How To Inspire Others

“What do I have to prove?”  My mom asked this rhetorical question in a conversation a couple of days ago about a bike ride she was planning to take.  She and my dad have ridden the CF Ride for years in support of our friends with Cystic Fibrosis, who are now grown up moms with precious kids.  There are three mileage options on the ride. You choose either 27, 45 or 68 miles, depending on your fitness level, joint health, self motivation and desire to suffer.  My dad and friends Steve and Debi were planning on riding the shortest ride.  Unbeknownst to me, my mom was planning on riding the longer, middle length, ride.

Mom is a self starter, an inspiration, a role model.  She works out daily, doesn’t complain about stuff, looks for the bright side in everything and lives by John Denver’s melody…Welcome to my morning, welcome to my day…(I’m the one responsible, I made it just this way…).  She was a stay at home mom while my sister and I were young, started her own business when I was in high school and frequently reports that she “only gets to live life once”, so she’s going to make the best of it.  She’s a glass half fuller, a silver liner, a mover, a shaker.  She volunteers at the hospital every week for four hours, snow skis her age (yes, that means she skied 71 days last year when she was 71…but is hard on herself because the day they moved out of their condo she turned 72, so she thinks she should have actually skied 72)  She looks for people to inspire her, like the 90-something who volunteers at the hospital too, and has for the past 29 years.

But, what does she have to prove?  Why, she asked, would she ride the 45 mile ride if Dad was riding the 27?

“Nothing!  Except to myself, just to prove that I can do it when I’m 72!”  But, Dad fell on his bike the other day and hurt his hip.  He’s still going to ride and, far above and beyond proving something to herself, she prefers to be with Dad if he needs her.  So, she is riding the shorter ride with Dad, Steve and Debi today.  I have no doubt, however, that she would have TOTALLY been able to prove to herself (and everyone else) that she could do the 45 mile ride when she’s 72!

I was out hiking with my friend and freaky mom club cofounder, Emily, two days ago when her friend Tammy, an ultra marathoner, came uphill toward us.  Tammy was only running 4 miles that day, instead of the 100 she runs in her marathons, and stopped to chat with us.  She was preparing for pacing her friend Tom in the Pikes Peak Ascent, which happens to be today.  Tom is 80.  According to Tammy, if Tom finishes, he’ll be the oldest man to complete the ascent.  (side note: if he doesn’t, he’ll just be an awesomely inspiring 80 year old).  But what does he have to prove?  I have not the foggiest.  But, maybe, that an 80 year old can complete the ascent.  Soon after our encounter with Tammy, I texted my cousin Don, man of all things Pikes Peak.  Don, who also runs the ascent, checked the stats, and actually, there’s been an 82 year old who has previously finished.  According to Don, the 82 year old is the oldest ascent finisher in history.  Which, in Don’s words, makes Tom a Future Old Finisher In Training.  A FOFIT.  What kind of amazing inspiration is that!!  You’re 80 and you can still look at an 82 year old for inspiration!  I don’t know Tom, but if he were asked the question, “What do I have to prove?”, and answered that he only wanted to prove to himself that he could do the ascent when he was 80, I’d be willing to say he would be inspiring every other runner out there and every other person who has ever heard of him.  And he’s just a FOFIT.

That leaves me.  If Tom’s a Future Old Finisher In Training, I’m a Future FOFIT.  Or if we add an F for every decade until I’m 80, I’m actually a FFFFFOFIT, if I did the math right.  I’m 43.  And, I ran 8 miles with my son’s high school soccer team last week.  Diego is a freshman on the soccer team and just whizzed through his first week of 2-a-Days.  7:30 to 9 am conditioning practice and 4-6 pm ball work for 4 days, an afternoon practice on the 5th day, and on Saturday, the 6th day, The Jungle Run.  The 32nd Annual Jungle Run according to Head Coach Cal.  The 8 Mile Jungle Run.  4 miles down the Canon City River Walk and 4 miles back up.  The day I asked Coach Cal if he needed help with water stations or anything, he said no, but if I wanted to bike or run with them, I could.  Hmm.  But what do I have to prove?  I run most days, about 2-3 miles, mostly because it’s good for my mental health.  If I don’t run, I go through what feels like withdrawals, my anxiety increases, I get snappy and grouchy.  If that happens, I know I better get out for a run.  But 8 miles?  The most I’ve done lately is 4.  Only once in my life have I run 8.  So, What do I have to prove?  Only to myself that I can do it. So, I took off behind the pack of soccer boys.  I didn’t tell anyone I was planning to do it, not even my husband, Herbert.  I had brought our 11 year old, Andre, and his bike with me, telling him when we left home that we would go on A run and A bike ride.  I didn’t tell him until we got to the starting line behind the pack of soccer boys that we were doing THE run.  THE run, so I could prove to myself that I could do it.  A FFFFFOFIT.  And I did.

