Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Learn to Make Cheese at a Resort in Belize!

This is absolutely the resort of our dreams!

Here in the office of New England Cheesemaking Supply, poised on the edge of winter, we are already planning our escape to the Caves Branch Jungle Lodge in Belmopan, Belize.  You have to check this out!

First of all, it's a gorgeous place with "jungle bungalows," "tree houses," swimming pool, hot tub, 15 acres of gardens, etc., etc.  You can see for yourself with the help of 360 degree viewing at their website.

Secondly, it's an adventure resort which means you can participate in all kinds of exciting activities while you're there - like caving, zip lining, diving, kayaking, horseback riding, exploring ancient ruins and more.

However, to us, the most exciting adventure of them all is happening right at the resort, every weekday - small-scale commercial cheese making.  And this is no afterthought in the larger scheme of things - this is owner, Ian Anderson's pride and passion. 

Ian and his wife, Ella, are making some serious cheese there and they are setting up to be a destination spot for cheese lovers.

They sent me this impressive list of the cheeses they are currently making:

  • Old Brabander, a German recipe, semi hard, 16 oz rounds.
  • Trappist, a recipe from the Trappist Monasteries in Europe, semi hard, 14 oz rounds.
  • Spressa, a recipe from Northern Italy, a harder semi-hard cheese, 16 oz rounds.
  • Parmesan, an old Italian recipe, 16 oz and 10 lb rounds.
  • Triple Crème Camembert, creeeeeamy Yummmmmmy, 4, 8 and 12 oz rounds.
  • Quark, a whipped breakfast cheese, any amount.
  • Soft Ripened Cheeses, finished in a number of ways including dusting with a blend of 6 different peppercorns, topped with a habanero jelly or molded with a baked garlic and herbs, rounds of approximately 8 oz.
  • And of course, daily from the whey, Ricotta.

That's quite a variety of cheeses!  However, the most interesting aspect is that every bit of the income produced by the sale of their cheese is donated to a foundation Ella set up 6 years ago for the children of Belize - The Belize National Youth Chess Foundation.

2012 National Chess Olympiad sponsored by Caves Branch

Growing and Expanding

The Andersons have just completed building a new, state-of-the-art cheese house at the resort.  It has a wine and cheese tasting room attached to the make room with a viewing window in between.

Ian mentioned to me that he had just made his first cheese in the new house- 44 rounds of Triple Creme Camembert.  (Pictures of the new house are coming soon.)
Ian and his son, Gabe in the old cheese room:

I asked Ian how he got into this:

Initially, we started a small "petting zoo" for the young children across the country to visit and have the ability to touch and hold young and small animals. We had chickens and the children collected the eggs.  Sheep and goats were milked and for lunch we would serve those eggs as fried egg sandwiches and a cold glass of fresh sheep or goats milk. It was a real experience for the children.

But then I decided to do something with the milk as well. Like "cheese" so I found a bunch of recipes on the internet and started making cheese! Well, I thought it was cheese, but my wife said, "not so fast buddy" .. and said that before I made any more of what I thought was cheese, (but it seemed I was the only one who thought that), I had to learn how to make it properly. I think she was worried about me perhaps poisoning our son, Gabe, who was always the cheese taster.

I again prowled the internet, this time to find cheese classes and in doing so, I found this article on a Vermont family and their experience with their sheep and the USDA.  I purchased their book called "MAD SHEEP" and as I was reading, I knew I just  had to learn "cheese making" from them.

In September of last year I flew from Belize to Boston, rented a car and drove to the historical bed & breakfast and artisan cheese house of Dr. Larry and Linda Faillace in Warren Vermont.

Now, I am a pioneer of adventure tourism in Belize - the first to introduce caving to tourism, the first to explore miles and miles of underground rivers (going who knew where), and the first to explore hundreds of miles of underground passages into Xibalba, the Ancient Mayan underworld.   I'm used to exciting holidays - but the two weeks I spent with the Faillace's learning how to make cheese were two of the more enjoyable adventures of my life! - who would have guessed?

So, back to Belize I came - all full of piss n' vinegar and ready to make cheese - and we did.  We made cheese day and night, every day - first just one gallon at a time, then a couple of gallons, then 5 gallons a day, then 10 gallons, now we are to 30 gallons a day and selling "all of our cheeses" at the local market and over Facebook to friends.

I decided that although Caves Branch is an adventure lodge, there are some days when our guests just want to take a day off and relax. We are now just finishing a new cheese room with a 500 sq ft work area, 250 sq ft wine and cheese tasting room and a 12 x 14 ft walk-in aging room. Now when guests prefer to take a day off, they can learn how to make cheese with us each day.

