28 August 2015
I am really not sure how it happened, but the entire summer has escaped and I have not gotten a single blog update done. I have now become one of those people that I get all judgy about when they let their websites become stale! I am here to tell you, it hasn’t been for lack of happenings—this summer has been very eventful at the farm and otherwise. I will try to do a short recap and highlight some things that we are gearing up for.
June ended our kidding season blissfully uneventful. Sadly, not as many Nubian doe kids as we would have liked to have had, but an adequate amount to keep the dairy rolling status-quo. Truth be told, after our NINE new milkers this year, I am not up for another year of ‘training’ like that, so only 2-3 new milkers for the next couple of years is just fine by me.
We had a wonderful Linear Appraisal session the first part of July. It is usually so stressful because it happens when we are trying to get our hay in, but this year, we had most of our grass hay in by mid-june. Linear Appraisal is one of our favorite days of the year; a day we give ourselves permission to just enjoy admiring our goats and really evaluating what we are doing with our breeding program. The bonus happens when we get one of our favorite appraisers and there is a good deal of joking and fun conversation too. It was a perfect day!
It feels like the months of June and July were completely consumed with cheesemaking and ice cream making. Not all of it was good. We quickly have learned that we will not be doing any business to business sales in the ice cream arena until we have a larger batch freezer. It is soooo sloooowwwww with our little batch freezer. Not a disaster. We know what we need and this has given us the year to figure out our process. Hopefully over the winter months we can get our marketing contacts made, samples out and start marketing to local stores in the early spring.
We also have become painfully aware that our creamery is going to need a bit of a facelift. We have looked at this in the past but always seem to hit a logjam, but this year we are bent on making some changes. Our intention is to expand the creamery this winter and create a different type of milking space. This is partially in anticipation of the need to adapt our milking process to add some machine milking—NOT BY CHOICE! The main milker (Lorrie) has been having some difficulty with her milking machines (hands) and we are feeling like we might need to make some adjustments. Not giving up my hand-milking completely, but looking to some machine assistance when milker #2 (Shaun) isn’t around to help.
Looking ahead to this coming month, we are happy to be part of the 17th Annual WSU Harvest Celebration. We are whipping up a batch of ‘harvesty’ seasonal Pumpkin Spice ice cream for our guests and are hopeful that we can offer some good information to our visitors. This year has been exceedingly stressful on our pastures and with our overly complicated work lives, we didn’t even get a vegetable garden in, but we think it is important that people that are interested in this type of living see the bad right along with the good. The romantic notion of farming can be exactly that…a romantic notion. Come and visit us for this year’s Harvest Celebration and we will be happy to give you a dose of reality!
In addition to the Harvest Celebration, we are pleased to announce that we are participating in the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival in Seattle on September 26th. More than a little nervous. This event will be attended by chefs and foodies alike and will be showcasing some of our cheeses. Fingers crossed that other people like it as much as we do.
So there you are friends, an extremely abbreviated update on our farm. So much more to tell, so many rants to rant, so many challenges and successes to share, but in my tardiness, all you get is the Cliff Notes version. Until next time, we are hoping for a little rain to wash everything off and give the pastures a drink of water and wishing you all well as we begin to plan for breeding season and then…yikes…here we go again!
Shaun & Lorrie