Celebrating Gluten, Eggs and Health!

Around this time last year, I embarked on a health changing, energy lifting, life altering diet and supplement routine to combat the extreme fatigue that was robbing me of one month per year.

I had figured out that for at least four days per month, I was so exhausted, I couldn’t get out of bed. My limbs felt heavy, weak, worthless. I showered with my eyes closed, leaning against the wall, attempting to make it through the most basic of daily tasks, only to crawl back in bed with lest hair to sleep for the next four hours.  It was difficult to get any focused amount of activity finished because I could not predict if tomorrow would be a good day or a bad.

I had been to different doctors over the years, each with a suggestion or a medication that they thought would help…none did.  I suspected hormonal imbalances, and finally, the exhaustion got so bad that I Googled “fatigue, hormone, natural, Colorado” and found Natural Hormone Replacement Clinics of Colorado.  After extensive blood and saliva testing, Dr. Baird and Dr. Hollstrom put me on a strict diet (specific to my blood level food allergies), a hormone cream regimen and a variety of supplements including a probiotic, an anti-viral and methylated vitamin B, all to be carried out for one year

I waited a full year to tell you who the doctors were because I wanted to be sure it worked before recommending them. Today, it has been one year and two days.

And, despite some other health issues that cropped up late in the game, I can tell you with certainty that for me, it worked.  I am thankful to Dr. Hollstrom and Dr. Baird for leading me down a path to improved energy that I hadn’t found elsewhere. I can now stay awake all day for many days in a row!  I have gone from four days a month of total, extreme exhaustion to just needing a nap here and there.

I followed the diet with intensity and dedication, and today, I celebrate. Today is the day I can reintroduce wheat, gluten and eggs, after not eating them for a year.

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So, excuse me while I go devour a huge chunk of coffee cake.

– The Goat Cheese Lady

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It Takes A Village!

In two days, Saturday, July 18, my 9-year-old niece, Lily, will be climbing 3000 stairs at Denver Bronco stadium to raise money to cure Cystic Fibrosis.

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Lily is on the right, hugging her 4-year-old sister (who will ride in a backpack on my sister’s back while my sister and brother-in-law also climb the 3000 stairs!)

You may remember we have two dear friends who are now in their early 30’s and have Cystic Fibrosis.  Lily is climbing for them.

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I have a goal to help Lily raise $1000 in the next 2 days.  Can you help?

Your donation through Paypal will be transferred directly to Lily’s climb fund, which will go directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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Let’s surprise Lily and help her raise $1000!!!  But we only have until tomorrow night because she starts climbing at 8 am Saturday morning!

Here’s how you can help:  Click the donation button anywhere on this post before 10 pm tomorrow (Friday) night to donate to The Goat Cheese Lady’s CF Climb fund for Lily!!  Whatever amount you can donate will help us reach the $1,000 goal!!!

Thanks for your donations!!!  They are going to a great cause…already the CF Foundation has helped scientists find life prolonging medications for CF, but WE STILL NEED A CURE!!!

–  Aunt Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  You can donate by clicking the donate button below!

 

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My, What Nice Forearms You Have.

A few nights ago, in a dream, a man was hitting on me.  Granted, I’m happily married, but that had no relevance when it was a particular body part that most attracted him.  You know how when you have a dream, and you remember it the next day, you sometimes only remember a snap shot or two?  Well, the shot I vividly recalled was the inside of my bare forearm in the forescreen and him gingerly sliding his thumb along it from my elbow to my wrist, telling me, “What nice forearms you have.”  Nice pick up line, huh?

Thus is the pride of a goat milker.  Or at least me, a weird goat milker.  Strong forearms, a killer hand shake and the ability to out-squeeze any stressed out office worker in a worry ball competition.