Ian Anderson and Dr. Larry Faillace when Three Shepherds Farm came to Belize to do consulting at Caves Branch

An Exciting Learning Opportunity!

Ian is now bringing the cheese course he took in Vermont to Belize.  In January, 2013, the owners of Three Shepherds Cheese in Vermont, Larry and Linda Faillace are going to teach two 4 day cheese making courses at the resort.  The package deal includes lodging and meals for 5 days and nights.  There will be a maximum of 10 participants in each course.

This is an opportunity!  If you were to take the three day class at Three Shepherds Farm in Vermont, the workshop alone would cost $595.  (That doesn't include the nice little bed & breakfast you would want to stay at.) But, most importantly, where are there jungle animals in Vermont?

Tell me this isn't a great!!! deal:

Belize Cheese Making Courses

Our artisanal cheesemaking course is ideal for the home cheesemaker and anyone considering small-scale commercial cheese production.  In three fun-filled days, you will learn how four ingredients and basic kitchen equipment can be used to create hundreds of exquisite cheeses. By the end of the class, our students will be able to pick up any cheese recipe and know how to successfully make that cheese. 
Cheese Making Adventure Package Includes:

    Complimentary drinks upon arrival
    5 nights accommodations in either a one of our Jungle Bungalows with optional upgrades to the TreeHouses.
    All meals from Dinner on day or arrival to Breakfast on day of departure (5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners)
    1 x ½ day Caves Branch Adventure (as organized by the program directors)
    Cheese Making Adventures… 3 full days of cheese making course instruction, hands on cheese making, all required literature, materials and equipment with instruction by Larry and Linda Faillace.
    Full use of Caves Branch facilities hot tub, swimming pools and personalized walking tours through the 15 acre botanical gardens and orchid gardens.


Cheeses of Italy January 17th - 22th, 2013

Italy has been a center of cheese production for well over 4,000 years, and some of the world's best known and loved cheeses hail from the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, and Sardinia.

Cheeses from around the World January 24th - 29th, 2013

The courses explore various cheeses from around the world, including some fascinating Latin American cheeses.  Latin American cheeses are little known in North America, but demand for these cheeses is on the increase due to expanded interest in the cuisine of this region.


4 day cheese course only: USD$595

Full all inclusive 5 night cheese making packge (as listed above) including the Cheesemaking Course: USD$1,108/ based on double occupancy. 

Additional nights of stay and activities can be arranged at the Caves Branch Jungle Lodge or at our Beach Resort. Please inquire at

Caves Branch Adventure Co. & Jungle Lodge
Mile 41 ½ Hummingbird Hwy.
P.O. Box 356
Belmopan, Belize,
Central America

1-866-357-2698 (international)
501-610-3451 (local)
1-888-810-1333 (fax)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Maureen Herrera on Curing Listeriosis

Update on Maureen's daughter, Mia

Mia Herrera of LaBelle, Florida is now 13, but she was only 11 when we first interviewed her -  New Cheese Maker #9 - Mia Herrera.  We have followed her progress in the American Dairy Goat Association and this past July, she entered the ADGA National Goat Show in Loveland, Colorado and won third place showmanship in the intermediate division.

We're very proud of her, of course.  Maureen told us:

Mia is homeschooled so she isn't in a particular grade - she takes some classes online that are 8th grade and I have put together some that are college and others that are high school level.   She is 13 now.  In 2 weeks she will be giving a seminar on Showmanship at the State Fair Educational Seminar (an audience of approx 100+).

She is always involved in teaching or sharing her skills/knowledge in the goat industry.  She is gaining a lot of confidence doing these presentations. It's good for her.  She says that she is working towards the goal of attending University of Florida in Gainesville where they have an excellent veterinary program.  She wants to be a large animal vet specializing in goats.

Mia with Lala/Innuendoe before she became ill.

Tragedy strikes

Mia went to the nationals in Colorado with a breeder, so she decided to leave her own goats at home and to learn as much as she could for the next year.  Unfortunately, while she was gone, her best doe, Lala/Innuendoe became ill and almost died from listeriosis.

Maureen kept Lala alive and Mia took over her care when she returned from the show.  The goat was inside the house for a month and a half!  Maureeen said "it was like taking care of a bed-ridden relative.  Mia had to tube-feed her and massage her and turn her over every two hours.  (She got really handy with the dustpan for a pee-catcher/bedpan.)"

