So today the business took a huge leap forward, with the purchase of a portable milking machine!
Here I am, taking a selfie with it:
We were very lucky: after putting a post up on Facebook asking for one, we were contacted almost straight away by Tim Gibson to say they currently had a second hand one for sale at a good price. Thankfully, we are blessed with incredibly supportive parents and family, and with generous contributions from my parents Janet and Jeff and my Aunty Eileen and Uncle Bob we were able to snap up the bargain (thank you!)
So off we went and purchased our first very own milking machine. It’s important to add at this point that we are not udderly crazy (couldn’t resist the pun) and purchased a milking machine with no sheep to milk!
For the last month and a bit, I have been working for Pete Webster at Lawkland Hall Farm, milking his herd of dairy cows. This came about when Pete very generously offered to give me some experience milking.
This has since snowballed quite unexpectedly and tremendously and we are now taking on milking his flock of 30 Lacuane sheep. We are currently in the process of clearing out one of the old shippon buildings to turn it into a milking parlour, and will be spending the next couple of weeks power washing it out, white washing the walls and generally transforming it.
Once the shippon is clean and whitewashed, we just need to construct a small milking platform and we’ll be off!
Alongside this, it looks as though we have found a builder who can begin work on the extension to the cheesemaking room at The Courtyard Dairy within the next few weeks.
This now means that within the space of just a matter of months, we are now on the verge of been full fledged dairy farmers, making and selling commercial artisan farmhouse cheese. Which is both wildly unexpected and incredibly exciting. There is an awful lot to be said for just been willing to pick the phone up and be a little bit cheeky and ask people for help. Sam and myself have both been utterly humbled by the willingness and enthusiasm of the local Yorkshire community to open their doors to us and freely give us their very valuable time to provide us with some much needed help and advice.
So things are certainly moving along at a rapid pace. We’ll keep you posted of our progress!
We’ll keep you posted!