Thursday, February 23, 2012

Say Cheese!

Don't get excited. This adorable lamb is not living in our kitchen. It was tough to not slip her under my jacket as I was leaving Good Shepherd Cheese last night, but honestly, I'm not sure I'd be able to keep up with this precocious little lamb.



"When I grows up, I'm gonna make cheese!"



Already studying hard!



Kentucky has its first and only sheep dairy, Good Shepherd Cheese, just down the road in Bath county. I first met the Dotson's at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival a couple years ago. They were just getting started with their sheep and cheese making venture and we only talked briefly, but I walked away with a good feeling.



After visiting their farm facility yesterday, I know why.



Not only are they making some darn good cheese, but they also really love their sheep (most important :-) and it shows.



They are milking a growing herd of East Friesian sheep. Here the ladies are outside, patiently waiting their turn to come into the milking parlor. They walk up a ramp, find a spot on the line where they eat their dinner as the family washes their udders and start milking. They then continue down the walkway, out another door and the next group moves in. In a nutshell. Their website is full of more information, pictures, videos...



I was supposed to be there bagging fleeces for Bill and Don. Oops. I got sidetracked touring, taking pictures and yes, hugging lambs, and they had them all done in no time at all. It was pretty dark, but I got a few good pictures. I love this one, with the last ewe to be sheared watching her friend.

"Oh man, I can't believe they're doing that to Ruthie."

Her name isn't Ruthie. I just made that up. All the Dotson's sheep do have names though. As they pointed out different sheep and told their stories, it was obvious that this was a big family business. I liked that.



And we won't talk about why it looks like this fleece (not that yellow in real life) is in a plastic bag, possibly headed out to my car. They aren't currently marketing the wool, but it sounded like there was some interest. And if the wool spins as nice as it looks...

So we've covered lamb snorgling, nice folks, happy sheep, pretty fleeces. What about the cheese???



Here are a couple blocks/wheels (looks like I need another trip up so I can get the terminology correct ;-) aging in the cheese "cave".



And some short lived samples.

I wasn't sure what to expect. And I don't know food terms any more than I know cheese making terms, so I'm just going to say it wasn't just good, it was really good. Here is a link to some more educated reviews.

One thing I do know is cute lambs, so I'll leave you with another one. This is the spotted lamb's sister - Dorothy and Rainbow.



Those two lambs terrorized this poor Border Collie all evening. Two lambs running amok? Just. Not. Right.

Those good Border Collies.

"You sheep aren't supposed to be getting into everything. Sheep don't touch dogs! Sheep don't KISS dogs!!!"

But never did more then show some sharp, pointy teeth...and send some sharp, pointy looks at the shepherds ;-).

It was a nice evening.

22 comments:

I need orange said...

What a lovely visit, and what a lovely place.

Thank you for taking us along.

Alice said...

What an amazing tasty adventure! Who knew that sheep’s milk could be made into cheese? I noticed how clean the surroundings were. I wish them the best.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

I think I just felt my heart spill over with all that love.............

:)

Dreaming said...

Wow! What fun! I'd love to see all of this in person, but you did a fine job of making me feel like I was there.
I didn't get to 'snorgle' a lamb... love that word!
The picture of the lamb with the Border Collie is precious!

Lori Skoog said...

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Is there any cheese in your future? What a great tour. The set up looks fantastic and good for all those beautiful creatures. How many sheep do they have?

small farm girl said...

Oh, I have GOT to go for a visit!

Anonymous said...

So.....when is the cheese tasting party going to be? I can bring wine!

Benita said...

A friend of mine owns a sheep dairy in south-central Indiana, and she has East Fresian sheep, too. Her ram, Spooner, is the biggest teddy-bear of a sheep I've ever scratched the noggin' on, and I have purchased 4 of her fleeces, one of which has gone out in the Fiber Binder Club. Nice!!! I can certainly see why you had to take one home. And, yes, we cuddled with some lambs, too. How can you not?!?

Nancy K. said...

How fun! So, are you planning on getting an East Friesian or two???
Milking and cheese making would give you something to do with ALL OF YOUR SPARE TIME....

;-)

Peacecat said...

I am laughing out loud. PRECIOUS photos. That sheepdog. Ha!!
Those darn lambs are just the sweetest. And the cheese looks amazing...

Michelle said...

If I ever get back to Lexington, that place is going on my itinerary! Thanks for the tour!

Terry and Linda said...

Oh, how much fun! I would love to kiss a lamb or two. I wish their cheese was here, if it ever is I'm buying it. That dog and lamb photo is a hoot!

The girls watching the shearing is just like your say.....WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO RUTHIE!!!!?

Great post! Loved every word and photo of it!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

Far Side of Fifty said...

LOL at the Border Collie..thanks for the trip..it looks like a wonderful place of business!! I wish them much good luck in their venture..oh those lambs are just too cute:)

Deb W said...

The last time I talked to them, the Good Shepherd Sheep Dairy folks said they were definitely going to come to the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival! Maybe we can talk them into bringing a lamb or two? Some fleece? Who knows what all you might find in their booth, but for sure there will be CHEESE! So you all can come to KSFF, meet them, and all the rest of us from Central KY!

Tombstone Livestock said...

There is a sheep dairy here in Central California's San Joquain Valley using East Friesian Sheep ... I met the owner at a recent agri-tourism class his web site is .....
http://chateaufresnoorganics.blogspot.com/p/about-us.html

Pam said...

I just hooted when I saw the last shot with the collie. I can just hear it...
"The nerve. The disrespect. The AUDACITY!!!"
Best shot ever!

farmer said...

really enjoyed this!!
The set up for milking was not what I expected..great pictures!

Terry said...

I never heard of a sheep dairy or sheep cheese. Very interesting. That baby is adorable.

Joan said...

What a fascinating trip! Thanks for sharing... and I bet it took some serious will power to not take that lamb home. She's adorable!

Denise said...

Love this tour of the dairy sheep and the cheese making facility. I went to school with some Dotson's and since Bath Co. is so close to Nicholas Co, it makes me wonder if they might be relatives. I love knowing that people will go to such an effort to make a quality product. I started making feta and chevre last fall from a friends goat herd. It was fun to make and tasted good too. I'm starting to blog again after having my desk top go down for 9 months. Your blogs are always so beautiful. cheers

Ed said...

Very cool and I love goat cheese, the lambs are adorable and that last pic is PRICELESS!!!!!

gowestferalwoman said...

If Mr. foresterman is going to do all the haying...i gotta get me some lambs...but no border collies! LOL That last picture is the truth !

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