Search This Blog

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Watering, Havarti, Ice Cream, Cleaning fermentation equipment.

The hot weather is back with a vengeance and we are spending a lot of time ensuring our fruit trees are not suffering. A lot of the trees are laden with fruit and it would be a real shame to lose it at this late stage when harvest is so close. The watering method we have chose is to give each tree a good hours soaking with a fine 360 degree spray. Drippers are great in the right soil type but our soils need something that provides time for the water to soak in to the ground as opposed to dropping straight through to the shallow shale bedrock. Therefore every hour one of us goes out and relocates the dozen or so sprays mounted on flat pieces of wood. These are nothing fancy just a small piece of 12mm poly pipe nailed to an offcut with a hose adapter at one end and bent double at the other with a spray nozzle mounted in the middle. There are a number of different nozzles depending on how far the spray needs to be thrown.

In between watering movements a batch of Havarti is produced from the latest batch of milk. Although we love all types of cheeses Havarti is a staple. A lovely texture and flavour and an excellent melting cheese (melted cheese and tomato). In addition it is easy to make and almost devoid of complexity which allows other tasks to be co-ordinated with its production.

A lazy light pressing for the Havarti

A little bit of cream was pinched from the last batch of milk and Jean knocked out a Green Tea ice cream. We'll save this for Christmas when her mum visits.

One of the important tasks associated with beer making is cleanliness. This lack of hygiene struck home this week. I thought I'd given the fermentation containers a thorough clean and in addition they had been stored with a Potassium Metabisulpate solution. But not so. In one batch as it neared the end of fermentation a small amount of white mould had started to form on top of the brew and in the other even closer to completion the surface had a whitish film on the surface. This is not a complete disaster as the mould is surface formed and if the batch is bottled carefully only a small amount of beer needs to be discarded. Having bottled the worst affected container yesterday it went through a very thorough cleaning process. First scrubbed and rinsed then a heavy application of Destainex and soaked overnight. It will then sit in a strong SO2 solution for a number of hours just to ensure every part of the fermentation container is sterile. It is so easy when things are going well and you are in a bit of a hurry to skip over some important aspects of brewing. The lesson can be a hard one.


  1. Hmmm. Wonder if we should be watering more slowly. How often do you water?

  2. Hi Linda, When the trees were much younger we watered as often as weekly in the drier periods with the idea of getting them to establish a good root system. Now that most of them are over 15 years years old we only water if they show signs of stress or if they have young fruit. If the fruit is very close to picking we don't water so as not to dilute the sugars.