy stuff that is going on in the world, it added little to my life goals on the farm. In fact, it is quite removed from my life on the farm. As I mentioned, publishing a podcast takes quite a lot of time and effort and I need to optimize my time. The farm pushes on and waits for no one. You better be ready. I’ll be sharing more stories about what that means as we go forward.

Perhaps you’ve thought of making the rural life happen for you and your family – or perhaps you’re thinking about a homestead in suburban America. I hope to help you with ideas and encouragement. It truly is a fabulous lifestyle, filled with ups and downs, but well worth it.

Or perhaps you don’t want to make that kind of commitment to gardens and animals yourself, but you want to partake of the benefits of what other land and animal caretakers produce. Perhaps you want to learn to cook from scratch or add variety to your current recipes using the great seasonal products you buy at your farmer’s market. That’s great too.

Much of what I will talk about can be done in even the smallest household, the smallest kitchen, no land and animals required. Just a desire to learn how to care for your family with your own two hands. Technology is great. I’m using it right now. But there is something deeply satisfying in creating safe and wholesome food for your family. There is an inner peace that comes from personally crafting the dishes with ingredients you can trust.

That’s why I’m focusing on tradition and traditional techniques that will enhance our lives and bring a deeper fulfillment to everyday life. The way that happens is creating and/or passing on a tradition. That entails knowing the words to convey to bring wisdom or having skill with a particular technique or method of creating an end product, and passing it on. But more importantly, it means knowing why we do it that way and passing that along as well. A tradition can turn into dogma without passing along the reason why it is done that way.

Why did the tradition start? Is it still relevant for you today? If so, we learn it, do it, and pass it on. That is how tradition is built. There is a reason that things were done a certain way. And if circumstances change that require altering a tradition, it is important that changes are thought about deeply and then incorporated as necessary. These are difficult questions. Just because new technology comes along doesn’t mean it will replace a tradition. These are individual choices that you will all make based on your own set of core values. I hope to provide thought provoking ideas to help you with making some of those decisions.

If you love trivia and history, this is going to be both educational and entertaining for you. If you are looking to live the homestead life or already are, I’ll be sharing my day-to-day learning experiences and ideas to help you with working through the long list of tasks, problems and solutions that you will encounter. At the end of each podcast I’ll give an overview and description of a recipe that may become part of your tradition. There will be corresponding download link to the recipe in the show notes.

Updates on the Farm and Creamery

Now I want to better introduce myself, my husband and a little bit about our history of how we came to be farm homesteaders after professional careers in medicine and information technology.

Present

Let’s start with the present time. We have 62 acres in the Blue Ridge mountains. We are building a creamery to make artisan farmstead cheese. Our cheese is handmade using traditional methods. That requires cows. We also have sheep for meat, goats for fiber and donkeys for livestock protection.

We raise a traditional breed of cow. They are Normandes, bred and raised in the Normandy region of France. Normandes are a dual breed cow. That means they provide lots of milk but also make really, really good beef. I’m going to be talking much more about these cows as I talk about our cheese.

That’s our homestead in a nutshell. But how did we get here? Scott spent 20 years as a chiropractor before entering into the electronic medical records IT field. I was an IT professional for just about my entire career. So again, how did we get here?

I know you’re asking because you might want to get here someday as well. And why did we make that decision? I mean, isn’t having a successful career the be-all, end-all of life? Nope. It’s not. Or at least not for us. Our life experiences led us to a desire to get in touch with the land directly. It wasn’t enough to look at the mountains from afar. We needed to connect to the roots of our spirit. We wanted to go outside at night and gaze in awe at the Milky Way.

After years of dreaming, planning, and saving we are here. We watch the birth of animals and are continually amazed at creation. Sure, there is loss and sadness when an animal dies. It happens often in nature, but there is also life and joy.

Past

We began our dream back in 1999 in Western North Carolina. That’s 20 years ago as of this publication. We met, became friends, and started talking about our dream life. We spent hours reading and talking and pouring over articles and books by Joel Salatin. I think he is the gateway for a lot of people. We began to dream our dream out loud with each other and with our friends and family.

