Updates & Blog

Posted 9/10/2012 10:00am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

Hello from Yellow House Cheese!


Many things are happening around the house, the farm and the market...


Around the Farm-- Ewes have been happily munching on their grass pastures. Rams are getting ready for the ewes. We are going to put the rams in with the ewes on the first of October. That will put lambing starting near the end of February. With as many ewe lambs as we have this year, lambing could run through April or May.


Around the House--- We have freezer lamb available. Reservations must be made by the end of this week. If you are interested in lamb for your freezer, please email the farm at cheese@yellowhousecheese.com


Around the Markets-- Only 2 more Montrose markets. you can find us there on Tuesdays from 3-6p. Medina Market runs through October and takes place on Saturdays from 9-1. We are also still available at Weiland's Gourmet Market in Columbus and Whitefeather Meats in Creston.

On the web-- Looking for more ways to love Yellow House Cheese? You can now find us on Pinterest where we share our favorite recipes, other cheese makers, sheep pictures and more. You can find us here. Start following today.


Thank you for all of your support. Please continue to share the love and suggest our site and facebook page to your other cheese loving, family farm supporting friends!


Enjoy your week,


The Henslee's

Posted 8/22/2012 6:19am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

Excited to announce that Yellow House Cheese will be selling during the Medina International Festival on the Historic Medina Square this Saturday, August 25 from 9am-7pm. Flocks Choice, Yellow House Blue and King's Castle will all be featured at this event. Plan on coming out to visit this Saturday in our space near the Gazebo. I am trying to convince Kevin to wear his lederhosen and there are belly dancers-- sounds like an event you do not want to miss!

More information on the fest can be found here on Main Street Medina's website.

Yellow House Cheese posts our latest, greatest happenings on our facebook page. Are you a fan? Like us.


 
Posted 8/17/2012 10:01pm by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

Good Morning from Yellow House Cheese!

We are heading out to the Medina Farmer's Market this morning and will be offering delicious cheese samples from 9am-1pm. This week we are featuring our signature Yellow House Blue, a creamy blue farmstead sheep milk cheese, Flock's Choice, a not-quite-blue with loads of fresh sheep's milk flavor, and finally our King's Castle Blue, a traditional blue with mild, delightful flavor. All cheeses are newly cut, wrapped and ready for sale.

You can also find Yellow House Cheese at the Akron General Wellness Center Farmer's Market on Tuesday afternoons from 3-6pm in Montrose.

We are also proud to announce that Yellow House Cheese is now being sold at Whitefeather Meats in Creston and in Weiland's Gourmet Foods in Columbus.

Thank you all for your support and please spread the word about Yellow House Cheese!


  

 

Posted 7/23/2012 10:18am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

You can now purchase select Yellow House Cheese at the Medina Farmer's Market held each Saturday morning from 9am-1pm.


Selling this week, Saturday, July 28 will be our sheep's milk blue as well as our King's Castle cow's milk blue.


Yummy samples will be available in our booth!


We are excited to meet you and thank you for supporting Yellow House Cheese.

Posted 7/17/2012 1:45pm by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

Here are some additional photos of the puppies left in the litter.

I am still finding it difficult to capture a great pic with such active puppies.

I hope these encourage you to come out and take a look.

They are all sweet puppies, very gentle and love my little girls!

There are three puppies left, 2 boys and one girl. They were born May 20, given their first round of shots and are being crate trained overnight. All will be registered with the ABCA.

Please send a message if you are interested in coming out to see the puppies.

   

Prince

 

   

Nuggit & Prince

 

Princess

Posted 7/3/2012 7:16am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

Puppies are here!

So we birth a lot of things around here—children, calves, lambs, random kittens. We have hatched chicks, but we have never had puppies.

Our oldest dog, Ollie the Border Collie came into the family when my girls were 2 & 3. We were not ready to train a border collie on our sheep or cows so we always discouraged him when he tried to work the livestock. Instead he was banned to the patio and forced to watch the girls on the swing set. Consequently he in an excellent guard dog for the girls. Ollie is great with the girls, has bitten the neighbors while they chased my girls, and he has perfected fetching anything and everything. But he does not herd—and that is our fault.

After a while we realized as our cow herd and sheep flock grew that we could really use a herding dog. The girls and I surprised Kevin on his birthday with Gretta, a red and white female border collie. She’s a great dog with great instinct and I could not get the sheep milked without her help to bring them in. Gretta is smart and a perfect side kick to Ollie.