Mia in the foyer with her sick goat

Maureen researches the disease

Maureen is one of the Directors of the Florida Dairy Goat Association.  As such, she supports the members in owning goats, making dairy food products and selling them to the public at Farmer's Markets:   She explained her job to us:  "I promote the care and responsibilities of owning goats to youth members and future members; encourage new owners to attend the many seminars and shows put on by the FDGA; and  act as liaison to the officers on the Board from the general public."

As a result of the research she did to help Mia's goat, Maureen learned a great deal about listeriosis.  She wrote the comprehensive article below to help other goat owners.  If you're one, we hope you never need it!


By Maureen H. Herrera

If you never have a goat come down with this horrible disease that would be a blessing. However, if you do, hopefully this information will help you not only recognize the symptoms but also help empower you to start the correct treatment in time, administer effective meds and therapy, and save your goat. Sometimes we can't get to the vet's office or it is a weekend and they are closed…

All-that-Jazz is their sweetest girl and dressed up for the occasion to look her best


The first most important point is to recognize the symptoms so you can get on it quickly. There is no time to lose.  Be very aware of your goat's eyelid/gum color and pregnancy status.  Listeriosis tends to affect goats that are anemic, or very pregnant or have a compromised immune system for example, from parasites.  Unfortunately it is a very insidious disease that sometimes does not present obvious symptoms right away. At the first sign that your goat is off feed or off by itself and shows any of the following signs it could be Listeriosis:  strange gait/stumbling, "star-gazing", blindness, trouble swallowing or chewing, one side of their body looking like it had a stroke, circling, drooling, lower lip hanging, high fevers, uncoordinated motor functions (like walking into something as if they didn't see it or constant falling or stumbling), head contracted back and stiff legs held straight out while laying on their side (almost looking like symptoms of tetanus), laying down and propping their head up on something because they can't hold it up, leaning on things to hold themselves up. Most of the time diarrhea is not present.  A big percent of these symptoms also are symptoms of Goat Polio so you should consult a veterinarian if you aren't sure. (a)

What exactly is Listeriosis and where does it come from?

It is an infection caused by the Listeria bacteria "monocytogens" that attacks the brain stem of the affected animal. It is a cold-preferring organism but is found everywhere and all around us in the soil, plant debris, in silage, water, feed, hay and also can be in the gut of a goat.  There are 2 forms of Listeriosis, one that causes spontaneous abortions and the other that causes encephalitis (swelling) of the brain stem. The bacteria actually cause lesions and then scarring of the brain tissue. Listeriosis tends to affect older animals more than it does younger ones. Sometimes animals can be carriers of this disease, show no clinical signs ever, and shed the bacteria infecting other animals.  This disease appears to occur during the wet winter months and early spring, infecting ruminants, horses, dogs and humans.  It can be spread by contact with infected feces, urine, milk, vaginal discharge or an aborted fetus. The Listeria bacteria usually enter the body of the goat through its mouth then travels through the system where it attacks the brain. Please note that it is zoonotic (able to be transmitted to humans). So, be very careful when handling the goat and its urine/feces and other bodily fluids. This bacteria is highly resistant to antibiotics.

This shows the brain stem and where a goat was attacked by Listeria bacteria. You can see the lesions caused by it.

What can you do to help your animal once they have contracted it?

The second most important issue is treatment of not only the symptoms but the illness itself. You need to make sure that you kill the Listeria bacteria right away. Once you know that it is Listeria bacteria, a regimen of antibiotics (herbal and/or chemical) is critical.  It is recommended that your goat receive either Banamine for reducing any fever/relieving pain OR Dexamethazone to reduce the swelling that comes with the infection on the brain - either also help to calm your goat. You should not use Dexamethazone with Banamine, as it could cause fatal hemorraging.  It is also very important to have the goat on the correct dosage of antibiotics, for the correct amount of time, and give supportive therapy. This should include Sub Q (sub-cutaneous) injections of Vitamin B Complex and making sure your animal stays hydrated (a full-grown goat will consume 1 gallon of water each day).  (b)

Mia with Lala/Innuendoe whose milk has lots of butterfat
Will your goat get better, and how long does it take?