But like for most of you, I’m sure, life happens. It was a great dream, but we had to make money to live, right? It takes a lot to make a small farm profitable enough to support a family. So, the dreams were sidelined for a little while – but not forgotten. We kept talking about it. And we kept dreaming about it. We kept planning what we would do. And in 2003 we bought our first piece of land. In 2005 we married and moved onto that land. At this recording, that first purchase was 15 and a half years ago.

During 13 of those years we continued to work for others. We were making really good money. We were determined to make the journey debt-free. We persevered in pretty radical circumstances. Perhaps I’ll talk about that at some point also.

Buying additional land in 2008 set us back in our timeline to be full time homestead farmers, but in January 2016 we made our last payment on the land and in December 2016, we left working for someone else in the rearview mirrors.

We Made It

From 2003 to 2016 is 13 years. I know a lot of you plan to just sell the house in the city and move to the country and make a living off the land. And maybe you will. Maybe you’re one of those that risks it all and just dives in. You’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit strong and you go for it. Not for us. We took the longer road.

Our priority was to be able to enjoy the life.  We wanted to live without the threat of adverse weather or disease derailing our business plan. When the loan comes due, the bank wants its money. We didn’t want that hanging over our head every, lurking in the back of our minds every day.

The delay provided us the opportunity to learn how to become farmers and homesteaders as well as to develop the entrepreneurial spirit. Did you know that could be learned? Well, we are still learning. It doesn’t come naturally. But if you have the dream and you want to make it work, you need to learn how to make money on your homestead. It’s the slow, sure path for us. I want to give a shout out to Tim Young at Small Farm Nation. He is offering his vast experience in marketing as well as the needed technological tools to help you build a profitable farm. Link in the show notes.

Deciding to build the creamery also set us back in our time line goal to stop working for others. It is a great way to make the homestead profitable, but requires tremendous infrastructure and that means a lot of monetary investment. But like any dream you are committed to, you keep at it until it becomes your reality. All in all, as I mentioned, it was 13 years from first purchase to homestead living. And 17 years from conception of the idea. But we are here now. The last 2 years have been all that we imagined and more.

I can’t convey in words how peaceful and contented we are now that we are fulltime homesteading. It’s a lot of work, no doubt. And it is worth every drop of sweat, every sore muscle, every exhausted night of sleep. There are a lot of those days. And there are a lot of other days filled with awe and wonder at, not just looking at nature from afar or from your house on the side of the mountain, but days filled with awe and wonder at being IN that life.

That’s all I’m going to say about that for right now. Let me know if you have questions about how you might make that journey and what your plans are. I talked about our path but yours will be different. It’s unique for everyone.

Preview of Upcoming Topics

I’ll provide you with more information about our specific journey and the current homestead enterprises we manage in future podcasts. Updates on the status of the creamery will be front and center.

There will be lots of information on cheese – and specifically the history and tradition around this artisan craft. I’ll also include other historical traditions related to living the homestead life.

Some upcoming topics are:

  • how did cheese get started in the first place?
  • how a lot of the different cheeses were developed and where.
  • What were the life conditions present that led to the development of that particular cheese in that area?

Other topics I’ll touch on are:

  • How was food cooked and preserved in the past?
  • Today’s modern preservation – Food preservation is important.
  • How women cooked at the founding of our country. Let’s talk about hearth cooking.
  • Cooking with cheese on a wood stove. We have a wood stove that even has an oven.

These things bring appreciation for what we have today, do they not?

Podcast Recipe

With each episode I’ll offer a new recipe. Either making cheese, cooking with cheese, or making some other homestead recipe from scratch. The link for the recipe is in the show notes.

The recipe for today’s podcast is: how to make bone broth. We really need this winter to keep us warm.

Health Benefits

Let me first address some of the health benefits of bone broth. There are a lot of technical words out there like glycosaminoglycans, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. What I want to talk about is the bottom line without big words. Bottom line, it’s highly nutritious. Bone broth soup is rich in nutrients. One word I will throw in here is collagen. It’s the basic building block of connective tissue. Bone broth is a source of collagen building gelatin. Think joint health.

  • may protect the joints.
  • may help fight osteoarthritis.
  • may help reduce inflammation and heal the gut.
  • may aid sleep.
  • may support weight loss.

 

It has a whole lot of benefits. Additionally, it’s really tasty and is easy to make.

