queso joelo from start to finish

We have been working on perfecting a recipe, "Queso Joelo". It is very hard to find good recipes because no one wants to give them away which I understand completely. This makes it hard for beginners like us since we are blindly making cheese and "hoping" it will turn out. Anyhoo, Joel came up with a great queso fresco recipe and we made it this week. Here are the highlights:

*Bring milk up to temperature 86 degrees and let sit for 2 hours.

*Add rennet and stir till curdling starts.

*It's ready when curds pull together. 1 hour.

*Drain curds and whey

*Add salt and mix well.

*Add any additional mix-in's. Cilantro & Jalapeno

*Put into molds and let drain for 4-8 hours.

*The longer it drains the more moisture released.
This sat for 6 hours.

*And yes, we fried it and it... "tastes like the celestial kingdom".

*And finally Kelly, our first sale. $4.00/container. THANKS KELLY!


way to go- Idaho

Thursday, January 7, my dad and I were ready to hit the road and head to a little town called Shoshone, Idaho. If you aren't familiar with Shoshone, Idaho and are wondering where it is then this map should help. If you are wondering what it looks like IRL then here is a photo I took on our way into town.

Needless to say it was a long, flat trip. Luckily I had my dad with me and we had a great time. We stayed in a funny bed & breakfast that didn't serve breakfast but we had our own T.V. and a shared bathroom. We actually were there with Dale Peel and another gentleman from the meeting, Mark Reynolds. It was a great turn out of about 15 people and we discussed many important things such as animal nutrition and farming. We had speakers from U.S sheep Experiment Station from Dudois, Idaho and learned a ton. Did you know that one pound of cow's milk sells for $.09 ($.75 a gallon) and one pound of sheep's milk sells for $1.00 ($8.70 a gallon)? Sheep also love to eat sugar beets and beer brewers leftovers. Dad and I felt overwhelmed but I was very happy to meet people from the west, everyone may be at different stages but it's comforting being with folks who have the same interest and end goal. Scott Carlisle owns a trout resort in Wyoming and he is currently making sheep's milk cheese and brought some Alpine (type of swiss) for us to try, it was AMAZING! Even dad was surprised at how good it tasted. I asked Scott what it was called and he replied "I don't know yet." This is the part I am most excited for; making up cheeses and getting to name them.
Well we were back on the road by 3:30 and the trip home was much shorter. Dad and I had a great time talking and reminiscing about times past, our families and dreams for the future. He has been a great resource since he knows so many people in Sanpete. He got us in contact with Dale and Lamar so we owe my dad BIG props! He's so cute!

industry people we met

Dale Peel was the first person we visited while in Utah. He lives about 25 minutes away from us in Mt. Pleasant, where I happened to grow up. He has the variety of sheep we want, Lacaune and East Friesian. What a fun bunch of sheep. They weren't too friendly but we all got along just fine. Dale is a custom wood worker and has a great interest in making sheep's milk cheese. He will hopefully be starting the milking process within the next few years. He will be a major player on our team.
Lamar (Ruggie) Dyches of Moroni, Utah is a great guy and he owns another breed of sheep we'd like to work with, the Polypay. Ruggie gave us valuable information when it comes to this breed and not to mention he sheers sheep too, $3 a head for those who are interested. He seems real intrigued in milking sheep so maybe we can get him on board too.
Linda Nielson is our realtor and she is super helpful when it comes to the land and business side of things. We met with her and looked at several properties hoping something will pop up that serves our needs. She has a great little shop on Main St. in Manti so go in and visit her, I sent her some of my crafts to sell so definitely stop in.
Shannon Miller was my last stop, she is brilliant at fixing up old homes. She and her husband have worked on 2 homes in Manti and they are a valuable resource for us. She also is very business savvy and was very helpful in understanding grants and loans for woman owned businesses. She is going to be a very good friend.


first christmas at home

Off we went to spend Christmas at our cute pioneer home in Manti. The kids had a blast playing in the winter wonderland. They enjoyed watching the snowflakes fall, they enjoyed getting up each morning to see the new deer tracks and poop in the yard. So many new experiences to make it memorable. Joel was feverishly addicted to getting our back sidewalk clear of ice, it took almost 4 days to get it finished. We had so much fun being in our new old home. I had to stay an extra week in order to attend the first meeting of the Rocky Mountain Dairy Sheep association so I took it upon myself to paint a few rooms while I was all by myself, with no one around, no T.V., no internet... nothing, just empty house; I listened to A LOT of Rancid. There is so much satisfaction when you finally get to do fun things with your own house. It was a great trip.