Merry Christmas! Blessed are the Cheesemakers.

The good news is that we’re past the shortest day or longest night if you prefer. From now until June it gets that little bit lighter for longer but it’s not really noticeable until February. Weirdly it is noticeable to the plants, many of which control their growth by the length of the day.

Now think about it, plants don’t have eyes so how on earth do they know? I suppose some clever scientist has figured it but I’ll just accept it as one of those miracles of nature that we take for granted.

Talking of eyes, I’m going to have my cataract operation on 2nd January. I quite fancied a Steve Austin eye (the six million dollar man if you’re old enough to remember that series)  but apparently the NHS hasn’t got six million to spare so I’ll have to settle for a plastic lens.

Being serious, I remember talking with an optician some years ago who told me they would never be able to replace an eye with an artificial one… never say never. Apparently they’re not very good with only a couple of hundred pixels resolution but give them time, they’re developing them now.

More EU Legislation?

Science marches on and sadly bureaucracy continues to try and control everything . Apparently those wonderful chaps in the EU have decided we need a licence to swap seeds. Imagine being hauled up in front of the judge charged with possession and intent to supply… carrot seeds! Waccy baccy seeds, I can understand but carrots?

Now just in case you think I’ve fallen for an early April fool or completely lost the plot check out this post from Garden Organic

Apparently it’s a an Italian MEP behind it – Chief Rapporteur for Agriculture, Sergio Silvestris. Looks like he’s bucking to replace Guy Fawkes on the allotment bonfires. And to think I thought the EU was a good thing and voted for it all those years ago.

For more information on Garden Organic’s Fighting Fund and campaigning activity on this go to:

My thanks to Sara of Chesam for telling me about this.

Butter & Cheese Making

The weather continues to be unseasonably warm but foul. Today we had winds approaching 90 mph and the rain just battered the windows. Give me a dry day with frost on the ground anyday.

At least I was warm and dry working inside. I’ve just added some articles to the site. The first is How to Make Butter – with step-by-step photographs. It’s not long now to ‘after Christmas’ and if you come across some cream reduced to peanut prices you’ll know just what to do to take advantage of it.

We’ve also put up Val’s How to Make Cottage Cheese – it’s not quite the same as shop-bought but it doesn’t use anything you’re unlikely to have in the kitchen cupboard like rennet. It avoids wasting milk if you’ve over bought at the very least.

Whilst on the subject of cheese making, I’ve popped up a series of articles written by the late Katie Thears. She wrote The Home Dairying Book in 1978 for ‘The house cow, dairy goat and milk sheep owner’  The second edition in 1983 was aimed more at the domestic cheese maker but the third went back to Home & Farm Dairying.

The fourth and current edition, Cheesemaking and Dairying, written in 2006 gives a great introduction to dairying for both home hobbyists and smallholders looking to add to their skills. Katie had a number of letters from people who’d started successful small dairy businesses on the back of her books. See Making Cheese at Home

Merry Christmas to You

Well since it’s Christmas Eve I’d like to thank all my readers who have supported us through what’s been a difficult year and wish you all a  really wonderful Christmas. This year we’re looking forward to having our daughter, her hubby and our seven month old grandson with us. The cats will be gathered under the high chair as their favourite human scatters food down on them, much of it half chewed (well gummed to be pedantic) which saves them some effort!

So, we really hope you’ll have as good a time as we intend to.


Posted in Allotment Garden Diary, New on Site, Rants and Raves
3 comments on “Merry Christmas! Blessed are the Cheesemakers.
  1. louise says:

    Happy Christmas John, don’t get blown away!

  2. Snowdrops says:

    Have a lovely Christmas John & to your family too. Thank you for the website too.

  3. Andy Mahoney says:

    Hope you are having a well earned break John, keep up the good work here on Allotment Garden, I love it here!

    Have a fantastic New Year and a good old drink (Or if like me you refrain from Alcohol) then a nice cuppa 😉

    All the best

    Andy (Lincolnshire)

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