“Doing the dairy” in winter: Pt. 1
You won’t be surprised to learn that June says she’s “doing the dairy”. A main difference between doing the dairy in winter compared to the other seasons, is that with milk production down, there will be no cheeses made till the following spring.
Early winter and June’s averaging one and a half litres, the combined amount from three goats milked once a day. About a week from now, she’ll stop milking Gretchen, who is due to kid mid-September. Minnie and Delores, not having to meet the demands of being in kid, and predominantly British Alpine and therefore good winter milkers, will then be our two milk suppliers for the next few months, ensuring that June can say, all year round: “I’m doing the dairy.”
Throughout winter, that means we can still have a lavish serve of yoghurt on our porridge, a glass of milk each for lunch, and for June, a glass before bed. And while there are three being milked, there’s enough left over for cheese sauces, adding to mashed potato, and every now and then a custard or rice pudding or quiche. We’d built up an excess a week ago so June put one and a half litres in a plastic bottle in the freezer.
Neither of us have milk in coffee and tea, and that’s a bonus when milk supply is tight, as we have quite a few hot drinks in a day. And I’ll forego my lunchtime glass if necessary, and as a last resort we’ll buy in non-homogenised full cream cow milk to tide us over. We always used to get organic, a more flavoursome and we believe a healthier option; what’s more we like to support organic producers. However, we now rationalise that as we buy milk for a few weeks only of the year, and do strive to save money by producing much of our own food and drink, we’ll go for the much cheaper option.
Older women, it would seem even more so than men, need plenty of calcium to keep their bones strong. Organic, non-pasteurised goat milk is high in calcium and it’s rare for June to have to miss out on at least one big glass a day.
June likes goats and she likes milking them; she’s convinced that their milk is good for our general health and sense of well-being. All great incentives when it comes to the chore of “doing the dairy”. And once you’ve got the essential hygiene requirements sorted it’s not so bad. Next week I’ll detail her straightforward routine.
That’s all on modern-day homesteading at Little Owl Gully till next Monday’s “Doing the dairy” in winter: Pt. 2. Thanks for your company. Bye for now.