Our doe contracted the encephalitis strain.  It has been 2 months now and we are still treating her at this time. Once we realized what was going on, since at first she didn't show any particular sign/symptom for any particular disease (she stumbled a little with her rear leg and we thought she had just injured it), we began antibiotic treatment with Procaine Penicillin when her fevers started. She had gone off hay but not grain at first.  We began giving her Vitamin B Complex, Sub-Q.  Once the fevers started she didn't eat at all. The fevers were so high (they ranged from 104-106.9) we also administered Banamine (injectible). As soon as the Banamine wore off her fevers would go right back up again. We knew we were fighting some kind of dangerous infection.  The intensity of her fevers brought on seizures and intense unfocused eye twitching.  We gave her the Banamine IM (intra-muscular) every 12 hrs for 3 days to help as an analgesic (anti-fever agent) and anti-inflammatory, but there was no improvement. We were told that we should take her up to the University of Florida (Gainsville) for screening and treatment but did not think that she would make the 5-6 hour ride.  We were also told that she probably needed a blood transfusion. I have not learned that (yet!) and didn't have any lactated ringers. We gave her coconut water orally by drenching her (by syringe) with it 3 times a day. ( c )

We started her on herbals and switched from Penicillin to Bio-Mycin 200 (Oxytetracycline HCl - a no-sting version of LA-200 ) and gave it to her SQ (sub-cutaneously) at the rate of 4.5 cc every 12 hrs. (she weighed 120 lbs at the time from having no appetite).  Three days after starting this antibiotic and herbal treatment and she became stable but wasn't getting better.

She was still on her side, head flat sideways.  Being afraid that she would not make the long trip to the vet's office at first, we waited until we got her "stable enough" for the ride - with no seizures or high fevers. This was accomplished by moving her into our house into the a/c  and syringing her every 2 hrs with Boost (because she wasn't eating, 5 bottles a day), Liver and Gall Bladder formula extract, Kidney formula extract, Ear & Nerve tincture, Bidens liquid formula (an herbal antibiotic), Omega 3 Plus High Calorie Liquid diet & Supplement (Advantech Ltd.), Ginger/Rosemary Leaf Tea, Iron Herbal formula, Garlic Immune system formula, Probios, Herbal Tummy Tamer, and applying Rosemary Essential Oil (w/olive oil) to the skin on the back of her neck where her brain stem is.  We gently flipped her over onto each opposite side and massaged her every 2 hrs. as well.  She was offered oak leaves and peppertree leaves and cabbage palm fronds in small pieces which she began to nibble once her fevers were down.

Close-up of Lala/Innuendoe
We took her to Dr. Ricci's Office in Tampa and saw Dr. Kahen. He was very kind, helpful and supportive.  He ran some preliminary blood tests then gave us the diagnosis of Listeriosis due to her high fevers, being recumbent (staying in a flat-on-one-side position), having both "staring" fixed eyes or terribly twitching eyes and being off food.  He adjusted the dose of Biomycin to 6.0cc every 12 hrs (she actually weighed 130 lbs) and congratulated us for our supportive therapy, telling us to keep it up, especially the Vit B Complex.  However, her prognosis was not good, in fact, he didn't give her much time. He was surprised that she had lasted as long as she had. We took her home and continued her treatments 24/7.  Once her fevers had stopped after another 7 days, we took her off Banamine and continued with the antibiotics and syringing her with liquids/herbals and offering browse items.

She was still flat on her side.  Then our friend/Master Herbalist, Christine Abbey suggested that we use Usnea Extract. It is a Lichen that specifically targets Listeria bacteria. She told us to give the extract orally and also put the herbal drops along her brain stem.  I don't think it is any coincidence that when we came down to check our doe the next morning she was sitting up in a normal laying position! It was 2 weeks to the day that she had first started showing signs of this illness. 2 months to the day that she first came down with this disease, we finally took her outside to the barn, however, she is still receiving physical therapy and herbal therapy until all the symptoms disappear. One thing to note is that when we temporarily ran out of the Usnea and Brain & Nerve formulas, our doe regressed to a former state of recumbency and lost her appetite. As soon as we resumed the treatments she immediately - within an hour - perked up again and began eating.  Most information that you will find about Listeriosis is that you must continue the treatment(s) until all symptoms disappear (and add an extra day or two) to be on the safe side.

Note: This article is our personal story on what we used to help our doe. Like any medicine or therapy, the person/goat etc. must be willing to try and get better and must believe in what they are doing/giving to their animal. I personally believe in herbals, and their success has been proven with our doe more than once during this illness. The herbals that we are using truly are making a difference with our doe.  The following are our "recipes" along with Christine Abbey's formulas/recipes. I hope this information is helpful to you, too.

