As you may know, I am on a quest to get rid of my extraneous belongings.* I am trying to simplify things and make some space so we have room to live. I don't want more stuff. I don't need more stuff.
But I do expect birthday presents. Which makes it difficult on people, I imagine. The last thing I asked someone for is chickens. We have them now and they don't require fancy collars, sweaters or carrying cases, so they are not handy pets in terms of subsequent gift ideas.
I thought it would be especially difficult on the people who tend to look at me and shake their heads - specifically, my sister. But she came through with flying colors. She sent me Ricki's Thirty Minute Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. Brilliant!
She has been reading Animal Vegetable Miracle and has been inspired to buy locally (or at least domestically). This from the woman who used to buy packaged foods because they had More Preservatives.
She has also been inspired to get me cool stuff. There was apparently reference to New England Cheesemaking in Animal Vegetable Miracle.
Today is not actually my birthday, but when I came home today and discovered that a shipping box with the word "cheese" on it had been sitting in my non-refrigerated mailbox, I opened it immediately (with trepidation). Shrieking ensued. Lucy is excited. Studley is excited. I am excited. Chris came home, saw it, and is excited. I can't wait for my next group picnic, when I will show up with home grown tomatoes and basil with homemade mozzarella. I will be so smug I will probably be sent home.
Turns out you can also make stuff using the whey (the liquid you squish out as you're making the cheese). It can replace buttermilk in recipes, or you can use it as plant food. I'll let you know how this goes.
My sister told me a week or so ago that she had ordered my gift and she was a little nervous about it. This in turn made me nervous. It isn't easy to buy for each other because it involves picking out something we would never wear, read, eat or use ourselves. On the other hand, we like each other a lot and have figured out through the years what works.
Turns out she was just nervous because she knows I am Very Busy and On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and she didn't want to give me One More Thing To Do. Except that this thing makes me want to sweep all the pending projects off my kitchen counter and do nothing but make cheese. I can't do that right now, but I can look lovingly at the box whenever I walk by, and I can think of days in the not-so-distant future when the kids and I will need just such an activity.
Soon enough there will be no garden to take care of because everything will be dead and frozen. Kids will be in school. Work will slow down.
And everyone will get fresh mozzarella for Christmas.
*I am not getting rid of my Wallace and Gromit videos.