Friday, December 19, 2008
If he can't, the farmer said threateningly, Willen the Haflinger is going to have to go down and pull him up. Willen kept eating stoically as if he didn't care when he was informed of this.
Anyway, as I may have mentioned, everyone has been jamming into the barn lately to make a communal goat ball of heat, and it's really quite cozy. The farmer keeps piling more and more bedding, and by now we have about a foot of straw.
In other news, even though I am by nature humble, modest, and unassuming, I must point out that my well-deserved personal fame continues to grow. I have just been interviewed by the blogmeister from the excellent blog Pacific Northwest Cheese Project, which keeps track of all the small farmstead and artisan cheesemakers in the Northwest.
There are more and more cheesemakers out there all the time, which is encouraging considering the dreary state of things in general. Some of them are very well known and not so small; people like Kelli Estrella, who has become in a few short years one of the premiere cheesemakers in the country, if not the world. The Estrellas make beautiful cheeses. The best one, of course, is the Grisdale Goat.
Some of the farms are teeny-tiny (almost as small as ours) but make wonderful cheeses. Rhonda Gothberg up in Bow makes lovely goudas but she only has about 15 LaMancha milkers, so it isn't easy to find her cheese. The people down at Pholia Farm in Oregon make all of their cheeses from Nigerian milk. So even though I haven't been able to try their cheese yet, I'm quite sure it is the best.
Anyway, Pacific Northwest Cheese Project has links to all the farms and lots of great cheese information.
And, of course, right now it has an interview with me, humble me the humblebee, a little goat from the country with a big dream. Power to the Goats!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
There is no picture of this because the farmer cannot operate the camera with mittens on, but just imagine a pure white Dr. Zhivago tundra stretching as far as the eye can see (maybe three feet or so).
It is so cold that I left my private shed and went in with the riffraff to sleep in the communal goat ball, where the main problem is that if you get stuck next to Boo the Winnebago and her daughter Bertie the Greyhound Bus, you can easily get too hot. Not to mention crushed in your sleep.
Anyway, everything is relative because the other day we got an email from one of my grandsons who lives in Montana and it was -76 there. Sacre bleu!
The farmer is muttering and cursing, lugging water buckets everywhere because all the pipes outside had to be shut off. The service in general is quite poor.
Monday, December 15, 2008
The farmer went to the feed store this morning while the getting was good, because it is bone cold out and not going to get any warmer and they are predicting snow again on Wednesday and the roads are already pretty sketchy.
But anyway the farmer went to the feed store, fishtailing along down the long hill that leads into Vaughn, and then putt-putting the rest of the way at about 20 mph, and at the feed store the loader came running out, dressed as a Tibetan yak herder in lots of woollies and one of those hats with the flaps.
Flaps were down, obviously.
"Welcome to Montana!" he burbled, inexplicably chipper.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Anyway, there is quite a bit of hatch-battening going in. The good part is everyone gets extra hay when it is cold. The farmer complains about it, muttering and stamping and throwing down more hay from the loft. "Extra hay, what extra hay? There is no extra hay."
Then the usual diatribe about the price of hay etc and maybe a blistering soliloquy on the price of grain, then some more stomping. And then we finally get the hay.
So I say, let it snow.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
2 readymade pie crusts from the store (don't be ridiculous, it is much better to buy pie crust than make it these days)
4 eggs from your neighbor's chickens (don't use nasty store-bought eggs)
29 oz pumpkin, fresh or canned (Trader Joe's has a nice organic pumpkin filling if you don't have a fresh pumpkin handy)
1 cup sugar
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1/2 cup chevre (make it from your Nigerian milk. If you don't have any Nigerians, stop reading this.)
1/2 cup goat milk caramel cajeta. (You can use LaMancha, Nubian, or mini milk to make the caramel if you are out of Nigerian milk.)
This is a double pie. Take both of your crusts and press them into an 11x14 rectangular baking dish. You will have a little extra crust, so fancy up the rim to make it look like you labored for hours over a handmade crust. Maybe you could make a sort of a rolled rope, or do one of those things where you make little hummingbird footprints all around the edge with a fork. Do something artistic.
