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Saving the cheese cave / root cellar!

 
gardener
Posts: 3037
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi All;  Anyone who has seen my cheese posts in the past knows that I discovered a forgotten cheese cave in my shop... That old post is easily found . In 1990 I built myself a 24x32 shop building. In 1992 I poured concrete in half of the shop... gonna pour the other half real soon...Its  2018 & I'm finally getting ready to finish pouring the rest of the floor...no worries its  Montana time ...  
In order to save my cheese cave I had to cut up a 55 gal plastic barrel,  saving the center section with the molded rib, that rib allows it to seat on the top of my original steel barrel.  A second trim was required to bring it down to floor level.  As we pour the floor we will hand add extra to be sure there is a slope away all around the barrel, don't want any water running down there.
I haven't been making any cheese lately, farmer sold his A2 -A2 cow  so for now the only drinkable dairy is $5.00 a half gallon, 60 miles one way...  needless to say we only buy it occasionally and not enough to make cheese with...so sad.   Good news is that the cave makes for an excellent sort of hard to access root cellar ! The Potatoes love it down there ! After checking its temp last winter and finding it at 33 F  (it was -14 outside at the time)  I added a 6" piece of foam rubber inside as well as the Styrofoam and carpet over the top.  That brought it up to 42 F quickly.  
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checking level
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setting and tying rebar
 
gardener
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Now that is super slick, and what a great thing to have.
How's the humidity down in that cave?
 
thomas rubino
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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You Know Redhawk; I have always thought that it would be 40-50 % range But I have never sent one of my remote temp / humidity units down in the cave to see.  Frankly I'll be surprised if one works from down there.  
Around here in the summer we have a solid 20% or less. All winter its 75-98 % . I have to guess that if nothing else it would reflect the exterior humidity, but I hope it is in the 40-50 % range.
Now that you have my curiosity up I'll have to give it a try soon and see if I can get a reading from down there.
I'll post back if I can get a reading from the bottom.
 
thomas rubino
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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OK ; I gave it a try.  Borrowed the wireless sender from the studio, taped it to the top of the Styrofoam cheese box and lowered it to the bottom of the cave... current outside temp & humidity 59 F and 33% humidity (we are going to get showers tonight)  As I suspected the wireless didn't work from 10' underground in a steel tube... However the unit worked just fine. After 1 hour I hauled it out and here are the results  59 F and 78% humidity !  The matching temp doesn't surprise me I have had that hole open quite a bit the last few weeks. The humidity is the surprise !  78 %  is much higher than I thought. I guess having an exposed dirt floor even if its only 22" dia. is enough to effect the humidity.
 
thomas rubino
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Finished pouring the shop floor.  Today I created a lip all around the cheese cave to keep unwanted fluids from dripping in.
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topping up the last of the concrete
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new lip around the cheese cave
 
pollinator
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Nice cave Thomas. Temp and the humidity is perfect to age hard cheeses. I hope you will find a milk source close enough to get you back into cheese making soon.
 
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