The creamy, frothy milk they get from All-that-Jazz smells and tastes like melted vanilla ice-cream!
Herbal therapy:

I am going to give you a list of which herbals we used and their specific use for treatment. Liver and Gall Bladder Extract contains: Barberry or Oregon Grape Root, Wild Yam, Cramp Bark, Fennel Seed, Ginger, Catnip and Peppermint used to "unblock" these organs for better function and speed up the blood purifying process. Kidney Extract contains Juniper berries, Parsley, Uva Ursi, Marshmallow root, Lobelia, Ginger and Golden Seal root. Trtmt for:  Bladder Ailments, Bloating (Water Retention), Bruises, Cystitis, Enuresis (incontinence), Fragile Capillaries, Kidneys, Nephrolithiasis (kidney stones),  Osteomalacia (like Ricketts), Urinary Calculi, Urinary Tract Infection, Water Retention.  Ear & Nerve tincture contains: Blue Cohosh, Black Cohosh, Blue Vervain, Skullcap and Valerian. A formula specific to the motor nerves, greatly beneficial to the whole nervous system, helping to rebuild the nerves and nervous system, has also been used historically for the health and vitality of the spinal cord and other nerves. Bidens liquid (an herbal antibiotic), this is Christine's recipe made from a local herb, Bidens pilosa or Bidens alba, that targets any infection in the whole body.  Rosemary Essential Oil (w/olive oil), is used as an Analgesic, antiarthritic, antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative (promote healthy action of the stomach wall & intestines and expel gas), cholagogue (acts on the liver & increase secretion of bile), decongestant, diaphoretic (promotes perspiration), digestive, diuretic (produce a copious excretion of urine), expectorant, fungicidal, hepatic (helps with liver function), hypertensive, nervine, restorative, rubefacient (causing dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation), stimulant, stomachic, sudorific (makes you sweat), tonic, vermifuge (antiparasitic), vulnerary (useful in healing wounds), specifically in this case for:  fainting, headache, hysteria, jaundice, memory loss, mental fatigue, migraine, muscle aches and pains, nervous disorders, neuralgia (pain in one or more nerves caused by a change in neurological structure or function), rheumatism, slow circulation, sore muscles.  Ginger/Rosemary Leaf Tea, aids in the improvement of nerve function as explained previously with rosemary essential oil (this oil should NEVER be taken internally), with the ginger helping absorption by the brain of the rosemary leaf tea.  Iron herbal formula, this is Christine's formula, contains Yellow Dock Root, Dandelion leaf and root, Superfood mix, Beet Root, and Burdock Root all used to help support liver function and rebuild iron in the blood.  Garlic Immune System formula, also Christine's formula, provides an "all-over" immune system boost to fight all infection. Probios in the form of water kefir and goat probios powder. Herbal Tummy Tamer, another formula from Christine, for use after you worm your goat to sooth the lesions and damage done by the worms. It contains: Ginger, Clove, Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm, Cinnamon, Cayenne pepper, Raspberry Leaf

Physical therapy:

Our doe didn't start out needing physical therapy. Because she became recumbent, then needed to use one of her front legs as a "kickstand" while lying down, we think that she cut off or slowed the circulation in it so much during the night that it began to atrophy and become very stiff. We began articulating it, trying to bring it to full ROM (range of motion). We put peppermint essential oil and rosemary essential oil (w/ olive oil) on her knee and pastern joints before starting the therapy and also put a drop of lavender oil on her nose to calm her. We did this therapy 5x a day (each time we gave her meds/herbals) at first. Now we do it 3x a day. She has had some improvement with moving it but she will still not put any weight on it and moves around on 3 legs. We are hoping that she will begin to use it soon.


It is important to be sure that it is Listeriosis and then a regimen of Biomycin-200 or LA-200 is recommended to completely kill off the bacteria.  We used the formula of 1cc/per every 22 lbs of goat weight, Sub-Q, every 12 hrs for the first week then every 24 hrs for the second week, making sure that she received probios every day and that we alternated injection sites.  We also used the Usnea Lichen Extract (herbal antibiotic) and saw immediate results. We used ½ tsp (or 5 cc) given orally  AND 5 drops of this put directly on the area of the brain stem, 5x a day for 1.5 months.

Mia with frothy milk from All-that-Jazz
Prevention? Is there a prevention?

You can take preventative action, but it is impossible to fully prevent it.  It is like Russian Roulette.  It is all around us everywhere, waiting for the right time and the right animal. No matter how much you try to keep your animals' feed, grain, and hay dry and insect/mold-free it can still happen. And it usually only happens to one of the animals in your herd. We have tried to isolate where it could have come from by process of elimination but it is nearly impossible to know. Too many farms in our area have been touched by this disease for it not to be linked by some kind of feed or hay that we are all using, however, we get our hay/feed from different feed stores and different producers/providers. It seems to be concluded that this may be coming to our area from a source up north since it is a cold-loving type of bacteria. There is no way to truly know, unfortunately.

