Friday, June 11, 2010

Morning Cream

I rise in the morning, with a light heart, looking forward to the day. However, when I first come downstairs and survey the disaster zone that is my living space I am overwhelmed. It seems as though I spend most my day cooking and cleaning and yet I never arise to the clean and orderly house of my dreams. After walking circles making a vain attempt to tidy the clutter, I eventually find my way to the tea pot, an agreeable hand thrown mug, a bag of black tea and a dollop of luxurious raw goat milk heavy cream.

I take my coffee black. I take my tea straight, but when I have fresh cream available every morning I am a kid on Christmas day. I reach into the fridge, pull out a jar of yesterdays milk, grab a clean silver spoon, take off the lid and peer inside to eye the cream resting on top of the milk. After skimming a few spoonfuls of cream off the top and dropping it ever so intently into my hot cup of tea, I stir my cup, watching the swirls of cream lovingly, thinking I should grab the camera again. During this moment and those that follow as I enjoy my tea, I am elevated beyond the messy house and the endless list of to dos that await. Such a little thing really, morning cream, and yet it reminds me how blessed I am.

In the winters we eat mostly hot breakfasts,hot cereal, pancakes, waffles, bacon and eggs.  Busy cooking breakfast, my tea usually goes cold before I get around to drinking it. These summer days, with D away six mornings a week, we've been having lazy breakfasts; fruit, muffins and scones (previously homemade but frozen) and yes even cold cereal. The combination of lazy breakfasts, Sesame Street, and kids in good morning moods makes for a more pleasant cup of tea especially when I'm able to block out the mess and indulge in some computer time.

In the past two years of milking I do not recall getting this much cream off the top of the milk. Goat milk, unlike Cow milk is naturally homogenized, meaning that the cream is incorporated in and does not separate on its own. I've noticed at some times of the year the milk is fattier. I've been skimming cream off the top of quarts and half gallons of milk for the last seven weeks. Often I'm able to return to the same quart on a couple different mornings, as more cream separates over time. I'm really not getting that much quantity. Not enough to make butter or sour cream. Just enough for my tea.

I do have a cream separator that I'll be using here soon. It does work, but takes some fine tuning, takes time, makes a lot of noise and a mess. Once it is up and running smoothly I should get a cup or two of cream from each gallon and will have enough to make some cream products, ice-cream, sour cream, creme fraiche.

I forget how much work summers are. In the winters I sweep the floor once a day, mop every couple weeks.  I really just do a few loads of laundry a week in the winter. These days I sweep the floor and it is sandy and dirty as soon as the kids and dog return from playing outside. I can mop it one day, and the very next day it looks horrible. The kids are going through several sets of clothes a day. We try to pile up our outside play clothes by the door and re-wear them, but sometimes just putting them on makes a mess of dirt on the floor or they are caked with mud. I've been hanging up the muddiest clothes thinking that some rain will come along and help rinse them before I put them in the washing machine, it hasn't worked out as I'd hoped. I spend the day planning the next meal, cooking it and then trying to get the food into the kids. Then wash dishes and clean the kitchen for the next meal. And somehow, even after cleaning the kitchen and washing up after dinner, I still wake up to dirty dishes on the counter. As much as I tidy the house, I can't seem to stay on top of the piles of clothes and clutter that accumulate on the counters.

On a brighter note, the garden is looking great. Everything is growing nicely and not too many weeds -yet. We picked six radishes the other day. I sliced them and served them with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I've been behind on greens this year, but we are about to have lettuce. We do have swiss chard, spinach, radish, turnip and beet greens large enough for picking. I've also been pinching tips and leaves off the basil, cilantro, thyme, oregano and mint plants for garnishing meals. The peas are ready for support. Potatoes up. Tomatoes are blossoming and there are a few green tomatoes forming. Everything is taking off. Birds are growing. Kids are growing. Despite the never ending chores and forever cluttered house, I'll be enjoying my morning cream and thinking of what to write next.


Nikki said...

This was a very enjoyable post to read! I enjoy your blog!

Naturalearthfarm said...

It was so much fun to read about the goings ons at your homestead. We hope to buy two nigerian dwarf kids this summer to eventually have our own milk. I didn't realize we can have cream too.
Thank you for taking the time to share so much.
Warm wishes, Tonya

sk said...

Gosh those photos made my mouth water! I buy a quart of goat milk a week (all that is available right now from our local farm) and enjoy it immensely. Thank you for explaining how you get cream from the milk-- I was wondering about that myself. I did know that goat milk is naturally homogenized and was confused yesterday when I went pour myself a glass from a quart that had been sitting in the fridge for 5 or so days, and saw a discernible cream layer!

My parents had goats before I was born and I hope to one day have land and a place to keep a few of my own. I know it's hard to stay on top of the house work, but I'm glad you're able to put it aside and indulge yourself from time to time!

Emily said...

Nikki, Tonya and Sk, glad you enjoyed the post, it was enjoyable to write. Thanks for your comments. Take care and best wishes for your summer days, Emily