We’re The Nearing The End Of The Milk

It’s about that time of year again, although about a month ahead of schedule, that the does stop producing milk until they kid again in the spring.  I’m anticipating that we’ll have jars of the white liquid in our refrigerator through the end of October, but the girls are getting ready to call it quits.  They are ready to throw in the towel for the season.

I’m not.

I miss the milk like crazy when they’re dry.  I crave it.  I HAVE to have it.  I survive until spring kidding season, at least that has been the case historically, but it’s rough.

Here’s my plan:  I’m going to drop to the floor and throw a temper tantrum.  Full out bang my arms and legs on the ground, screaming.  It’s the only thing I haven’t tried to convince them…at least ONE of them…to keep up the flow of milk.

But wait.  I just remembered.  We have one glimmer of hope.

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Our one glimmer of hope for  milk over the winter is Chispita.  Do you remember her?  The only one of five that survived when her mom, Dottie, struggled through her labor?  Well, Chispita – Little Spark in Spanish- is prego.  She’s 1 1/2 years old now and she’s due to kid anytime from last month till December.  (The Animal Whisperer knows for sure, but he’s not here right now to confirm a more specific date.)

My role in the whole thing is first, to go talk nice to her, begging her to PLEASE have her babies soon.  When that doesn’t work, I talk in a more direct tone:  “Chispita, come on.  It’s time you had your BABIES!”  There are, embarrassingly, times when I flat out yell at her in a Three Stooges tone of voice while reminding her that she doesn’t GET any sweet feed until she gives us MILK, which means she has to have her BABIES!  Only I don’t knock her on the head and she doesn’t knock me either.

That would make goatherding more challenging.  If we knocked each other on the head all the time.  In fact, their skulls are much thicker than mine – I know you may argue that Dad – but they are.  I wouldn’t survive many Three Stooges with Goats retakes.

Anyway, I’ll keep you in the loop.  If and When she kids, you’ll be the 4th to know.  (Animal Whisperer 1st, Son 2nd, other Son 3rd, YOU 4th.)

It’s pretty close to 1st, so don’t get your feelings hurt.

Thanks.

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

 

 

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

Moving Sale: Rototiller

I know you’ve been thinking about getting a rototiller, right?

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Just in time to dress it up like a scarecrow for Halloween?  Or, maybe you could decorate it with hay bales and pumpkins right after you till all of your raked up leaves and compost into the garden to break down over the winter.  Think of all the black plastic garbage bags you’ll keep from going to the dump!

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You might even decide some Sunday before football that you’ll go surprise your elderly neighbor and till his garden too.  And, you’ll decide it’s so much fun that you’ll just keep tilling down the street, garden by garden, until your neighbors make you dinner and send you home.  It’ll only be then that you’ll realize you were out doing so many good deeds that you actually missed watching football.

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Which is no problem, because one your of single, cute, football loving neighbors recorded it and invited you over for dinner tomorrow night to watch the one you missed.  And then she asked you out on a date.

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Who knew a rototiller could be so romantic?

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You know you need it.

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You know you want it.

It’s only $200.

-  The Goat Cheese Lady, 719-651-9819

P.S.   92% of the proceeds go toward our move.  The other 8% is for administrative costs (i.e. goat feed).

 

Posted in Farm Life, For Sale, gardening | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Where (Near Colorado Springs) Should We Move?

Any opinions?

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Mountains?  Plains?  City?  Country?  5 acres?  205 acres?

That’s about how clear we are on the whole thing.  Mostly, we’re not sure.  We’ve had some promising showings on our house, which is still for sale…but nothing’s final till we sign the paperwork at the closing table…so until then, we’re de-cluttering, getting excess ready to sell at a garage sale (we’ll let you know when it is), giving things to Goodwill and looking at properties online.

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We’ve been debating…should we both get “real” jobs?  Should we open a creamery like we’ve talked about?  Should we buy land and build a house and barn?  Should we buy land with a house and barn already built?  Should we pitch a tent in a vacant field?

I’m drawn to opening a creamery, but I have to be sure I’m ready for the REAL amount of work entailed.  And, since I already know I’m not, we have to be sure we can make enough money to pay a part time employee so we can actually have some time off.

Yesterday, I talked to two creamery owners…Jim from Hi Plains Dairy in Calhan, Colorado, and Christian at Blue Heron Farm in Field Store, Texas.  Both agree that it is ALOT of work.  Both have a huge demand for their product.  In fact, a couple of days ago, Jim sold out of his skyr in 1 1/2 hours.  We know there is a market for locally made artisan cheeses, and they are difficult to make from a tent pitched in a field.  Hard to comply with regulations that way.  Hmmm.022 (2)

We’ll keep you updated on what we decide, and you can join us on our roller coaster decision making process if you’d like.

-  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  Please give us any feedback you’ve got.  Please.  Please.

 

Posted in Cheese Making, Farm Life, For Sale, Opinion | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Video: Supplies You Need To Make Cheese At Home

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

 

Posted in Bread Making, Farm Life | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment