Adventures in cooking sustainably, healthfully, and locally

Until Dave puts the kybosh on it anyway.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My First Goat Farm Visit!

Time Line for Lori's Trip to farm behind Blue Barn Products:

6:00 p.m.: Lori arrives home from work. Notes that Dave and the pups are out on their daily walk, so she goes upstairs to change into gym clothes. Wednesday is gym night*, after all.

6:20 p.m.: Dave and Lori sit down to a nice dinner of Subway. Eat fresh.

6:35 p.m.: Lori jots down the directions to the farm supplied by Roxie and phone numbers, just in case for some unthinkable reason Tom-Tom decides to lead Lori astray. Roxie's directions indicate that the farm is a mere 30 minutes away.

6:39 p.m.: Lori calls Roxie to let her know that she's finally on her way. She also plugs in Tom-Tom and puts in the address. Tom-Tom says the trip takes 48 minutes. Lori should have realized that this was a warning sign.

She didn't.

7:00 p.m.: Lori wonders why Tom-Tom is losing satellites after every hill. She also wonders if she really should be on a dirt road yet. Tom-Tom and Lori start to bicker.

7:10 p.m.: Tom-Tom tells her that CO RD 29 is the next left hand turn. However, much to her dismay and Tom-Tom's continued denial, the next left hand turn is to a cattle farm clearly labeled as Private Property. Lori curses Tom-Tom and tries to call Roxie to admit defeat. Alas, Murphy's Law is not yet done: no signal.

7:20 p.m.: Lori found a paved road she sort of recognizes and heads west. Tom-Tom sulks in silence.

7:23 p.m.: Lori recognizes that the road she is approaching is Hilltop. It dawns on her that she was on the right road. Heading in the wrong direction.

7:25 p.m.: Lori calls Roxie with the update and hopes Roxie will still be up and about at 8 p.m.


Meeting the Blue Barn Family

I arrive late but sound to the father and son of the farm waiting for me in the driveway. Mike and Corey were very cool about me invading their farm in the darkness, and they were perfect gentlemen.

Then I saw my guide for the night: Roxie. They all shook my hands, all with welcoming smiles on their faces. I knew this was going to be fun.

Looking down at my shoes, she asked if I wanted booties. You know: for the chicken poop. I suspected a journey through poopy pastures and so I did wear my nay-so-good shoes, and so I declined**.

And with that, she took me to the barn. There I met the farm cat that was nursing a ton of absolutely adorable kittens. It was at this time that I realized that I forgot my camera. So please click on the link to explore this farm; I actually got to meet the goats and the chickens. :)

Goats a Go-Go

Next up: Annie, her daughter and the Mistress of Goat Milk. And cheese. I got to meet Tinkerbell whilst she was getting milked by Annie. Tinkerbell didn't seem to mind, and when I started asking questions (like: " you just sort of yank it there or is there a twist?") both Annie and Roxie answered gladly.

Then I got to meet the rest of the goats, including Violet and Bailey. They were, in a word, mesmerizing. I couldn't stop staring at these floppy-eared, large-eyed, small deer sized animals. They seemed completely happy and serene; in fact the whole farm seemed like it. The kittens were scurrying around the barn, if they weren't suckling on their mom or visiting the goats. Violet came up to the gate and nuzzled Roxie's hand.

It is about at this time that I decide that I, too, want to have a goat farm. No, I haven't told Dave.

Chicken and the Eggs

Then Roxie takes me out time to see the chickens. They seemed much larger than my mom's back in Wisconsin when she had a flock. They had multiple breeds pecking around as well as some larger young ones that couldn't quite cluck yet. They were peeping in their coop, away from randy roosters.

One odd thing: since Tinkerbell is producing substandard milk in terms of taste (she's going to a new home as a pet soon), all her milk goes to the chickens. Roxie explains that it helps with their digestion, believe it or not! I saw it myself. In fact, I saw them drink with the neighbor's cat. I asked Roxie why the cat wasn't chasing the chickens. She said that her cats do; the neighbor's cat seems more interested in the free milk.

They send their chickens out for processing when the time comes (sooner for extra roosters than for the layers), so no chopping blocks or anything. I can't say I'm disappointed; I was forbidden to name my mother's chickens. I tend to get attached, I guess... *sheepish smile*

Anyway, I got to see their roosts, where they lay their eggs. I even got to shoo them into the coop for the night. I think I'm a natural!

Departure From The Pastures

I only came out to buy some eggs, but Annie and Roxie insisted on a free sample of goats milk and cheese AND soap. I'm a goat milk skeptic, but I'm not about to waste it. So I will get around to a sip or two. I can't thank them enough for their patience and generosity. I wish I had a transcript of my whole conversation because I asked so many questions and didn't think to write anything down. I was thinking more as a consumer and curious student of life rather than a reporter, I suppose.

These people are so sweet and nice that I can't wait until they can add me to their permanent line up for eggs (egg production is slowing down at the moment, but they expect the younger hens to start producing soon).

Here are my prizes!

Soap! Rosemary Mint. It smells heavenly.

The eggs. I love the different colors; something all homey and comfy about multicolored eggs. Maybe because it reminds me of Easter?

Milk on the right and cheese on the left.

I'll be sure to report on the taste of all my new products. And another thank you to the Blue Barn family for giving me a tour of your place!
*yeah, never got to the gym.... got home after 8:45...
**I actually made it through the farm without stepping in poo. Score!

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