Antique Preserves

We have a neighbor we’ve recently come to know; a friendly, toothless, older fellow who parked himself in Penrose back in the 1970’s.  He has stopped by briefly in the past, thrice encountering only the woman of the house yet always seeking the man.

On his most recent visit, he touted himself as “the best neighbor in Penrose!” when he arrived bearing gifts of food.  His generosity was combined with his apparent need to put his mind to at ease regarding a few facts:

  1. How many people actually live here.  (answer: 4)
  2. To confirm that I actually have a husband. (answer: I do.)
  3. To find out if our 12-year-old would rake some leaves for money.  (answer: yes)

As a good neighbor does when another neighbor arrives bearing food, I invited him inside.  After hefting the box onto the counter, he proudly and gregariously unloaded it to display store bought cookies “for the boys” and quite a few home preserved canned goods.

It was the recently unearthed canned goods that drew my attention, as they appeared to break all the canning rules I’ve ever learned.  There were:

  1. Two jars of apple butter dated October, 1994.
  2. A couple jars of gooseberry preserves canned in reused store bought jelly jars dated around 2013 or 2014.
  3. One jar of canned green cherry tomato pickles.  I’m open minded, but can’t say I’d ever heard of or might ever be willing to taste tomato pickles.

I thanked him profusely, proved that I have a husband by hauling him in from his workshop and promised the 12-year-old would call him to see about raking the leaves.

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Then, I left the preserves on the counter for 2 or so months, debating what to do with them, pondering the issues:

1. He was obviously very proud of them.  It is a lot of work to pick the fruit, make the preserves and can them.  I know.  I’ve done it.  I did not have the heart to dispose of them.

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2. They were obviously very old.  I confirmed with my husband that it was probably not an attempt to poison us, but just the generosity of a neighbor who hasn’t recently read the Ball Book of Canning and Preserving.

On the counter they lived until recently, when my husband tempted fate and opened a jar of the antique apple butter.  Channeling the boy from Holes who survived in the desert on century old canned onions, he dug in.  Next thing I knew, half the jar was gone and he was still alive.  That was at least a month ago.  Today, he opened the second jar.  Having proven his constitution was strong enough to fly in the face of the FDA, USDA, DEA, CSA, NRA, CSI, FBI (oops, got off track there) and their canning guidelines, I decided to do the same.

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Approximately 4 hours ago, I had a bite.  23 year old apple butter is actually pretty good!

In other news, I haven’t ventured under the parafin seal of the recycled jelly jar gooseberry preserves and I will be coming out of gardening retirement, despite the urgings of last year’s grasshopper overpopulation, to plant cherry tomatoes.  I will pick them green.  All of them.  And I will learn to make green cherry tomato pickles. They’re an unexpected mouthful of gently exploding tastebud bliss!

Disclaimer:  Please do not use our experience as our recommendation to eat canned goods that might show up on Antiques Roadshow.  You may decide to use this as your urging though:  “how old is too old to eat canned apple butter. and be sure you read the comment by readinglady (z8 OR)”

Anyway, for now, toodle-loo.  I’m off to further contemplate the gooseberry preserves.  I’m feeling brave.

-The Goat Cheese Lady

 

 

Posted in Experiments, Farm Life, gardening | Tagged , | 5 Comments

We Broke Ground!

Saturday, Larry the foundation guy, began squaring and flattening and digging for The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery foundation!

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It’s actually happening!  This is a side job to his full time job pouring foundations during the week, so it’ll be completed over the course of several weekends and I’ll keep you updated.  Thanks again to EVERYONE who has been so supportive!

In other news, we have a new dog.

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Oh ya, like we need new dog.

If you’ve been here, you know we already have Montana (awesome dog) and Flash (crazy dog).  If you know me, you know I’m not a dog fan.  Herbert likes dogs.  I don’t.

Did I mention, that on the first birthday I had after marrying Herbert, he GOT ME A DOG for my birthday?  Granted, I end up liking the dogs after they turn 6, but I’m not typically known for needing THREE dogs.

And, no.  The dog doesn’t have a name yet.  He’s a 5 month Anatolian Shepard who – don’t you dare tell Herbert I said this – will most likely be pretty awesome, but at the present moment he doesn’t realize his duty is to protect all of our farm animals, not bark incessantly at the pigs.

And, two more things.  My thumb drive, the one I use to take with me to the library to print out all of my product labels and anything else that needs printing, has been thoroughly cleaned.

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Literally.  I found it in the dryer.  A washed, then dried, thumb drive doesn’t work anymore.