*Special thanks to Christine Abbey for being so unselfish in sharing her Herbal Recipes with us and being so supportive and helpful during our goat's illness. She is so knowledgeable in the herbal field (literally), I highly recommend that you contact her with any herbal questions. She can be reached at:

Christine Abbey, Master Herbalist

Farm:; Facebook:;


(a)    There are two websites that are useful as well that have a lot to say about Listeriosis vs. Goat Polio: and

(b)    The meds/herbals and dosages we used are included below. This is what worked for us.

(c)    Fresh coconut water has the same properties as our blood, so it is used world-wide as a transfusion. See more info on Coconuts below..

( b ) HERBAL DOSAGES - These are the dosages we used. Our doe is very large.  Every goat will be different. In Christine's Book, Herbal Remedies for Goats, she explains that "there are no clinical dosages, but these were based on an average full-sized goat".  A smaller goat would use less, like ½, with kids using approx a ¼ . Adapt the dosage to your animal.  Make notes of what you used, how much and when. It is very easy to lose track of this when you are giving so many meds/herbals. Be sure to keep good records for future use of what seemed to work best for your goat, just in case.

Bidens pilosa or Bidens alba a.k.a "Spanish Needle" (Christine Abbey's Biden formula)  6cc,    3 - 5  x  each day up to 28 days

GARLIC IM (Christine Abbey's Immune System Formula)    13 cc,   5 x  each day

ROSEMARY/GINGER TEA  (make the tea from fresh rosemary leaves or the dried herb. 1 Tbsp per 1 cup of water plus about ½" of ginger root, steeped for 10 minutes) = approx. 60cc  of tea, 3  x  each day

LIVER & GALLBLADDER (Dr. Christopher's Liver & Gallbladder Extract) 1 full dropper 5 x each day (a full dropper = 1.5 cc)

KIDNEY (Dr. Christopher's Kidney Extract) 1 full dropper 5 x each day (a full dropper = 1.5 cc)

EAR & NERVE (Dr. Christopher's Ear & Nerve Tincture) 1 full dropper 3 x each day (a full dropper = 1.5 cc) AND 1 full dropper 3 x each day (a full dropper = 1.5 cc) given in drops on the spine

IRON FORMULA (Christine Abbey's Iron Formula) ½ Tbsp (15cc) of the dried herbs 1 - 3 x each day (our doe wouldn't just eat it so we mixed it into the tea and orally drenched her with it)

TUMMY TAMER (Christine Abbey's TummyTamer Formula) ½ Tbsp (15cc) of the dried herbs 1 - 3  x each day (our doe wouldn't just eat it so we mixed it into the tea and orally drenched her with it)

USNEA Extract     1 tsp, 3-6 times per day orally. AND 1 tsp, 3-6 times per day in drops on brain stem

ROSEMARY Essential Oil (w/olive oil added as carrier oil)  5 - 6 drops, 5 x each day along the spine or on the brain stem

LAVENDER Essential Oil,   a few drops rubbed onto the goat's nose to help calm her

PEPPERMINT Essential Oil,    a few drops put into the palm of your hand mixed with the rosemary/olive oil gently rubbed on the joints to stimulate blood flow to the area while doing PT

Comfrey Leaves or Dr. Christopher's Complete Tissue & Bone Ointment  rub the ointment (or the leaves in a paste) onto the joints (or wherever else needed) 2 - 3 times a day

Raw Young Coconut Water and/or "meat", water given orally, or SQ, to rehydrate as electrolytes; meat as a supplement to the goat's diet for its antibacterial/ antimicrobial properties


"The coconut is a natural water filter that takes almost 9 months to filter each liter (qt) of water in the shell…the water rises upward through innumerable fibers, which purify the water before it ends up in the sterile nut…it is one of the most highest sources of electrolytes found in nature...young coconut water is nearly identical to human blood plasma, making it a universal donor..plasma makes up 55% of human blood, the remaining 45% of our blood consists of hemoglobin - which is essentially transformed plant blood(chlorophyll)…" from David Wolfe's Superfoods

All-that-Jazz gets a treat on the stand and her favorite is cranberry-apple juice.

