Over the years my husband and I have had a bit of a tussle over finances. This of course is the typical marital story. Defining our particular story is my yen to DIY, and almost every little project I undertake, financially, has a big start-up cost. It has a start-up cost (mainly in materials) that almost always requires no huge outlay of later cash…no bubble, as it were; only maintenance money. So I have been able to persuade him that my *needs* are, well, inexpensive if you amortize! At this point he trusts me.
The things I am thinking of are the chicken coop, the chicken tractor, the greenhouses, the goat(s), the (so far unfinished) masonry oven. Smaller things likewise can be considered: the pressure canner, the grain mill, the chest freezers, the tiller. The orchard. Raised beds for the gardens. All of them have paid for themselves or will do so within the first year or so of owning them. And any of my kookier ideas also have an out, financially: 2010, to name one example, will be the first year I don’t have to order chicks because we have roosters and a tom turkey, thus, self-sufficiency in egg and meat birds.
But cheesemaking. I mentioned a while back how I found life as a single vegetarian to be much less expensive than omnivory…mainly because I almost never bought cheese! I adore cheese, but it was rare that I would shell out for it, despite my love of the stuff…good butter being the one exception. NOW there’s a goat in the shed, and she’s bagging up quite nicely, and within about a month I will don the bonnet of Resident Milkmaid. And fresh milk means cheese. And homemade cheese means…damn, another start-up cost!
A few years back when the homemade cheese bug bit me, I purchased a starter kit from Hoegger Goat Supply. It’s served me nicely and I haven’t gone back to that well, but then again, I didn’t try to make hard cheeses or aged cheeses. Now, though, now I have printed out little plans for my husband to build me a cheese press (he likes to feel handy) and now I have finally purchased and read Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making. And I am discovering that that woman is a pusher. Seriously: is she any different than the guy on the corner who’s giving you a little taste for free so you can keep coming back to feed your habit? I read the recipes and I think: hmmm, thermophilic culture, I need that; how about a bag of penicillium candidum, and might as well get a bag of p. roquefortii while I am at it. And then, well, use it up and keep coming back for more. Yogurt sure doesn’t have this problem: make it once, always have it (like sourdough).
Man! What would Ma Ingalls do? She’d culture her own. Something else to figure out, I guess…stay tuned.