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Some might think milking four goats twice a day is a lot of work.  It is, but it’s a different kind of work, a good kind of work.  When I go to the office, I sit outside by the milk stand under the sun or the stars in my farm clothes, talk to the goats, grab some sweet bribery for them to eat while on the stanchion and sidle up to their right sides and commence milking.  Here are the facts as they currently stand:

1.  The milk from the four goats fills up a two gallon pot.

2.  Each squeeze from a teat produces about a tablespoon of milk.

3.  There are 512 tablespoons in two gallons of milk.

4.  I milk twice a day.  That’s (at least) 1024 squeezes per day.

A lot of work?  Yes.  But, I’d rather do this as part of my profession than sit behind a desk and squeeze a worry ball 1024 times per day to get a good grip and quite possibly the ability to suspend myself from my fingertips from the barn rafters for an hour or so.  (OK, I can’t really do that.  And, actually, I don’t really aspire to do that, but it is a trait of someone with strong forearms.)

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I remember back when we first got goats, I milked two goats twice a day, woke up daily with my hands asleep in the typical carpal tunnel syndrome pattern from so much repetitive motion, and was shocked the day I witnessed my own forearm resting out the open driver’s side window.  It was (with all my tendency for exaggeration) HUGE.  I actually didn’t know where it came from and did a double take.  Only my friend Marvin’s, the fireman, forearms are bigger.   I’m not even exaggerating.

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Along with the fact that a goat milker squeezes 1000’s of times per week, bazillions of times per year, there are the intricacies of goat milking that tone a person’s forearms.  Teat and orifice size being two of the main muscle builders.

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Let’s take a quick look at a goat anatomy refresher course:  A goat has one udder…it’s the bag that holds the milk.  A goat has two teats…they are the tubes hanging down that channel the milk.  Each teat has one orifice…it is the opening that allows the milk to come out.  In my opinion, a long teat is the best.  Your whole hand can fit on there and you can complete an index to pinky finger ripple down squeeze in one fluid motion, thus capturing all of the tiny forearm muscles in the action.  A big orifice is ideal because more milk comes out with each squeeze, thus reducing your amount of squeezes per milking and therefore your propensity for carpal tunnel syndrome and sneaking desires to get that desk job you really don’t want.

On the flip side, and common to every female mammal, we all have different teat and orifice sizes.  There are the goats that need a big bra and the goats that need a small bra.  The small teated goats are the biggest challenge to milk because you can only use one or two fingers to coax the milk out.  To mimic this, pretend you’re playing a miniature trumpet with only two keys and push those keys up and down 256 times, fast.  Wait, these are small teats, so you don’t get a tablespoon per squeeze, you get a teaspoon, so increase that to 512 teensy key strokes.

No, actually in my pre-goat milking years, I had never thought twice about forearm size.  But when you shake the hand of the carpet installer and he winces, or you shake the hand of a new female acquaintance and accidentally reposition her hand bones, you gain a new appreciation for strength you didn’t know you had.

–  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  This original post ran in its edited version here on the IndyBlog on March 29, 2015.

 

Posted in Farm Life, funny stories, goats, Milking | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Babies and Milk and Cheese Everywhere!

Spring on the farm is the beginning of life after the rest and revitalization that is winter.  In March, we bought a dozen new baby chicks to become our new egg laying flock and 12 goat kids were born…8 bucklings, 4 doelings, all healthy and ready to nurse and scamper and pirouette.

The excitement and anticipation of their birth brought with it something else: lots of work.

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Five new mama goats now means five goats to milk, twice a day.  Just like human females, when a female goat has babies, the milk starts flowing.

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At our farm, the babies nurse full time for a week or so, then we start bottle feeding so they get used to being handled and so we can share the milk with them.  Once they’re about two months old and are eating alfalfa and grass and drinking plenty of water, they don’t need milk anymore, so we get it all.

 

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Here’s where it gets slightly crazy: five goats milked twice a day produce about 4-5 gallons per day.  That equals a quickly overflowing refrigerator, and a high production of cheese in our kitchen!  When the fridge gets full, I pull out the half gallon jars of fresh, raw goat’s milk and decide what to make, usually 3-6 gallons of milk per batch.