Herbal Remedies for Goats, by Christine Abbey, MH

Superfoods, by David Wolfe

Black's Veterinary Dictionary, by Geoffrey West

Goat Health & Welfare - a Veterinary Guide by David Harwood

Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Rodale Press

The Herb Book, by John Lust

The Good Herb, by Judith Benn Hurley

Univ. of FL, Gainsville, Large Animal Hospital 352-392-2229 Emergencies

New Tampa Animal Hospital, Lutz, FL, Dr. Ricci and Dr. Kahan    813-949-8448

**I am not a veterinarian or an herbalist (yet!). This is what worked for us, it is not a guarantee. The information included is not a diagnosis of a disease or meant to be an absolute cure for a disease. This article is shared in good faith and is informational only. No one mentioned in this article shall be held responsible for any damages and we disclaim all liability with the use of this information or any mentioned products. You should always consult a medical doctor or veterinarian to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. 

Maureen H. Herrera,

Director, FGDA

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jen's Wedding Part 2

A few more photos ...

In case you missed it, this is the sequel to Pictures of Ricki's Daughter's Wedding.

These are all photos taken by Eric Limon, an amazing photographer  -  He posted these on his Facebook page and he was kind enough to let me share them with you.

Jenny with her father, Robert

The parasols were perfect for the hot, sunny day.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

MeadowWild Farm in Barnum, Minnesota

Barb and Steve Adams of MeadowWild Farm

Raising goats in their "retirement"

I began communicating via e-mail with Barb Adams when she wrote to us with a question about making Halloumi.*

She mentioned that she had attended Jim Wallace's advanced workshop on Italian Cheeses in October, 2011.

She's from Minnesota (Barnum) and I haven't interviewed very many cheese makers from there, so, I asked her about doing an interview and she tried to decline:

I've thought about the blog article, and really wouldn't think there'd be much to say.

We only have 14 goats right now, we're very small time, not licensed, and only rank newbies in the cheese world - so many more talented and dedicated folks out there

But I'd encourage folks to keep trying!  It's daunting when there are so many, many expert cheese makers  - one wonders why even try to make homemade cheeses?  But I find real pleasure in bringing in the milk from our generous Alpine Girls and finding ways to use it well.

So, I asked her what kinds of cheese she makes:

Cheeses made (all with our goats' milk) and with varying degrees of success =
  • chevre (lots and lots - using chevre culture from - YUM)
  • yogurt cheese
  • ricotta - using fresh milk and from cultured cheeses
  • mozzarella - this is a challenge late in the season, to get it to stretch
  • provolone/scamorza - smoked with applewood - this is a favorite
  • canestrato
  • cabra al vino
  • haloumi
  • feta
  • cheese curds
  • ricotta salata
  • Juustoaleipa
  • and a few of us "goat ladies" got our milks together (10 gallons) to make a big Gouda with a local expert - YUM! 
I don't know about you, but I find that list exceptional.  It's clear to me that Barb is a master home cheese maker.  So, I couldn't let her off the hook and she finally agreed to be "In the Spotlight" in our September Moosletter.

The issue is time and she has zero!  First, she was moving three goats to their new home in Michigan.  Then she was attending a "Free Range Film Festival" sponsored by the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association.  Then she was helping with the goat show at the Carlton County Fair.  And she's retired!

Barb's Halloumi, made in July, 2012 from Jim Wallace's recipe


Scamorza rounds brining before being smoked - not the traditional shape

How did you get into this?

Bought a pretty little (used to be bigger farm) acreage in 2002.  There was a large pole building not suited for animals, but I thought I could adapt it.  Went to the Minnesota State Fair looking at all the kinds of animals one might have.  Cows: to big  horses: what use?  Pigs: too scary  Chickens: too impertinent and disrespectful   Fleece animals: too chancy in the economy.

Goats!    I love goat cheese - too expensive to buy, so I'll get goats.  That's the joke - thousands of dollars later..... ha, ha I can have as much goat cheese as I want. 

Goats are cute, intelligent, and useful.  What breed?  Alpines - very challenging because they are so smart and spirited.  And they come in so many colors and make a lot of tasty milk.

So, I linked up with a large dairy in MN - Poplar Hill.  We moved to the farm in early May of 2007 and we picked up our first two does on May 27, 2007.  I retired in March of 2008, a couple days before we had our first kids.   I've met the most wonderful people thru these animals!

When you say you "hooked up" with Poplar Hill, does that mean you're selling them your milk?

Oh no - I'm not licensed.  I bought my first two goats from Poplar Hill  and then 1.5 years later, we bought our buck, Majority (Mr. T) from them also.  They have helped me immeasurably in this effort!  "Lifetime service" says Sarah Maefsky Johnson when you buy a goat and she means it.  I still email her with questions/problems.  She shares her expertise so willingly.

What kind of cheese do you make most often?

