Video: Supplies You Need To Make Cheese At Home (UPDATE…video should work)

Now, I’m not going to say this is the highest quality film making, but heck…it’s my first one.  Just because my Great Aunt Ramona and my Grandfather worked at Alexander Film Company 272 years ago does not mean I inherited anything from what might have rubbed off on them there.

But, I managed to get’er done. It’s not even available publicly on YouTube, so consider yourself extremely special to have found yourself here.  Today.  You get to have your own private viewing of the first ever video written, produced, edited, funded, choreographed, directed and created by me.

Yours truly.

(It’s always so WEIRD to hear your own voice, don’t you think???)

Anyway, enjoy, and let me know what you think the next one should be.

Thanks!

- The Goat Cheese Lady

Posted in classes, Farm Life, How To..., videos | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

That Machine STOLE My Credit Card!

First of all, let’s get one thing straight.  I don’t even have a credit card.

Cut ‘em up years ago.  Swear I’ll never have one again.  They’re useless pieces of debt collecting plastic that should never have been invented.  They have the ability to trap you into a vortex of overspending that you will blame on the credit card company then decide you should file bankruptcy when really YOU were the one who made the decision to use it and YOU owe the money.  Just save the money and pay cash.  If you have debt, pay it.  And immediately, cut up your credit cards.

Yikes…that was a crazy tangent.  Guess now you know what my opinion about credit cards is.

So, really, That Machine Stole My Debit Card.  But, that title just isn’t as sexy.  Not as dramatic.  It just doesn’t sound the same as That Machine STOLE My Credit Card!, does it?

Anyway, I’m already side tracked again.

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What I really want to tell you is that The Animal Whisperer and I took my right-hand-man, my laundress, my dishwasher, my clothing mender, my gourmet cook, my cheesecloth whitener and deodorizer, my humble, my gracious, my assistant in class preparation and floor mopping, my fellow harvester, my fellow canner, my second-favorite-mother-in-the-world, my mother-in-law, to the Denver International Airport yesterday.

DIA to the locals.  The airport that looks like a white circus tent featuring a new, 23 story glass boat anchored outside set to sail on a sea of solar panels that are protected by the blue, demon eyed gigantic horse out front.  Ya, that one.

We took her to DIA because it was her time to depart after spending 2 months with us here on the farm.

TWO MONTHS WITH YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW????? you say.

DO YOU GET ALONG????? you ask.

I CAN’T SPEND TWO HOURS IN THE SAME ROOM AS MY MOTHER-IN-LAW!!! you lament.

As to your first question, Yes.  Two months.

As to your second question, Yes.  We get along.  Very well, actually.

As to your third comment, I’m sorry for you.  But not sorry enough to trade.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

We took her up to DIA, and unless I’m going to visit my City Girl sister, I steer as clear of Denver as I can.  I’m not much for the big city, and well, I just don’t get out much.  I associate Denver with a faster pace, which includes faster thinkers, faster drivers, faster talkers and faster technology?

Which explains why I walked into the terminal to the never ending bank of computerized check in booths, hoped I would spot a human dressed in United Airline clothing and a little chiffon neck scarf that might indicate she could talk me through the steps on the computer machine because even after reading the welcome screen, I couldn’t figure out where to scan my Spanish speaking mother-in-law’s passport.   There were words on the screen that said something like “Insert the bla-or-bla-or-bla-or-bla-or-passport in the machine.”  There were no less than three options for passport insertion, and one option appeared that if I inserted it there, the passport would fall through a trapdoor tube system underneath the machine that transports all mis-inserted passports to the mis-inserted passport pile in the airport basement never to be seen again.  I couldn’t afford to make that mistake.

I must have  looked confused enough that the aforementioned chiffon neckerchief lady came out of nowhere to my rescue.  She pretty much did everything for me.  And, as The Animal Whisperer is my witness, my mother-in-law made it through security and safely arrived at her destination, so the chiffon lady must have done it right.

And that wasn’t even the credit card part.

