In the last two and a half weeks there have been some major deliveries at Pennyroyal, and only some of them were stainless steel.
Since February 24th there have been 174 kids born and 21 lambs, of which 9 doe kids and all 11 ewe lambs were retained for the Pennyroyal herd (we are still increasing the size of the sheep flock, but only need enough doe kids to replace the geriatric goats). The remaining kids and the ram lambs have all been sold as meat animals, for browsing programs, to 4H youth for fair projects, for people wanting dairy animals, or as pets. There are still another 20 goats left to kid between now and the 24th of April, but the chaos of 10 or 12 due in a single day is behind us.
The birth of babies means we are also now producing milk. We are currently milking 84 of the 104 goats and sheep that will be in lactation this year. Our small group of retained babies only consumes a fraction of the milk the girls are producing, so the pressure is really on to get the creamery operational.
The stainless steel deliveries have been as exciting (though not nearly as cuddly) as the babies. A custom jacketed transport tank was delivered at the end of February. We designed it to move milk from the parlor into the creamery, and to have the ability to double as a cold storage tank in case an emergency stops cheese production. We also took delivery of our long over-due shipment from C. van’t Riet which included our pasteurizer, cheese press, curd table, and blue cheese piercer. While it will have to come back out when the flooring installer arrives, the pasteurizer did make its debut in the creamery so we could confirm orientation and the electrician could finish wiring for it. Our chiller units (for chilling the glycol supply for cold water, aging room radiant cooling, and our air conditioning system) have also arrived and are in position on the mechanical pad.
Inside the creamery the last of the insulation went into the walls. Cement board went up in the remaining rooms and our crew has been hard at work getting a fine layer of plaster up in preparation for the final cement coating. In this stage they have set the slopes of the window sills (a sloped sill keeps water from collecting and providing a place for bacteria or mold to grow), and are setting the door frames.
Next on the agenda: our crew installs the ceilings and I start reviewing for the California Pasteurizer’s License exam!