Dolly Llama Arrives

We can’t and won’t take credit for naming this spiritual character that just arrived at Fat Toad Farm this week. She came from a farm in Tunbridge and Allan Howe gets all the credit. She is here, however, on a mission somewhat similar although on a smaller scale than her namesake. Her job is to protect the flock – the little lambs and their moms – from the hungry predators that might be stalking them once they get out into the pasture. Right now however she’s hanging with the boys – the bucks and rams – while she wonders what happened to the lovely farm where she grew up over the past eight years. She did take some grain from a bucket I held for her yesterday though, so I think she’s feeling safer. We know that we are going to feel safer with her guarding everyone.

Lambs and Kids Galore

We are finished with lambing and are happy to report 32 new lambs from 16 mothers. These are St. Croix sheep which are proving to be very reliable “birthers”. We also now have 6 new kids from 3 mom goats and 5 more due in May. We are up to milking 6 goats so the volume of milk is increasing considerably. Steve just started to use his new Hoegger milker since doing all this milking by hand was getting to be a bit much.

We’d like to report beautiful weather in Vermont…what a nice change!!

New MicroDairy Pasteurizer Installed

Steve, Judith and Calley spent a very interesting two days with Frank Kipe and his son-in-law Brian from MicroDairy Designs LLC recently. Frank and Brian drove up from Maryland to install our new pasteurizer and bottler. Frank is an ingenious designer and stainless steel fabricator who is manufacturing a small batch (2-22 gallon) pasteurizer for small dairies such as ours. It’s high quality, full of creative engineering ideas and much more affordable than some of the alternatives. The bottler is especially interesting because it will allow us to bottle things in almost any size containers depending on what holder we use. Initially we plan on doing farm fresh and pasteurized goat’s milk in an 8 oz container. See pictures of the installation process in Flickr.