Garage Sale HERE Tomorrow!

Huge Garage Sale at The Goat Cheese Lady Farm, 919 Lonesome Road, Colorado Springs, CO, 80904, Saturday, November 22, from 9-3.

Our move is almost official (knock on wood) and we’ve got the garage and part of the driveway filled with things for sale!  Furniture, matching antique couch and chair, home décor, kids toys, an awesome bunk/trundle bed with built in dresser and desk, power tools (cordless and hand held), gardening and farming supplies, greenhouse glazing, a beautiful black and cherry desk with matching file cabinet, homesteading supplies, antique brass bed frame, antique wood spindle bed frame, wheel barrow, dining table and chairs, dishes, 2 Bred Nubian Does (will kid in February and March), 1 1/2 year old Nubian Herd Sire (all Nubians are registered but will sell for a discount without papers), 2 show quality Mini-Rex bunnies (1 Doe, 1 Buck, never bred before), rain barrels, rabbit cages, Goat Milk Soap (great for Christmas gifts!!) and lots more!!

PLEASE DON’T EMAIL, as we won’t be able to reply due to the big Garage Sale Tomorrow!!!

Saturday, Nov. 22, 9-3pm.  919 Lonesome Road, Colorado Springs, 80904

We’ll see you tomorrow!

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

 

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The Leaves Are Falling!

If I could, I’d have all of the leaves fall directly from the trees onto the barn floor.  They make good bedding for the goats.  Or, maybe they could all just blow into my garden.  Next year’s soil would be black and rich and full of earthworms!  But, you know what bugs me?  Seeing bags of leaves set out for the trash man to take to the dump.  So, today, I’m going to make some strong suggestions about how you can use them, thus sparing the dump of yet another plastic bag.

It has often befuddled me that people will take hours to rake the leaves in their yards into neat piles, then awkwardly shove them into large black plastic trash bags, close them with a twist tie and push, pull, roll or carry them to their temporary new home by the trash can, and anxiously await trash day so this year’s reminder of fall can be hauled off to the dump.  I never cease wondering why people do that!  Leaves are fall’s way of giving us a yearly gift of free mulch and exceptional compost, but for many, they have become the yearly after-your-favorite-football-game chore.  Instead of things of beauty, the trees in our yards have become a nuisance just begging to be chopped down so that we’ll never have to rake again.  They, in our manicured landscapes, are no longer dropping their fall leaves to become a protective blanket for the soil and it’s micro and macro organisms and beginning the yearly process of decomposition to feed the soil, but are dropping them only to be trucked off to improve the soil at the dump.  If things other than plastic bags grew at the dump, I might be in support of the idea, but they don’t.  Nothing grows at the dump, except odor, so keep your leaves at home.

I get it, though.  Depending on the amount of trees in your yard, raking leaves is a time consuming, tiring process – and especially frustrating if you do it when the wind is blowing.  It’s a chore I don’t always look forward to either, but if you’re going to spend so much time and energy cleaning them up, why not keep the bags out of the dump and put the leaves to a good purpose in your yard.

Here are some suggestions:

1.  Rake them all directly into your perennial flower bed.  Step on them so they’ll bed down and have less risk of blowing away.

2.  Leave them under the tree that dropped them.  That’s what happens in nature.

3.  Put them all right on top of your vegetable garden.  Step on them so they’ll bed down as in #1.  In the spring, mix them in with your dirt.

4.  Pile them up in a back corner of your yard.  Cover them with branches so they’ll stay there.  In the spring, remove the branches and spread the broken down leaves around your outdoor plants.

5.  Find a neighbor who wants them.

6.  Stuff a scarecrow with them.

7.  Use them as bedding for your chicken’s nest boxes.

8.  Use them for bedding for your goats!

If you can’t commit to keep ALL of your leaves this year, start small.  Instead of sending 10 bags to the dump, send 8.  Keep the other two bags worth of leaves to use in your yard.  If you’re ready to keep them all, go for it!  Your yard will love you forever.

-The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  The edited version of this post ran on the IndyBlog on October 18, 2014.  You can see it here.

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Book: How To Make Money Homesteading

Oh. My.  Gosh.

Herbert and I are among 17 other amazing homesteaders profiled in a new book by Tim Young called “How To Make Money Homesteading”

…and IT’S OUT ON AMAZON TODAY!!!!!!  Amazing!!!

Here’s the link:  http://www.amazon.com/How-Make-Money-Homesteading-Self-Sufficient/dp/1502786052/

Don’t just think about getting it…Buy It Now!!!!

I’ve already seen the Kindle version and the book is incredible.  If you’ve ever thought you want to be a homesteader, or if you already are, BUY.  THE.  BOOK.  You will get so many more ideas of how you can make money doing what you LOVE!!

Happy Reading!!!

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  Thanks Tim for such a great book!!

