Farmer’s Cheese

Learning how to use excess milk is one of the most rewarding aspects of owning dairy animals. This farmer’s cheese recipe is one of our favorite ways to use our goat milk. What’s great about this cheese is that it is quick and easy, and also versatile. You can add different herbs, spices and seasonings to keep things interesting or leave it plain! This cheese doesn’t use any culture, nor do you need a fancy cheese press to make this cheese.

This is a simple cheese using fresh goat milk.

Things you will need:

  • large kettle
  • cheese cloth or flour sack towel
  • large metal spoon
  • weights or cheese press
  • 1 gallon Fresh Raw Goat Milk ((cow milk works too!))
  • 1 cup Vinegar (We usually use distilled white vinegar but you can use apple cider vinegar if you prefer)
  • 1.5-2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  1. Pour the gallon of raw milk into large kettle and heat to 170- 180 F .
    • Milk will start to steam. You do not want the milk to boil! Remove from heat.
  2. Add the vinegar all at once and give it a stir.
  3. Allow the vinegar and milk to set for 15 minutes. This allows plenty of time for the milk to fully separate. If you are in a hurry, 10 minutes will suffice.
  4. While the milk is separating, prepare a cheesecloth or thin towel in a colander, for straining the whey off of the curds. I like to do this over a large bowel or pitcher. There are many uses for the whey as well.
  5. Pour the curds and whey into the cloth in the colander. You will want to find a way to hang it up in order for the whey to drain off. I often let it drip for a couple hours, but you can save some time by twisting the cloth and gently squeezing the whey out of the curd.
  6. Now that the curds have finished draining, you can dump them from the cheesecloth into a large bowl. You will want to break up the curds a little with a large spoon, or with your hands. Add the salt and desired seasonings. Mix well
  7. Prepare your mold, or a bowl using the same cheesecloth to line it. Gently press the curds into it, and then fold the cloth over once and place the follower or a small dish on top. Proceed to press the cheese using your cheese press, or a few weights on top of the dish you are using in place of a follower. Pictured is the simple press my husband made. The plastic mold and follower I am using can easily be purchased on amazon.
  8. You can press the cheese for as little as a couple hours, or as long as all day. I like it to be quite firm, so I often press it for several hours. Once I even forgot it on the counter overnight and it was just fine.
  9. Remove from mold, refrigerate, and enjoy! We like to slice it once it is chilled and fry it in a little bit of oil. Yummy! Since it is an acid cheese it is not a melty cheese and fries up into a delectable and tasty snack.

This recipe is the written process of how I go about making famer’s cheese. As you make it yourself, especially if you do it several times, you will figure out what works best for you, in your kitchen.

Experiment with seasonings and flavors and find what works for you. This cheese can be eaten with crackers, plain, in a sandwich. Our favorite way to enjoy it is fried as a treat!

Blue Heeler Puppies

Several years ago we had a red heeler named Rusty that we intended to cross with Daisy, our favorite dog ever, to raise some puppies. Unfortunately,  we had to move Rusty to a new home because he became aggressive with the goats. His new owner told us that he could get as aggressive as he wanted with the cattle. 🙂 But raising some farm puppies was an idea we couldn’t get rid of, and we decided to give it another try. That’s why, a year ago, we purchased a Australian Cattle Dog (blue heeler) pup named Pepper to pair with Daisy.

The day after Christmas, 2022, Daisy’s pups were born. She gave us five little black and white balls of fur. Imagine our surprise to find they were all girls! According to my understanding of probabilities, the chance of five girl puppies out of a litter of five is just over 3%, or 1 in 32.

The children quickly began playing with the puppies. Of course the first thing a puppy needs is a name, and our creative children soon supplied them. We have Tadpole, Bundle-bun, Paws (or pause, because it’s a pun, this being the pup with three dots on her back), Poppy, and Bentley (so named because she ALMOST doesn’t have the traditional Bentley mark on top of her head. If you look closely it is just barely there). When it comes to naming puppies, we parents just try to stay out of the way.

