Yes. I know. Snow is on the Horizon. Here. in Mid-April.
Here's what you do. Whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, brew some tea, and feast your eyes on some cute baby goat pictures. Repeat after me: "BABY GOATS = SPRING! Spring IS here!" Old timers used to say that snow in spring is simply the good Lord's way of sending a nice little dusting of nature's fertilizer on the waiting veggie fields....
Both Bluebelle and I have been waddling about big as houses recently. We’ve been both expecting Spring babies…and finally last Tuesday she beat me to it and delivered twins, a doe and buckling.
She surprised us with a mid-day birthing, and by the time we found them in the barn the babies were dry and sprightly, though one had slipped under the goat pen door and was at risk for being rejected by Bluebelle who had forgotten her first (and most strapping) twin in the haze of delivering the second, licking her dry, and delivering the placenta. It took his tenacity and our regular forcing a latch on while keeping her penned into a kidding jug for a few days to bring about a happy reclaiming of him on her part. Bluebelle is an old pro, and it was just like her to eventually make it easier on us and not require us to bottle feed her plucky little kid.
It takes about a week for the milk to come fully in and the bitter taste of colostrum to disappear. That’s when we begin milking in earnest and making cheese. We rear kids on their dams, and simply separate them at night so as to take the morning milking, leaving the rest for the growing babies. Some say this results in wilder goats later on, but we prefer this method because it is healthier for the kids, and in our experience bottle-fed babies pick up all kinds of bad habits from their human sympathizers. It’s often easier to train an animal with their natural instincts intact, than to cope with a spoiled animal always nibbling at your hand for treats and crying pitifully when you leave the barn.
Our resident two year old had forgotten the many days we spent last year milking in the early morning in the barn, and when she saw me sitting on the stool behind Bluebelle, she squeezed my arm and exclaimed “Brave Mama!” with eyes shining with admiration. It’s quite something to be squat-sitting on a low stool heavy with a child almost 9 months in utero, behind a goat, squeezing away as you smell the hay, the wet earth, manure, and the breath of the doe standing on her hind legs leaning over the door behind you waiting her turn, when suddenly, you find yourself exalted, rocketed even, to super-hero status in the eyes of one of your children. Perhaps the ladder to transcendence really is made of the hummusy stuff of smaller humbler realities. “From the mouths of babes” they say, come wisdom and truth…so can it be then, that filling a stainless-steel bucket with warm milk from an udder I milk with my own hands be an amazing act? Maybe it’s another one of those every day Spring miracles we take for granted…how suddenly fortunate I feel to partake in it…and share it with child standing next to me in muddy black rubber boots grinning away and the little one within, kicking me in the ribs and hiccupping.
Cheese Shares will begin late April/Early May.
If you’ve pre-ordered look for an email for your start date and drop-site.
GOAT CHEESE SHARE: $25/4 weeks of cheese.
See the side bar Farm Share page for details about drop-sites and print the page to fill out contact info and sign up.
LITTLE FLOWER FARM's WASHINGTON CO FAIR RESERVE CHAMPION CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
*2 sticks of softened unsalted butter
*1 C brown sugar
* 1/2 C white sugar
* 1 tsp baking soda
*1 tsp kosher salt
* 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
*handful of small flaked unsweetened coconut (we source ours from our co-op's bulk section)
*handful of chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
MIX ALL TOGETHER. PREHEAT OVEN TO 375.
2 C flour (We use 1.5 C white, and 1/2 C whole wheat)
2 C chocolate chips
MIX WELL. BAKE FOR 11 min. Do not overbake. Eat warm if experiencing a snowstorm in April.