Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Southern Vermont Dairy Goat Association

New SVDGA member, Kathy Burek with her three doelings
Promoting Dairy Goats Since 1945

Recently, I attended my first ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association) sanctioned Dairy Goat Show at the SVDGA Clubhouse in Marlboro, Vermont.  I went with my friend, Kathy Burek of Montague, Massachusetts who raises her own Nubians for the milk and the chevre she makes with it.  She had just joined the SVDGA (it costs a whopping $15/year to join - www.vtgoats.org).

She showed me their bi-monthly newsletter and I read it on the way there.  It's filled with interesting information about goats, including Suzanne McMinn's recipe for lactic cheese (her website is Chickens in the Road).  Well, it so happens that Suzanne told me she used our book, Home Cheese Making for that recipe and a couple of years ago, she did a series of 12 articles for this blog (making a different cheese every month).

So, of course, I love the newsletter.  It includes articles about raising goats, questions and answers, classified ads, coming events and a list of new members.  I think that alone is worth the price of membership.

The shows are important for several reasons:  1) They provide an opportunity for the members of the SVDGA to get together to host an event.   2)  They attract goat owners from all around New England who get a chance to visit with each other and 3)  They form the basis for determining award winning bloodlines.  (The offspring of award winning goats sell for a higher price than others.)

I had a great time at the show and I highly recommend joining the SVDGA if you live in the area.  This particular show was limited to does.

The Clubhouse

Easy to find on Rt. 9 in Marlboro

Pavillion in back

The Grounds

















Inside the Pavillion

Various items were for sale

Ribbons ready to be claimed

The judge worked all day without a break













The Participants

Mary Fox of Foxes Pride Dairy Goats in Mount Vernon, New Hampshire.  Mary has known Ricki for over 35 years, ever since she invited Ricki and her first husband, Bob to teach a class in cheese making at her farm.  Mary makes Chevre.

Bri LaFoe, one of Mary's grandaughters.  Three generations of Foxes work the farm where they primarily breed show goats.

Mary and her grandaughters with their Nubians.  They also raise Saanens and La Manchas.

Nancy Buddington and her daughter, Kim from On the Road Again Farm in Springfield, Massachusetts.  They raise Oberhasli and Alpines.  Kim makes 30 Minute Mozzarella and Chevre

Melody Reynolds from Reynolds Barn in North Kingston, Rhode Island.  She and her husband own the only licensed dairy in Rhode Island.  They sell 18 different cheeses, including 8 soft cheeses.  You can find them every year for 18 days in the Farmarama Building at the Big E (Eastern States Exposition), teaching goat classes and soap making workshops.

Melody's goats won numerous awards

Erica Hendrickson of Rolling Acres Farm in Haverhill, New Hampshire.  She and her husband raise Nigerian Dwarf Goats.  Erica makes yogurt and vinegar cheese.  She swears that beet pickling juice makes the best vinegar for her cheese.

Debby Orff of Maple Ridge Farm in Waldsboro, Maine raises Alpines.  She sells the milk to her neighbor who makes cheese with it.






Friday, June 21, 2013

Ricki's Spring Projects

Ricki hugging her fabulous creation
It's a creative frenzy!

The Cheese Queen is at it again.  It seems like every year, beginning when the sap starts flowing and the snow has melted, Ricki gets an energy charge and hundreds of new projects are begun at the Royal Palace.  OK, maybe not hundreds, but quite a few...

Most of them revolve around the "barn" Ricki and Jamie have been re-building since last Spring.  I wish I could show you "before" pictures when it was just a shack used for storage because now it has become a stunning showcase for Ricki's artistic talent.


The Barn Project (Ongoing)

It's located a ways behind the house.

Ricki and Jamie put in the 4 large windows on the left and the double doors.

When they raised the roof and re-did the front, they used the old barn boards.

Ricki found old windows she liked and they became a wall of light

The Mirror Mosaic (In Progress)

This is a huge project.  Ricki is finding old mirrors at second hand stores, then dropping them and gluing the pieces to the wall.  The effect is amazing!

The grout will be black







The Post

Ricki assembled a huge collection of glass beads, old jewelry pieces and miscellaneous geegaws.  Then, she applied each one randomly with a hot glue gun.  The result is a fabulous example of "controlled chaos."










How cool is this?!

Those are glass beads on top of little Scrabble tiles.  It says, "Art is music for the eyes."

Note the crown (for the Cheese Queen).  There are 4 of them on the post.

The round wooden pieces come from a fence Jamie built several years ago.

The wall "sign"

This will be installed on a wall in the barn.  Ricki assembled it from scraps of iron.

The mosaic in the former sauna

This was just a quick little job Ricki did while taking a break from another project (!).  It hasn't been grouted yet.

The shower in the basement

This is primarily Jamie's project (the man who can do everything!)

The Gardens

Ricki and Jamie do all the gardening themselves.  Ricki planted (and maintains) all the flowers, bushes and small trees and Jamie grows a huge supply of vegetables.  It's a BIG job.

Front of the house

These are the early spring pictures before everything is in bloom. 





Note Ricki's license plate!





Sides of the house











This sculpture is new.  It's over 8 feet tall.


Back of the house





Jamie's vegetable garden


Jamie built this sink and Ricki did the mosaic around it




I'll have more for you as these projects (and new ones!) get completed.  As you can see, the Cheese Queen has a lot going on at the Royal Palace...