Well then the birds and the bee’s thing happened and along came four sweet puppies, two girls and two boys. Two mostly black and two with Ollie’s traditional color pattern.

The birth was of course in the middle of the night (as are all anticipated births around here) and just happened to be in the kitchen. The girls are absolutely in love with each one and have split the boys and girls equally between the two of them. Corinne named hers Princess and Prince and Ellen named hers Nuggit (yes this is the correct spelling if you ask my first grader) and Sniffy. Sniffy is personally my favorite—such a great name and a cute pup too.

Lately the puppies have been so fun, playful and eager to explore the yard and barn. The girls are in charge of their feeding and watering and plenty of playing. I am pretty sure they all went for a baby stroller ride last night, too.

Princess is a sweet girl with a traditional white collar, four white paws and a white tip on her tail. She is a sweet cuddler and loves to play.

Prince is the most daring of the four puppies. He explores alone and likes to adventure around the yard. Prince is all black with two white marks on his neck.

Nuggit is the chubbiest of the pups. He is all black with four white paws. A ball of fur and fun, he is always rolling around looking for someone to play with.

Last is Sniffy. She is the smallest and cutest and has the most white. Her tail is half white and half black and she has the cutest freckles on her belly.

All the pups are for sale and can be registered with the American Border Collie Association. They will have their first round of shots and will be ready for new homes the week of July 16. If you are interested in a pup, please send a message to cheese@yellowhousecheese.com

And I apologize for such bad picture quality. Taking a photo of a squirming puppy proved harder than I expected on the poor camera phone.

Posted 5/15/2012 7:57pm by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

Things are moving quite fast around the farm these days. Every morning we have been up and out in the parlor by 6:00 am to milk the sheep. We are up to 39 ewes in the milk line up. We are trying to make at least four batches of cheese each week, about three cow’s milk runs and two sheep milk.

We have decided to focus our efforts on creating delicious, handcrafted blue cheeses. Yellow House cheese is committed to making a consistent, high quality product and we feel that the Ohio artisan cheese community could use a blue cheese maker.

Making cheese is an interesting production in itself. It involves much cleaning in preparation, constant sanitization and what I like to refer to as “magic.” Magic is how the milk transforms into cheese. I am quite certain that it also has a lot to do with starter cultures and rennet, but when I witness the milk turn into curds it truly seems like magic.

Our cheese is made in 30 gallon batches in a reclaimed steam kettle that we heat with hot water. The milk is warmed to a target temperature, the cultures are added, you wait, you add some rennet, you wait, you cut the curd, mix, separate the curd from the whey (insert Little Miss Muffet reference here) and finally put the curds in a mold to drain and you magically have cheese.

It’s just that easy.

The cheeses drain for a day or so, get salted and then are moved to the aging cave where they will sit and wait for 60 days for legal sale. We do not pasteurize our milk, so the 60-day aging rule is mandatory.

We are excited to roll out Yellow House Cheese soon, but until then we will sit and monitor the cave and bring you updates as soon as our first batches are ready to go.

 

Posted 5/8/2012 8:57am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.



Thank you for your interest in Yellow House Cheese.


We are a small acreage, family farm located in Seville, Ohio.


We have been busy over the last year preparing our farm for dairy sheep, renovating a carriage house for our milk house and creamery as well as building a milking parlor and hand digging a cheese cave for aging. Kevin and I have been proud (and exhausted) to complete the entire project ourselves. We had some help with the plumbing and had a friend pour the concrete but we were able to work together to complete the entire renovation before milking began.


We are now milking over 25 sheep with about 10 more to come on board in the next two weeks. We have been making cheese and have decided to concentrate on producing handmade, artisan style blue cheeses. I am anticipating a serious learning curve, but am committed to making delicious cheese.

Yellow House Cheese will be selling our cheeses at the Medina Farmers Market, directly to fine dining chefs and hopefully will sell in a few retail locations as well.


I encourage you all to support local agriculture and learn more about family farms. If you know anyone that might be interested in our products, please pass along our contact information, any help is appreciated.


Thank you all for your support,


Kristyn & Kevin Henslee

Posted 4/12/2012 5:24am by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.


It has been a whirlwind lambing season here at Yellow House Cheese.

It is so interesting. The miracle of birth never gets old to me. A sweet baby lamb, or two, or three—can successfully come out of another animal is crazy to me.