The last thing is, when you make cajeta (aka Goat Milk Caramel), don’t pour all the baking soda water in the hot milk at once.

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Trust me.  It explodes.  Not literally, but close.  (That pot was really only half full with sugar milk…adding the baking soda caused it foam up and triple in size…all over tarnation…it was still roiling violently when I had the presence of mind to take this picture…one second after the volcano erupted.)

Bye.

The Goat Cheese Lady

 

Posted in Dogs, Farm Life, funny stories | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Maybe I’ll write a book.

It’s dangerous cutting onions.

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Which is what I was doing just before calling my sister.

We were both cooking dinner.

I told her I’ve been thinking about (for 6 years) writing a book.  I think about it every winter when things slow down and there is time to contemplate such projects.

I told her that when researching writing a book a few weeks ago, I looked at the Chelsea Green Publishing website and read their requirements for submitting a potential book.  The two points that stuck in my mind were (in my reworded nutshell):

1. Why is your book different than all the others out there?

2. What’s so special about you?

I told her that I asked an honest friend, What’s so special about me?  Would someone want to read a book I write?  My friend said I’m an inspiration.  Then someone on Facebook said the same thing.  Is that a reason to write a book?

Then I told her that I spent the afternoon reading old posts, mostly from the first year (2010) of my blog.  You should grab a coffee and do that too.  Some are pretty funny.

So, pretty much, that’s where I am.  Should I? or Shouldn’t I?

– The Goat Cheese Lady

Posted in Farm Life, Opinion | 10 Comments

Thank you! We made it! (and 10% off)

Around August 1st, I started selling $100 Boxes of my farm-made goat milk soaps, lotions and lip balms with the goal of selling 130 to make the $13,000 necessary to to pay for the cement foundation of The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery.  I went to Farmer’s Markets at the Penrose Community Library and Ranch Foods Direct, posted on Facebook and Twitter, sold my wares at the Colorado Springs Senior Center Craft Fair and at our little town’s annual Apple Day Festival, spent an evening at Tailored West in Canon City for First Friday, sent emails and told my story to anyone who would listen.  The first person to buy a $100 Box was Norma at the Ranch Foods Direct Friday Farmer’s Market, a kind woman I had never met before.

People I know, people I don’t know, businesses and non-profits all bought $100 Boxes with plans to use the lotions, soaps and lip balms as hostess gifts, Christmas gifts, employee and volunteer gifts, products to sell in their stores, teachers gifts, donations, stocking stuffers and to keep some for themselves.

People even made $100 donations…”no box necessary,” said one anonymous note. One of my college friend’s mom sent $50.

A woman I had just met at the library made copies of my $100 Box Story and gave it to all of her friends.  Another woman passed out my story at Bingo.

My mom provided free labor every week, labeling lotions, soaps and lip balms, packing boxes and bringing lunch.

Telling my story opened up doors to new referrals for pouring the foundation and opportunities to get new bids.  Just two nights ago, we signed a contract with a man who will bring his team…weather permitting…THIS SATURDAY to break ground on the foundation!!!

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Thanks to everyone who had any part of this chapter in my dream of building The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery.  Because of you, I blew past my goal and sold 147 boxes!

Throughout the process, hundreds of people have told me how much they love their goat milk soap, lotion and lip balm, so I’ve decided to keep the online store open.  You can still buy $100 Boxes or you can buy individual soaps, lotions or lip balms until we run out.  All of the money will go toward sustaining our family, our farm and building The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery.  We also have gift certificates for The Goat Cheese Making Class and The Kids Class at the store.

For the past 4 months, I have been in awe of people who came out of the woodwork to support our local business and help me realize my dream.  I appreciate you, to the point of tears.  Thank you.

Happy Holidays,

Lindsey

P.S. When you check out at the store, type in the code THANKYOU to get 10% off your order.

Posted in Farm Life | 2 Comments

Sometimes, It’s Better To Come In Second

I had the honor of being invited by my sister to attend the Colorado’s Finest celebration dinner last Thursday night featuring “young professionals between the ages of 25-45 who are successful in their chosen career,” who had spent months raising money for Cystic Fibrosis (CF), to find a cure. The Honorees, as they are called (my sister being one), are chosen by others to raise at least $2500 for the event while spreading the word about CF. There were 23 Honorees Thursday night, and as it turns out… the event becomes quite competitive.

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Me, Mom and Ashley

And, Compete.  They.  Did.