How Much Do I Drink?

How much should you drink in a day. You might drink 8 ounces a day. But some people drink much more – 16 to 32 ounces daily. Usually that is for a short period of time, perhaps to halt the progression of inflammation. Typically, 8 to 12 ounces is a maintenance kind of program that you might try first. Or you may drink it only occasionally and use it mostly in soups and stews.

Where Does One Get Bones and What Kind?

Where can you find the bone ingredients? Your local farmers markets are the best resource assuming there are meat producers selling at your market. If you don’t see it on their price boards, ask. They will have them.

What kind of bones should you use? I’ll be talking about lamb today, but any meat bones will do to make the recipe I am sharing today. Beef, chicken, lamb, and goat are examples. Go with whatever you like and what is available at the market.

Bone Broth

Now on to the recipe. This particular recipe has herbs added to it which is a little bit different than some other recipes I have used. I’m going to give you the instructions on how to make the broth, but some of the ingredients are not required. You can experiment with those. You can even leave them all out.

You may drink it daily or only occasionally. You may use it in soups and stews. If you are drinking it heated right out of a jar or freezer container, you may want all the spices. I use mine a lot in soups and stews. Consequently, I season my stew rather than seasoning the broth.

What You Need

Let’s look at the ingredients in this recipe. A pound of bones of your choice, a tablespoon of olive oil, a large chopped onion, three medium carrots cut into chunks, and three sticks of celery roughly chopped. Three cloves of minced garlic, 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, and five sprigs of fresh thyme. You could use dried as well. In that case, I’d go with ½ tsp of the rosemary and a tsp of thyme. You’ll also need water. Approximately 1 to 3 gallons. The amount will vary depending on the bones you use and the time you simmer the broth. Salt to taste is an optional ingredient.

Onion, garlic, carrots, and celery are a typical base for flavoring any soup or stew. Keep that in mind if you are just learning how to cook. There is so much about cooking that is not really complicated and is used over and over in various recipes.

There are two ways that you can prepare the bones. 1. Thaw them out and throw them into the pot or 2. you can roast them in the oven prior to putting them in the water. I’ll give those instructions and feel free to leave off that second step as needed.

What To Do

Place the bones in a roasting pan and bake them for 30 to 40 minutes until they are browned.

With either method, in a large stock pot add the oil and heat on medium. Next add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and rosemary and sauté them for about five minutes. Add the bones and scrape any fat and juices from the roasting pan (if you did the roasting method) and put that into the pot. Add a gallon of water or enough to cover the bones. Allow it to come to boil before reducing the heat to low. Simmer anywhere from 8 to 24 hours uncovered. The longer you simmer, the more nutrients are extracted from the bones. Add more water as the water level drops. The amount of water you use will depend on how long you choose to cook it and how many bones you have in the pot.

After the broth is cooked for your desired length of time, strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer. You can use a tea towel or an old T-shirt. You are looking for that clear liquid that can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Likely you will have more than you can use right away. It’s easy to freeze it. Or, if you’re skilled with pressure canning, that’s an excellent method of keeping a larger amount on hand.

So, there you have it. That’s the basics of making a very healthy bone broth. I hope you’ll give that a try. Again, the recipe link is in the show notes. You can print it right from my website.

I hope I’ve simplified it for you. Not only is it easy to make, but there’s a lot of variety and personal creativity you can incorporate as you gain confidence. Perhaps you will make a family tradition around bone broth. The entire family sitting around the fire in the living room on a cold winter evening, sharing what brought you peace on that day is a fine vision.

SUMMARY:

That’s it for this podcast. It really is all about the journey, the dream. Dream the dream. Talk the dream. Take baby steps everyday toward the dream. Our baby steps, over 15 years, brought us to where we are today. And don’t be afraid to try a new recipe or a new cooking method.

Next week I’m going to talk about how the fermented food called cheese came about.

If you’ve got a specific topic you’d like me to cover, please post on our Facebook page, @peacefulheartfarm.

As always, I’m here to help you “taste the traditional touch.”

