Starting a dairy

Not that I’d really want to start a dairy, I really don’t want to, but for kicks, I checked in to it.  Darned!!!  It’s incredibly expensive.  If you are going to make aged cheese, it is easier, but if it’s soft cheese (Chevre) which is what I’ve been making, unless you are independently wealthy, forget it.

They don’t make it easy for small-time farmers to benefit from the work they put into their animals.  It’s the big, factory farms that provide the food that most Americans eat.

I spoke at length to a dairy in Hamptonville, North Carolina:  Daddy’s Girl Dairy Farm.  I had been meaning to call her to talk to her about her use of herbs to worm her goats instead of chemical worming.  We talked for a long time.  She was very kind to share her knowledge with me. I went ahead and purchased Juliette de Bairacli Levy’s The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable (been meaning to do that) so I can read what herbs she recommends to maintain health in farm animals.

I have been adding dill, fenugreek and fennel to my goats’ grain (to increase milk production) as well as powdered sea vegetables and it seems to be working.  I noticed tonight when I was milking that Penny is increasing.  Keeping goats milking at this time of year is a bit difficult and I may not do it next year, or maybe I’ll just keep one milking.

Sunshine has been located.  She’s up in the hay loft of Red’s barn.  I was so busy running errands today that I wasn’t able to get over there during daylight to get her down.  She’ll be fine up there until tomorrow morning when I bring everyone up for the Christmas Tree Farm.

It was a very busy day today.  A 10:15 doctor appointment, then I stopped at a funky store that has all sorts of weird stuff and found a case of half-gallon sized mason jars.  Then to Walmart to get flour, sugar and eggs to make banana bread, then to get venison.  Ran home and off-loaded everything and let the dogs out.  Then to get my hair cut.  Rushed back home to check the dogs and put up the sheep, then to a 4:00 meeting at Walmart which was pushed up to 5:00.  Had supper at a local diner, then attended the meeting.  Got back, took the dogs for a good run, checked on Sunshine, then milked the goats (into a feed bucket because I decided to just let the dogs have it) and now I’m inside to rest.  Work from 9 to 6 tomorrow.  Will have to get up early to get the goats milked and the livestock up to the Christmas Tree Farm before going to work.

While at Walmart I found the perfect thing for draining my cheese.  They are called flour sacks, but they are not sacks at all but squares of nice cotton (not sure what they are really used for).  They are the perfect size.  I was using a couple of old pillow cases and a torn up sheet (which I sterilize before using), but the threads from the torn sheet were causing a mess in the washing machine.

A quick note on dog training.  When I got back from my hair cut, the sheep were down in the back 40.  I tried to send Gel for them, but he looked at me like I had two heads (Gel is being a jerk still).  Fern went and Cian followed.  Both of them did beautiful outruns and brought the sheep up nicely.  Gel got in on it at the end (maybe he thought I didn’t notice that he didn’t go initially).  The cool thing is that Cian’s brain is starting to work again!  Yea!  Heck, that he’s even recalling to me is a big plus.

3 Replies to “Starting a dairy”

  1. I can’t give my milk to someone else to process and then re-sell it because in order for my milk to be used, I have to be a certified dairy. I can buy milk from a certified dairy and make cheese to sell, but that would be extremely cost prohibitive, unless of course I figure out some super-duper flavor of cheese.

  2. Illegal in NC. I’ll just keep making cheese until I have no more room in my freezer. I’m looking at getting a second freezer.

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