Fence Posts

It’s been over two years since we moved here to 3rd Street in Penrose.  At that time, there were seven fence posts wearing boots, all in a line, marching up the hill after 3rd Street turns to County Road 123 heading west toward Canon City.  As a city girl, I hadn’t ever seen fence posts wearing boots and was quite entertained by it.  Every run into town for groceries or soccer practice or basketball games, I glance left to gander at the newcomers.

The first of the new additions was a pair of white sneakers, slung over the top of the post to hang by the conjoined shoelaces.  A thoughtfully descriptive sign was tacked just below and hand written in black sharpie on computer paper.  The creative donor even had the forethought to place the caption in a waterproof ziploc bag so it’s message would survive the elements proclaiming, “I can’t help it, I’m from Wisconsin.”  I got a chuckle out of that one, either the donor was a city guy from Wisconsin and didn’t own any boots, or he was here on vacation and left his boots at home.

Shortly thereafter, an inverted laceless hiking boot with the tongue pulled way down and adorned with a black marker face showed up on the scene.  It was wearing sunglasses just where the eyes would be.  (If it were an upside down hiking boot with a real face.)  That one was creative too.

img_6323

Wrong.

Then, over the past year, it all went to pot.  The quaint line of cowboy boots, Wisconsonian white sneakers and incognito hiking boot now extends westward for at least 20 more posts with each wearing something that the Goodwill shoe department threw up.  There’s a flip flop, a 1970’s strappy white high heel, two adjacent posts wearing ski boots, wannabe Birkenstocks and a leopard print slipper.

img_6319

Yikes.

I’ve got to be honest here.  I don’t like the new additions.  Not one bit.  Especially not the slipper.  It’s beginning to look more like trash than a cute statement that you’re on a back country road.  When I first wrote about this, I was enlightened by a country reader that people adorn their wooden fence posts with items that will protect their tops of from rotting.  Although I’m not a fan of the looks of tires or feed bags atop the posts, I now understand their functionality.  Metal T-Posts, however, do not rot.  The slipper is hanging on a T-Post.  The 70’s heels are dangling from the side of a wooden post, post top fully exposed to the rotting rain and snow. If we were in snowy mountain country, I might be more open to the ski boots, but really, they’re out of place here in the high desert.

img_6321

The proper footwear for an old cedar fence post.

In my two years driving past the shoe department, I’ve had time to develop my opinion on the situation, and here it is: In the country, if fence posts are going to wear footwear at all, they should be wearing cowboy boots.

Thanks for listening,

The Goat Cheese Lady

Posted in Farm Life, Opinion | Leave a comment

It’s too cold outside.

It’s not miserable, don’t get me wrong or anything.  But this morning when I walked out the door, on schedule to be on time for an appointment, only to become late when I couldn’t physically scrape the ice skating rink off front windshield and had to wait for it to defrost into peepholes, I decided it was too cold.  There are a few things that happen when it’s too cold outside:

