With the prospect of literally spending thousands of dollars on animals in the next few months we’ve been researching the different options for protecting the livestock. The first line of defense will be permanent perimeter fencing. It helps keep predators out and our animals in, although it’s not foolproof. We’re using some fencing leftover from the prior owners and also putting up some new fence as needed. Predators will find a way to circumvent the fencing, no doubt. In order to deter them further we plan to have Livestock Guardian Dogs, or LGDs. Very simply, these are big dogs (normally white ones) that live outdoors with the animals and do what their name says, guard. The ability is genetic, although a certain amount of training and level of maturation is necessary for them to succeed. More to come on that later, but for now I wanted to share a story I was reminded of while researching our various dog options.
Since the end of last summer we’ve been acquiring the bits and pieces to put together the creamery. The primary components we’re interested in are the milking system (pipeline or bucket, we don’t know yet), the bulk tank and the cheese vat. The milking system is exactly what it sounds like. It includes the piping and the vacuum system required to milk the animals. In a bucket system you pump the milk directly into buckets and then dump it into the bulk tank. In a pipeline system you pump the milk through a pipeline that flows directly into the bulk tank. There are other variations as well, but those are the basic methods. The bulk tank is where the milk goes for cooling after milking. It cools the milk to approx 40 degrees within an hour or two. Once the milk in the tank is cool and you have enough to make cheese you open up a pipeline and the milk flows to your vat. From there you begin the cheesemaking process. Aside from the construction of the building, these three pieces of equipment are typically the largest capital expenses.
With the move date drawing closer my research is getting more primal. It's been a strange phenomenon, but true. Maybe it's because every time I tell a friend about our plans the first thing they ask is, "Are you going to get a gun?" Ha. It's even funnier when I tell them that I already have guns, plural. More likely, however, it's because I'm subconsciously (and now consciously) reacting to the fact that we'll be living in the middle of nowhere in approximately 6 weeks.