Friday, August 26, 2011

Full Freezers

We are coming in to the final period before Christina's dry period.  Her milk production has already dropped in the last few weeks from the four-and-a-half gallons a day we've been enjoying almost from the beginning down to three-and-a-half gallons.  Today we begin switching her to grass hay, a lower quality feed that will produce less milk.  Next week we'll drop to one milking a day and have her fully dried off within two weeks.

It'll be two-and-a-half months without fresh milk but we are ready.  Last year we had only had Christina for two months before she dried off and were only able to freeze some milk and cream.  This year we expect to get through the entire dry period without buying any additional dairy.

Since May we've been freezing milk, cream, butter, mozzarella, fromage blanc, cottage cheese and cream cheese.  We have 37 gallons of milk, 26 quarts of cream and 16 pounds of butter.  We have 8 packages of fromage blanc, 5 packages of cream cheese, and 6 packages of cottage cheese.  The mozzarella we didn't count,  just make it and threw it in the freezer to keep our pizza habit going.  Of course, our hard cheeses (cheddar, colby, parmesan, and romano) will wait for us, aging in their "cheese cave."

Our freezers are brimming.  In addition to all the dairy, we are adding stuff from the garden nearly every day and we just bought a butchered pig, adding about 150 pounds of meat.  This chest freezer is full up to the top.  Our upright convertible refrigerator/freezer has been switched to freezer and is completely full.  The last chest freezer is 3/4 full but we think we'll make it.

Full freezers give a wonderful feeling, knowing that Christina milk will be waiting for us, even as she has the last two months of pregnancy for the needs of her own body and her new calf.  Just as she rests, so will we.  With our daily milking chores  lifted, we plan to camp and vacation and watch movies in the evening. 

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