Thank you so much for listening and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Recipe Link:

Bone Broth with Herbs

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  • Leave a comment on our Facebook Page
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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www.peacefulheartfarm.com

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Bone Broth

Bone Broth

Bone broth is made with bones that have bits of meat still clinging unlike “stock”. It is also generally thinner than “stock”. Most people use the terms interchangeably.  It has been made for centuries. Roasted bones will add flavor to the broth and will darken the color. Bone broth is now a popular health food. Try it?

I am pleased to bring you this recipe that includes fresh herbs for an added bit of flair.

Print Recipe
Bone Broth
Homemade lamb broth with herbs. Use it to reduce inflammation and add strength to joints. Make a larger batch by doubling, tripling or quadrupling the ingredients. Store the extra frozen or pressure can it for even longer shelf life. Use it as a nutritious hot beverage or add it to your soups and stews.
Bone Broth
Course Beverage
Keyword beef, chevon, lamb, recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lamb bones or other bone of our choice
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 medium carrots chunked
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary fresh
  • 5 sprigs thyme fresh
  • 3 gallons water more as needed
  • salt optional
Course Beverage
Keyword beef, chevon, lamb, recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lamb bones or other bone of our choice
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 medium carrots chunked
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary fresh
  • 5 sprigs thyme fresh
  • 3 gallons water more as needed
  • salt optional
Bone Broth
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place bones in roasting pan. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until browned.
  3. In a large stock pot placed over medium heat, add cooking oil.
  4. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and herbs. Saute for 5 minutes.
  5. Add bones including fat and juices from the roasting pan.
  6. Add enough water to cover the bones and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low.
  7. Simmer for 8 hours (or up to 24 hours) uncovered. Add more water as needed to keep the bones covered.
  8. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer lined with a tea towel.
  9. Enjoy hot or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Recipe Notes

If you made a larger amount, freeze the remaining broth in container sizes that fit your everyday needs or pressure can for longer term storage.

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Podcast Reboot

Podcast Reboot

Podcast Reboot

podcast reboot Hello everybody. Melanie Hall here. Hope you are doing well. Are you ready for the podcast to get going again? I sure am. One change you’ll notice is that going forward I’ve rebranded the podcast. The name changed from Village Wisdom Podcast to Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

If you’re a subscriber, you don’t need to do anything . . . I’ve updated all the links so you’ll still get the podcast automatically in iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music or wherever you listen. But you will now find the podcast episodes and show notes on the Peaceful Heart Farm website.

Next, I’d like to tell you why I rebranded and what to expect going forward in the Peaceful Heart FarmCast.

You can expect traditional lifestyle education, entertaining anecdotes about history and traditional methods of cooking – and most importantly, Cheese, Cheese and more Cheese.

As my long-time followers know, I have quite a few passions. I’ve covered a lot of ground on the Village Wisdom Podcast. And Of course, I’m still passionate about philosophy, education, personal responsibility, living a graceful and productive life. It’s what I’ve been podcasting and writing about via the Village Wisdom Podcast for quite a few years.

However, I’m also passionate about the homestead lifestyle and making cheese that reflects our local terroir. Hand-made Artisan cheese created using traditional methods and techniques.

How Did I Get Here?

At Peaceful Heart Farm, we’ve gone through several iterations on what our central business enterprise would be. First, we were going to raise vegetables, then chickens, then sheep, we raised a lots of sheep — and then the Normande cows came on the scene.

We got them because I wanted to make cheese for our family. I wanted raw milk and I wanted to make real butter that I knew came from pasture grass only. The Normande is a dual breed cow that provides both milk and meat. I immediately fell in love with their beautiful coats and gentle nature, and that is what sparked my interest in making cheese for more than just our family.

A fire lighted in me to make cheese for my local community. I want to share my love for the cows and the cheese with the world.

Pieces of the puzzle clicked into place and we knew that a farmstead creamery is what we wanted to build on the homestead. It’s a huge time and financial investment. We ended up working for others for several years longer than originally planned in order to make this dream a reality. Even today, we continue to put one foot in front of the other, making slow progress by some business standards. We are full time on the homestead now and living the way we do makes it all worthwhile.

And while this lifestyle has all kinds of upsides, the business end of small-scale artisan cheesemaking is challenging. The business end takes time. It takes a lot of time.

As farmers we don’t have employees, managers, investors or a board of directors. There is no marketing department. We have to do it all. And there are only so many hours in the day.