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As we were leaving the parking lot, we, of course, had to exit through the Pay for Parking booths.  Here in we-still-drive-horse-drawn-wagons Colorado Springs, there are still PEOPLE at the pay for parking booths.  So, naturally, I expected a person.  Not finding one, it took me close to an eternity to figure out how to use the machine perched on the side of the used-to-be-occupied-by-a-person-but-it-was-to-expensive-to-pay-him-so-we-replaced-him-with-a-machine parking booth.

But thankfully, after trudging through molasses with each of the three steps…

1.  Insert Ticket: Where? Oh, THERE! I wonder if that goes to the same pile where the mis-inserted passports go?*

*the parking ticket got sucked in and never reappeared.

2.  Insert Credit Card:  WHERE?  Oh, THERE!  Again!  In the same slot that just sucked up my parking ticket and didn’t give it back?  Seriously?*

* as a side note, I did actually shriek as the slot violently sucked my credit card out of my fingers before my brain could even process the “let go of card” neurological command and cause my fingers to release independently.  This time, the slot gave the card back.

(You’re right, I totally missed step 3 on the machine.  Didn’t even realize the step 3 button existed until I looked at the above picture.)

4.  Take Receipt:  Adrenaline was pumping so hard through my system from steps 1 and 2 that, after grabbing my credit card out of the stealer slot, I stepped on the gas (GET ME OUT OF HERE as fast as possible!), slammed on the brakes (The Animal Whisperer said, “Don’t you want your receipt?”), looked up (realized I was right under the raised red and white automatic bar that looked like it had the propensity to slam right down on top of my car if I even thought about reversing to get the receipt), and jammed the pedal to the metal again.  Fuggedaboudit.

…we were FINALLY out of there.  On our way home where I could sit calmly and milk a goat or pet a bunny.

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  And, I won’t even TELL you about the toilets that flush automatically in the bathrooms.  So fast and suctiony that you don’t even have TIME to fix your clothes and get OUT of the stall before the force of the flush sprays imaginary or factual microbial aspects of what you just left in there and what the 20 people before you left in there onto your bare legs.  No, I won’t even go there.  Neither will I tell you that I nearly flattened myself to the inside of the stall door to get as far away from the spray as possible since there wasn’t time for an actual escape before technology took over and the blinking red the-toilet’s-going-to-flush warning light went berserk.

 

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P.P.S.  WHO actually TAKES a picture of an airport toilet????  I’ve definitely gone over the deep end.

 

 

Posted in Farm Life, goats, good people to know | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Broncos and Breeding – uncut

September brings two things, Broncos season and Breeding season.  For either form of entertainment, you can sit on the sidelines and watch.  Both are rather action packed.

Around the time Broncos season kicks up, Lucy, Canela, Snowflake and MaryAnn are getting more fidgety, doing more head butting, bleating more often, rubbing up against unsuspecting guests and excessively wagging their tails.  Their bodies are telling us, the goatherders, that they are ready to meet their man.  They are ready to perpetuate life.  They are ready to make babies.

Here’s the problem though.  WHO in their right mind would be attracted to a guy whose excess forehead skin dropped in cascading layers to the bridge of his nose, has a protruding ten foot tall frontal bone, and a pheromonic odor reminiscent of ammonia, cat pee, sharp cheddar cheese and skunk spray.  Oh, and by the way, this Don Juan attains that repulsive aura by running his nose through their waterfalls of urine when the girls take a whiz.  And, even worse, he pees on HIS OWN FACE.

I can right now, hands down, say that I am thankful the males of our species do not employ the same tactics.  Our sustainability as a human race would definitely be in question.

The buck which breeds our does was a young stud last year and had not yet acquired his full aroma, and, secretly, I was hopeful he would be an anomaly.  The one male goat that outsmarted nature’s calling for homemade perfume and decided to make a go of it odor free.  Last year, he had a sweet, cherubic face.  He even used to be petable.

Not so much anymore.

