Solitary Confinement

What a strange day. 

Tony was scheduled for standby at 6am, & so was up with his typical CRASH-BANG-WALLOP at around 0130.  I too got up, my sleep completely disturbed so I did a little work on the computer whilst he had a bath; after which he recommenced his work on the Process Room plans, which he was anxious to discuss before he departed.  I queried the incorporation in his design for a cold room with a door at either end; pointing out we’ve already purchased a cold room & whilst it would be lovely to have another one, I did not feel it was an expense we could justify.  For similar reasons we cannot as yet (I feel) justify the expense of a freezer room; we can make do with chest freezers, for the time being.  Whilst he didn’t agree, Tony could see my point of view; but it did cause a bit of a frosty atmosphere between us; which is regrettable when there is no time to discuss such things & clear the air properly.

The weather was absolutely horrible for much of the time with strong winds & driving rain; so I decided the best course of action would be to stay snug in the house with the woodburner stoked up, & work on some cheese & ice cream recipes. I checked up on the batch of Caws Carn Ingli you might recall I’d made a few weeks ago; whilst they’d been quite robust only a week or so ago, they are now completely hard & inedible, much to my disappointment; in fact being positively light in the body which shows just how much they have dried out, although technically they should still be maturing & flavoursome.  On this occasion I did seem to have got the salage about right, judging by previous tastings of the cheese; so I’ll have to try a different tactic when draining them, perhaps a shorter time at the pre-drainage stage? 

Meanwhile I also tried out at a Spiced Figgie Pudding ice cream; now it’s December there’s no harm galvanising my spirits into the festive mood, I suppose!  Despite the suggestiveness of the name however, this recipe does not contain specific plum pudding but is made using softened dried figs, cinnamon, nutmeg & the slightest hint of brandy.  It produces an opulently-flavoured ice cream which feels more virtuous than the Christmas Pudding variety – as it has a lovely, rich fruity flavour – but none of the extra fat! See my Ice Cream Recipes page, for more details if you want to have a go at it yourself.

So, what a quiet day: home alone, with no chance to kiss & make up with my nearest & dearest – a real case, for me at least, of solitary confinement. 


About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Cheese, Dairy, December 2007, Diary, Food, Ice Cream, Life, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Solitary Confinement

  1. smallholder says:

    I think Tony and my husband Ian are twins separated at birth!

  2. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    To be honest I suspect that goes for the entire male gender!! In my experience getting them to talk is like pulling teeth. In fact on this particular occasion I didn’t fully get to the heart of the what the matter specifically was with him, until the following evening; he says he was hurt because I always criticize his plans.

    As I reminded him, I have frequently expressed my genuine gratitude for the effort he’s put in to designing the Process Rooms; however I don’t think I should be afraid to speak out against spending money unneccesarily – especially when we’re on a shoestring budget! Also he refers to me as I have the appropriate Food Safety qualifications – & having a walk-in fridge which opens from either end, seems to me a recipe for disaster.

    Regarding His Lordship’s moods, I generally find they ocur because he simply will not talk to me, if he has a problem; perferring to simmer in a negative mood rather than openly confront what’s bugging him (I swear if sulking was an Olympic sport he’d win the gold!).

    It’s such a shame as at this stressful stage of the project it would surely be so much better to keep things moving forward with creative discussion rather than silent, negative tension – or is that too much to hope for…? Men, eh?!!

  3. Aebleskiver says:

    Are you aware, Jo, that your blog is listed on the Internet as a cheesemaker’s blog, and is available for the public to read? Anyone could be reading it, anywhere. I’m not sure what you’re thinking, but I can’t think of any way to muck up a relationship quicker than complain about a spouse online. In public. To the world.

    It would make me moody, if I were Tony.

    At any rate, it makes for very dull reading. How about more about making cheese?

  4. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Fair comment –

    my Blog IS about making cheese; but it’s also more generally about life here as struggling Welsh smallholders, & the ups & downs of starting a new & challenging business.

    Whilst Tony & I both have our bad moods & frustrations (which are inevitably related to the pressures of our business start-up) we dearly love one another & are genuine soul mates; he is a wonderful man & I count myself blessed to be married to him.

    Inevitably the trials & tribulations of starting what for us is such a radical new venture, do influence how we react to one another. However exciting the venture is – & we are VERY excited about it – I’d be lying if I pretended that everything was sweetness & light all the time; that’s life after all! And from feedback I’ve received other budding rural entrepreneurs are appreciative of our honesty in recording the downs as well as the ups, of what we’re doing.

