The Ultimate Cheese Press

Now that the birthing and milking seasons are in full swing there’s an abundance of milk. It’s time to make cheese!

Our cheese press is made for home cheese makers, designed and manufactured by Homesteaders Supply right here in the USA! Homesteader’s Supply carries cheese making supplies. We suggest starting with our kits and replenishing as you go.

The Ultimate Cheese Press

The Ultimate Cheese Press

Made from a beautiful grained hard maple, with a lighter basic color with various shades of darker marbling. Each press is as unique as the wood it’s made from.  It comes with an innovative design that makes pressing cheese easy, and they all come out the same.  No need for pressure gauges, no lopsided cheeses… every one comes out great!  And this press will probably last you a lifetime with proper care!

Raw presses will be readily available soon. They are not oiled! You can choose the oil you’d like to use. Organic coconut oil works very well. We’ll make an announcement when the raw presses are in here in the blog, on Facebook and Twitter.

Some of the features of the Ultimate Cheese Press:

  • Perfect to make all types of hard and semi-hard cheeses.
  • Ergonomically designed handles and followers to reduce the stress to your hands and fingers.
  • Comes with 2 hoops, now larger and taller than other presses, to prepare a 1 lb to 5 lb cheese!
  • Designed to accept the hoops in perfect position every time!
  • Hoops are made of food grade heavy duty water pipe. Professional cheese makers prefer this type of hoop over the metal hoop type, as it won’t cause too fast of cooling the cheese during pressing time as stainless steel does.
  • Made with all food grade materials, will last a very long time, sturdy hardwood with heavy-duty stainless steel fasteners.
  • Easy to use; small enough to just place it into baking pan to allow for draining… therefore no mess, no fuss…
  • Finished wood with Canola Oil with no odor, no petro-chemicals, natural for food contact, makes the wood water proof, and all you need to do is reapply a very small amount of your own oil of choice when it appears dry.
  • We use real wood, not plastic. Latest research confirms that wood inhibits bacterial growth, which is not the case for plastics such as melamine. Now you know why everyone is going back to butcher block cutting boards!
  • No need for gauge… as you just turn to tighten as whey is released. So Simple! Easy to Clean! Just can’t say enough about this press… it’s the best!
  • With proper care, this cheese press should last a lifetime! (soap and water, no dishwasher!)
  • Dimensions:  Base approx 7″ X 7″,  Unit Height 11″, Large Mold 7″ tall, 6 1/2″ Diameter; Small Mold 7″ tall, 4 1/2″ diameter.

Wardeh Harmon, owner of GNOWFGLINS (visit the website – you’ll love it!) demonstrates the use of The Ultimate Cheese Press. You’ll see how simple this cheese press is to use in the video.

We’re proud to have designed this press and to have it manufactured right here in the United States. It’s a beautiful, functional, easy to use press that’s great for hard and semi-hard cheeses.

Gardening with Kids

Getting kids into the garden isn’t always easy but once they’re in, getting them out might be a challenge. As much as kids love to play in the dirt, gardening isn’t quite the same.  Let’s make gardening with kids fun and easy.

Small hands don’t grasp adult-sized tools easily. For a few dollars each you can buy child-sized tools. They’re typically rugged enough to last the entire season but not so expensive that when they disappear half way through that it’s a big loss. Kids like “diggers.” Trowels and spades are great. A hoe and garden rake should also get a lot of use. Spend a little time showing kids how to use these tools properly so they don’t become discouraged. Store the tools conveniently near the garden so they aren’t misplaced when the child gets distracted on the way to the house.

Black Krim Tomato

Black Krim Tomato

A lot of vegetables come in kids’ colors. Carrots are available in red and purple. Purple and lime green cauliflower varieties could be what it takes for kids to love this often passed up veggie. Bright Lights Swiss Chard grows in six main colors. Tomatoes aren’t always read. You can grow yellow, orange, striped and speckled varieties. They also come in different sizes and shapes from tiny cherry tomatoes to varieties that grow to weigh more than a pound.

In winter months where it’s too cold to garden, online seed catalogs are a good way to start developing a child’s interest in gardening. Seed displays in the garden department of stores are fun and the reward is immediate; you can take the seeds home and plant them the same day now that the weather is warming up.

Gardens need water. Kids plus water plus soil equals mess. It’s okay. Kids, clothes and floors wash. Our kids had small watering cans and a bucket of water. Let them water their seeds after planting and as they grow. Older kids who understand not mowing over nearby plants with the hose should be able to use the hose. Control the water flow by adjusting the faucet accordingly.

Grow what kids eat and eat what kids grow. You don’t have to love purple carrots but you’ll set a good example if you eat them, or at least try them. Be creative. Lime green cauliflower becomes Alien Brains when you get creative. White turnips are cool eyeballs if you cut the top off one-eighth inch above the bulb.

If you give kids their own spot in the garden you should consider wider than normal rows to walk in. The smaller the feet the bigger the foot prints left in the soil, or so it seems. Plants will get stepped on, and they’ll probably survive.