I basically don’t want to get anywhere near him for fear he’ll nuzzle me, looking for affection, and I’ll have to burn my clothing on the spot.  His forehead has started to lengthen upward and there’s a greasy residue coating the hair on his reverse face lift.  He’s demanding and has a sleazy way of sticking out his upper lip then lifting it toward the sky,  when he smells a (goat) woman.  If he were a human, he’d be wearing a skin tight shirt unbuttoned to lower chest level, exposing overflowing chest hair and multiple fake gold necklaces.  He’d be dancing to disco music and pointing his upper lip skyward.  He’s not the type of company I prefer to keep.

We’ll invite him to do his job, then it’s off with him.  Off to the wild blue yonder on someone else’s farm where he can seduce more does and continue to procreate.

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  This post, in it’s edited version was first published on the IndyBlog here.  Would you please read it too and leave me a comment about which version you liked better?  Thanks, you’re awesome.

Posted in Farm Life, funny stories, goats, Kidding | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Here’s How My Food Allergy Diet Is Going…

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  When life gives you food allergies, suck it up and eat other stuff.

As you know, I found out at the end of July that I can’t eat gluten, almonds, beef, kale, vanilla, cow milk, chicken eggs, green beans, red beans, black beans, butter, whey or mushrooms…some for the next three months, some for the next year and some forever.

But, so what?

I have become accustomed to bringing my own food when going elsewhere to dinner, just in case the cook put Knorr chicken flavored bullion in the food…which…who knew…contains beef fat.  Luckily, I don’t live in Hawaii, so avoiding pineapple has not been at all difficult.  I no longer eat cherry tootsie pops…they contain…whey.  I bake with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free mixes, using flax meal and water as an egg replacer, replacing butter with olive oil and eliminating the vanilla…Bob has created a pretty incredible brownie mix, and some delicious cornbread.

I’m not a huge fan of the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free “Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix”.  Anything that has to have “wonderful” in the title is trying to mask the fact that it is actually not wonderful.  Unlike a piece of my homemade bread, it’s more like biting into a spongy piece of angel food cake made with garbanzo bean paste and potato flour.  But, it does do the job of holding onto my peanut butter and honey, so for that, I’m thankful.

I have anxiety dreams now though…last night, deep into the REM stage of sleep, I ate a bite of toast loaded with butter, panicked and immediately spit it out.  (toast=gluten, butter=cow dairy).  In previous dreams, I have sunk my teeth into a juicy piece of pineapple, only to be tormented by my dietary mistake.  I have guiltily dream-scolded myself for dream-grabbing a chicken egg to crack into a gluten-free cake mix.

But, the great news is, I have more stable energy than I’ve had in the past 3 or 4 years!  Since starting the diet at the beginning of August, I can go 3 weeks at a time without sleeping during the day!!!  I know, that may not be cause for celebration for many of you, but I used to go only three DAYS at a time…then would become exhausted and know that my next few days would be erased by hours long naps.

Another nice side effect is that my acne prone skin is beginning to clear up!  I had resigned myself that despite the fact I finished my teenage years long ago, my skin had yet to get the memo.  I planned to celebrate my 90th birthday still with the skin of a 15-year-old.   Thanks to either the hormone creams or the cold turkey elimination of foods I’m allergic to, there might be a twinkle of light at the end of the tunnel.

I hope you are well and I’ll talk at you again soon.

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

 

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Introducing The Goatee Lady!

(My friend Libby is in the hospital.  Hopefully this will generate some healing laughter for her.  Please click on the donate link to the right to make a donation to the Libby Fund to help her and her family with expenses while she is healing and unable to work.)

You all have been very sweet, supportive and curious about how my gluten-almond-vanilla-beef-pineapple-bean-cow dairy-chicken egg-etcetera-free diet is going.

The short answer is:  It’s going well.  I get momentarily derailed by the sight of a giant pizza, a tres leches with guava birthday cake or my mother-in-law’s beef stew, but I quickly recover and grab a piece of gluten-egg-dairy free corn bread spread with peanut butter and honey and a cold goat milk leche con cafe.  It’s actually been pretty easy.

A detail I didn’t share before is that I am also rubbing three types of hormone creams on my skin…progesterone, estrogen and testosterone.  My hormones tested pretty low, thus the recommendation by my doctors that I boost their levels topically.