When we started, there was a lot to learn. We were on information overload learning how to grow our own food in this region, animal husbandry, breeding, pasture management, meat processing, and now, cheesemaking and building the creamery – and the list goes on and on. The tasks go on and on. As do the chores. And like most small-farm owners, our marketing efforts have been just about non-existent.

We Will Make our Small Farm Work

As I said, I’m passionate about making cheese and providing Artisan cheese to the local community. I’m passionate about the traditional methods. Hand-made in small batches.

So, I’ve been really busy over the past few months; making and testing various cheeses, developing our unique cheeses. I’ve been developing the farm website. I’ve been preparing to join the Farmer’s Market community, getting marketing materials together. And on and on. It’s never-ending.

Busy, busy, busy. No time for focus on anything outside of the homestead and making Peaceful Heart Farm and Creamery a viable small business. And I love it.

You may recall the number of times I mentioned the farm in the Village Wisdom Podcast. The homestead is my greatest passion project and it needed my full attention.

But this is more than just our farm and homestead. It’s a place to produce fabulous, nutritious, traditional food. It’s a place to offer our knowledge to others via classes and workshops. Did I mention the commercial kitchen that is part of the building project?

Oh yeah, not only making the cheese for you, but showing you how to make the cheese, and how to cook with cheese. Or heck, just showing you how to cook whatever you want with your own two hands.

Now it’s time for me to relaunch my podcast. You’ll hear from me weekly. The content will be focused on giving you the best information I have on cheese; various types of cheese, cheese around the world, how cheese is made, the history of cheese and cheesemaking, cooking with cheese – and as a bonus, I’ll be offering additional wisdom on traditional cooking methods, cooking from scratch, and preserving your own food to use in your recipes – especially those cheese recipes.

Here’s to helping you “taste the traditional touch.”

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a comment on our Facebook Page
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

To help the show:

Thank you so much for listening and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

Garam Masala Spice Mix

Garam Masala Spice Mix

This is a quick Garam Masala (Indian spice) mix, Garam Masala is better when made with whole spices that have been roasted and ground, but this is a quick and easy substitute that’s pretty good.

Print Recipe
Garam Masala - Easy Version
Garam Masala - Easy Version
Keyword lamb
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper ground
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg ground
Keyword lamb
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper ground
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg ground
Garam Masala - Easy Version
Instructions
  1. Mix cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a bowl. Place mix in airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.
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Gourmet Chevon Burgers (Goat Burgers)

Gourmet Chevon Burgers (Goat Burgers)

Gourmet Chevon Burgers (goat burgers)

Try gourmet chevon burgers instead of hamburgers. Goat is the widely consumed meat in the world. Our goat grazes in the pasture for its entire life. It makes succulent chevon patties. It’s a great addition to a paleo or keto diet plan.

The meat is processed at a local USDA inspected facility. It is ground and frozen in vacuum sealed bags.

Click HERE to purchase our grassfed chevon burger!!

 

Print Recipe
Gourmet Chevon Burgers
Made with ground goat, it's a great alternative to the same old hamburger. Goat, or chevon as it is widely known, is a staple red meat for much of the world outside the US.
Gourmet Chevon Burgers
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword chevon
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound goat burger grassfed is preferable
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves dried
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves dried
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro dried
  • 1 teaspoon cumin ground
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter divided
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword chevon
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound goat burger grassfed is preferable
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves dried
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves dried
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro dried
  • 1 teaspoon cumin ground
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter divided
Gourmet Chevon Burgers
Instructions
  1. Place the goat-burger in a mixing bowl, add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and cumin. Mix well.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium to high heat. Add the onion, lower the heat, and sauté for about 2 minutes until nicely browned and caramelized. 
  3. Add onions to burger mixture. Mix well. Shape into 4 patties.  In a cast iron skillet heat the remaining olive oil or butter over medium-to-high heat.
  4. Cook the patties in oil or butter until medium to medium-well, about 8 - 10 minutes on each side. 
Recipe Notes

NOTE 1: Don't skimp. Grassfed chevon burger is very lean and needs the fat to help retain moisture and to prevent sticking.

NOTE 2: As an alternative, you can use your gas grill.

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