We sometimes asked our kids to choose and harvest the vegetable for supper. Occasionally we had a medley of tomato, broccoli, spinach and cucumbers in one meal, and it was always delicious.  We mix it up in the salad bowl so why not on our plates?

How to leave fast food behind and eat inexpensively at home

It’s sad that it is cheaper to feed your family at McDonalds than to provide a balanced meal for your family..

For example – if all they can afford is crap, and they don’t have the resources to grow their own they could be at a real disadvantage.

These are two of the comments made on Homesteader’s Supply Facebook page. Balanced meals don’t have to be expensive, or complicated. They can be much healthier than fast food. We can leave fast food behind and eat inexpensively.

It takes a bit of time to prepare and cook a good meal. The time can be spent teaching children to cook, a skill that’s being lost in a large portion of our youngsters. Food for thought: In the big picture of life, is it more important to have children in three after school and extra curricular programs that keep us too busy to cook and eat well than it is to teach our kids to cook? Let’s get off the road a little and into the kitchen more, where we can share some quality family time.

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9″ stainless steel pie pan.

Here is a recipe for quiche to help us get started. Quiche is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For a grab-and-go breakfast use muffin tins instead of the pie plate, no crust needed. I browsed the online flyer a Hannaford, a grocery store chain, and the paper flyer from Food Mart to get prices.

Broccoli & Cheese Quiche

One dozen eggs
1/2 pound chopped broccoli
1/2 pound grated cheese
One pie crust
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Scramble the eggs and add seasonings. Use seasonings you like. A quarter-teaspoon of crushed red pepper adds zing without heat. Garlic powder is also good. If the broccoli is frozen you should thaw, drain and pat it dry. Mix everything together and pour into the crust-lined pie plate.

Serving sizes are out of proportion these days. One serving of meat is three to four ounces. That’s the size of a deck of play cards (not Uno or other large game cards). Keep the number of servings you need for the entire day in mind. You have three meals and possibly a snack to get all that you need to be healthy and fit.

Variations: spinach, onion, mushrooms, artichoke, dandelion greens. What’s available in the garden?

Bake at 350* for 45 minutes.

To cut down on costs:

  • use brick cheese that you grate yourself
  • chopped broccoli is less expensive than pieces when using frozen
  • use broccoli stems, not just the tops

Eight servings. $7.20 total.
Eggs – $3.00
1 pie crust – $1.15
Cheese – $2.20
Chopped broccoli – .60 cents
Seasoning – .25 cents

Serving cost: .90 cents.

Eating healthy, homemade meals probably means dietary changes if you’re used to swinging through the drive through on a regular basis. Change can be difficult and fun. Try to avoid overwhelming everyone. You might cause a revolt. Keep it fun.

Setting up for chickens

It’s spring and time to get busy on the flock of chickens. Is it time to start your first flock of layers? Or maybe some of your older hens need to be retired and replaced. Homesteader’s Supply has the equipment you need to get going or add to your equipment.

chick daysThe Small-Scale Poultry Flock

 

A little time spent reading before bringing your chicks or chickens home can save you some heartache and back break. We have books you’ll find to be helpful whether you’re just beginning or have been raising poultry for years. You’ll find all of them listed here.

Superbowl bucket feeder for poultry

Holds 50 lbs of food

The Superbowl bucket feeder holds up to 50 pounds of food, decreasing trips to the coop with more food. It’s easy to fill and can be hung up or placed on a base to discourage hens from scratching their food onto the floor.

Poultry can make a mess of their water quickly by stepping in it and throwing dirt in when they dust bathe and scratch. Suspend a bucket fitted with Poultry Nipples. There’s no pan needed because it doesn’t drip. It’s also excellent for ducklings that are prone to getting soaking wet (the way ducks do…) and cold.

Poultry Nipples

EZ-fit Chicken Coop 5ft X 8ft

EZ-fit Chicken Coop 5ft X 8ft

The EZ-fit Chicken coop will provide a safe, secure place for your poultry. It’s available in three sizes. Shipping is free to the lower 48 states!

The optional skids make moving your hen house to fresh grass easier. The skids don’t get stuck in ruts as easily as a tire will. They’re also a good way to keep the coop off off the ground. Hens bring mud into the coop on their feet. A ramp helps remove some of the mud, helping to keep not just the coop but the eggs cleaner.

The nest boxes are located on the outside of the coop for easy pick up and nest box cleaning. Other features include:

  • Chicken Door & Ramp
  • Inside Roost
  • Predator-resistant Wire Mesh
  • Man Door
  • Window(s)
  • Standard window color is white
  • 25-Year 3-Tab Shingles
Egg basket

Egg basket

Our egg basket is coated with plastic to help keep it clean, and make the clean up it will eventually need easier.

Dimensions: 14″ top diameter x 9″H x 10″ bottom diameter.

You can see our entire line of poultry supplies on our website.

Homestead Happening: Seedlings

Something’s always happening on a homestead. Homesteader’s Supply wants to share your life. No homestead is too big or small to share what’s happening with us. Let’s make this a Friday tradition.