Each of the pups has their own personality that is beginning to show: Tadpole is a bit more quiet, but up for an adventure and can stick up for herself. She has more black patches on her than the rest. Bundle-bun is all out, and isn’t afraid of anything. Paws is very quiet and shy, like her mom. Poppy is a nice mix of fun and frolic, but is not always after attention. She and Paws have some of the prettiest, most symmetrical facial marks of the batch. Bentley has a mostly black head and hangs back. If she were one of the seven dwarfs her name would be Grumpy.

We’d love to see these pups find good homes, but if you’ve never had a Heeler you should do some research to see if they will be right for you. They are typically high-energy dogs who need things to do and want to be with their people. Once they latch onto you, they will stick as close to you as you allow them to. They’re fierce, fun, frolicsome, friendly, foolish, and sometimes fearsome. If you have other animals they will be interested. And their natural instinct is to “heel” herd animals. Both Pepper and Daisy have been completely safe around our goats, but we have had a few chickens die under suspicious circumstances. Their murders are unsolved and currently in our cold case file.

Wrapping up, we’ve been having lots of fun with the little pups, but soon it’s going to be time for them to move on to their forever home. If you have any interest in a well socialized puppy from our farm, feel free to contact us! We’ll be happy to send you specific photos of any of the pups. The best way to get to us is a direct message on FB.  Click here to contact us via our Facebook page.

Check out the video above of the fun that goes on at our house! I’ll sign off with a few more photos of these cuties at 4 weeks old.

Goat Birth on the Farm

  What a great way to launch into the Christmas season, by welcoming new kids to the farm! Plum Bush B Eliza Jane, (Lizzie) gave us triplets on the evening of November 30. I mistakenly assumed that Lizzie was only carrying twins, so we were pleasantly surprised to realize that she was delivering a third kid.   Unfortunately, kid 3 was presenting with his chin tucked. Both front feet presented as expected, but the cute little nose, which should have been coming along with them, was alarmingly absent. Lizzie was not making much progress so I had to examine what was going on in the birth canaI and became a bit nervous when upon feeling for a nose, I instead felt the hard top of a head, and then eye sockets!

Instead of trying to pull the kid, I knew it was best to try to gently push him back, and pull his chin up if possible. I did manage to manipulate him a bit, but as I was doing so Lizzie pushed again, and birthed the kid ears first. I have never had this happen before, but thankfully everything was fine! It was a stressful birth for the kid and there was quite a bit of meconium present in the sac, but all is well and we have 3 healthy kids on the ground!

This late November birth is the start of our fourth kidding season here on Plum Bush Farm. I am thankful that we have encountered very few kidding issues up to this point with our Nigerian Dwarf Does. I do believe Lizzie could have delivered this kid on her own eventually, but it is always best to be present when your does are giving birth if possible. The kid was obviously already stressed, as was the momma goat, so anything I could do to help her out was essential to a good outcome. There is nothing like real life experience to learn from , but here are a few things that are helpful to know as you go into the kidding season!

Tips for helping your doe have a successful birth:

  •  Have some essentials on hand… old towels or rags are good for helping get the kids dry, especially if it is cold out. Some suggest having a kid puller ( I’ve heard the the Kellie’s kid puller is a very good one). Other things that are recommended to have are nitrile gloves and a lubricant in case you have to reposition kids, iodine dip for dipping cords, and a hair dryer to dry kids quickly in more extreme cold.
  • 99% of the time my does do not need assistance at all but I make sure the kid’s airways are clear of mucous and the momma is cleaning them.
  • Take note of how long the doe has been actively pushing. A good rule of thumb is that she should deliver within 30 minutes of her first active pushes. If it goes beyond that time, it is likely she will need a little assistance.
  •  Try to stay calm if you realize something is going wrong, or that you are going to have to assist your doe. I think this is especially hard for us beginners. I was on the verge of tears, when I realized the kid I talked about earlier was malpositioned.
  • Have a helper during kidding season even if it’s just someone you know you can call on at a moments notice. My husband was here, and that helped me think a little more clearly and be more confident.
  • Have a backup plan if you don’t know what to do. Mine is to call my vet, but if that is not an option, I would call the breeder I have purchased goats from previously, or friend or neighbor who has experience with goats or at least some kind of livestock. I am also part of a facebook group that is usually able to offer advice almost instantly.