Round 2 of Ducklings

This is the hatch that never ends. Starting on Tuesday, the latest batch of ducklings started to emerge from their shells. The last two birds hatched last night during. If any more hatch I’d be surprised at this point in the game. Two of the birds needed some help hatching. I think that the low energy of some of the ducks may be a result of the higher humidity experienced while hatching the two early ducks. We lost a couple of ducklings mid-hatch as they didn’t have the energy to push themselves out of their shells, and we didn’t notice in time.

The six ducklings that made it are all the same species, muscovy, but have slightly different colourings which will still be as pronounced when they feather-out as adults. Don’t mind the blur in the below photos. I think the ducklings assumed I was filming a video, not taking a photo, so they kept dancing and moving about.

"No, no.  'Duck a l'Orange' mean we get oranges to eat!"

“No, no. ‘Duck a l’Orange’ means we get oranges to eat!”

 

Great Canadian Cheese Festival

Very last minute, like most things in my life, we decided to visit the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, ON (http://cheesefestival.ca/). Completely worth it!

The entrance is $35 in advance, which gets you into the grounds and a cooler bag with lots of bits and pieces inside including a souvenir sampling glass and ten sampling tickets. These tickets came in very handy later in the day. More on that later.

After the drive out to Picton (about 2 1/2hrs) we finally figured out where to park and went through the gates to find a moderately sized festival. To some it may have been a little disappointing, but to us it was perfect. Each day is limited to 1200 visitors which helps keep things less crowded and you’re able to get to the different exhibitors without feeling like you’re lined up for a roller coaster in the middle of summer. A volunteer informed us of a cheese tasting seminar about to start. I wanted to just write an “imminent cheese seminar”, but I thought that was too dramatic.

We lucked out and got seats without having to wait. The seminar focused on Canadian cheddars which was perfect for us. Each guest was given a plate of different cheddars ranging in age from a few hours (the curds were made that morning) to years old. After giving a little history on each dairy and explaining each cheese we smelled, felt and tasted each piece. By the end we were feeling quite stuffed. I’d estimate we were given about a 1/4 lb of cheese on the plate.

Loads of cheese, loads of cheddar!

At the end of the seminar it was announced there was a prize for whoever answered the trivia question correctly. My Long Suffering Wife told me I had to win. Pressure’s on. Question: How many dairies are there in Canada? I remembered the host mentioning the number at the beginning of the seminar and somehow it had stuck. Hand up, they pick the man in front of me. He gets it wrong. Hand up, they pick me! 12,965! We won a really nice cheese board from the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Sweet victory!

After consuming all of the aged cheddar, we were suffering from severe cotton-mouth. We visited a winery booth to sample their vintages. Three tickets later and we were given about an inch of wine in the bottom of our glasses. As 1 ticket = $1, we thought it was a bit of a con. Turns out that the vineyard, that will remain nameless, was the only one gouging so deeply. Over to Creemore Springs, and one ticket was redeemable for a full glass of beer! Sandbanks Winery was the same with their portions. Feeling a little tipsy, we did what any one would in a similar situation; we visited the dairy animal exhibit.

Not a huge exhibit, but enough to keep people happy. We met sheep, goats, cows and water buffalo who were all very well behaved and happy to be pet.

Speaking of water buffalo, there were some meat vendors in attendance today. After sampling some jerky from one of the above’s family, we had to buy some to bring home. We also purchased some duck prosciutto after a sample. Probably the most amazing tasting fat I’ve ever had, and I hate eating fat!

Dear animals, why do you taste so good?

I don’t mean to come across as some carnivore who is only interested in eating animals. I love animals and I love them alive, but then again I’m eating leftover veal as I write this.

Another score today was picking up my order of cheesemaking supplies from Glengarry Cheesmaking Supplies (http://glengarrycheesemaking.on.ca/). I managed to get an order in for cheese wax and lactic starters just as Margaret, the owner, was leaving. Can’t wait to put some Thermophilic B to the test!

The start of some great cheeses.

We weren’t really sure what to expect from this festival, but we both agreed at the end of the day that the drive was completely worth it and I’d recommend the trip out to anyone. Just one word of advice, before you commit your sampler tickets to a vendor, watch the portion they pour.