Share a photo on your blog of something that happened on your homestead this week. Copy this into the top of the blog to join in. Leave a link to your blog in the comments below and we’ll visit to see your Homestead Happening.

Tomato seedlings under the grow lights.

Tomato seedlings under the grow lights.

Getting Started with Container Gardening

Our food supply becomes a little less stable and more expensive each day because of drought and flooding, transportation costs and world issues. Everyone can grow at least a little bit of their own food. It’s simple to do, doesn’t cost a lot of money, takes little time, and can take up little space. Let’s get started.

Containers can be small clay pots, large wooden planters, plastic saved from your kitchen, and everything in between. Short term, we like to start with recycled containers. Any plastic container you can poke drainage holes in should work.

Container Gardening, salad container

Salad container used for leaf lettuce.

This is a container from mixed greens purchased in the grocery store. A few inches of seed starting medium mixed with a cup of worm castings is all it takes to support this cut-and-come-again salad mix. Notice the tomato seedling in the left corner? It will be transplanted into its own pot.

Container Gardening, Coral Shell Pea

Coral Shell Pea

This is a Coral shell pea. It’s a small plant that with vines only two feet long, perfect for a six inch clay pot. It will stand up straight until it’s seven or eight inches tall then lean over and hang over the edge. Choose a short vine variety for small containers.

Do you have extra coffee mugs cluttering your cupboard? As long as you avoid over watering or can drill a hole through the bottom they make great containers. This mug holds store bought celery. It will develop roots and continue to grow.

Container Gardening, Coffee Mug

This coffee mug holds celery.

Transplant seedlings into containers with the same guidelines as if you were planting them into the garden. Each plant must have enough room for its roots to spread. The container should be heavy enough with soil and plants to keep it from tipping over if you move it outside.

Look in your seed catalogs for a note or other indication marking varieties suitable for containers. It’s become such a popular way to grow vegetables now that many companies point these out to us. These are some of our favorites:

  • Cucumber – Salad Bush, Space Master. Two plants per one gallon container. Look for words like Bush and Space in their name.
  • Bush Beans – Tendercrop, Derby. Three plants per one gallon container.
  • Tomatoes – Determinate varieties stop growing when they reach their maximum height. A five gallon container will hold one tomato plant. Super Bush is an excellent choice. It maxes out at three feet tall, is very frost hardy, and has three inch tomatoes. The stem is dense and keeps the plant upright with little or no staking. Tomatoes love the additional warmth containers offer.
  • Peppers – Probably the least picky plants we’ve grown in containers. Provide a minimum of a two gallon container. Pepper plants have large roots when they have enough roots and might be more than four feet tall in good soil. Jalepeno and Ace bell varieties do very well.
  • Swiss chard – Peppermint and Bright Lights are tasty and attractive. Two plants fit well in a one gallon container. You can choose a container that is wider than it is deep. Avoid over heating these cool weather plants.
  • Tatsoi and Boc Choi do well in containers. Choose a “baby” variety of Boc Choi such as Purple or Shuko. You can combine tatsoi and boc choi together in one container to add a variety of color and make the container attractive. Avoid over heating.
  • Cabbage – Little Jade or other Napa varieties do well in container gardens. Be sure to place them toward the back or in a partly shady area so their roots don’t over heat.
  • Zucchini – who knew! Astia zucchini has performed well in an 18″ container every year for us. Hand pollinating is recommended for good production.
  • Leaf Lettuce does well in containers. For variety, choose different colors and leaf textures. Leaf lettuce can be cut and left to grow again for another harvest. Salad Bowl, Red Sails, and Black Seeded Simpson do well with container gardening.
Leaf lettuce in a hanging basket

Leaf lettuce in a hanging basket

Container gardening outdoors requires some attention. Soil can dry out quickly in the heat and wind, or become flooded in heavy rain. Check them now and then to be sure roots haven’t grown out of or soil hasn’t blocked drainage holes.

Use a soilless mix or part soil mix for your containers. Avoid using 100% garden soil as it will compact over time, blocking good drainage and make it difficult for roots to spread. Your garden center will be able to show you what they offer and explain which brand might be best for your particular containers. It will contain vermiculite or perlite, and have a fertilizer such as composted cow manure in its mix. If you live in a hot and/or windy area you’ll want a mix with soil because it retains moisture better than soilless mixes.

Pole beans in a container garden

Pole beans need a trellis to attach themselves to.

Carrots are a great vegetable for kids. Seeds placed around the outer edge of the container will be able to be seen before they reach maturity and are pulled. Choose a container at least 12 inches deep, or grow a miniature variety.

You can avoid poor soil and space issues and still grow a lot of food by grouping containers together. Keep like plants together, such as tomatoes or peppers, to aid in pollination. Place containers wherever you have room. They don’t have all have to be together. Is there room for pots at the base of your mailbox? How about on your steps?

Do you have questions? Suggestions? Something to add? Comments are open!