History was made Thursday night. Never before have ANY of the honorees raised more than $17,000 and by that night FIVE of them had raised more than $17,000! Even more incredibly, my sister had raised $31,530! Passionate about curing Cystic Fibrosis because of close friends who have it, she set her own personal goal to raise $20,000 and blew it right out of the water.  As of Wednesday night, she thought she had won.

Enter, Tyson.
I met Tyson Thursday night and, after having just learned that he beat my sister by raising $670 more than she, I responded to his firm handshake by briefly attempting to break it with my outlandish goat milker grip.  (I, too, am just a hair competitive.)
But when he took the stage to accept his winning award, he gave her all the credit!  Sometime during the day on Thursday, his friend called and said, “Let’s win this thing!  Let’s go in halfsies.”  So, they did.  At around 4:59pm (donations were accepted until 5pm), Tyson donated $6,000 and his friend donated $6,000 to bring their total from $20,000 earlier that day up to $32,000 that night!  He actually said if it weren’t for my sister raising so much, he wouldn’t have been pushed to beat her.
Incredible.
The event spread the word about Cystic Fibrosis, bringing more young professionals into the movement to help find a cure. My sister exceled at sharing her passion for curing Cystic Fibrosis and masterfully raised more than anyone in the history of the event.  And, thanks to Tyson and his donors for responding to the call to competition, they raised even more. She pushed him. She came in second because she pushed him to come in first.  And, there, at 4:59 pm, was an extra $12,000 toward finding a cure for CF.
Congratulations to all of the Honorees for all of the fundraising and hard work that you did to spread the word about Cystic Fibrosis: How close researchers are to finding a cure but how important it is that we continue to raise money so that everyone with Cystic Fibrosis will be able to live.
Congratulations Ash, I am proud to be your sister.
–  Love, Linds, The Goat Cheese Lady
P.S.  And…Happy Birthday!
Posted in Farm Life | 2 Comments

Fear

Of my tens of fans, one in particular nearly snagged holes in her pantyhose when she dropped to her knees to beg me to begin writing again.  This happened at my niece’s recent birthday party, (which helps rule out which fan of you it was), and caused me to begin thinking about what I might write about that would briefly take my mind off the fact that I have approximately 1,432 bottles of lotion and bars of soap left to make for my $100 Box Fundraiser.  (I’ve already made around 1,197ish, but who’s counting?)

So, I decided to let you in on my latest adventure.  I like to think that in the face of danger, I thrive: I think clearly, act appropriately and am a leader.  But, as I mentioned, that is what I like to think.  It has nothing to do with what is actually the truth.

It began last Friday as I jogged up a dirt road near my house.  The dirt is red and the small lump in the distance smack in the middle of the road was a dark brown pile of mud.  About the size of a dollop of horse manure.  By now, I had been jogging about a mile and my mind was getting the one mile jogging fog.  Nothing caused me to question the fact that it hadn’t been raining in a week, there was no mud within a 30 mile radius and even if there were, it would be red.  It wasn’t until my left foot landed within three inches of it that I realized it…was…a…tarantula.

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As previously mentioned, in the face of danger, I think clearly, act appropriately and am a leader.  Or not.  My mind went blank, I screamed out loud and and sprinted away from the hairy mud pile with legs.

Fueled by pure adrenaline, I pushed uphill toward the end of my loop and headed back, fully prepared to take on the tarantula, if it happened to still be there.  I could see a brown object in the middle of the road in the vicinity of where the incident had occurred and as I approached, I stated firmly and loudly, from a 100 foot distance and gaining, “I know EXACTLY what you are.  YOU will not scare me now.  NO chance.  NO way.  WAMMO BAMMO (punching the air, channeling my inner boxer, Rocky theme music pulsing in my head).”

What happened next was definitely somewhat forgivable.  Now two miles into my run, eyes moderately glazed over with eyeball perspiration, my vision was not at its peak.  I jogged down the (red) road steadily approaching the dark object, planning to clear it by at least a few feet in case it sprinted at my ankles, continuing my defiant diatribe at it, when it came into focus and I realized I had been berating… a piece of dog poop.  The tarantula, when I finally passed it again (further down the road) and realized it was dead, was spared my lectures.  I already used them up on the poop.

Having packed exercise, fear, adrenaline and wildlife encounters into my 40 minute run, I was now fully prepared to take on making moreGoat Milk Lotion, Soap and Lip Balm.  Tarantula or not, I need to sell more $100 Boxes.

