Milking time, finally

This spring has been totally upside down and crazy.  I have not gotten going with milking even though I meant to do so, weeks ago.  For the moment I am milking in the afternoons.  A few days ago I began separating SnowPea and Pippi from their babies right after breakfast, and after milking in the afternoon they are reunited with their brood.

View from the milkstand
View from the milkstand

I had moved the milkstand into our hay greenhouse for the winter, where we do things like hoof trimming.  My old situation for milking has changed in the past year, and I wasn’t sure that this would work out.  But the weather has been quite dry, so I am just pulling the milkstand out of the greenhouse and milking in the open air.  Awesomely wonderful!  The sky and the trees are as lovely as the milking is soothing, and it’s all coming together.

No curds in sight.
No curds in sight.

I have been doling out the frozen chevre in the past month or two, as I am down to just a few left from this past milking season.  So I was very excited yesterday to get out all my cheese equipment and sanitize it up and get it ready for the first batch.  I had 3 gallons of milk ready to go, so I set it up yesterday and warmed the milk, added the culture, and popped that pot under 3 towels to rest.  This morning as I opened up the pot, it was a giant fail.  No curds in sight.  Mama mia!  I was counting on this batch as the first one of the year (some of which I was intending to take on our yearly outing to Vinalhaven island, next Thursday).  OMG.  Phage or what?  Culture that was too old, or did I not drain the milk pot enough after sanitizing?  I left that pot on the counter for at least 2 hours, and I stirred it and pondered it for that whole time, in between other activities.

This has bothered me all day, and as I was playing it through in my head yet again late this afternoon, I finally knew what the problem was.  What a bird brain I am.  I forgot the rennet!!!   I guess it’s the curse of the first batch of the year.  Just not into the routine, still.  Sigh.  I hope to do better.

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