Living on a farm is very different today than the days of the dust bowl and laura ingalls. If our crops don’t grow, we make a trip to the market; we won’t starve. We can easily maneuver with plan b or even c. A bad year or two means discomfort, rather than a major threat. It doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult and that we don’t experience disappointment. Today I found myself willing our girls to kid, while at the same time, dreading it.
This year we are heavy in male kids…understatement of the year. 15 kids..1 girl. One. While it is insane to think so, I torture myself with the belief, that I must be doing something wrong. I scour the internet, late at night, looking for wives tales, anecdotes, charms and voodoo to turn the tide. I am humbled by the inability to control and impossible quest to prepare. I’m also kinda sorta pissed off.
It legitimately “is what it is”. If I had any working knowledge of genetics or statistics, I’m not sure if I would be more or less optimistic.
At the end of the day, without girls we don’t grow our herd. Until we grow our herd, there is no creamery.
This life we chose has its own timeline. It stalls and propels me in an uncomfortable manner. Goals aren’t set and ticked by sheer force of will. This force of nature is real and strong and can not be dismissed. She is making herself known and all I can do is sit back and see what is next.
And while they are mostly males, only an ass would complain, rather than well with joy, finding a nursery filled with healthy little kids.

jessie's kids
clarice's kid
Pip and boys

My Cheesy Manifesto

There is a huge difference between following a recipe and understanding why the recipe follows the path it does. Cheese making is a blend of science and art. I have been making cheese for quite sometime. I have success, and I have failure. The problem was that I didn’t really understand why; if following the same process time and time again, the results would prove different. The variables in cheese making are complex. There are ways to nurture the natural bacteria in milk and ways to try and beat them at their own game. But until I understood the difference between; morning milk and afternoon milk, winter milk and spring milk, high fat milk breeds and low fat milk breeds, raw and pasteurized milk, acceptable coliform and scary coliform, my experiments in cheese making would continue to be hit or miss. I took a short-course this past week that help me discern the difference. I came away with an understanding of the need to be flexible, while adhering to strict protocol. Sound confusing? Well that is because it kinda sorta is.

I’m going to be painfully honest. I don’t really even like cheese that much. As I write this, I am averting my eyes from the gaze of those words. I am ashamed. Let me clarify. I don’t hate cheese, I like it in small amounts and when it has good flavor. I’m into a good sharp cheddar, or truffled chevre, even a nice chunk of parmesan lights my world. However, I’m that girl that, when ordering french onion soup, asks them to go light (or not at all) on the gooey cheese top. I’m also the one that sneers at the over-cheesed pizza and grated cheese on a side salad. Rather humorous that I’m working so hard to get our goat herd up to level, so I can milk them to make cheese, no?
I want to make good cheese. Cheese that makes its impression in small amounts. Cheese that you don’t have to eat an entire wheel of to realize you just ate cheese. Cheese from beautiful animals raised on quality grass and feed, with a nice life. I’d say happy. But I’m not sure how to measure happy in a ruminant. They aren’t miserable…that I know.

To make good cheese, so much has to happen even before the milk hits the creamery. Cheese making is the truth in “farm to fork” manufacturing. The most valuable thing I have learned, and it sounds really hippy dippy, is to let the milk tell me what kind of cheese to make. Yes, I can force and manipulate to get a facsimile of a type of cheese I like. That is the science. However, right now my plan is, to let the milk tell me what kind of cheese it should be. I’m going to sit with that for a while, as I make my plans for our little dairy business.