We got up bright and early to be in time for the morning milking. The beauty of the scenery around Dunedin is astounding, driving high up the hill behind Port Chalmers through dense trees and shrubs (that seemed to be natural bush to us ) overlooking the blue harbour is thrilling. The intimate scale of the landscape , the green of the hills accross the blue harbour and the pretty town below us made us feel lucky to live in New Zealand. We turned off on to a narrow gravel road, so narrow and winding through dense growth, that we are still wondering what would have happened should we have met an oncoming car. We passed a delightful, shingled, ‘gingerbread ‘ house with a spectacular view of the harbour and parked beside the milking parlour, with, of course, a spectacular view of the harbour!
Milking was over and placid Jersey cows stood or lay in the stalls relaxing to soft classical music. The parlour has vines with ripening grapes trailing along the rafters over the heads of the cows. There is a magnificent wild looking veg garden close by with roses and what a friend calls English Garden Flowers on all sides of the parlour. As an unexpected bonus we were given some artichokes since the owners were not eating them anymore ( getting sick of artichokes – unimaginable) !
We fell in love with the place and the kids fell in love with the cows. The cows were willing to be petted and ate hay from gingerly offered little hands. The magic ended when the smallest child was given a long lick through the face by a doe eyed but raspy tongued cow. The resulting hysterical wailing and crying shattered the peace and we beat a hasty retreat so as not to disturb the tranquil mood.
Back in Port Chalmers we had the best French Toast ever. A huge cruise ship was docked, dwarfing the town, and the streets were filled with uniformly dressed passengers enjoying a shore visit in glorious Dunedin summer weather (do the ships distribute shore leave uniforms to passengers, we wondered).
Once we got home, I immediately started making ricotta, mainly because I had no room in the fridge for 20 L of milk.