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.

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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!

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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!

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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

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