Beat all the remaining ingredients together. Don't leave out the ginger. Add filling to your square pie and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 50 minutes longer or until a knife comes out clean.
Okay then while the pie is cooling take a pint of cream, 1/3 cup sugar, and a tablespoon of nice rum (don't use nasty rum). Whip up some whipped cream. Use this for your topping.
Serve your pie and accept the admiration of your guests. When they ask you where you got the recipe, say, "from Baby Belle, of course."
Saturday, December 06, 2008
She did in fact accomplish her goal, mostly by mewing like a kitten and shivering weakly. That was after the leg was good and broken. When she actually broke it she ran around screaming on three legs until she saw the farmer and then she ran on a beeline to the farmer and collapsed in the farmer's arms in a limp little heap, just about sobbing. It was like a scene from "Gone With The Wind."
Fine if you like melodrama. A little much for my taste.
Anyway, Winnie Jr., got a cast on her leg and an inordinate amount of attention. Unfortunately all the coddling gave her a taste for the limelight, and she has been a pest ever since. So when the farmer came around the other day and asked if anyone wanted to go hiking, Winnie, Jr. went into her usual "pick me, pick me" gyrations.
She was selected to go on the hike, big surprise. Tangy was also selected, because she likes to follow Winnie, Jr. around. And Binky was selected because she accidentally walked out the door when it opened. She is part Nubian. The wrong part, if you know what I mean.
Anyway, off they went to Longbranch to hike at Surprise Ranch. They went over meadow and dale, through the little forest and up the hill, eating what they found - sword fern, blackberry, huckleberry, salal, hardhack, grass, leaves.
Winnie Jr. led the doelings, looking neither to right nor left and not questioning any of the farmer's navigational decisions, even when they all got tangled in barbed wire. Even when they stumbled across the bones of a large (deer?) recently eaten creature. Even knowing as everybody around here knows that the woods in Longbranch are full of bear and hybrid half-wolf coyotes, bold as brass and big as German Shepherds.
Even knowing that, Winnie Jr. soldiered on, calm as a cucumber. She didn't bat an eye, even when Binky fell in the creek and started shrieking. Winnie Jr. just stopped and started eating hardhack while she waited for Binky to realize that the creek was only six inches deep and she wasn't drowning.
Then Winnie Jr. soldiered on again and at the end of the hike, or so she says, she was named Captain of the Hiking Team.
In other news, finally finally finally Peaches' triplets got to go to their new home. They had been delayed by all kinds of things, including the pox quarantine, and their new family had been waiting for them literally for months.
Anyway, when they arrived at their new home they found a special, very pretty little barn built just for them, and a welcome sign hanging on it with their three names written by the two boys who live there. And now we just got a message that the little boy - he is almost eight - sets his alarm clock every morning so he can get up early and go out to the barn to read to the goats.
They chew on his coat and lick the book while he is reading.
That sounds like a pretty good deal.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Down from the Mountain
An Idaho goat was recently apprehended in connection with an alleged break-in. "I was just looking for Boo," explains Mr. Snowy. "She promised to go out with me."
Baby Goat Born in A Manger
Again. No Kidding.
Goats Photoshopped Into the Army
"But I'm a pacifist," protests Private Billy.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
The farmer was trying to do some chores and couldn't stand to listen to it any more even though Boo wasn't supposed to be bred until next month. "Fine," the farmer said and put Boo in with her boyfriend.
One day passed. Boo woke up in alarm. How did I get here? She said to herself.
She was trapped in a pen with a large smelly creature almost entirely lacking in the social graces not to mention rather a pig like herself and not one she could simply steamroller out of the way as she was accustomed to doing in her previous home when the hay-and-grain trolley came through.
She bellowed non-stop.
The farmer didn't care, because the pen was far enough away that the bellowing had almost a romantic sound, like a little ship lost at sea in a deep fog. "How quaint," thought the farmer.
And as an added plus, Boo's boyfriend had completely given up trying to find ways out of his pen since he now had a live-in girlfriend and a very fine lady at that even though she had recently taken to running from him with a surprising amount of vigor for a Nubian. This of course only made him like her better.
"You made your bed," the farmer said to Boo.
"Wha-a-a-a-a-a-a-at???" bellowed Boo.
"And now you must lie in it."