Which brings me to a funny story.  Our land realtor’s name is Donny, and before we had even met him, he received a message from his broker asking him to call The Goat Cheese Lady.  Unfortunately for Donny’s mental status, he heard The Goatee Lady.  After finally meeting him,  introducing myself and presenting him with my bone shattering goat milker hand shake, his first words were:  “You don’t look much like a Goatee Lady!”

Well, Donny, that appears to be in question these days.

While standing at the sink a few weeks ago, doing my periodic facial hair check, I identified and tweezed the one pesky neck hair that began growing in long, thick and black a couple of years ago.  A sign of aging, I’m sure.  My grandmother used to beg me to promise that if she was ever unable, I would pluck her chin hairs.  I did that for her every time I saw her.  Since noticing the growth of my solitary neck hair, I had already been planning the conversation with my own granddaughter – “Honey, I have this one neck hair that has been growing ever since I was 37, please pluck it for me if you ever notice it reaching my collar.” 

That was my planned plea to my futurely loving granddaughter up until a couple of weeks ago, when I plucked the neck hair, then a right chin hair, then a left chin hair, then 4 other chin hairs.  “Hmmm!”  I thought to myself, “I’m aging faster than I thought!”  That is, until I realized this might be testosterone induced facial hair.  Soon, I may really have a goatee.  I’ll fit in well with my chosen animal companions.

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(I have begun to put more and more thought into getting some car tweezers.  You know, the ones you wish you had when you pull up to a stop light, thoughtfully put a hand to your chin, and get poked by an inappropriately sharp chin hair.)

But it gets worse.

Just yesterday while I was sitting down, I found myself gazing at my toes.  At the base of each big toe, there was hair.  Quite a bit of hair.  Now, as my childhood friend Shannon may recall, I have always, for some reason, had a bit of toe hair.  She always wondered WHY I didn’t SHAVE it!  Well, because I shave my LEGS!  Not my TOES!  Then in early adulthood, I realized my toes had balded.  They no longer showed evidence of their previous condition.  Which is why, as you can certainly imagine, I was shocked yesterday when it jumped to my attention that I have toe hair nearly long enough to braid.

Testosterone again?

Apparently, something I’m doing is promoting growth of facial and toe hair.  The minute a chest hair sprouts, you’ll know about it.  And if you call to schedule a class and a man answers calling himself The Goatee Lady, you’ll know it’s me.

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.P.S.  The excess hair is totally worth it.  The foods I’ve eliminated and the hormones I’ve added are giving me more energy.  I’ll do anything for that.  Even give up vanilla.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cystic Fibrosis, Farm Life, funny stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Welcome to the family, MaryAnn.

To each her own, as the saying goes … and so it is with goats. They each have their own personalities and have specific positions in their hierarchy of life.

MaryAnn - LINDSEY APARICIO
At first glance, our dairy goats are spindly legged, long-eared, Roman-nosed skeletal creatures that appear rather benign and shiftless. They carry the reputation of eating all things, even soda cans, and especially the neighbor’s prize roses. And, someone new to goats might expect them to escape from their pen specifically to perch atop unsuspecting parked cars. When you become a goat owner, you quickly learn where the saying “stubborn as an old goat” comes from.

In our herd of four does, the ranking is as follows: Lucy is No. 1, Canela No. 2, Snowflake No. 3 and MaryAnn No. 4. One is the boss, the other is the assistant to the boss, but doesn’t care for a promotion. The one in third place constantly challenges the assistant, while the girl in fourth cowers to all others.

To the naked eye, it’s not apparent that these girls have their own method of communication, but sit around and watch for a bit, and you’ll see I’m not talking about bleating. The way they communicate makes you thankful you’re not a member of the caprine family.

Picture this:

You’re a goat (I know, weird, but just go with me here). You walk into a pen full of goats you don’t know. You’re appropriately timid at first — knowing you’re the new kid on the block — then WHAM! You get side-swiped with a head to your gut by one of the attendees. (You didn’t come in full football regalia and definitely were not prepared for that one.) You stumble, catch your breath and regroup. “Man, what a jerk,” you mumble to yourself, while incoming from the left, just inside of your peripheral vision, comes another cranial attack to your midsection — different jerk this time.