  1. I drink lots of hot chai.  Chai concentrate with, at this time of year, (just pretend I didn’t actually say this) store bought cow’s milk.  Bleh.  Well, the goats are dry right now which is a good thing, because my sore elbows and my complaining boys needed a break.  But it means for a lot of inferior chai.
  2. The heater comes on.  We have a strict rule that my husband and I established that the heater is to be turned up to no more than 70.  That is specifically to thwart the stealthy index finger of my older son from “accidentally” turning it up to 75 or 80, a quality he inherited from his mother.  Yes.  I admit it.  I, as a girl, used to go down the dark, knotty pine hallway, which happened to house the whole-house thermostat and move the red thingy way to the right, proceed to my bedroom and cozy up for a nap next to the heater.  When the house reached a temperature of broiling, I would announce to my parents when asked, “I don’t know how it got there!”  My son and I both LOVE to curl up by the heater and let it blast out hot air until our skin is on fire.  It’s an addiction. However, as an adult and as half of the adults in the household that have to pay for the gas to power the heater, I mostly stick to the 70 degree rule. Except for today.  Cold days when my heat addicted son is at school are an exception.  I can break the rules and he won’t know it.  Right now, the heater is set at 73ish.
  3. I read.  I read to myself, and today for a little bit, I read to my husband since he’s inside thawing out his fingers from working in his heaterless workshop. Right now, I’m reading a hysterical, laugh out loud book called: 022 On cold days I, of course, read by the heater.  That is a concious decision though, because I know that the moment I accept the urge to read by the heater, I will also, soon enough, accept the urge to lie down by the heater, convincing myself that I deserve a nap.  Once reclined, I grab the closest blanket, determine it’s too small and reach for a larger one, cover up just right so that the heater is included in the whole tent-like situation, wait for my coccoon to fill up with hot air and read until my eyelids feel pokey, put the book down, breathe a sigh of gratitude and close my eyes, hoping the fact that the heater is at 73, not 70, will mean it will stay on a while longer.  However, after 3 times of the heat turning off (dang it!) and turning back on (yesssssss!) I give in to the fact than I’m 41, not 14, and both hips are aching and so’s my bad shoulder.  I’ll just go get in bed.  I still deserve a nap and since I haven’t sunk into the state of sleep I expected, I’ll just have to get some cushion for my bones.
  4. I take a nap.  Well, that’s what’s supposed to happen.  But, instead, I’m thinking I should write about this and tell you what real life on this goat farm looks like.  It’s not all goats all the time.  It’s napping (or not napping) sometimes too.  I snuggle in deeper to my covers and think about the chai I’ll have upon awaking and that’s when I’ll write.  But, alas, no sleep.  No chai.  Just the creative urge to write, which I’m sure is a good thing.  So, here I am writing.  And the heater just kicked back on.

Now that you know the goings on around here, I’m going to get my chai.

– The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  I have a Valentine’s Day Goat Milk Soap, Lotion and Lip Balm Sale going on!  If you need some or if you need someone to get you some, grab it.  Just click here.

Posted in Farm Life | Leave a comment

It’s National Plan Your Vacation Day!

And we sure hope you’ll plan to spend some of your vacation with us!

Join us for a one of a kind experience…The Goat Cheese Making Class at our 5 acre farm in Penrose, Colorado (45 minutes south of Colorado Springs).  Since 2010, we’ve taught over 1200 people to milk goats and make cheese!

Click Here For The Schedule of All Classes or read on to learn more…

img_4826

Wonder what it’s about?  Well, grab a cup of coffee and settle in.  I’ll tell you:

Your class includes more than just making goat cheese…When you arrive at our farm, you’ll relax in your car until I come out and wave at you, that’s your cue to come in!  We’ll take a few minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea around the table and get to know each other, then together we’ll make honey whole wheat bread from scratch.

241

While it’s rising, we’ll head outside and take a farm tour to meet all of the animals, collect eggs from the chickens, and we’ll teach you to milk the goats!  (Even though you came here to learn to make goat cheese, milking the goats seems to be everyone’s favorite part!)  Milking is an art, don’t worry, we won’t be too hard on you for squirting a few drips outside the pot, and if you squirt me, that’s extra credit.

123

Babies on the farm April-June.

After spending about an hour outside, we’ll take the milk inside and strain it while discussing the benefits of raw goat milk and the rationale behind pasteurization. You’ll even have the opportunity to taste it!  Remember our rising bread dough? Now, we need to take a quick break to form it into loaves to let it rise one more time before baking.

And, finally, we’ll start to make cheese.  First, we’ll make a simple, soft herbed goat cheese.  It’s the best place to start when you’re new to cheesemaking.  After your astounding success with your goat cheese, we’ll move onto something more difficult…goat milk mozarella. About mid-way through making the mozarella, we’ll start baking the bread and ooooohhh, does it start to smell good!

img_4822

After a full morning, and with our stomachs yearning for a bite fresh bread, we’ll scramble the farm fresh eggs we collected in the morning, slice the just baked and still warm bread, open up a jar of our favorite preserves, toss together a salad of organic greens with our farmstead feta and homemade dressing and to top it all off, we’ll indulge in our famous White Milkshakes for dessert – formally reserved just for kids, but added to the menu after enough adults begged!

img_4816

As you’re wrapping up your meal, I’ll package up the remaining morsels of cheeses you made (that didn’t get eaten) so you can take them home.  And finally, just before leaving, you’ll choose the (all made on our farm) 4 oz bottle of Goat Milk Lotion, bar of Goat Milk Soap and tube of Goat Milk Lip Balm that you want to take home with you!