I like to make scamorza - a smoked provolone-type cheese, not aged.  But I was having trouble getting the smoke cool enough so it wouldn't melt the cheese.  The first pics are of the cheese smoker I improvised with some leftover dryer and furnace venting.  I got the idea from Storey's Basic Country Skills.
It's a fire pit with about 7 feet of venting laid under the sod leading to our grill.  The venting is attached to the grill and smoke passes from firepit thru venting to enter grill at a fairly cool temp.  I smoke the scamorza for about an hour using wood from our old apple tree.  Last pic is of the scamorza balls in brine (for about 3.5 hours, then dried in the fridge for a day or so before smoking).  Works pretty good!

Finished smoker

Trench dug and piping placed

Pretty neat connection

Barb and her husband, Steve, LOVE their goats.  Steve's hobby is photography so there are hundreds of pictures of their goats and their farm online at their website, their Facebook page and their blog - Out to Pasture.

I found a series of pictures on the blog of Barb helping one of her nannies with the delivery of her kid.  I asked her if I could share them with you and she was happy to oblige.  I find it to be a beautiful, intimate moment of farm life captured by Steve, so, if you have never been on the scene when a kid was born, check this out:


Buckling Surprise

By Steve Adams at Out to Pasture

Alba was due on Saturday, April 18, but gave no indication that she was imminent -- or even pregnant --
until Tuesday the 21st, when she just couldn't get comfortable all day.
She started groaning in the late afternoon
and then at 5:30 pm delivered a buckling, with the substantial help of the midwife, who tugged away heartily as Alba pushed.
The routine has become familiar by now: first a toweling off and a blow-dry to warm up
then grooming by Mom
and a first meal.
The boy weighed in at 6 pounds, a bit under the ideal.
As the midwife waited for Alba's placenta to emerge, she got another surprise around 6:15 pm:
another buckling!
This one weighed a measly 4 pounds.
As the midwife dried and warmed the runtlet and tried to get him to feed

his brother fell sound asleep.
Eventually he woke up and checked out the newbie
and Grandma Dream in the next pen.
While Alba is the world's best goat in many ways
motherhood is not one of them. On a scale from June Cleaver to Joan Crawford, Alba is toward
the "Mommie Dearest" end.She occasionally grooms the bigger guy,but leaves the little one to fend for himself.
We've never seen Alba feed either boy on her own
so every four hours, Barb holds the babies up to nurse.
Because the little can't grab on very well, Barb has to give him most of his milk by bottle.Both boys are smaller and weaker thantheir flourishing cousins across the barn
but they seem to be getting stronger
and we hope that soon they will be joining Artie and Tammy
for romps outside in the sunshine.

*  Barb's question to Jim Wallace (

Hi there - just sending a picture of my (first ever) batch of goats' milk canestrato cheese.  Used 4 gallons of milk - got 2 lb. 11 oz. basket cheese and 15 oz. of ricotta.

For some reason, the milk did not gel with the 2 ml of rennet (may have not been acid enough - I used Bulgarian yogurt culture - not yogurt - used about 8 grams of Bulgarian yogurt culture (the whole package was 33 grams, so I used approx. 1/4, figuring yield of 24 oz. yogurt and I needed 6 oz. of yogurt (which I didn't have).  So at end of 30 minutes, when the milk had not gelled, I added another 3 ml of rennet.  Waited another 30 minutes and voila - nice curds.
Did everything else according to Hoyle - well, according to Jim.

Cheeses are air drying today and will be brined tomorrow.  The percent brine is not specified....  is it always 12% for brining? 

Jim's answer:

I should point out a couple of things here:

1.  In using the yogurt, it does not work well taking it out of the pack since it takes so long to become active. In the instructions I point out:

"Y1 Yogurt made up (Thermo/ Bulgaricus @ 50:50 blend).  Use 1% of milk volume. 7.5-8 oz. of active Y1 yogurt. This is the thermophilic culture that will do most of the acid conversion at the higher temperatures in this recipe."

This means the yogurt needs to be made up first before use so that you are adding a live working yogurt to the milk.

2.  The other aspect is that the rennet cannot be added a second time if there is not enough to begin with. You essentially defeat the enzyme work in the first addition. It is best to use the target numbers and increase the total coagulation time until you get a good set with your initial rennet addition. Then you can adjust your next make to hit the correct timing for rennet set.

The increased coagulation time may also have been due to using the yogurt as powder (PS.. that was way too much). The acid was not developing and thus the rennet took longer.

For brining, when the % is not given, always assume a saturated brine.