LATE FALL 2012
It snowed for the first time today. I sit here watching as the big flakes come down outside and melt as they hit the ground. Winter is coming. Things are dark and grey and damp this morning. I am thinking about how cold it gets in the milk room in Winter. . . one of the not-so-fun parts of raising dairy goats. The goats seem to enjoy the cold weather and have spent the morning getting fat on the big orange pumpkin they got as a breakfast treat this morning. Sweet Pea is the only goat that struggles in the cold. Maybe because she is so little, or the brain injury, or just because she is Sweet Pea and does everything her own way . . . but she shivers on these cold mornings. SO of course we could not have Sweet Pea shivering. Clothing options have been explored and Sweet Pea is now decked out in her mocha colored fleece jacket. She was the belle of the ball at Obama campaign headquarters and sported her Obama button around town as she tried out her pretty new jacket. I think it is one of the reasons Obama did so well in Montgomery County . . .
Hurricane Sandy blew through and we lost trees and power. Thanks to the generosity of Sarah who donated her entire family refrigerator to store the aging cheeses and yogurt. And also thanks to our dear neighbor Mr. Willard whose generator supplied all the near neighbors with enough power to run refrigerators and who provided me with an entire basement refrigerator for my remaining cheeses until we got power back. Now of course I am furiously researching generators and am determined to be a little more prepared if we have a prolonged power outage in the future. But we did gather at Val and Adina's and had one of my most memorable meals in the dark of their warm kitchen eating bread hot out of the oven, lots of shadyapplegoat cheese, and homemade soup. We dined by candlelight while their son Evan played guitar and we made up our own lyrics to the "Hurricane Sandy Blues."
The goats thrive in the cold weather. They roam around in search of fallen leaves and branches to eat. Honey nurses Willie less and we think the day is coming soon when our big boy will be weaned. I know most dairy goat farmers do not let their babies nurse for six months but it seemed to work for Willie and Honey so we gave in and let them do their thing . . . the bucks have been chosen and all the girls will be bred in December this year and then we will begin to dry them off in January so we can rest and they can grow big healthy babies. I am still making lots of cheese with the goat milk and we have had the most amazing aged goat cheeses the last couple of months in the CSA. I think our favorite cheese--hands down--is the Bloomy Blue cheese. This is my first attempt at blue cheese and its delicate blue-ness is divine. As I run low on goats milk in Winter I have a list of cow cheeses to try using the milk from Suzie who is not due to calve until June this year.
More news here: the baby chicks are now pullets and have just started laying this week. Some days the only eggs in the nest are the tiny white ones laid by one of our little white leghorns. Lisa is working hard and spends her free time working on our dream sauna that sits next to the barn. We think it will be ready to fire up in mid winter this year. We are VERY excited about this! It was a year ago yesterday that Doug and Nancy got married in our yard surrounded by family and friends. I defrosted the top tier of the cake (the second time it defrosted in the last week I am afraid!) and we celebrated the one year anniversary of Doug and Nancy last night. Nancy put the king and queen back on top and we admired how well the cake held up, how delicious it still was, and how deeply we miss our Doug. It was fitting that the anniversary was on Election Day. Their house was Obama Headquarters for Springfield Township and has been a beehive of activity these last few weeks and especially yesterday. I kept thinking Doug would approve. Democracy in action. Everything Doug stood for.
So this is a toast to Doug and Nancy. To all that changes and all that stays the same. To the tests and bonds of friendship. To those that work so hard for what truly matters. And to neighbors and neighborhoods who pull together in storms and in hard times and how that makes us all a little better off . . .
This is what I give thanks for.