Tuesday, November 21, 2017

All About Cheese

While in Wisconsin we stopped by the Wisconsin Diary State Cheese Company.  I started thinking about what cheese really is, so I decided to do a blog post on the subject.

Cheese is a food made from milk that is produced worldwide in a variety of flavors and textures.  It is made by coagulating the protein in milk called casein. Although most cheese is made from the milk of cows, it can also be made with the milk of buffalo, goats, and sheep. During production coagulation is stimulated by adding the enzyme rennet, after which the solids are separated and pressed into final form.

The varieties of cheese differ depending on the type of milk used, the diet of the animals, the butterfat content of the milk, the inclusion of bacteria or mold, the processing and aging of the cheese, the addition of herbs or spices, and whether the cheese is pasteurized.  Cheese is valued for its portability, long shelf life, and high content of fat, protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

Cheese is an ancient food with an origins that predates recorded history. There is no conclusive evidence indicating where cheesemaking originated, but the practice of making cheese was well established well before Roman times and possibly as early as 8,000 b.c. 

The first factory for the industrial production of cheese opened in Switzerland in 1815, but large-scale production first found real success in the United States. Credit usually goes to Jesse Williams, a dairy farmer from Rome, New York, who in 1851 started making cheese in an assembly-line fashion using the milk from neighboring farms.

Around 20 tonnes of cheese is manufactured worldwide, with U.S. production equaling around one-third.   Around 25 percent of U.S. production is in Wisconsin.  The highest consumption per person takes place in France, Iceland, Finland, Denmark and Germany. 

The variety of components can be extreme.  Some common cheese components are below.

MacroNutrients (grams) of common cheeses per 100gm
Cheese Water Protein Fat Carbs
Swiss 37.1 26.9 27.8 5.4
Feta 55.2 14.2 21.3 4.1
Cheddar 36.8 24.9 33.1 1.3
Mozarella 50 22.2 22.4 2.2
Cottage 80 11.1 4.3 3.4


Monday, November 20, 2017

Wisconsin Agate Collectin Crawl

Thanks to Doug and Susan Moore for their hospitality last week.  Special thanks to Doug for organizing an agate collection tour for Sharon Smith and I.  We spent two days visiting rockhounds to see their incredible collections.  What fun!  Here are a few photos.

Every day you learn something new.  I had no idea there is a "subculture" of sand collectors.  One of the people we visited had 800 sand samples from all over the world.  It is amazing how different the sand varieties are in terms of color, texture, and mineral composition.

Dry head agate....

Incredible tube agate...

Weird agate...

Dino bone....

Nice agate that formed in rhyolitic matrix.  I don't remember for sure, but I think this specimen is Mexican.

Lake Superior thunder egg.

Mexican Laguna agate.

This is an awesome map created by one of Doug's friends.  It shows the hot spots resulting from plate tectonic movement -- which resulted in the creation of many agates and jaspers.

Fairburn agates...

Cool agate (I don't remember from where).


Priday agate from Oregon.

Interesting Montana moss agate...

This agate was infilled with calcite.  Acids were used to remove the calcite from the half on the right.

Tube agate...

Fairburn agate from South Dakota...

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Lake Superior early winter shoreline--Remembering the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Early last evening I drove over to Sable Falls and walked down the steps and path to the beach.  My main purpose was to remember the sinking of the Fitzgerald 42 years ago -- but I also wanted to see what the beach looks like at the mouth of Sable River (Second Creek) after all the recent wave events.  It does not look possible to walk east of the falls.  The beach is littered with huge trees.  All of the driftwood on the beach is covered in ice.  It was a chilly (temps in the teens) evening, but beautiful.

You are invited to go on the hike with me...

...accessing the trail from the parking lot.

Heading over to the steps....

Down the steps...

Ice on branches along the river....

Sable Falls....

A photo of the beach taken at the end of the trail....

Due to storm erosion, it is not easy to get down the beach.  There are downed trees and a drop off of around three feet.

Heading back up to the car.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Some (but not a lot) of Snow

They predicted Grand Marais would receive up to 19 inches of snow.  Despite off and on white out conditions, we only received three or four.  But it is cold!  The temperature outside my window this morning was 9.  Here are a couple of photos I took out my front window yesterday.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Lake Superior beach and more

Yesterday I went down the beach at First Creek to see the beach before the winter storm hits.  Although I've been home from my down-state trip for a week, it is the first time I made my way to the beach.  There is a considerable amount of driftwood clogging the creek, as well as well up the beach.

I went down the steps at First Creek and was surprised to find some debris almost all the way up the beach to the steps.  The waves a few weeks ago (highest was measured at 28.8 feet) really played havoc with the shoreline.

Log jam at First Creek.....

Looking east..... for the most part the waves moved all the driftwood up and over the first dune and covered up most of the rocks with sand.

Looking west....

This week I had the rest of my new windows installed.  This project was years past due.  It was expensive, but had to be done.

Below is one more photo from my trip down state. Thanks to Mark Comstock for sharing the photo. The picture was taken at a reunion of the co-ed softball team on which I played for 24 seasons (including summer and fall leagues). I had 738 at-bats, scored 139 runs, and had 282 hits including 28 doubles, 14 triples, and 3 home runs. It was great seeing everyone again! It amazing that our team manager (George Fulton) kept all the statistics!