Passing though the barbed wire fence we walked a short distance before reaching the goat barn.
The Fire Foxes were carrying wooden buckets.
As we opened the barn door the choking smell of goats met our noses.
「Alright then, let’s divide things up and get to work.」
Kuu took command and divided up the tasks amongst the goats. They began milking them and carrying away the milk in the wooden buckets they had brought.
Generally each goat was able to provide between 1 and 2 liters of milk.
Since we had 90 female goats we expected to get around 100 liters of milk from them daily.
They had been practicing daily, so by this point they were able to finish milking within an hour.
「Alright everyone let’s let the goats out to graze.」
They then threw open the doors and drove the goats outside. The goats disappeared into the trees to search out food.
They would be able to move as they pleased within the barbed wire fence. They would be able to seek out food and get some exercise.
While that was happening the Fire Foxes divided themselves into two groups. The first group would clean up. They would gather up the feces and leftover food to carry to the waste pit. They would then wet the floors and clean them before refilling the food troughs.
The second group would be processing the goat milk.
I decided to go with the second group.
「Ah, Cyril-niisama thanks for coming with. Yukino will do her best.」
The goat milk was all poured into a large cylindrical tub which was being warmed by the silver fox Yukino.
Using the thermometer I had made they would maintain the temperature at 65 degrees C. The thermometer was a simple one that relied on heat to make the liquid inside climb up.
「Yukino this might take a while but do your best.」
If the milk was not sterilized beforehand, drinking it would cause an upset stomach. If it was heated to 100 degrees then that would take a much shorter time, but it would also harm the proteins inside the milk and make it taste worse. In order to preserve the proteins and flavor of the milk, we were heating it to 65 degrees for thirty minutes instead.
Yukino’s forehead was sweating a bit at this point.
She was constantly using magic and even just maintaining a fixed temperature took concentration. It was much harder work than appearances would suggest.
If the Fire Foxes weren’t here then I would have to do it the quick and dirty way. I would need to sacrifice taste and nutritional value to use the high temperature quick version of pasteurization. If I were to do it with firewood instead it would need too many materials and far more time and effort as well.
However, these girls made the effort to make the milk taste better and did their best.
Finally she accomplished it.
「It’s done. Did you see Cyril-niisama? I kept the red liquid in the tube right at the temperature it needed all the way to the end.」
「Yes I saw. You did your best.」
「Is Yukino a good girl?」
「Mhmm, you’re a great girl.」
I patted her head kindly. Amongst the three girls I had to say that she was my favorite to deal with. She was obedient and kind, plus I liked her silver hair.
Amongst the Fire Foxes there were various hair and tail colors. The color of their tails determined how much power they had in general. The ranks were gold>silver>black>yellow>white>red>ash. That is to say amongst the many different colors the only one who had golden hair was Kuu and the only one with silver hair was Yukino.
「Hmm should I just adopt you Yukino?」
「What about Kemin and Kurone?」
「Hmm…it’d be a little too much to take in all three…」
「It’s not fair if Kemin is alone…it’d be great…but Kemin can’t say yes. I’m sorry.」
「Don’t take it too seriously. I was just joking around with you a bit.」
I was half serious. It would be a good example for everyone else to show a kind and gentle Fire Fox girl get adopted by me.
Even without those reasons adopting a good child like Yukino would be a fairly comfortable concept. Just by having a Fire Fox in our home the summers would be cooler and the winters would be warmer. Even when we cooked there would be no need to gather firewood and light it every time. Plus if they lowered the temperature in our food cellar once every other day we could have simple refrigeration.
More than that she was adorable and well-behaved. Being with her would be healing, plus she was young enough that Lucy wouldn’t get jealous. Or she shouldn’t…but for some reason I felt a little uneasy…..I should probably check on that first. If I messed up I’d be stepping on another landmine.
「Cyril-niisama please check that it’s alright. If it is then we can bottle it.」
「Un, it’s well done. Even I can’t do it so well. Yukino is amazing.」
「Un, Yukino is great.」
And so the bottling of the goat milk started.
「How many today?」
「Today we have around 220.」
「It’s almost enough for everyone. Thank goodness.」
Every morning they had been bottling and delivering the goat milk to town. Every evening the elves would leave the empty bottles in front of their homes for the Fire Foxes to collect. If there weren’t any empty bottles left then the next day they would not receive a delivery. If they felt like having milk the next day then the elves had to leave their bottles out front.
Since the bottles were made by me in Kuiro form there weren’t too many. If the elves didn’t drink from them and return the bottles then it would be a waste. That was how this system ended up being used.
「Sterilizing is done too. Praise Kuro.」
The black haired fox Kurone called over from a short distance away. She approached carrying a box of empty bottles. The older Fire Foxes looked at her with loving eyes as they followed behind her with the rest of the empty bottles.
Once the empty bottles had been washed they were then disinfected using boiling water. This was Kurone’s job. Washing bottles in midwinter was a hard and thankless job.
「Kurone is a good girl too. Everyone it’s just a bit more and you’ll be done.」
「We’ll do our best.」
「Do our best~」
And so the bottling continued. They used magic to cool down the milk that Yukino had heated and used ladles to pour the milk into empty bottles. Each bottle contained around 500ml of milk.
Most likely there would be leftover milk today.
「Looks like today we can get some cheese.」
「Our wheat porridge will have cheese?」
「Yukino listen properly. Kemin’s cooking group will be putting cheese in the cooking.」
The Fire Foxes livened up as they finished bottling the goat milk.
The leftover goat milk would be turned into cheese. Because the amount was still quite scarce we had created a 4 day rotation system to determine who would get it. The first three days would be given to the elves who had greater numbers, and the last day would be given to the Fire Foxes.
The particulars of dividing it up would be determined by the respective races….because of this rule even those elves who were acting crotchety and didn’t usually drink the goat milk, would drink it right before the Fire Foxes’ cheese day even if it was out of spite so as to leave their empty bottle outside their homes. At some point I would have to resolve that. If I left unreasonable people alone like that then we would rot from the inside.