All the recipes for everything we make are included with the class…even the White Milkshake recipe!  You just have to get the goat!

The Goat Cheese Making Class is held at our farm in Penrose, Colorado (45 minutes south of Colorado Springs), starts at 8:15, ends at 1:15ish, costs $100 per person and is limited to 4 people per class. (If a family, friend or work group is larger than 4 people, we may be able to increase the size of the group, just ask!)  To Schedule A Class, Call 719-651-9819.  Click Here For The Schedule of All Classes

We sure hope to see you in 2017!

– The Plan Your Vacation Today Goat Cheese Lady

 

Posted in Bread Making, Cheese Making, classes, Farm Life, gifts, goats, Milking, Recipes, Soap and Lotion | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

My Writing Buddies

I have the opportunity, every Wednesday, to attend Sherry Johns’ writing group in her Skye Blue Yoga studio here in our sweet little town of Penrose, Colorado.  We are all at some stage of wanting to write or of actively writing…something.  Each session, our little group convenes to read what we’ve been working on in the past week.  Then, we each randomly choose from a blue swan vase full of hundreds of cut up index cards adorned with hand written prompts, write for 10 minutes about that prompt (fiction, non-fiction, poetry…really just anything that comes to mind…typically without much editing) and read it aloud if we so choose.

Right now, I’ve decided I’ll read it to you.

But first, the prompt I drew was…“Write about the number 49.”

So, here goes:

I’m 41.  Or 42?  I think I’m 41.  Yes.  42 in May.  Born May 19, 1975, the math indicates I’ll be 42 in May.  So what about when I’m 49?  What will have happened? Where will I be?  In 7 years, my baby will be 16 – driving.  In 7 years, my first born will be 19 – college.  

And here I thought this would be an unemotional topic.

In 7 years, Herbert will have a booming home remodeling business.  His gray hairs from the past 10 years will become black again – if only in his reduced stress level.

In 7 years, I will have worked out all the kinks in The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery.  Routine and learning and finances and good cheese will allow for an employee or two so we can go on vacation…for the 6th year in a row.  The European Cheese Tour – with a stop in Barcelona for a soccer game – looks good at 49! 

And that’s it.

What my brain rambled out after reading “Write about the number 49.”  Sherry says writing for 10 minutes about a prompt is an exercise to “get the juices flowing.”  I’m counting on my juices flowing all the way through the end of my book.

021

Having never written a book before, I’ll take Sherry’s advice on how to get started, she’s written 4…work on the introduction first.

My writing group buddies are my accountability partners.  Each week, I tell them what I’m going to work on.  My commitments to them have caused me to blog more and this week, I will work on the introduction to my book.

– The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  Thanks Sherry and Claire!

Posted in book, Farm Life, good people to know | Tagged | 4 Comments

Frozen Feta

I refer to myself as an experiential learner.

It’s just unfortunate this was the experience (in a nutshell):

Our extra refrigerator is in my husband’s woodworking shop.  Over the summer, the milk jars took over the house refrigerator so I had to move the jars of brining, aging feta to the workshop refrigerator.

Last week, the workshop refrigerator froze the feta (aged-6-months-pièces-de-résistance-that-I-was-planning-to-entice-restauranteurs-into-buying-when-the-creamery’s-open) into its brine resulting in the aforementioned learning experience.

Frozen feta, when thawed, shatters into a million shards when touched in the brine.  Poof.  Gone.  Just Like That.

Yes, I can strain the shards out and put them to some edible use, but for now, I’m leaving them there because I’m just mad.

– The Goat Cheese Lady

Posted in Cheese Making, Experiments, Farm Life | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Murray’s Cheese

Today, I received exciting news!  A reader commented on a long ago blog post about my troubles with Cold Eeze lozenges and included that she…“Was DELIGHTED to see Murray’s Cheese Shoppe in NYC’s West Village is now carrying your cheese – congrats!”