We are lambing out over 40 ewe lambs (that means it’s their first baby) and a few older ewes. The process is stressful to me because honestly I am a nervous mother hen. Every night we check the ewes every two hours just to make sure everyone is happy and check on those ready to go into labor. It’s like getting up with a newborn—except the newborns are fluffy, white and ruminants. The older ewes should have no problems with their deliveries; I worry more about the ewe lambs. The sheep we purchased last year are Booroola gene carriers which increase the likelihood of multiple births. And with multiple births can come multiple problems—tangled legs, breech births, two at once… So hence the reason I get up to check! So far my overnight checking has been pretty fruitless. Most of our lambs are being born between 5 am and 10 pm.

After the lambs are born we move both the mom and baby into a lambing pen. These pens promote bonding between the mother and baby and also keep a fragile newborn lamb safe from trampling. Side panels on the pen keep any cold draft off of the lamb to help prevent early onset pneumonia. In the pens, lambs nurse their mothers for the first time. The first milk is called colostrum and is very valuable to the health of the lamb. Colostrum holds antibodies that the mother has built up and passes them along to their babies to keep them safe for the first month or so of life.

Most babies stay in lambing pens for 24-36 hours. After that we let them both out to join the rest of the flock. This is the part of the “miracle of life” that really gets to me—after just minutes lambs are up, around and nursing. After two days the little lambs are able to run, jump and skip around the barnyard. Truly amazing when you compare the capabilities of a baby lamb and a human infant.

Getting ready for lambing is kind of like packing your hospital bag… except you are actually preparing the lambing hospital into a kit. The kit includes a scale to weigh lambs, a bucket to weigh lambs (and carry the rest of the supplies), ear tags for identification, bands for tails and castration and navel clamps.

 

This year our ear tags are pink! And they have our names on them! So cool.  The first number of the tag is a 2 for 2012. That way we can figure out how old a ewe is in the flock and who their litter mates are.

You put the ear tags in with a tagger.

The bander puts on the little orange bands. We dock the tails of the ewe lambs for hygiene. Fly strike is pretty nasty and causes wool maggots. Trust me it’s gross—so this is why we band the tails. Rams get to keep their tails because they will be to the market before it should make a difference. We castrate the males so that the male and female lambs can be raised together and not be able to breed.

Navel clamps are used to close the umbilical cord to prevent infection. We also dip the cord in iodine to help sterilize the stump.

The kit also includes a tube feeder to help weak lambs that are unable to nurse, gloves for sterile delivery assistance, and most importantly the lambing record book. This is where we keep all interesting information like date and time of delivery, ewe ID, lamb ID, weights of the lambs and any interesting notes about the delivery. Kevin and I think it’s pretty important to keep good notes on how births went and how big lambs were. It definitely helps us when making decisions on flock management.

While I find this time of year totally stressful, it is truly wonderful. New baby labs to cuddle and snuggle almost every day makes it worth it!

 

Posted 3/9/2012 6:39pm by Kevin & Kristyn Henslee.

Shearing Day

Wool: Now You See It—Now You Don’t

The sheep are naked!

We started our preparation for lambing and milking today with shearing and annual shots.

Here is how the girls all looked this morning before we started.

All the ewes were worked in the chute for their annual shots and after their doctoring we treated to cool new haircuts.

George worked his shearer magic.

George is a great guy and a great shearer. He and his dog Roy managed to get all 49 sheep sheared in just under 6 hours. Which seemed like a long time, but we were busy the entire time.

Roy is a great dog and only had to work the sheep once. Most of the time he was just chilling waiting to do his job. Here's a picture of him and Ellen taking a break while we were busy in the chutes and shearing.

George and Roy recently competed in the sheep dog trials at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado and placed 9th out of 50. The results are posted here.

He has also won many awards for his shearing abilities too.

Here is a video from the 2011 Ohio State Fair where George placed first for his shearing. The video is quite long, but a great look at how shearing competitions work.

Our sheep are very pregnant right now. They looked very chubby before the shearing. And here’s how different they look now. I think they are so cute!

Most of our wool was lambs wool this year, meaning it was the first time the sheep had been shorn.

Here is a fleece after shearing.

Each fleece is then packed into a wool bag. Here are the wool bags before we got started.

Getting fuller.

And the final tally… we filled two and a half bags. Full bags weighed about 120 pounds and the half bag around 75 pounds, so that’s just over 300 pounds of wool from our 49 sheep.

George markets our wool for us and the wool company sends us a check based on the value of our wool.

After we were finished, the ewes definitely looked smaller and whiter.

They are just as happy shorn as not and are looking pretty as they get ready to lamb.

If you are looking for a sheep shearer, send a message and we’ll pass along George's info.