It is very stinky here ... and in my car ... these days. January is the time the bucks come to visit. This year we borrowed Zolton and Baritone from my friend Teri at Pocket Sized Goats in New Jersey. They were very sweet and well behaved, handsome (see pictures!), and the girls here seemed to like their company. Needless to say all the girls are pregnant and due to kid the end of May. We bred our Lamancha Honeysuckle for the first time this year too. She is a big girl and the buck even bigger (see Nancy's picture!) so we had to take her to the farm for breeding. They call that "driveway breeding" ... involving a long and very loud trip to Bordentown and ending with a brief encounter and a pregnant Honeysuckle. Nancy got it all on film and I am sure that is something we will NOT be posting on the website.
For those who don't know I was laid off from the school district last month. I am excited to say that I have been offered a job as a nurse midwife at the University of Pennsylvania and will begin in March. I will be working two nights/week which allows me the time (and hopefully the energy) to continue with all the projects around here. I look very forward to working again as a midwife after my three year hiatus as a school nurse. Since I have this time off I have been making lots of cheese. Suzie calved in December and I am grateful to have access to her delicious milk again. We are still milking the goats and have lots of goat milk too so I am experimenting with cow-goat milk cheese hybrids.
The Winter CSA is going well. We are breaking into some of the aged cheeses I made over the summer and fall. I've been really pleased with the cheeses so far — especially with the rind development and overall flavor and texture of the cheese. My favorite so far has been the traditional honey rubbed aged montasio. It is an easy cheese to make pressed in the cheesecloth alone it has a lovely organic round shape. I loved this so much I have already made several for the summer CSA. I am also experimenting with traditional cheddars — sharp hard dry cheddars are some of my favorite cheeses. Today I am making an Irish Cheddar — bathed in Irish Whiskey and then brined in Irish Whiskey before being aged. How can you go wrong with that I say!
I am experimenting with all sorts of soaps. The latest soap is made with goat milk, ground apricot, and meyer lemon peel. I am also making a soap with avocado oil, shea butter, and camomile buds ... lovely to look at. For me, making soap is like creating art. I call it "soap therapy" and it is definitely helping me through winter . . .
Look for the breeding line up posted on the website (and kidding dates). Also, I have posted the class offerings for the Summer and Fall on the website. More classes may be offered as these classes fill up.
Yesterday it was 62 degrees. The daffodils are in bloom at Morris Arboretum. The bees are buzzing and the chickens are kicking into high gear and laying a record number of eggs. We have not had to use the snow blower once!
I know this weather is probably a sign of global warming and a terrible thing for our world ... but it was really nice taking a walk in the woods yesterday and only needing to wear a t-shirt. . .
Time to flip the cheese...