It’s been a cold, damp, drizzly day;
the temperature has certainly dropped a couple of degrees & mist wreathed along the valley at dawn, its irrigulous tendrils chilling everything they touched. As ever I was up early in anticipation of yet another busy day, whilst Tony had his customary lie-in. I caught up on some emails; the chores were duly completed, & we ploughed on with Morganna’s mastitis treatment. However, I really wasn’t happy as there seems to be no change to the condition; whilst it was no worse there seemed to be no improvement, either.
We had another private lesson with Nanuk today & were filled with even more dread, when Jean appeared with neither a Halti nor a check chain, but with the slip lead. However to our delight & amazement, Nanuk swiftly settled to work & we even managed to achieve the ‘square dance’ exercise – (getting the dog to sit & stay whilst the handler moves either forward, back or to the side after which she is encouraged to follow then sit, stay etc again) – so it was a really positive lesson; she is coming on very well indeed.
This afternoon Tony had a routine medical appointment in town so I sent him to the veterinary surgery en route, instructing him to get a fresh supply of the Leo mastits tubes & to consult the vet as to whether there is anything else we can do. I’m very concerned as not only is Morganna one of our finest goats, she is also an amusing character as well (apart from aiming the odd cheeky nip if she thinks you’re not looking & so can get away with it!).
Whilst Tony was out I worked on the Caws Carn Ingli cheeses I’ve been experimenting with, over the last few days. To be honest I doubt they’ll be up to much as I didn’t really plan their timings carefully enough having not had the opportunity to work on them yesterday (I was simply too tired once we’d finished yesterday evening, it being around 11pm by the time we’d finished the yard chores). Thus they have been in the draining phase a little too long; especially as they do have a pre-draining phase as well. So I suspect they’ll be rather dry, after all.
Anyway I carefully & gently removed them from their forms; & they didn’t appear to be too bad. The bit I love to hate, came next – salting – getting into cuts, nooks & crannies aside, I sometimes seem to get the salage just right yet at other times it’s hopeless despite my best attempts to follow the instructions regarding percentage salt to the weight of each cheese. For example one day I will make an awesome batch of chevre; the next, following exactly the same procedure the cheese will turn out revoltingly salty & dry – so I think I must keep a closer record of humidity at time of salting, brand of salt used etc in an attempt to rectify the problem. I understand that, ironically, with a brine bath more can often be less; I’ve brined cheeses before using weight estimation rather than a hygrometer & have subequently not added sufficient salt, concerned that I appreared to be adding far too much. Subsequently, the salt that was in the bath was more readily absorbed right through the porous cheese & made it unacceptably salty, rather than creating almost a protective ‘jacket’ around it. Therefore today, with a recipe requiring dry salting, I was fairly cautious, dipping each surface of the cheese into the salt & just hoping I’ve got it right this time. If anyone has any tips on effective dry salting, I’d be very grateful!
Tony came home with the news that there hadn’t been a vet available at the surgery to speak with, as they were all out on call; but that someone would contact us in due course to discuss Morganna’s treatment. He went out to chop some more firewood whilst I undertook further study on artisan ice cream production, followed by the evening chores, after which I cooked the supper & he relaxed in front of the TV.
I made my customary telephone call to Dad, to determine how Mum’s feeling labouring under the misconception she was still in hospital; to my delight however I was able to speak to her as she has been released from hospital at last. She has been in for almost a fortnight now, undergoing tests to determine what has caused her blindness & whether there is anything which can be done to alleviate the condition. Whilst necessary, she found her stay in hospital frustrating, getting little sleep & having nothing else to do than chat as of course she could neither read, nor watch TV. Whilst there are still more tests to be done (those carried out so far, have proved inconclusive) it was decided that nothing more could really be achieved by keeping her in hospital so she was sent home & will be called in again, as & when she is required for further examination of her case. However to her delight, with the aid of some special lenses & a brightly-lit mirror she was able to see herself again before she left today: a very emotional moment for her especially as she’d been told she would never see at all, again. So we can only hope that something can be done to provide her with lenses which will at least improve her quality of life with any moderate improvement of vision – after all, anything would be better than the darkness she endures now.
Which reminds me of the dark pall of gloom hanging over me, today; in exactly one month’s time I will have reached the big ‘four-oh’…..dear me!