i want a milking cow for christmas

i'm becoming more high maintenance in certain aspects of my day and of my life thanks to the farming nonsense i'm waist deep in. that would seem rather contrary to what you would think...no? but it isn't how my hair is coiffed. or my pedicured toes. my hair is one big rat's nest that i'll refer to as a dread here as that somehow sounds less awful. my toes....they are knarled and dirty and have the faintest hint of pink on them from the summer. they are farm feet. hooves as nick calls them.

no, my maintenance issues come to what i eat. because what i eat is what i spend every waking hour thinking about. because i am constantly hungry and have the appetite of 20 lumberjacks at the end of the workaday. when we first started life on farm i immediately threw myself to the snobbery of strictly and only fresh farm veggies. no grocery store veggies.  then it was eggs. and nick and i quickly determined we could never live without at least a modest backyard flock o' hens. a little farm garden in the summer and 5-10 birds-a-laying isn't too ostentatious. that could still allow for a well socialized life...maybe even one close to town.

but then the diary cow came into my life. just 3 short weeks ago. and she has for ever changed my requirements. i cannot imagine how nick or i will survive the winter without these beasts. the amount of dairy that now makes up my life would probably be sickening to anyone who does not live on our farm. suffice to say it is not rare that a 1/2 gal of milk, a quart of yogurt, a quart of ricotta,  a tub of butter, and then another 1/2 gal of milk will be destroyed in just one sitting here.

so we are looking into the purchase of one jersey lady cow for ourselves. just now in the docile criagslist-creeping phase. not the calling to farms. not quite yet.

so for now. for those of you who do or do not have a cow. here is a simple strained yogurt recipe. it takes about 8 hours start to finish but most of that is you do nothing and the cultures doing everything.

you'll need a thermometer, a yogurt starter (any whole milk yogurt with 'live and active' cultures), milk, cheesecloth and a colander.

1. heat milk (skimmed or whole) on a double broiler to 185F.
2. when milk reaches temp remove from heat and let cool to 115F.
3. when milk reaches 115F put in 2 T yogurt for every quart of milk you have. do not stir.

** a note about the yogurt culture you use: you will not need to buy a new tub of yogurt from the store every time you want to make yogurt. that would be ludicrous. you can use your new yogurt as your culture for subsequent yogurt makings. the culture that you make starts to wear off after the 10th iteration or so. i don't know why this is.**

4.  with milk and yogurt together now place vessel in a bigger vessel with the hottest tap water you can find. this is harder to explain than i thought. basically we use a cooler. fill it with hot water to wear the milk/yogurt vessel can sit comfortably in it but not be submerged (you don't want water getting in the incubating yogurt). and then we put a lid on the cooler to keep it nice and toasty in there. scale way down on this and use whatever smaller insulated vessel you have.
5. let milk and yogurt culture incubate for 6 hours.
6. pour resulting yogurt and whey through a cheesecloth and colander. let strain for about an hour.
7. refrigerate and congratulate yourself for making yogurt.

i really advise getting this process started in the early am so you aren't up all night. let it start incubating and then get on with your day for those 6 hours the yogurt just sits there.

**the a-d-orable recipe cards are from please note paper shop. 


  1. your appetite is yet another thing i adore about you and your farm diary here. i just read on jen lemen's blog, "moral superiority around eating is one of life's under-reported pleasures."
    i've been quiet but this place is my favourite as blogs go. i worked at an organic farm in western NY this summer and i my happiness grew as i logged more hours in the soil, with the seedlings, harvesting rainbow produce... thank you for all that you share, kate.

  2. Oh how I love your photos and posts. You made my day! :)

  3. kate! do you ever flavor it by chance? wondering what part of the process you would throw, say, vanilla bean, in?

  4. @the cupcaketologist you can add flavor either during it's incubation period or at the end after you've strained it. my favorite is adding maple syrup or honey. but my sugar whims/needs change day-to-day so I keep the yogurt plain and add flavor when needed.

    @pleasenote your package made my day!

    @lizzy i love that quote. thank you!


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