    As I’m sure you can appreciate my current cheesemaking activities are presently limited in scope to my tiny farmhouse kitchen & a temperamental 20-litre vat; & I do not always have the opportunity to make cheese every day. It’s also quite different crafting cheese using a professional, triple-jacketed 500 litre vat in a fully controlled environment & with a lab for titration etc & optimum conditions for maturation, than on the humble kitchen stove; I suppose I feel embarrassed that much of my experimentation does not seem not worthy of report as yet.

    Rest assured that as soon as our Dairy Complex is up & running (which won’t be long now – preparation of the site begins in earnest tomorrow!) there will be a great deal more serious cheesemaking activity which I will faithfully record, warts & all!

    But meanwhile the Blog is written for lots of people from many walks of life – family, friends, smallholders, aspiring artisan producers – not only cheesemakers. I have a wide audience to keep happy & so need to write on a broader range of topics than exclusively cheese. However I do take your point; so promise to include much more cheesy stuff for you, from now on – & to stop moaning about poor old Tony, who is a really lovely man & the best thing that’s ever happened to me!

  5. Aebleskiver says:

    My point, of course, was that cavetching about a spouse in public is incredibly corrosive to that relationship. Personally, I would love to hear about your trials and tribulations—the struggle getting a plant together that will meet regulations without costing more than you could ever recover financially, for instance, or coping with the massive task of managing a dairy herd and running a cheese operation. But problems in your marriage—not so much. Maybe that stuff is best shared with friends and family in a private blog?

    But that you care so much about your readers brings me to another point that’s been on my mind, if I may bring it up. You don’t seem to have the passion for cheesemaking that is a minimal requirement for this risky job. But your passion for and skill in crafting the written word is stunning. Have you ever considered just writing about cheese, and leave the struggle to produce to others? It may be where your heart really lies…

  6. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Many thanks for the compliment regarding my writing, I’m genuinely flattered….!

    However, I must object that you are grossly mistaken in your assumption that I lack feeling for my art: my passion for cheesemaking runs profoundly deep which is why, at present, having only a hammer with which to crack the proverbial nut, I’ve kept thoughtfully quiet – no point in blasting a non-existent trumpet after all.

    The cheeses I have made thus far, to my delight are by & large proving to be tantalisingly delicious; a feat I could not achieve of course without the wonderful milk from our hardworking ladies. Thus it would be immodest of me to fanfare what potentially could be a great product without carefully trialling it first – using the vat, equipment & indeed highly expensive & technically advanced environment with & in which, we are working so hard to ensure it will be so carefully crafted.

    But ultimately, for reasons of sheer survival of what after all is still only an embryonic business, I am sure you can appreciate my sentiments when I further explain that whilst at present I do share my thoughts, feelings, hopes & concerns surrounding prototype cheeses as much as possible with my readers, I am necessarily uwilling to divulge detailed methodology. This is because as I am sure you can appreciate, our product is not as yet gracing the nation’s cheeseboard. Until it is, I would be foolish to give out full details of all my recipes ad-lib; otherwise any rivals more fiscally endowed & with more corporate muscle than us, could potentially steal my intensive labour of love – for that it indeed is – & literally, pull our passion’s rug right out from under our feet: no thank you!

    So please don’t feel disenchanted by LittleFfarm Dairy’s struggle for survival; nor indeed criticise the ability or passion of one whom you have never met, nor whose cheese you have never actually tasted!

    But I do hope you will be able to enjoy it, in due course; you are naturally welcome to visit & sample our wonderful cheese once the business in is full flow. Then perhaps you will resonate with our curds-&-whey commitment, as we do; after all, we would not have gone through such extensive research & trouble, nor spent literally hundreds of thousands of £’s on the very best state-of-the-art training, building & goat breeding to achieve our artisan cheesemaking goal, if we did not truly believe in what we truly love. So please do not depress me by suggesting we should simply pack it all in, before we’ve even had a chance to begin – just because I was unable to start this Blog from Day One of our venture, does not mean I feel any less enthusiasm for it!

    Incidentally, should you still not feel convinced, I suggest you speak to those by whom I was privileged to be educated in the art of cheesemaking: they are acknowledged world experts, & I’m confident would assure you of my commitment, dedication, passion – & I hope, developing skill in this wonderful & extremely delicate, artistic science.

    And as for our marriage? Well; the trials & tribulations of setting up the business, whilst continually testing us with stresses & strains, helps us to grow ever stronger; & is part & parcel of what & who we are. Ours is a partnership in so many senses of the word – & all of it makes up this rich tapestry of our lives together here on our Little Ffarm – & we wouldn’t even swap it for all the fromage in France. ;0)

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