Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The cheesing has begun

Miss Jersey's morning milk production has been reducing steadily of late - it's hard work producing enough milk for a 6 month old calf almost as big as his mum, especially when it's such a dry year, there's not much grass around and she is relying on a hay ration for a lot of her calories. It's not that she doesn't have enough milk for us, it's that she won't give it up - good mum that she is, she holds it back for the calf instead.

Weaning the calf has to be timed carefully as we still only want to milk once a day, which means Miss Jersey's milk production will steadily decline as there is less demand. About 2 months into the her pregnancy is the sweet spot - we'll have enough milk to keep us going for 5 months, but by about 5-7 months after weaning the calf and milking once a day, she'll only be giving up 1-2 litres a day.

So, around 2 weeks ago the calf was weaned - this means a lot of milk for us for the first few months till she begins the wind-down process. Butter production is a full swing and cheese making has just started up again. For the next few months I'll be making butter when I can and cheese several times a week to get a good store up before Jersey is taken off milking duty for 2 months rest before having her new calf.

Some basic fresh cheeses - these will be used within the week.

These guys will be aged into camembert.

I need to work up to making the hard cheeses - they take a lot more milk and a bit more effort than the cheese in these pics, so they'll have to wait till there are fewer distractions.