Thursday, December 3, 2009

Season's end

Well at last the ewes have said 'no more milk' so we have dried the herd off and made the last wheels of pecorino and buckets of yoghurt. Playing with the sheep milk will be missed but it will be nice to be able to unchain ourselves from the dairy until next year. Some of the girls defied the trend and were determined to keep giving milk, and the maidens were still milking well but we convinced them to get with the program as we've got plans for Christmas! The good news is that there is a good store of pecorino in the cellar for everyone to enjoy over the summer. It has become distinctly nutty and smooth textured. So the next page is tackling shearing, make the ewes comfortable to summer over in the high country of Red Hill, and enjoy some prime lamb. The ewe lambs are starting to loose the wool around their East Friesian tails and promising to become good strong milkers in the years to come.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Discussion topic

When to wean?
Do you prefer to;
1. let ewes rear great lambs for a month then have what milk is left over,
2. Share half of each days milk, still get well grown lambs but put up with cranky sheep that don't let their milk down,
3. Wean shortly after birth, spend a lot on milk powder, get heaps of milk but risk stunted poddy lambs, or worse..?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Drama in the Dairy

The maidens are starting to join the dairy herd and enjoying the leadership of the old girls during training. But this week we had a blast from the past when the electric motor on the milking machine packed it in, leaving us with the age old solution of hand milking. Needless to say it was nice and peaceful but our poor unpracticed fingers, like the novelty, almost wore off. The ewes weren't too happy either, the change in routine sending them off their feed. After a couple of milkings by hand we were all relieved when the motor was finally fixed and back to normal. Milking takes long enough, but twice a long without the machine (ohh what a soothing sound that vacuum pump is). Where is Paul Mecurio when you need him?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Spring Lambs

More lambs have started dropping from the maidens. Oh what fun trying to convince them that they have responsibilities and finding puny teats. So far we have two single boys - typical. It will be good to have a little extra milk soon to top up the vat.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mmm, perfect Pecorino. The first batch of young Pecorino Corzano tastes beautiful, and has been officially released this weekend. Soft smooth texture, with small holes inside, and an aromatic, powdery white / orange rind. Flavor is like the real thing, quite complex and full. Availability is limited at the moment, but look out for it at our farmers markets.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

more happy sheep

The maidens will be lambing soon so the Prospect East Friesian ram is being kept company by a couple of his sons. These are his first progeny and we eagerly await his daughters joining the milking herd. Being next door to the ewes wasn't good enough. The lambs can't quite work out whats wrong with his udder but its worth a try anyway.

Pecorino's almost ready....

Just a couple more weeks and the Sheep Pecorino Corzano should be mature enough to enjoy. Its hard to have patience when something only comes around seasonally, but the stocks are really starting to build up. The ewes are in a good routine now but still hanging out for some fresh spring growth. The last of the lambs are almost off milk and really hoeing into the barley fodder. Goat milk supply has just tripled so its heads down for the next few months. Emilie is with us from France on her internship, studying some of the cheesemaking processes, and livening up the make room in the mean time!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Production of 'Pecorino Corzano' in full swing

Milking is settling in to a welcome routine with the last ewe lambed and all lambs weaned onto to bottle - not happy but too bad! I'm drunk with all this beautiful milk for the cheese vat. The milk quantity is double what we were getting last year thanks mostly to the unlimited barley fodder available to them. Too bad we know it won't last long as the girls taper off, until the maidens lamb in October.
So I have been stocking up with pure sheep milk pecorino, a natural rind mild cheese called 'Pecorino Corzano' after the farm in Tuscany where the recipe originated. It is looking great but still needs a month or so to ripen.
No plans at this stage to revive the 'Baa Blue' that we made this year. Appologies to the avid followers, but the logistics just couldn't fit into the grand scheme.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Can't wait until training time passes. Its great to have fresh milk and yoghurt again. Little helpers are having fun chasing lambs but heavy frosts are cooling their enthusiasm for real work at the moment.

Fodder Facotory

Fussy sheep don't know when they are onto a good thing but they are starting to get a taste for this strange kind of grass. A nice warm place during winter, there are plenty of volunteers for re-seeding.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lambing has started!

The pressure is on now with 2 sets of twins born into the foul weather last night, and the dairy improvements still aren't quite finished yet. 3 days until first milk.......

Friday, June 5, 2009

Maidens on the long paddock

The hogget ewes with Prospect Ram moving between paddocks this week, back to the cheesery orchard for some fresh pick. They love a run down the road with all the interesting things to eat along the way. The ram was a little concerned about the neighbour's dog.

New barley silo

The girls will be well fed this year. What a relief - happy milkers! The barley will go into the fodder factory (yet to come) to be turned into green shoots.

See Red Hill Cheese homepage

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Merricks Mist

Red Hill Cheese 'Merricks Mist' with vegimite - hmmmm, a great cheese maker's lunch. Merricks is a cow milk white mold cheese with a mild flavor and very soft smooth texture. I have never had a health problem from eating too much cheese, rather too much bread can be the problem!
I make sheep cheese seasonally from my own East Friesian ewes, goat cheese from a local dairy and cow milk cheese with NASSA certified organic cow milk from Fish Creek in Gippsland. The different milks have their own unique characteristics. Cow milk is very reliable for cheesemaking, and buttery, goat milk has delicate but complex flavour, and sheep milk is just liquid gold, with the best qualities of all the others put together.!