I proved to myself I could run 8 miles.  I hope Tom proves to himself that he can complete the ascent.  I know my mom proves to herself every day that she can do whatever she sets her mind to.  And, we think we are only proving something to ourselves.  But it turns out, every time we prove to ourselves WE can do something, WE are inspiring OTHERS.  You never know WHO you will affect, but undoubtedly, YOU WILL INSPIRE SOMEONE ELSE if you think you are only trying to prove it to yourself.

Keep up the good work out there all you Future and Current FOFITs.  By setting goals for yourself, you motivate yourself.  And, although you might not realize it, you also INSPIRE OTHERS.

Posted in Farm Life | 8 Comments

Closing The Farm

Dear Friends,

It is with sadness and also with happy anticipation that, due to health issues and finances, we announce we are closing The Goat Cheese Lady business, The Goat Cheese Lady Farm and are stopping construction on The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery.  Over the past 7 years, we have met so many of you through our classes, sales, dinners, milk, cheese, and goats, and we have deeply appreciated your support and friendship.

We have loved every second of it but have recently come to realize that going back to our off farm jobs…me as an Occupational Therapist, Herbert working for his own business (D & A Home Remodeling, Ltd) and with his brother’s painting business (Legacy Painting, LLC)…would be the best for our finances and our health.

Although our dream was to have The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery and sell our cheeses, reality has proven that to be very physically, mentally and financially difficult.  As I mentioned, it is with sadness that we make this decision.  However, we are also happily anticipating the health and financial improvements in our lives as we go back to off farm work.  We are not moving, but are shutting down all of our farming operations, selling many of our animals and our milking and cheesemaking equipment.

As long as supplies last, you can still purchase soap, lotion and lip balm here.

If you are in need of painting, home repair or remodeling, please contact Herbert at 719-651-6480.

Please contact us if you are interested in any of the following:

Does in Milk: $350 (discounts for multiple purchases)

Yearlings: $325 (discounts for multiple purchases)

Doelings: $200 (discounts for multiple purchases)

Buckling: $200

Breeding Buck: $350

Egg Laying Chickens: $25 (discount for multiples)

Anatolian Shepard Livestock Guardian Dog, “Kimba”: $450

15 gallon Microdairy Designs Vat Pasteurizer including agitator, Airspace Heater, Water Jacket Heater, Thermometer Set- Mercury, Chart Recorder with Digital Indication Thermometers, Peristaltic Tube Pump- Variable speed with foot pedal, all accessories and manuals: $8500

Antibiotic Testing Delvotest Block Heater: $100

2 Goat Milking Machine with 7 gallon Stainless Steel Bucket: $1100

Various Cheese Molds: $5 each

Warmly,

Lindsey and Herbert Aparicio

Posted in Farm Life | 3 Comments

Splat, Part 2.

We decided we should just let him go, and for a minute I agreed.

But then my heart took over.

I couldn’t do it.  Knowing mama was right there with her udder full, nursing her other two boys, I just couldn’t let him go.  Not yet at least.  I held Splat up to Willow, gently squeezing her teat toward his mouth.

When I attempt to get a baby to latch on, the right hand holds him under the armpits and any extra fingers grow longer to extend neckward, holding his head toward the flow of milk.  The left thumb and index finger tenderly squeeze the teat while the ring, pinky finger and associated side of the palm slightly cup under the teat to cradle the newborn’s chin.  The left middle finger assists wherever needed, sometimes with milking, sometimes with chin cradling, sometimes with flicking away a curious farm dog.

In Splat’s case, he did not latch on.  Despite milk being squirted toward his mouth and misfired up his nose, he did not have the gumption to do what his brothers had instinctively done.  Instead, the milk dribbled into my cupped palm where he slurped up a tiny dose of energy.  I laid him back down in the straw.

Twenty minutes later, training resumed.  His rubberlegs still did not support him in anything except prone snow angel pose, so I lifted him again to Willow.  A few more slurps from the hand, and the appearance of a bit more energy, it was a successful experience, but his future was still uncertain.

