Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sheep Milk

Yes, as surely as you and I breathe, I have lost my mind. Wasn't it just two weeks ago I said I wasn't ready to fork out the $180 + for the Udderly EZ milker? And yet, just one week after I wrote that, you guessed it, I ordered one! It came about after a series of furious back and forth e-mails with my cheesemaker sister.

We started with her in favor of making a "cheesey" business plan and doing lots of research. I countered with start as a hobby. We can give the cheeses away as Christmas and birthday gifts, complete with our own label. If it turns into more than a hobby then it was meant to be! I even had fun designing a few labels using Microsoft Word and clip art.

sample label

We were discussing the differences between sheep's milk, cow milk, and goat's milk. She mentioned something about diary sheep. I asked if diary sheep are good bloggers. She kept mentioning the diary sheep so I finally said, "DAIRY not DIARY."

She decided she would rather make sheep's milk cheese than goat's milk cheese. That was what almost sent me over the edge. All I needed was just a teensy bit more pushing. So I prodded. I sent her an e-mail: "I am so tempted to buy one of those ez squeezy things right now!!!! Should I do it????? Should I? Huh??" Her reply: "Yes!!"

I promptly ordered it before sanity could return. The UPS man brought it yesterday. I opened the box and examined everything. It seemed simple enough. I washed the components and set them by the sink on a paper towel to dry. Remember, I had not told my dear husband that I ordered this expensive piece of equipment.

I was putting up the wire fencing to contain the two lambs when my husband got home. It was a hot day and I was sweating. He came out to greet me and brought a diet soda for me. I jokingly asked if he saw his new "penis pump". He answered with "Why do you think I'm smiling?" Fortunately he knows my sister and I are a bit nutty so the EZ Milker came as no surprise to him. (He still doesn't know how much it costs though. And no, he doesn't read my blogs.)

Last night I separated the two remaining lambs into their own pen. Jamie and Ewenice would be full of milk in the morning.

milking Jamie with the ez milker

After I fed this morning I decided Jamie would be my first victim. She is very calm and easy going, not to mention easy to catch. I got her set up on the sheep stand and started the process. I got about three cups of milk from her. Not too bad! Better than the 1/4 cup when I tried milking by hand! Next was Ewenice. Just by her very Cheviot nature she is a more nervous sheep and not easily caught. I'm sure the chasing after her with the lasso didn't help her relax any to help let down her milk. I got about 3/4 cup of milk from her, which is still better than the tablespoon or two from our first try a couple weeks ago.

Jamie's 3 cups on the right, Ewenice's 3/4 cups on the left

When Prince left I tried milking the cow. Ladysmith let me know without a doubt that it was a very bad idea. I decided I'd rather risk getting stepped on by the sheep than getting kicked by the cow.

I'm not sure exactly how this whole sheep's milk venture will turn out, but I'll be sure to let you know.


KariAnn said...

That label looks really good! I can't wait to taste some cheese :o)

cirella said...

Tina, you're nuts! And I love that! The label is really cute. I'm glad you and your sissy are happily skipping down the cheese trail together.