New from Shady Apple Goats
Fall approaches. You can feel it in the air the last two brisk mornings. I am grateful to have to put on a long sleeve shirt to go out early and milk the goats. It has been a long summer and a hot one! We were so busy this summer it feels like it has passed in a blur or cheese and chores. No one ever said it would be easy to be a cheese maker, goat milker, gardener, midwife, and partner all at the same time . . . I think we (and others) fantasize about the life of an urban farmer but the reality is that it is hard work and we have moments where we wonder how long we can keep this up, when we are tired and hot and grouchy and just want to put it all on hold for a week and go to the beach and chill . . .
The truth is that you cannot put it all on hold. You are either all in or you are out. This being said, we are all in . . . but as Fall approaches we dream of that day mid-winter when we do not get up and milk the goats. And when we might even go on vacation. Someplace warm. With water and waves.
The cheese vat pasteurizer arrived and is in its final resting place, after many pondered how you move such a big heavy expensive thing from the driveway into the cheese room . . . it took three professional movers about 15 minutes to move it in and here it sits, looking shiny and perfect . . . Some people buy fancy cars — I bought a vat pasteurizer . . . metallic with a convertible top. A beauty to behold!
The chickens are back in the chicken tunnel and headed to the garden. It is the time of year I give up on weeding and begin to turn that jungle of a garden back over to the chickens to make it perfect for next year. I just harvested the last of the San Marzano's that turn into that thick aromatic sauce! Now it is time for peach jelly with lemon verbena and plums, for apple butter and preserved pears . . . it is time for heavier mold ripened goat cheese and baked panko encrusted chevre and marmalades.
The baby goats have all gone to their new homes and have settled in nicely. We will keep our Lamancha wether Willie because we love his gentle quiet bigness. In the big goat dairy world, Willie would be sold for meat . . . in our world he is a much beloved pet who gets a nuzzle every day and keeps our little Sweet Pea company. We kept Sweet Pea this year too. She is our little Nigerian who has a brain injury of some sort. She is slow to learn all the basics . . . walking, nursing, eating solid food, allowing herself to be touched and handled. But . . . she makes strides every day. She is just weaned from her bottle and now eats out of her little food bowl beside us while we milk. I have never seen a little goat that loves tomatoes like this one. She will spend thirty minutes on one tiny tomato slice . . . savoring every seed. She follows me everywhere like a puppy. And she will now look you in the eye and allow you to touch her. So we celebrate her small victories and are grateful to her for providing many moments of raucous laughter at her antics. She is just plain special.
The CSA goes into its fourth month and many cheeses, canned goods, and dairy items of all sorts have gone out. We just had our first annual CSA picnic which was lots of fun. I am learning how to make all sorts of cheeses and share them with those in the CSA. The support and appreciation of all the members has been tremendously appreciated!
So, I make cheese, Lisa gets ready to celebrate a momentous birthday, Nancy got a puppy, those babies my friends had years ago leave for college this year. Time goes by so quickly. More hair turns white. Knees begin to hurt. And we struggle to keep our priorities straight and celebrate all our small victories and to keep the faith . . .
Let the leaves fall.