Archive for April, 2010
When I interviewed the lovely Alys Fowler for the Greenhouse Blog – see interview here – she said a couple of things that have stayed with me. The gorgeous gardener (I particularly like her hair), who currently has her own BBC2 show The Edible Garden, told me that she believed it should be possible to walk to happiness. By that she meant that the things that make us happy should be close to us – our community, our gardens and homes, our family and friends. She also said she wished more people made things, whether that’s a thank you card, a compost bin or a knitted jumper. How right she is! Homemade things have more significance for much longer. She’s a girl after my own heart. So, my (belated) resolution for this year is to follow her advice and make as much as I possibly can. I’ll let you know how I get on.
When Simon Stott leads his 400 Friesland ewes into the milking parlour at his farm at Beacon Fell, Lancashire, he makes sure Classic FM is playing on the radio to keep them calm and relaxed. “I’ve tried without music and it seems to reduce the quantity of milk they produce,” says Stott. “Unlike cows, if your milk yield drops with sheep, it doesn’t come back, so we work hard to keep them happy.”
Milking sheep seems an odd concept. It may be commonplace in Mediterranean countries where many cheeses are made from sheep’s milk — there’s feta cheese in Greece; ricotta and pecorino in Italy; manchego in Spain; and Roquefort in France — but seeing British ewes lined up in a parlour is an unusual sight. In fact, there are at least 15,000 sheep being milked in the UK, according to the British Sheep Dairying Association, and at least 70 British sheep’s cheeses. What’s more, around the world there are more sheep being milked than cows. Read the rest of this entry