• Iona

The Last Few Weeks in the life of Ribblesdale Cheese

We have been keeping ourselves pretty busy, making goat cheese twice a week and cow every fortnight, plus the new mystery goat cheese and Yorkshire Bowlers and Pumpkins.

So…what exciting things have we been up to?  Apart from drinking coffee and eating chocolate biscuits.

We made friends with a local journalist, Betsy who lives in the same village as Stu.  Betsy came to interview us and we had a very nice article published in our local rag, the Darlington and Stockton Times.

We had a three person commercial cheese making course comprising Lisa from Shropshire, Debbie from Monmouthshire and Karen from Canada.  The two day course is always a little intense and I don’t know about the poor classmates, but I am wiped out afterwards.  We had good fun and between us made two Wensleydale style goat cheeses and Debbie bought her own cow’s milk (pasteurised) and she made that in to a Wensleydale.  I am looking forward to hearing how the three ladies get on in their new cheese ventures – watch this sapce!

Betsy dropped by to interview Karen, Lisa and Debbie for another article destined for the Dalesman, a Yorkshire magazine; its website says, ‘Since 1939 we have been celebrating all that’s great about God’s Own Country through the pages of our magazines, books and guides’.

We are nearing the end of our cheese making classes for this year.  No more after the end of October until 2014 as we shall be busy with Christmas orders.  Our pumpkins are doing well and the customer for whom we make them says he feels they may not just be a seasonal thing – we will see!

We received our certificates in the post for our recent award wins which is nice but our scanner seems to have packed up so we cannot show these on the blog which is a bit of a shame.  I have recently been bombarded by a lot of  requests for quality info and nutritional info which is such a pain to do as each person expects you to complete 10 odd pages of gumph and you can’t give one you have just completed to another or your own for that matter.

The weather has changed into distinctly cold, bar today.  Driving to work in the mornings, it has been a very cool 4 oC and you can almost smell the threat of snow in the air.  This reminds me, I am going to start another snow book, so if anyone would like to enter, please e-mail me: ionahill@gmail.com

The yield of our goat  milk is slowly starting to creep back up after the summer lull, which is good news.  Our friend Alan from Orchard Valley who has helped us so much in the past with starter culture and new product development advice and has been a positive wiz with his wisdom has left Orchard Valley but we do not know where he has gone – if anyone knows, please let me know; in the meantime, we wish Alan all the very best for the future.  A fellow cheese maker and cheesey friend is not very well, so we have been thinking of him and texting irreverent things.

We had a super mad waxing couple of days to get our finished stock to huge levels, Stu made almost 100 Yorkshire Bowlers, two of which we sold to a gentleman called John who is a member of Cricket Yorkshire  Club and bobbed by a couple of hours ago.

On the animal front,. Stu’s dog Pip, aka Pipsqueak or Squeaker (that’s just me, though), has been behaving in a very odd manner, sitting outside her extremely well appointed kennel in all weathers looking fixedly at the building adjacent to our on the industrial estate.  Neither of us can work out what is wrong with her.  She is eating normally, she plays and bounces around but does this strange gargoyle impression out on the grass, just staring ahead, even in the rain.  It is most odd and neither Stu nor I can work it out.  We wondered if someone was feeding her, but it seems unlikely as there are few people around.  My piglets are feeling the change in the weather and seem to spend all their time sleeping in their separate pig beds.  Snouter’s trotters have become poorly again so he is getting his pain medicine.  Penny Pig is in big trouble as I caught her piddling in the pig house – not in her pig bed, thankfully.  I caught her at it and she immediately stopped and pointed in Snouter’s direction but now I know.  She is supposed to be the cleverer of the two piggies and does know better so I do not know what is going on there.

Stu has all of next week off, for some rest and relaxation, so I shall be at work alone.  I have lots of plans to get cracking again on SALSA and start to clear down a lot of admin stuff I haven’t done, people I have not replied to, but in all honesty, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray as I think they probably will in my case.  Stu has a parental trip planned and possibly some decorating.

So, here is wishing Stu a lovely and peaceful, relaxing holiday and everyone a great weekend!

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