A lot has happened over the past few months. We’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to keep up on the website or post on the blog. But here is the quickie version…
With the birth of Ragnar and Lady Sybil came lots of milk. At the peak, in early fall, Louise and Gemma were producing two gallons a day. Joe took the morning milking, and I milked when I got home from work. With no dairy license yet, we had to come up with some creative uses for all of that milk.
We mastered the art of making Chèvre – and we had plenty of it! We also took a cheese class in October and learned the basics of making and aged cheese. We even produced our first ‘Blue d’ Auvergne’, as well as an aged Chèvre. We were impressed with our first go at it; the cheese was not only edible, we thought it was quite good.
We also stocked up on frozen milk for next year’s soap supply. Quite by accident, I discovered a new saponification process which consistently produces a soap that is far superior that what we had been making. With this new process, we’ll be restocking our supplies for sales in stores in Easthampton, Westhampton, Northampton and Whately. We are also looking forward to developing a better ‘soap page’ on the website for online sales. And just like last year, we sold out of all of our soap stock at the Open Studios event in Easthampton.
One of our ongoing efforts is to acquire a dairy license so that we can sell our milk and cheese. We took a business course, through the Valley CDC, and we’ve visited other small dairies. We've also been intouch with our dairy inspector and various health and planning boards. It’s a bit daunting, and it’s a huge investment, but we want to be certain that we know what we are doing before we dive in.
We are currently wrapping up milk production and, hopefully, the girls will be dried off this week. Louise has some kind of skin issue, so we will not be breeding her this year. Thelma is finally pregnant with at least one kid, and we believe we saw at least two in Gemma when we did the ultrasound. Yes, having an on-site veterinarian comes in really handy!
Have a great 2014!