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Cold Weather Flies

The way I see it, there are two distinct fly seasons.  The long, drawn out, hot and often muggy summer fly season where there are zillions of flies that seem to spawn from nowhere and the short but disgusting cold-weather fly season.

Let it  be known that my favorite fly season – if I had to choose between gross and grosser – is the summer fly season.  The sheer fact that there are at least 7 million flies on any given sauna-like afternoon that fill up fly tape within 2 minutes, land on the goats causing them to stomp and nearly step into the milk pail during milking, and irritate the living daylights out of any human being still pales in comparison to the cold-weather fly season.

It is my least favorite of the two fly seasons.  And, it has been happening on a daily basis in by kitchen for the past two weeks.

Let me paint a few pictures for you…in case you’ve never experienced a cold weather fly:

You’re standing at the kitchen sink, gazing out the window as you wash a few dishes.  You are marveling at the deep blue color of the sky and watching the cloud shaped like a lizard change into a guitar then into a wedding cake when a large, lethargic black blob enters your peripheral vision and slams into your cheek.  It maintains contact with your flesh for longer than you care to think about, and the fact that it even collided with your unmoving face is absurd.  Don’t flies have upwards of 1000 eyes?  It should have seen you as an obstruction from at least the dining room table.  From the point of contact, it ricochets off and begins a slow descent to the ground, its wings not able to recover quickly enough to get it to safety.  If you are quick, you can get the dish soap off your hands, grab a dish towel and swat it with ease.  But, if you delay, or if it regains consciousness mid-flight, it zig-zags and lands on the glass spice jars and poses for a picture.  It is temporarily saved because you can’t kill it without risking your Italian seasoning being peppered with shards of glass.

038

The worst though, is when you are walking toward the door, in a hurry to get to a meeting.  Your inertia is forward moving and at the time you happen to take your usual breath in through your nose, a cold weather fly comes in from left field.  It is so slow and weak that it can’t fight the pull of the vacuum it suddenly feels drawing it directly toward your right nostril.  A millisecond before you inhale the poop eating insect deep into your nasal cavity, your brain processes the reality of the situation and its impending disaster.  You stop your breath and wave frantically at the base of your nose.  That one got away, but at least you didn’t have to go to the ear nose and throat doctor to have it removed from the depths of your sinuses.

And finally, the one that happened today.  I went to the bathroom sink to wash my hands and lo and behold, encountered a gigantic fly sitting by the drain.  Really.  It was sitting there, still, so still that I could see that its eyes were a rust colored red and its nose greenish.  I had not ever realized that flies have noses.  That fly didn’t even flinch when I came at it with a wad of toilet paper.  No movement whatsoever.  It had already crossed over to the other side.  To fly heaven.  Or, wherever flies go upon death.  And it was still standing up.  It hadn’t even taken the time to fully die and roll over the way you find dead flies on the window sill.

I hope you can now thoroughly understand why I strongly prefer summer fly season.  It is always important to look at the glass half full, right?

Until next time,

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  This is the unedited version of the post that ran in the IndyBlog on Saturday, October 11, 2014.  You can read it here.

 

 

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Goat Milk Creamery: Blue Heron Farm

In attempting to make the decision on whether or not we will open our own creamery,  I have been interviewing the owners of various creameries.  I will highlight them as I go…in the hopes it will help others who are also on our path and as thanks to the creamery owners who took their valuable time to talk to me.

Christian and Lisa Seger own Blue Heron Farm in Field Store, Texas.  He and his wife started their goat dairy in 2007, and if you take a look at their website, you’ll see how much they love their goats.  They make and sell chevre, feta and cajeta.  I spoke with Christian a few weeks ago and he was very kind to answer all of my questions.

According to Christian, he is in charge of the animals, the grass, the fences and the milking.  He milks 28 Nubian goats and raises them on 10.5 acres because their belief is that Nubians produce the best milk and therefore the best cheese. While he dries most of them off for the winter, he milks at least 4-5 through the winter, thus never having a dry period. The goats graze on pasture grasses (during grass season) consisting mostly of common Bermuda grass, which Christian confesses is low in protein and low quality, so he throws some higher protein legume seeds out every so often.  When the pasture is dormant, the goats eat a hay mix containing a Sorghum Sudan hybrid.  During milking, he feeds them a no-corn, no-soy, GMO free oat based feed mix he buys in 50 pound bags for $13.50 from West Feeds in Texas.  The hay is $70 per roll.

Lisa is in charge of making the cheese, marketing the cheese and maintaining their internet presence.  Per gallon of milk, she can make 1.32 pounds of chevre, but, he advised, the weight per gallon can be more or less depending on how much whey you drain…wetter cheese whey’s more.  (You should be laughing now…a wetter cheese whey’s more…I know, it took you a minute.)   She specializes in chevre, feta and cajeta.  The feta and chevre are sold by the 1/2 pound for $10.00 ($20.00 per pound). 