At this time of year, we have brining jars full of traditional feta and blue feta, wrapped and aging Pepper Jack and oak pressed hard cheeses, fresh chevre and queso fresco, oiled rind herbed cheeses, southern Colorado style goat cheese, goat ricotta, and bloomy rind camembert (my favorite!) all in their own stages of aging or being eaten.  The aging part is definitely difficult however, only because it means waiting.  After a cheeseless and milkless winter, any cheese we make begs to be eaten and shared.  But, alas, if we eat it all now, there will be no aged cheese for the next fall and winter months when the milk flow slows down due to colder weather, shorter days and pregnant goats.  In the land of aged cheeses, patience is a virtue.

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And in the spring time, when fresh cheeses abound because of the bounty of milk, we thrill in delicious eating!

–  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  This original post ran in its edited version here in the IndyBlog on April 25, 2015.

Posted in Cheese Making, Farm Life, goats, Kidding, Milking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Now That’s Cooking With Gas

For all of the cooking years of my life, I have cooked on an electric stove and have become accustomed to both the curly cue and the flat top ranges. In my years of teaching cheesemaking however, any of my students who have gas stoves at home loudly sing the praises of cooking with gas.  Lucky for me, our move to the Penrose countryside in January brought with it five acres, a household bullet style propane tank in the yard and a gas stove.

Granted, there are benefits to cooking with gas. Its proponents love that the level of heat can be instantly regulated, and when you’re finished cooking or (in my case) when the pot of heating milk is about to boil over, you can simply turn the stove off and all heat ceases-unlike electric ranges that historically have caused me to juggle turning off the burner, grabbing hot pads and attempting to yank the frothing pot off the stove before it boils over either onto me or all over the burners.

Cooking with gas does have an unexpected learning curve though, one that has twice put the integrity of my kitchen at risk. You see, cooking with gas, as one might realize, directly involves fire. Flames come licking out of the burner in extremely hot, light-other-things-on-fire, fashion. The good news is, I have not lit myself on fire. The bad news is, I’ve learned I have to change the way I make spaghetti. On an electric top, I bring the water to a boil, put the full length noodles in, leaving the excess sticking out of the pot and just let hot water and gravity take over until they all eventually sink into the pot. The day I learned that doesn’t work with gas is the day the ends of the noodles looked like the charred ends of a handful of 4th of July sparklers.

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Another cooking technique that has caused some alarm is our method of warming tortillas. On an electric range, we turn it on and throw a corn tortilla straight on the burner where it slowly heats up to a palatable consistency. There has never been need to break out the fire extinguisher. Remember previously, I mentioned cooking with gas means cooking with fire? It also means flaming tortillas. We’ve realized there can be no walking away from the burner when toasting tortillas unless you want to return to a tortilla inferno.

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In the end, I think I’ll prefer my gas stove top over all others, but the jury’s still out.  Speed and precision of cooking versus lighting my sweater on fire when I reach over the lit front burner to stir the chili on the back burner.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

–  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  This original post ran in it’s edited version here on the IndyBlog on March 14, 2015.

 

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How Wheelbarrows Give Birth

The Animal Whisperer witnessed (and titled) this event:

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In the womb.

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Wow!  From this angle, she hardly looks pregnant!

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I do believe her water broke and she’s definitely dropped a little.  Better head to the hospital.

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The baby started coming in the elevator!  No time for an epidural!

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Birth.

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Awwwww, look at that little guy!  He looks just like his dad!

–  The Goat Cheese Lady

 

 

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9 Reasons I Like Living In The Country

1.  People wave at you when they drive by.  You don’t even know them.

2.  They sell death wholesale to the public.

3.  The locals tell you a country block equals a quarter mile.

4.  There’s no line at the Walmart Customer Service counter.

5.  You accidentally dial the wrong number when calling the mom of your son’s new friend at school.  Instead of gruffly stating, “You’ve got the wrong number” and hanging up, the friendly stranger on the other end strikes up a conversation.  He tells you he’s not related to the kid you’re calling about but asks, “Is he ok?” and introduces himself as the dad of another fifth grader at your son’s school.

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6.  Poles wear boots.  No, they are not my boots.

7.  Down the street, there’s a buffalo and a camel and white peacocks and a zorse (zebra mixed with horse).

8.  The sunsets are beautiful.

9.  There are stars.  No, I mean STARS.  Lots of them.  All over the sky.  EVERYWHERE.

–  The Goat Cheese Lady

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