As most of you know our entire cheese journey began with wanting to make the best bleu cheese in town. We have been patient and tried our hand with several other cheeses and getting lots of practice with "What's her name", Queso fresco, JuustoleipƤ, Cheddar and the infamous "chocolate milk trial". Though we feel very comfortable with our cheese making skills bleu was something we wanted to do together and with us being apart more often than together it has just had to wait. Joel and the kids came for our first Thanksgiving holiday and we thoroughly enjoyed every second we were together and one day we saw my dad at the Malt Shop and he threw out the challenge, "Do you guys want me to get you some raw milk to make cheese?" Our minds first went to "Na, that's ok- don't know where we'd find the time." But by the next day we were ready and decided bleu was the next cheese to be aged in our little cheese fridge. This process is very similar to every other type of cheese just some tweeking. There is the heating of the milk, then adding the cultures only this time we added the Penicillium Roqueforti AND actual Roquefort bleu cheese. We took about 1 Tablespoon of the cheese and smashed it into the milk then added it to the pot. We added the rennet and then cut the curd. After which we allowed the curds to sit as they released more whey then drained the whey. Then we set the curds in the moulds to set for 24 hours. We had to keep then at about 55 degrees so our basement was the perfect spot. As you can tell, we have a limestone basement which we will try and use to age the cheese and gain that bacterial flavor that is only mastered with limestone. As far as we know, no one has used the Oolite Limestone for aging bleu so it will be very exciting to see what comes of it. 24 hours we then cut the curd again into half inch cubes and added 6 tablespoons of salt. Yes, 6. We then placed them back to the mould and this time they all fit into the large mould. As more whey is expelled the smaller and firmer the curds get. We placed a 10lb. weight on top to aid in the pressing. The next few weeks are going to consist of flipping the cheese once a day then we will place the cheese in the fridge and let the magic begin.

I will keep you posted.


my first painting done in utah

It has been a while since I have picked up the brush but I have been inspired ever since we moved here to try my first sheep painting. I had to find the perfect sheep to photograph and see what I could get. We are so fortunate to have such great new friends here. The second week here I met a great couple, Dane & Beth Thurston. Beth approached me and we began talking, she had heard that we were interested in sheep for the purposes of cheese making and then told me that they had 5 Icelandic sheep on their property as a hobby. Well she told her hubby about our plans and he quickly approached me and said, "We need to talk." Well that led to dinner at their house when Joel was in town and I was able to take some great photos of his adorable sheep. His sheep are like pets to them. one ram actually comes to greet you and you must give him lots of attention, just like a dog, if you don't he will ram you. Needless to say, they are gorgeous animals. We were there talking sheep for hours. I could barely pull Joel & Dane apart they were having so much fun talking. I snapped this shot as Joel was petting him and fell in love with the image- I knew this was the image I was waiting for. If we can get things going we would love to buy this ram but of course, like everything else, it all takes time & patience.We have had great interest in the Icelandic sheep to sell for meat. They are extremely tender and considered a gourmet product but we won't bring that up at this point because they are so cute.

-dedicated to my sweet adorable husband Joel, keep your eye on the prize.


livin' the farm life- sheep trailing

I was informed that the yearly sheep trailing was happening at the end of September. I waited patiently for 2 hours and then spotted the dust. I was very excited to see this happen. Sheep trailing is when the herders collect the sheep that have been free grazing high up in the mountains all summer long. They gather them together and start sending them down the trail. A dog will lead the way while the herders stay behind and make sure the sheep stay together. They kind of got spooked when they saw me photographing them so I had to jump out of the way so they would keep going down the street. I couldn't let my kids miss such a neat first experience so I pulled them out of school early and had them wait for something coming down the road. Rocket said, "What is that? Are those... SHEEP!?" They loved it as they walked by within feet of us. It was so fun! What a great experince. Can't wait for the rest of the family to be here and experience all these fun new things with us.