As far as employees for their business, they have none.  They have had the help of woofers over the years, but have determined it is more cost effective and efficient to do the work themselves.  The two of them do everything.  They haven’t had a day off in seven years.

When I asked him if he would change anything about their business, he responded that the main thing he would change would be the age of the goats they started with.  Initially, they bought all 3-year-old goats, with the thought that they would get the highest milk production.  That was true, until they all turned 8.  Milking all 8-year-old goats was challenging because their milk supply dropped significantly (and unexpectedly) due to their age.  He suggests starting with a bell curve of goat ages: heavy on the 4-5 year olds, light on the young and light on the old.  The one other thing he would change is to make their cheeses and cajeta available seasonally so they could have a break from milking and cheese making in the winter, but he and Lisa have established their business without the dry period, so they haven’t wanted to make the change.  

You can find them and their cheese here.

And, you can see them on Tedx Houston here!  They do an exceptional presentation on their journey from “being regular eaters to ethical omnivores.”

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  Thanks to our student, Marcia Bennett for telling me about Blue Heron Farm.

 

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Proposition 105

To Label or Not to Label.  That is the question.

What are we voting on labeling, you ask?

Whether or not foods containing GMO’s (genetically modified organisms)  should be labeled in Colorado.

What do you think?  Will you vote Yes or No?  Please share your opinion on our Facebook page, here.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!!!

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

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The Freeze – uncut

If it hasn’t happened yet in your neck of the woods, The Freeze is looming.  It’s the bane of the end of summer, or the benefit of the end of summer, I go back and forth depending on the year.  But in my most recent gardening years, I have come to firmly believe it is the benefit of the end of summer.  It is when, after a no rest marathon beginning with starting seeds inside in February, planting seedlings and cold weather seeds in March and April, finally setting out leggy tomatoes and peppers in May (because in the depths of winter and your craving for spring, you started the seeds too early), harvesting and weeding and mulching and canning in June, July, August and September, you can finally anticipate a rest with The first Freeze.

tomato harvest 2014

When my garden was smaller, my husband and I religiously covered everything if the weatherman predicted even the slightest possibility of The Freeze.  We couldn’t stand the thought of losing our hard-earned crops in one mid-September freeze only to be followed with 3 weeks of warm weather and sunshine.  However, I learned something by dragging out all those towels and sheets and old curtains:  It Wasn’t Worth It.

In my experience, three more weeks of sunshine and warm weather at the end of September and beginning of October – before we finally gave into nature and let The Freeze kill off the garden – produced approximately 1.7 more ripe tomatoes and not much else.  It was more work than it was worth.

Over time, as our garden morphed into the oversized produce department that it is today, I wisened up.  Or gave in.  I prefer to think I became one with nature, accepted and began to understand the benefits of living seasonally and allowed The Freeze to happen while leaving my prolific Cherokee Purple and Sun Gold tomato plants unprotected.

Contrary to my previously distraught emotional state upon viewing the garden out the window the morning after The Freeze, I now relish the rest that will follow.  No more tending to the garden means no more fresh produce…except for the kale that will keep producing until November…but it means a break.

A break AFTER the canning is finished.  At this point, you should be semi-convinced that The Freeze should actually be celebrated.  That is good.  You are transitioning into appreciating the cycles of nature.  However, the day before The Freeze, assuming you know it is coming, you scramble around in the garden picking every last vegetable, ripe and unripe.  Although your plants will perish, and although you are now beginning to look forward to The Freeze, you will not dare let all of your marathon gardening be consumed by Mother Nature.  Let her have the plants…not the fruits.

After you finish the back-breaking work of the final harvest (and give thanks for the hands that spend all day every day picking the produce you buy in the grocery store) you have every basket and bowl you own overrun with vegetables.  You have to tip toe around errant summer squash and tomatillos that have rolled out of their assigned containers that take up most of the floor space in your kitchen.  Over the next few days, you let some of the unripe vegetables ripen, you savor some of the fresh and ready-to-be-eaten, but the rest must be dealt with…and quick…unless you want a household full of fruit flies happy to help with the breakdown of your summer’s bounty.

Can it, dry it, freeze it, cook it, enjoy it.  In January, when you pull out a jar of homemade tomato sauce, you will be thankful you worked to put everything up in the few days after The Freeze.

Here are a couple of tips:

1.  If you’re not ready to use your tomatoes now, wash them and freeze them whole.  When you are ready to use them, thaw them: the skins will come right off and the pulp will separate easily from the seeds.

2.  Grate all of your zucchini and freeze it in 1-3 cup portions (depending on how much your favorite recipe calls for).  Over the winter, thaw it batch by batch to make zucchini bread, soup, fritters, or pancakes.

3.  Leave all of your green tomatoes out on the counter in a basket.  Over the next few weeks, most of them will ripen.

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  The edited version of this post ran first on the IndyBlog here on October 5, 2014.

 

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