Happy August, Friends,
As we were coming in from the barn last night, I realized it was dark…. I am not talking dusk here, folks; I am saying dark! Granted, it was a late night in the barn, but still, this was a clear indicator to me that the summer is quickly slipping away and the days are most definitely getting shorter. Although the 3 digit temps today belie that fact, still, I am afraid to say, the entire summer has passed and I haven’t put up a single Blog post. NOT.ONE.POST.
Three or four years ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution that I would put up a new Blog post every month. I have done fairly well until this year. Why? It isn’t as if I didn’t have things to share—LOTS of things to share. I think it boiled down to the fact that this was a summer of morphing for the farm and for Shaun and I. As our family changes, the farm needs to change with us to meet our needs and this year has certainly been one of change.
In May we all celebrated together as a family welcoming Dr. Amber Conway to the finish line of her life’s goal of completing vet school. I recently told a fair friend (her daughter aspires to be a veterinarian), that it is much more fun to TELL people that your kid is in vet school than it is to actually WATCH them go through it—that is painful. It was truly a family celebration to watch her reach this goal and it made every teary phone call worth it!
June came and went in a flash. Shaun helped Amber move to Thatcher, Arizona for her new position at Desert Cross Veterinary Hospital and then came home just in time for our annual Linear Appraisal with the does. (Our Nubian babies happened somewhere in that space and they happened in abundance—unfortunately, most of the abundance had testicles, so not many replacements for us this coming year.) That move to Thatcher was the second out-of-state move in as many years (many of you will remember that Ashley and I did a little road-trip to Lincoln, NE last year where she continues her work on her PhD.) and it has become very clear to us that we need to adjust the farm so that we are able to become regular frequenters of PDX. Both of us getting away from the farm for Amber’s graduation was a major undertaking that started a full year in advance as we were planning our breeding around it. We need to have more flexibility with out daughters living away from our area. That means looking at what we are doing and how we are doing it. That hasn’t been a either a slow or sudden realization for us. It has evolved. We have recognized it for well over a year, but now it is here and we are moving in that direction.
As we both continue to have off-farm work, our time is limited and what we really enjoy doing is FARMING. We want to take care of the livestock and make really good food. We aren’t hung-up on people knowing we ‘made that cheese’ we just want our quality products to get to people that want excellent farm-fresh food, so it has been a bit of a paradigm shift for us. We have been making connections with people that can help us make that happen. We love the idea of ‘relationships’, but direct-marketing doesn’t always result in positive relationships so the result is more adjustment. The confession part of this Blog post is really about the fact that for most of the summer I have been a little cranky over what some visitors to our farm have done. Boundary violations!!!!! Trust me; I had MANY Blog posts done in my head all summer long, but most of them were rants about how people could be so inconsiderate. My parents taught me that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all, so the result has been a silent Blog. (Most of the time, this doesn’t dissuade me, but in the case of my Blog, it felt like prudent advice to follow).
Breaking my silence comes with exciting stuff. As we move forward toward adjustment, we are getting closer to automating our milking systems. Someone recently asked me if we had our new system up and going yet, and I responded, “Yes, the new system is Shaun and I get up and hour earlier so that he has time to help me milk all the goats before he goes to work, but we don’t have the automated system up yet!” We’re getting there. New milking stanchions are installed and the airlines go in this weekend for the milking machines. It actually has been fine this way. Slowly, slowly, slowly!
We anticipated that the girls would rebel terribly with the additional height on the milking platform (I know they are goats, but we have never told them that they could jump, so they are blissfully unaware of their vaulting capabilities). Ironically, it wasn’t the height that caused them grief: it was the additional head-stanchion!!! Who says goats can’t count? They absolutely knew that we had one too many places for them.
The daily miracles on the farm continue to keep us connected to why we live this way–Our fair-time surprise= baby chicks!
Our big news is that our batch freezer has finally (as of about 2 hours ago) arrived! This is the real morphing of our farm. We are so excited about getting this product into consumer hands. We feel certain that it will change perceptions about goats and goat products! We hope that all of our followers will help us by letting us know where they would like to see it available and don’t forget to ask your favorite markets if they know about us. We need your help to get this on store shelves! Let the ice cream production commence!
So, on that happy note, I best get out to the barn to start milking the girls—we have ice cream to make tomorrow!!!!
Peace+ Shaun & Lorrie