I had decided I would not commit to every four hours bottle feeding him, but would support him in eating from his mama during my waking hours.  I would let nature decide at night.

And, as it does every day, night rolled around.  At bedtime, our 13-year-old and I checked that the five other new bucklings were indeed latching on and eating from their mamas.  We gave Splat a drink, noticing that he was able to extend his front legs in a standing posture but the back legs were still uncooperative.  He was also trying to suckle.  He got more collostrum before bedtime than he had all day.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that he was at risk of one of the goats sleeping on him, stepping on him or just getting too cold.  We curled him up by his brothers and hoped for the best.

The next morning, I found it hard to wait for my 5:50am alarm to go off.  Splat had been on my mind all night.  It was a school morning, so there were breakfasts and lunches to make and children to drag out of bed and caffeine to ingest.  It wasn’t until the teenager was on the bus and the 9-year-old had eaten that he and I went out to determine what the night had decided.

Splat was alive!  He still wasn’t standing but had made it throught the night so I taught him how to drink from a bottle.  He drank willingly and later that day, stood under his own power.

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Every day on our farm brings new experiences, new decisions to be made and new approaches to implement.  We have to decide how much to nature and how much to nurture.  Now, two weeks later, it warms my heart to see Splat walk, run, jump, nurse and play just like his brothers. He’s still a miniature version of them, but he made it!

– The Goat Cheese Lady and Splat

P.S. As I mentioned in Splat, Part 1, we don’t keep the boys.  Of the six that were born on Splat’s birthday, we’ve sold two.  At the time of this writing, more have been born and are for sale, including Splat.  They are $75 each.  Let us know if you want a weed eater, a horse companion or a herd sire. These boys qualify for any of those jobs!  You can call me directly if you are interested or have more questions.  719-651-9819.

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Posted in Farm Life, For Sale, goats, Kidding | Tagged | 3 Comments

Splat.

There are always surprises on a farm.  The day Splat was born was full of surprises, six of them, actually.

We were expecting the first 3 goats of the season to kid on Tuesday, or thereabouts. In my mind, “thereabouts” could mean anytime Tuesday or after, when I would be ready to launch into a month’s worth of kidding season and commence twice daily milking. I anticipated numerous chai teas in the barn, waiting through each goat’s birthing process with Erma Bombeck on hand for literary entertainment, where I would be ready to leap to the aid of a struggling goat with my recently equipped medical supply box.

Tuesday or after, the collection of empty plastic water bottles residing on the back corner of the kitchen counter would be complete, eagerly waiting to be capped with black nipples and used as baby bottles at a moment’s notice.

On Tuesday, or thereabouts.

But on the Sunday preceding the aforementioned Tuesday, I’m sure you can understand our surprise when we returned from our final foray to the city as free farmers.  Upon noticing a white goat missing from the pasture, we headed to the barn anticipating Willow in the early stages of labor, seeing as she hadn’t been in any stages of labor that morning.  Suffice it to say, we were shocked when we saw 4 baby goats scattered around the pen, two piled like miniature snow drifts, the other two resembling long legged skunks.  After a feeble cry from the barn, we discovered a 5th, also dressed like an Oreo.

5 Babies!  All Alive!  From One Mama!  It Was A Record!

Now, let’s back up a second.  Upon arriving home, our sporatically devoted farm boys took up residence in front of their iPads and the TV, all screens blazing at the same time. When I arrived at the back door to notify them that their presence was desired in the barnyard but divulging no details, and after putting a fair amount of thought toward the offer, they obliged anticipating a birthing session.  (Besides soccer practice, that is the one thing that can compete with Clash of Clans, NCIS and YouTube.)

The newly minted teenager made it out first, feet a-shufflin’, head a-waggin’, all cool, calm and collected.  Immediately, and quite brilliantly, he exclaimed, “Those aren’t ALL Willow’s babies, the black and white ones are PEARL’S!!”  (Who, by the way, was out in the pasture, contentedly chomping away, acting like she hadn’t just popped out three furballs on stilts.)  And, to add to his ballooning IQ, he discovered a sixth pile of white hair and bones in the barn: Splat.

Splat, on the far left of the above video, must have been the runt of Willow’s three. For brief periods, he weakly kept his head off the ground but couldn’t stand on any of his rubberlegs, and certainly hadn’t eaten like his energetic brothers apparently had (yes, you counted right, 3 boys).  Pearl’s 3 boys (you read that right, too) had figured out how to prop their bodies upright on their precariously wobbling legs and appeared rather adjusted to their new life outside the pond.

