Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hard Loch Cafe

Our cheeses can now be found at the cafe in Loch, when you need to stock up between farmers markets. You can meet the cheese maker personally on the second Saturday of every month at the Coal Creek farmers market in Korumburra, and occasionally at The Foster Produce market.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Prospect East Friesian milkers

In the milking herd this year we have had the first descendents of our Prospect ram. He has given us reliable results of lambs on the ground every year and still going strong. When joined to good ewes the offspring (as pictured) have been overall as good as their dams (in their first year), although you can't work miracles and lambs out of ordinary ewes didn't make the grade or make it into the herd. The ram has thrown the characteristic of 'W' shaped udders, with generally good let-down.

All of you who are interested in East Fresian sheep, I encourage you to pop me an email, let me know why and where you are from. Lets build the growing network :)

Shearing in the dairy

The weather is starting to warm up now and the ewes have been huffing and puffing in their long coats. A good time to whip the wool off and now they are much happier, fitting into the bail with ease. We have had some wild weather during and since shearing, but thankfully our tree shelters and natural topography provided good protection. We were lucky to keep them all dry in sheds before the rain started and got them all shorn together. They make quite a sight now with their stark black and white contrast. Together they give the paddocks the traditional look of Frisian cows, and we have also had the Magpie jokes.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stormy weather

This year we have had some wild spring storms. Last week's storm was a massive deluge with full-on light show, directly over the dairy through the whole of milking. The following flash flood washed a couple of trees down the creek which went over the ford and took out the electric fence. The flattened grass and debri up the steep banks of the creek show where the water level came to, almost to the top of the tunnel under the road. Were going to have dinner before milking last night then it got blacker and Bron decided to go get the sheep early. They were stubborn of course and one got stuck in a mudhole ditch. They just don't like being rushed - used to coming in at their own leisurely pace, grazing on the way. By the time they got in the rain had started. The angry clouds came over very quickly. The usuals were into the dairy in a hurry, almost dry, but the ones left out in the yard had to hide behind the water tank in the torrent. Sheets of water were flowing through the dairy as it blew in horizontally. We managed to get through milking without the power going off and loss of any milk, as the vacuum hold the seals in the milk can closed. Bron fixed the electric fence after the last storm but there is another short this morning so we will be going hunting again. The silver lining is when the setting sun shines under clouds, lighting up the green hills against a black backdrop like it did last night. Magical (sorry no camera this time).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Venus Bay release this weekend

We have all been waiting patiently for this new sheep cheese to ripen over the last 3 months, and it is finally ready to enjoy. It will be available from Boroondara farmers market this Saturday morning, and also from our cellar door.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spring images on the farm

Silage time, and shearing's on its way

Spring miracles

Red Hill Dairy has had its first lambs born that were conceived on the new farm. In the process of moving and having sheep all together when we arrived, an old ewe and a young maiden lamb decided they were ready to be joined, and have both lambed on the same day last week. The old girl had been expected for a while, but the maiden was quite a surprise we found in the long grass while checking. We had gone hunting that day for a missing milker (ovine type), who was found grazing in an out-of-sight gully. So not only were we relieved to find her but had a bonus of 3 new lambs on the same day. Sometimes you have a winner. On the way past their first trough after lambing, the ewes have a giant thirst and stop for a long drink. Perhaps we should get a Maremma dog to carry a barrel around the paddock. The rest of the milking herd stopped in their tracks on the way in that day, very curious about these new arrivals, who really drew attention. The mothers have bumped up the milk volume in the vat, and the lambs are doing famously, almost ready to go out on grass.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Foster produce and craft market

This weekend Red Hill Cheese attended our first market at Foster, by Wilson's Prom. The Lad and I were very pleased to be able to offer our cheeses to the people of Foster, since not only does out creek share the same name, but our Certified Organic cow milk comes from the local area at Fish Creek - Orana, the Smiths and now Pauls are local legends. It seems everyone I speak to this side of the black stump have heard of their work.
We found the market to have a spacious, relaxed atmosphere, and it was great to see some of our Melbourne regulars, visiting Prom Country over the Melbourne Cup long weekend. We look forward to some lively markets over the forthcoming season. It's very satisfying to turn Gippsland milk into Gippsland cheese and then sell it in Gippsland.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Prom Picnic

Red Hill Cheese is releasing a new-season cheese this week;
Prom Picnic. This is a semi-hard sheep cheese with a fruity, fresh lactic flavor. It is a perfect addition to a picnic basket for a day out in Prom Country, matched with a loaf of Hope Farm bread, and a bottle of Koongunya Kopino. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Farmers market

Our products will be available in Gippsland for the first time tomorrow at the Coal Creek farmers market, as printed in the 'Sentinel Times' this week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Faces of Moyarra - getting about the farm

Settling into a new dairy

The ewes have been very patient, adapting to many changes in their facilities over the years as the dairy has grown. Now they have one final hurdle to overcome, but are starting to get used to their new home and 12-bail dairy, which should make life easier over the years for all concerned. After much demolition, construction and refinements the dairy is now operational, while still having some final installments.
We are having a very wet winter and there have been some challenges running sheep on a property that has grazed only cattle for the last 50 years. However the water runs away quickly into the Foster creek, and the quality of the feed is outstanding, expected to show its full colors in spring / summer.
The girls have new friends in 2 alpacas that have joined the herd for the first time. They have taken on their task well as protectors of the flock, worrying when the sheep are disturbed.
We are 2 weeks into lambing so the milk is starting to trickle in. While we are finishing off the last of the pecorino and feta from the previous season, fresh Black Wool and yoghurt will be available soon. Red Hill Cheese will soon be found at our local Gippsland farmers markets, starting with Coal Creek at Korumburra.