Thanks for reading,

The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  If you’re new to The Goat Cheese Lady, we are building The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery on our farm in Penrose, Colorado, so I can produce and sell cheese.  The bid for the building’s foundation came much higher than we had planned, so instead of going into debt, we are raising the $13,000 it requires by selling $100 Boxes of our Goat Milk Lotions, Soaps and Lip Balms.  They are great for holiday gifts, hostess gifts, stocking your own house, or sharing with volunteers, friends or employees.  You can click here–>100boxorderform… to see a customizable order form or click here to order a $100 Box that includes a variety of all of our products!

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Posted in $100 Box, Farm Life, funny stories, gifts, Soap and Lotion | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Help Us Help You Eat Cheese Sooner!

For years, people have told me I ought to sell more of my goat milk lotion, soaps and lip balms.  I ought to put them in stores, market them more on the internet, have more for sale at the farm.  I know I should…but CHEESE is my passion.  I love to MAKE CHEESE.  I love to TEACH CHEESE.  I want to SELL CHEESE.

I want to SELL CHEESE that reminds a person of what her Italian grandmother made.  I want to SELL CHEESE that makes local restaurant chefs proud to have on their menus.  I want to SELL CHEESE that brings our local terroir to the kitchens and dinner tables of cheese connoisseurs who appreciate and value the goat milk, green pasture, good hay, time, art and passion that go into making artisan cheese.

To realize my dream of making and selling cheese, my husband, our boys and I are building, after years of planning and designing, a small creamery in Penrose, Colorado, from which we can SELL CHEESE!

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But we ran into a financial road block.  After installing the septic tank for the creamery, we began getting bids for the foundation.  $13,000.  It was much more than we expected and pushes us way over our budget.  We put on the brakes.  I got mad.  I cried.  The creamery we thought would be up and running last May is only an empty septic tank in the ground.  We can’t put in the foundation – thus using up much of our budget – and risk not having enough money to cover it with walls and a roof.  When my husband said we might have to wait one or two years, I yelled.

NO!!

I don’t want to wait one or two years more to have our creamery.  By the time our goats have their babies next Spring, I want to be using their milk to make and sell cheese.

I began to think, HOW CAN I MAKE $13,000…FAST?  How can we cash flow the foundation so it puts us back into budget?

I could go back to work at a “regular job.”  My answer, not surprising to those who know me, was no.

I could sell lots of soaps, lotions and lip balms.  $5 for a bar of soap or a 4 oz bottle of lotion means selling 2,600 individual bars and bottles.  My brain couldn’t handle that number and it seemed out of reach.

OR WAIT!  ….I could sell $100 Boxes filled with soaps, lotions and lip balms!  That would mean only selling 130 boxes!  I could wrap my mind around that idea!

So, the idea for the $100 Box was born.  I will sell $100 Boxes of Goat Milk Soap, Lotion and Lip Balm and I only need to sell 130 to pour the floor of The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery, but I need your help!

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP:  Order a $100 Box (or two or three).  Fill your showers, bathtubs, kitchen sinks and bathrooms with soap and lotion that has a purpose.  Use your $100 Box to stock up on birthday gifts, hostess gifts, employee gifts, client and co-worker appreciation gifts or “just because” gifts.  We make all of the Goat Milk Soap, Lotion and Lip Balm right here on our farm in small batches.  You can help us raise the money to pour the foundation to take us one step closer to having The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery by next Spring!

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HERE IS WHAT YOU GET: 100 Dollars worth of our goat milk soaps, lotions and lip balms.

HERE IS HOW YOU DO IT:

1. Click this easy button to order your $100 Box filled with a variety of our lotions, soaps and lip balms.

OR…

2.  Click this link… 100boxorderform …to see the custom order form you can print and fill out to customize your $100 Box.  Fill it out and send it back to me (email or snail mail) with your payment.  The soaps are $5 each, the lotions are $5 each for 4 oz bottles and $10 each for 8 oz bottles and the lip balms are $2.50 each.  You choose from the scents and sizes until your total adds up to $100.  You pay when you order (either by check mailed to The Goat Cheese Lady, PO Box 553, Penrose, CO, 81240 or by credit card or cash) and pick up your $100 Box at The Goat Cheese Lady Farm in Penrose, Colorado, or have it shipped to you for an extra $14.  (Boxes will be ready in approximately 3 weeks from your order.)

In advance, THANK YOU!!!  So far, I have sold 72 $100 Boxes.  I need to sell 58 more.  I appreciate your help and I know you will love what you receive!!

In appreciation and anticipation of selling cheese,

The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  If all of the above was just too much info, click here to order your $100 Box, or email me at Lindsey@thegoatcheeselady.com to request an order form to customize your box.

 

 

Posted in Farm Life | 2 Comments