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However, in his splay legged state of life clinging, Splat became the subject of a real, honest to goodness, farm conversation: We now have 6 bucklings.  Do we let him go? (He’s just a boy, anyway.  A girl and we wouldn’t even ask the question.  A girl grows into a milk producing member of our herd, but multiple boy goats are the least valuable asset on our dairy goat farm.)  If he were out in nature, he would fall asleep forever.  He would quietly pass on.

Or, do we hold him to mama’s teat and gently coax life giving collostrum into his drooling mouth, feeling to see if he’s swallowing?  If that doesn’t help, do we bottle feed him, thus dedicating time and energy to a buckling that we will sell or eat?  And, all the while hoping that if that’s the path we choose, the energizing boost of collostrum will not just be a brief glimpse of life that will cause him to suffer more in the end should he die anyway?

We decided.

To be continued.

– The Goat Cheese Lady

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Two Cows and a Car

You can dress me up as a country girl, but it isn’t always a sure bet you can take me out.  Case in point, the other night.

Here are the facts:

  1. I had 20 minutes to get to the feed store before it closed.  I had just found out the chicks were out of food and they were peeping loudly in protest.
  2. The speed limit on County Road 123 increases drastically just past the turn to Brush Hollow, therefore, I was accelerating.
  3. In the late dusk, quite past twilight but before pitch black, the sky absorbed the light from the brights of my car.
  4. I didn’t hit the cows.  Or the cowboys.

On a dark country road, it is always a good idea to have the brights on, just to extend your sight distance.  But, at late dusk with the aforementioned issue of headlight absorption, the frantically arm pumping horseback rider complete with herding dog off to the left side of the road showed up in my line of sight at about the time I passed her. I slowed down immediately, surmising the cowgirl was angry that I was driving past her at 50 miles an hour while she was out riding at night.

In the same instant, I noticed erratically moving headlights too narrow for a car in a vacant field south of the road.  Probably just harebrained teenagers on their 4 wheeler plunging through the brush and prairie dog holes.  It wasn’t until the two cattle jumped the sagging wire fence immediately to my left, aiming for my car that I realized the true nature of the situation.

The cowgirl was urgently signaling me to slow down because of the stampeding duo. They must have escaped from their field on the north side of the road, the entrance to which I was now blocking, having slammed on my brakes at the pretense of having my driver’s side door be gored by wild-eyed, horned cattle.  Just after they leapt in my direction, a cuss word slinging cowboy careened through an opening in the fence on a 4 wheeler, trailing the bovines at close range.  Through my closed window, I could hear his string of expletives mostly involving F’s and A’s and holes, no doubt the cows and I being the intended recipients.

Just after they stormed past my headlights and I inched forward again, a second horseback cowboy came into view in the middle of the road 20 feet ahead.  I gingerly arced around him and his horse then departed the chaos.  I never saw the end of the story, having skedaddled out of there as soon as safely possible, but can only assume that the cattle made it back safely and the cowfolks headed home because on my return trip from the feed store, there was no activity in the total darkness of the corral.

And now, I have a few recommendations:

  1.  If you’re going on a nighttime horseback ride, you need reflectors.  Granted, when the cows escape, there might not be time to think about the fact that cars cannot see you at night.  Your first thought may be only of getting the cows wrangled back into the corral.  It is for that reason, just like a bike, your saddle or your stirrups should have reflectors.  That way, even when you are in a non-thinking-about-your-own-safety state of mind, you will be safer in spite of yourself.
  2. If you’re a driver caught in this state of affairs, take no offense to the words hurled in your direction.  Undoubtedly, the 4 wheeler cowboy was under a huge amount of stress, just forgive him.
  3. Don’t be in a hurry when driving on a dark country road at night.  You never know what you’ll encounter.

All you drivers and cowpeople, be safe out there.

– The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  Our boys, 9 and 12 years old, have been raising the chicks that caused this whole incident.  Their goal is to sell all 42 of them to earn some money.  At the time of this writing, the Dominiques are 3 1/2 weeks old and cost $6 each.  The Delawares are 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 weeks old and cost $7 each.  Each week they feed them, the price goes up.  Call their answering service (me) at 719-651-9819 if you want some!

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Dominique (photo taken when she was 2 1/2 weeks old). Good brown egg layers, heritage breed.

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Delaware (photo taken when she was 3 1/2 weeks old). Good brown egg layers, heritage breed.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 | 2 Comments

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.

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