Now you realize you’d better put up your dukes or you might just not make it out of here without significant internal bleeding. So you ruffle the hairs on your neck, stand as tall as your new bruises will allow, and prepare to take on the boss.

You rear up on your hind legs, suspended in the air for a breath-stopping second, mirroring the boss and her aggressive posture, before crashing down to the ground, butting hornless heads against each other. “Dang, that hurt.” But you shake it off, thank your lucky stars that you were born with a thick skull, and rear up again. You butt heads again, and again and again — until your headache is worse than you can handle and you cower away.

She won. She’s Lucy and you are MaryAnn. And you don’t care to have any part of her ever again.
She eats first, you eat last. She gets milked first, you get milked last.

The first one to sideswipe you was Canela. She’s been in second place ever since Lucy arrived on the farm four years ago and she’s happy with it. Canela’s job was to let you know that, along with no chance at first place, you’ll also never be in second. The kidney punch from the left was from Snowflake, a rather cutesy name for such a gangster. Her insult to your unprotected flesh was to put you straight out of third place as well. She and Canela will vie for second place, but you, she warns, will have no part in that.

You have just been firmly entrenched at the bottom of the ranking. You’re MaryAnn. Got it?

Welcome to the family, MaryAnn.

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

This post first ran in the IndyBlog on 9-7-14.

Posted in Farm Life, goats | Tagged , | 1 Comment

My new friend, The Chemist.

After many suggestions from numerous students, I finally contacted the chemistry departments at a couple of local Universities.  Despite mentally outlawing any degree that required I take chemistry in college 21 years ago, I have become a kitchen scientist.

A dangerous kitchen scientist.

I can wield a ph meter with the best of them, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily calibrated.  I can use oft-sought after twisty finger hand gestures to describe the process of rennet interacting with protein in warmed milk.  I can relate information regarding the FDA ruling on the make up of vinegar.  And I can tell you what to do and not to do with your whey – for example, don’t feed the ENTIRE bowl of whey to your dog unless you’re willing to spend the afternoon cleaning up diarrhea off the garage floor.

But, I had never talked to an honest to goodness scientist about these topics.

So, early this week, I called Colorado College’s Chemistry Department and emailed the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Chemistry Department.

Tish,  I got your name and email from the UCCS website.  My name is Lindsey Aparicio and I teach goat milking and cheese making classes on the west side of Colorado Springs.  For the past few years, I have had an interest in seeing what is happening at a microscopic level in the goat milk I am using to make the various cheeses I teach.  Many of my students have suggested I contact chemistry departments at the local universities to find out if there is a need for a research project to be completed…by the entire class or just by individual students.  Would you please contact me and/or forward this email to the professors you think most appropriate to discuss this mutually beneficial opportunity?

Lo and Behold, Jarred Bultema, PhD, assistant professor in the UCCS Chemistry and Bio-Chemistry Department, responded: 70 minutes after my initial email.  Incredible response time.  (Between you and me, I expected either no response or a response in a week.  I’ll have to raise my expectations.)

IMG_8452 Jarred Bultema

Jarred taught me a number of things.  Here are two:

1.  The proteins in milk are in made in the cytoplasm of the cells and come out like “pearl necklaces.”  They quickly spiral and wrap up into little ball-like clusters.  And this, despite my desire, will not be visible to me through a microscope.

2.  People with lactose intolerance who can drink raw cow (or goat milk) are indeed lactose intolerant although both pasteurized and raw milks contain lactose.  The raw milk, having not been pasteurized, still contains the beneficial bacteria which contain enzymes that chop up the milk sugars (lactose) and in effect send them into your system already partially “digested,” therefore allowing your digestive tract to handle them appropriately.

After over an hour of stimulating discussion, I left with an increased awareness and an email inbox full of incredible sciencey articles that I can’t wait to read.  Seriously.  I’m into that stuff.  And, without actually calling Jarred a horse – that would be rude – I did mention that I appreciated getting information on milk right from the horses mouth.

The Goat Cheese Lady

Posted in Experiments, Farm Life, good people to know | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment