Thanksgiving Dinner, Anyone?

Meet Chester.


But don’t get too attached.  He will be going to Thanksgiving Camp next week.

We’ve raised our own meat before, but never in the form of a turkey.  Or 3 to be more specific.  There’s a first for everything, and they provide a significant amount of entertainment.

As a threesome, they hang together most of the time, and have a stealthy habit of following a farmer close behind when said farmer is not looking, and quickly stopping, rubbernecking, acting as if they had only been innocently scanning for bugs, when farmer turns to investigate.

Turkey:  “Quick, follow her!  She’s on the move!  Let’s see what devilish treachery she’s up to now.  But REMEMBER, keep your cover AT ALL TIMES.”

Farmer:  Those crazy turkeys are following me again.  They must hope I have food.  (Turns to look, concerned they might test her calf muscles for food value).

Turkey:  “Now!  Look for bugs!  Keep your eyes to the side and whatever you do, DON’T look her in the eye.”

Chester is the leader of the pack and appears to be the only male, which, in my view is unfortunate for him.  I’m not sure if male turkeys have testosterone or not (that will be a Google search at a later date) but if Chester does, he seems to be uncomfortably swimming in it.

Male turkeys demonstrate their maleness by puffing up their feathers to mimic their famous counterparts in Kindergarteners-Learn-About-The-Pilgrims Thanksgiving cartoons.  Surprisingly, they look incredibly similar to your childhood hand traced on brown construction paper, cut out and adorned with a beak and feathers.  Feather balls with upright tails may be a dead on attraction to the ladies, but I think the blue face, red danglies, internal African drumming and nose booger definitely seal the deal.  Chester starts out, in the one minute a day (not consecutive) testosterone is not coursing through his veins, looking like this:


But approach a chicken, a dog, a person, a goat, a mouse, and his maleness takes over.  Feathers in full explosion, he HOLDS HIS BREATH until his face turns blue, his pale neck dots turn into flame red dangling warts and the nose booger slithers out.  The nose booger starts it’s testosterone free life as an elevated blip in the topside of the beak, but during the whole breath holding episode, grows to approximately 14 inches.  And flaps.  All over the place.  With every head turn, every gobble-gobble-gobble, every bite of grain, it flaps, flops and surely attracts the ladies (or perhaps scares off predators?).  This entire physical transformation lasts all most of his waking hours.  He should be the spokesman for the side effects warning of a Viagra commercial…if it lasts more than 4 hours….


In the mean time, and only every so often, African drummers sound off a mating call from the depths of his being, as if he needed any more help getting a date.

Would you like to join us for Thanksgiving?

  •  Chester and The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S. This post ran in its edited version on the Indyblog on November 22, 2015.

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Milking in the (cold) wind

Before I went out to milk tonight, in the dark with gale force winds that sounded like they were kicking up a tornado of sorts, I warned my boys that if I wasn’t back inside within 30 minutes to start looking for me under a house in Kansas.  I gave them permission to remove my red slippers.  That of course, I recalled later, makes me a wicked witch… a fact my chore-laden children might not dispute.  

When milking outside under the stars in the cold wind, you first contemplate the state of your pants.  While seated on the kindergarten sized milking chair and leaning forward for long periods, you begin to wish you had worn a belt.  When a cold gust blows, you immediately realize your waistband has migrated south.  Although you are not a plumber, you begin to feel a strange kinship with one as the icy wind travels the fleshy path deeper into your seat, all the while causing you to wish you could let go of the warm teats to cover the exposed skin, but reluctantly deciding not to in an attempt to keep goat feet out of the milk.  

When you return one goat to the pen and grab the next, you have time to readjust your milking attire, only to repeat the above related process again.  This time, however, you aren’t quite as concerned, because the tip of your nose has now frozen and it has begun to run such that you feel the need to catch it.  You are able to keep it in check, but begin hoping the one big (dead) tree on the property, which happens to be within striking distance of you and the milking stand, does not release a large branch in your direction with its next howl.

Time to switch:  Second goat in, Third goat out.  Readjust clothing, sniff multiple times, glance at the waving arms of the tree, and proceed milking, only to notice that your finger tips are now numb.  The only redeeming factor of this facet of your chosen profession is that the goat’s teats are warm.  You gratefully keep your hands on them attempting to thaw your prints while relieving her of milk.

And, finally, the pot nearly full, it’s time for the fourth (and last) goat.  The good news is, she’s like milking a fire hydrant- the milk comes fast and steady.  You’ll be inside soon.  Good thing, because now your ears are numb.  And, with the final few squeezes comes a blasting wind that threatens to cause a milk tsunami in the now full pot.  Quickly, and with fumbling fingers, you put the lid on the pot, goat in the pen and race for the house, clicking your red slippers along the way.

There’s no place like home.

  •  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  This is the unedited version of the post that ran in the IndyBlog on 11-15-2015.

Posted in Farm Life, funny stories, goats, Milking | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments


Last March, (when I count it out on my fingers, it makes 8 months ago), I was diagnosed, for the 7th time in my life, with Minimal Change Disease.  Minimal Change Disesase is a non-life threatening kidney disease that recurs for no apparent reason, and only goes away with Prednisone.  Lots of it. For a long time.

The first time I experienced the disease, I was 13.  At that time, I had a kidney biopsy, a diagnosis and a treatment protocol that was high dosage of Prednisone initially followed by about 6 months of slowly tapering off the medication.  For me, Minimal Change Disease comes on as swelling in the legs and face…the first two noticeable areas of water retention… and foam in my urine, both due to a loss of protein in the urine. If not treated (for example when I was in my 20’s and it recurred and I changed my eating habits to see if it would go away on it’s own…NOT) the swelling continues to get worse. Normally, the kidneys are supposed to keep protein in the body, but during Minimal Change Disease flare ups, they don’t.

Prednisone sets the kidneys straight and fixes the condition, but it comes with a slew of nasty side effects, including increased appetite and weight gain (more on the reality of the side effects later).  In middle school, I started out weighing 135.  In about 3 or 4 weeks, I was at 158.  I announced to my mom one day that if I hit 160, I WOULD NOT BE GOING TO SCHOOL.

As a hormonal, self conscious middle school girl, I could not bear the weight gain much longer.  The good news?  I never hit 160, I continued to go to school.  After it recurred a couple more times in my late teens and twenties, doctors said it “should go away in your late twenties.”  Unfortunately, it didn’t and at 40 I just had my latest… hopefully last…round of Prednisone to, in the words of my doctor, Put Me Back Into Remission.  In my words, To Cure Me.  As of mid August, I finished with Prednisone.  Hopefully for good.*

*Clapping and cheering is appropriate.

Dr. Mallory, my nephrologist for the past 14 years, started me in March, 2015, on 60mg of Prednisone for a week, then dropped the dose to 40mg for a month, then 30, then 20, then less and less and less until I finally reached ZERO in August.  Here is a record of the reality of the side effects of Prednisone.  I share these out of humor (because I lacked much while on the medication), education and to hopefully send a life line out to someone who may be struggling with the side effects right now.  Some are funny.  Some weird.  Some painless. Some constipating.

Here goes (in no specific order and with some anectodes that the pharmacy side effects list doesn’t point out):

  1. Weak fingernails.  They break a lot, peel a lot and become short.  I didn’t realize they were returning to normal until I started poking the goats when I milked, pointing out that, Hey!  You’re off of Prednisone now!  Trim those claws!
  2. Increased appetite.  Not just, I’d like a snack, but, I’d like to eat that entire loaf of bread. Or perhaps the whole container of ice cream.  And, why not another plate of loaded nachos?    In my experience, the internal switch in your stomach that tells you you’re full and should stop eating stays permanently OFF.  When on Prednisone, you never realize you’re full until the skin of your back, sides and abdomen starts hurting, kind of a tearing feeling that you’re sure will be followed by trails of stretch marks, because it is not immediately prepared to encompass the size of your exploding waistline.
  3. Constipation.  Remember all the food you just ate?  And the stretching, tearing feeling of your abdominal skin?  Well, you are now out of luck, because you can’t poop.
  4. Heartburn.  Randomly attacks with quite a high level of violence, causing you to, again, ingest whatever you think might calm it.  Bread, milk, fennel tea, milk of magnesia, pepto bismol, cookies, cheese.  It doesn’t.
  5. Dry skin.  Cracks in your fingers and toes made worse by the dry Colorado air.
  6. Cravings.  This goes along the lines of #2, but I craved melted coconut oil mixed with cocoa powder, chia seeds and maple syrup.  Three times a day.  I’m not kidding.
  7. Your hair stays in.  This could be a beneficial side effect for a balding person, because for me, my long hair actually stops falling out.  Once I’m off the Prednisone, hold the phone.  My hair starts falling out again with a vengance and drains start clogging right and left.
  8. You have no pain.  This is a good thing, right?  Well, I suppose so, yes, if you actually realize how much pain you would be in if you weren’t on Prednisone.  This milking season, which fired up in March, was amazingly pleasant!  I slept through each night without my hands going numb or my shoulders aching!  I wondered why this year would be any different from previous years, but never connected the dots…until I got off the Prednisone and my hands promptly fell asleep and my old arthritic toe began causing me to limp.  What I had not realized was the wonder drug had also been masking some new farming (or aging?) side effects, multiple joint hand arthritis, and milker’s elbow.
  9. Sensitive teeth.  To cold and hot.  Makes devouring the container of ice cream a little less desirable.
  10. Insomnia.  I actually love this!  I get more things done than ever!!
  11. Irritability.  Yep.  Makes Mommy not too fun to be around sometimes.
  12. Acne.  Seriously?  Are you serious?  Acne and I’m FORTY???
  13. Metal Mouth.  My mouth tastes like metal, no matter how much I brush my teeth.
  14. Joylessness.  I hadn’t realized this until I was off the medication, but as my usual self, I find joy and laughter in small things everywhere!  That is just beginning to return, causing me to realize that it had left.  During my stint on Prednisone this time, I simply did not feel any joy.
  15. Bone loss.  Osteoporosis is a risk as is joint degeneration.  So far, so good, except for the aforementioned arthritis.
  16. Fat Redistribution.  This causes Moon Face, Buffalo Hump and a tractor tire around your midsection.
  17. Moon Face.  It’s really called that.  Any form you used to have in your face, ie wrinkles, cheekbones, temples, becomes buried in a fat insulated skin covered ball with holes for breathing, hearing, eating and seeing.
  18. Buffalo Hump.  It’s really called that, too.  That bone that sticks out at the base of your neck is covered by fat and no longer palpable.  You might as well go wander the plains of the Old West.
  19. Tractor Tire.  I made this one up, but whatever you had of a waist now requires at least two pant sizes larger and elastic waistbands become your friend.  Even if you’re 20.
  20. Quintuple Chin.  The only benefit to the multi-chin laden support system called your neck that now holds up your Moon Face is that if you fall asleep on the airplane, you have a built in pillow.  You just have to snuggle right in to the new found folds of flesh that billow off of your mandible.
  21. Hair growth.  Specifically in the facial region.  You contemplate sideburns, a new career as Elvis, or perhaps posting your new braiding techniques on Pinterest.

Being 40 and on Prednisone for 6 months has presented a new challenge:  I went from 152 to 172 (which sucked, but I expected it) BUT even though I have been off for close to two months, I’ve lost only about 7 pounds.  In all of my past experiences, I return to my normal size quickly, almost without even thinking about it.  Not so when you’re 40.  Dang.

I’ve needed to share all of this for quite a few months now, but it never was the right time. Now, I’m sitting on the deck, late at night with a glass of wine, two months out of the trenches.

I am thankful I am well.  I am thankful my husband and children put up with me through it all.  I am thankful Minimal Change Disease is just that: Minimal.  In light of all of the other ailments people experience, I am thankful mine is fixable.  I am thankful that I am beginning to feel joy and thankfulness and laughter again.

For all of you who took classes with me this summer, thank you.  You probably didn’t know it, but you helped me get out of bed.

  •  The Goat Cheese Lady



Posted in classes, Farm Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Goats For Sale!

Six of this year’s precious bucklings-turned-wethers (castrated goat) spent the summer at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo!  Did you see them?  They were in My Big Back Yard, an exhibit with chickens, goats, bees, an occasional come-and-pet-me-I’m-a-tarantula! and a gigantic leaky hose.  The zoo keepers taught them special tricks (like walking on a high beam) and guided them through their daily routine with only food…no physical reinforcement.  They are the best trained goats I’ve ever been around.  As evidence to prove this point, the day I went to band them (ie bloodless castration) and was planning to deal with screaming goats fully resisting the situation, they pranced right into the makeshift procedure area, spread their legs and squatted, inviting me to place an extremely tight rubber band around the dangling bag.  They made nary a peep.

Three of the little darlings have been sold, but THREE ARE AVAILABLE!  They are currently 6 months old, are nubian and nubian-sanaan-alpine crosses (i.e. full sized goats).  If you want to own one of The Goat Cheese Lady’s adorable, zoo-trained wethers, they will make better pets than the family dog.

Why own a wether?  They require little maintenance beside food, water, and shelter.  They don’t need to be milked and they don’t stink (as opposed to their testicularly intact counterparts who attain the gut wrenching stench that makes goats famous for being foul odored).  They eat weeds, can be trained to carry cargo for pack trips and make great companions for lonely horses. Wethers, like any goat, are curious and require good fencing to keep them out of your roses and in their pen.

The 3 remaining wethers are available for reservation now, and pick up on Thursday, September 24, when they are released from their child-entertaining duties at the zoo.  They are $200 each.

Please call me directly if you are interested or if you have any questions.  We look forward to finding them great homes!

– The Goat Cheese Lady, 719-651-9819

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

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.


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

– The Goat Cheese Lady

Posted in Farm Life, good people to know | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.


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