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Adirondack Mud

I went for a day hike through the Adirondacks on Saturday covering Dial, Nippletop, Colvin, Blake, Haystack, and Sawteeth mountains. It is 3 days later, and my toenails are still stained black with Adirondack mud despite repeated daily scrubbing:

Gray Treefrog

There is an animal that makes a lot of sound outside our house. I was able to narrow his location down the the bush he was in, and I recorded his sounds. I compared it to all the frog and toad sounds on this site and I think that it's a gray treefrog. Here's a recording of our frog:


He started competing with himself when I played his recording back to him. Anyway, hopefully one day I'll be able to spot the little guy. Apparently he's only an inch or two long.

Making Feta and Blue Cheese

We made cheese this weekend using 6 gallons of unpasteurized milk.

We used 2 gallons of goats milk to make homemade feta cheese:

We used the other 4 gallons of cows milk to make two wheels of homemade blue cheese. Here is a picture of the larger one. We added some of the mold from some supermarket roquefort cheese. The wheel is the size of a birthday cake:

Both of these cheeses will need to age for a while before we can try them out.

5/19 Update

After just 5 days, mold has started growing on the surface. Not just any mold. BLUE mold from FRANCE.

6/23 Update

The basement is about 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the recommended temperature for ageing blue cheese. Over the last several weeks, the cheese has slowly turned to ooze and developed a questionable odor. Finally, it degraded into *really* nasty brown ooze and so I flushed it down the garbage disposal. Luckily the much larger hunk of blue cheese should be ageing in a friend's appropriately-chilled refrigerator.

Pegasus Sighting

There was a Pegasus in Troy, NY today and I had my picture taken with it.


I found a pair of morel mushrooms on some railroad tracks in Schaghticoke, NY this morning. Morels are a rare gourmet delicacy, and are the ultimate discovery for a mushroom hunter. I have only seen them twice in my life before today.

Check out "The Great Morel" site for a map of morel sightings for this year, and for lots of interesting information about morels.

Fished Electric Lake

I fished in Schaghticoke. I caught a bunch of medium-sized large mouth bass, some sunfish, a crappie, and a perch. Unfortunately, bass season is currently catch-and-release only, and the rest of the fish were pretty small, so I didn't bring home dinner.

Making Cheddar-ish Cheese

I made cheese today. I used a gallon of unpasteurized milk that I purchased from Willow Marsh Farm in Ballston Spa, NY to make cheddar cheese.

I used the recipe for "Cheese, basic hard, 1 gallon" from Fankhauser's
Cheese Page
. There is a ton of great information on his site, and his recipes don't require buying unnecessarily unusual ingredients. The first major step is to separate the curds and whey using rennet. This was the first time I was able to get a "clean break" between the curds and whey in a normal amount of time (one hour). I think that I benefited by following the rennetting instructions on this web page. Here is a picture of the curds cooking:

I've been struggling a little bit to put together a perfect cheese press (here is a picture of a previous less-than-perfect attempt). This time I used plastic container with holes drilled in it. Ratcheting straps provide more force than I would ever need, and the whole contraption is very stable:

After pressing, the cheese looks like this:

Now the cheese will need to dry out, and then age for 6 months or so in the basement.

Making Gjetost

I used the recipe from the book, "Home Cheese Making" to make the gjetost. I think that technically gjetost means "goat cheese", and I used cow's milk, so the real name for this is mysost (or mesost) which means "whey cheese" or brunost (brown cheese). Technically it's not cheese because it is not made from curds, so as I understand it, all of these names are wrong, so I just use my favorite name, gjetost. The recipe in this book is excellent. I used the leftover whey from making cheddar earlier in the day. It's largely a matter of boiling the whey down into a thick fudge-like consistency:

Here is the mysost in the final stages:

Here is the final product:

I translated some Scandinavian web pages discussing mesost because there are not many pages to be found in English, and most everything I came across sounded really unusual. Apparently it goes well with asparagus schnapps and raw herring:

"Whey cheese, sour herring and so a small SIP asparagus liquor, it was good!"

I also found a a recipe for Mesost and Reindeer.

Shish Kebabs

We just bought a house, and the stovetop has interchangeable "cartridges" including a grill cartridge. Last night, we tried the griller for the first time and made some shish kebabs:

The Cheese Nun

Highly recommended DVD - the Cheese Nun. Here is the description on the back of the video:

"The Cheese Nun profiles the adventures of Sister Noella Marcellino - a champion for artisanal cheesemaking. The Benedictine nun travels through the French countryside looking for the secrets of cheese, teaches American gospel music to farmers, is inducted into an ancient order of cheesemakers and puts her microscope to work to help aspiring American cheesemakers."

Available at the Clifton Park library.