Wow!  That’s awesome!  In my mind, Murray’s Cheese carrying my cheese would be the ULTIMATE COMPLIMENT!!  Murray’s Cheese in New York City!  It’s an iconic cheese shop!  It’s the stuff cheese legends are made of!  It’s where I would feel like “I’ve Made It” if they carried my cheese!

So, to receive the news that they ARE carrying my cheese was quite surprising.

Why?  Well, The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery isn’t even built yet, and I don’t sell any cheese yet!

002

We’re working on the foundation!

Therefore, I made my first ever call to New York City.  NYC.  The Big Apple.  Matt Lauer’s stomping grounds (yep, still want to be on The Today Show with Matt, just awaiting the call).  I dialed 1-212-243-3289 – Murray’s Cheese.  I have never been to New York City, I have never called New York City, and I have never called Murray’s Cheese.  Until today.

I explained to the man who answered that I am The Goat Cheese Lady and we are building The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery and that it’s not finished yet but we are planning to be open in the Spring and one of my blog readers was thrilled to find my cheese there and were they selling any cheese made by The Goat Cheese Lady?

No, Adam said, they aren’t.  Phew.  Mystery solved.   I’m not sure what she saw, but it wasn’t mine or anyone else’s going by The Goat Cheese Lady (which was my immediate concern and caused me to think I need to trademark my name?…I’ll take some advice, please!)

But that led to my next question…would they consider it when we’re open?  I mean, we’re going to be a tiny farmstead artisan goat cheese creamery and I would have enough cheese to supply his famous store for about a minute, but do they ever feature small creameries?

Drum roll please…

He said, YES!

I’ll keep you posted on that and will most likely combine my stint of cheese sales at Murray’s Cheese during the same trip where I sit on The Today Show with Matt.

– The Goat Cheese Lady

Posted in Farm Life | 12 Comments

What Kind Of Coat Do You Wear?

Is it a Front Door Coat or a Back Door Coat?

Oh!  You thought I meant rain coat, ski coat, trench coat, nice coat?

No.  I mean is yours a Front Door Coat or a Back Door Coat.  There is a difference you know.  At least here there is.

The distinction arose after Christmas when I wore my brand new coat home from dinner and erroniously entered through the back door.

Flash, our overactive, Australian Shepherd kangaroo, has full access to the unfenced back yard thanks to a summer’s worth of invisible fence installation by Yours Truly and The Boys.  She is the welcoming committee each time we come home, the Jack-in-the-box we have to frogger around in order to get in the house.

Upon exiting the car, we’re safe from being jumped on until we cross the buried wire 20 feet from the back door…and then one of two things happens:

  1. We sprint up the porch stairs and into the house in hopes she won’t notice we’re home.  (wishful thinking, never happens)
  2. We get tackled.

When feeling positive toward Flash, I tell myself “she’s just giving me a hug!”  But most days, I have visions of my fist connecting with her face each time she springs to eye level.  (Don’t worry, I’ve never actually done it.)

Unfortunately, this time, I just flat didn’t think about the fact that the brand spanking new coat might be a problem…

008

Front Door Coat

…until she jumped on me and snagged it.  That’s when, after escaping her “embrace,” leaping inside and removing the coat to survey the damage, I decided I must now have Front Door Coats and Back Door Coats.

007

Front Door Coat

The Front Door Coats are strictly to be worn out the front door.  The invisible fence does not allow her to the front yard, and despite my love for efficiency (the car is typically closer to the back door than the front), I’ve either got to suck it up and walk seven more steps to the car in order to protect my Front Door Coats, or I need to make a change: park closer to the front door.

010

Back Door Coat

The Back Door Coat never really has left through the front door in the past, it’s not presentable enough to be worn anywhere except inside the barn or on dates with the goats.  It used to be black, but is now a full spectrum of sunbleached grays.  Although I don’t condone it, the Back Door Coat can be jumped on if need be with no significant change in its tattered appearance.

I am human though. When habit takes over, and I head for the back door, I literally have to stop in my tracks, look down at my wardrobe to determine the appropriate egress for the current coat.

It is a lot of work living in the country on a goat farm with a jumping dog.  Little did I know my choice of coats would be part of the challenge.

– The Goat Cheese Lady

 

Posted in Dogs, Farm Life, funny stories, goats | Tagged , | 1 Comment