Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quillisascut Farmstead Cheese and School of the Domestic Arts

That's a long name for a farm!  (Quillisascut means "place of scattered bushes" in Salish (Indian).)  The owners, Rick and Lora Lea Misterly have earned this long name and their fame by surviving on their farm for 32 years.  From everything I have read about their place- it's fabulous.

Lora Lea and Rick Misterly (photo from their blog)

In 1981, the Misterlys bought 26 acres of wilderness in northeast Washington with nothing except some tools, seeds and goats.  There was no electricity, so Lora Lea began making cheese as a way of preserving the milk from her goats.


They became licensed to sell cheese in 1987 (Quillisascut Cheese Co.) and they have been selling cheese ever since.  They now have 25 milking goats and they produce 2000 pounds of cheese per year.  (You can buy their cheese in stores around the state and by purchasing CSA shares.)






Quillisascut™  Curado – raw goat milk, rapid coagulation, cooked curd, pliable body when young, sweet, nutty, and grassy flavors, aged over 60 days.











Quillisascut™ Viejo – same technique as the curado aging to a spicy tang similar to a Romano, firm grating style cheese, aged over 4 months.











Quillisascut Farmer – non-cooked curds, rapid coagulation, crumble on salads or serve with herb infused honey, aged 60 days or more.







Lora Lee makes the cheese herself and, in fact, she is the only one allowed in the cheese making room.  (Many cheese makers protect their make rooms from contamination this way.)  When she teaches her students to make cheese, she does it in the main kitchen.


In 2002, Rick and Lora Lea officially opened their school for teaching sustainable living skills.  They provide scholarships for many of the courses.  The funds for this come from the sale of a cookbook they published in 2008 - "Chefs on the Farm."


The Misterlys teach skills like making cheese, slaughtering and butchering livestock, composting, baking bread and farm-to-table cooking.  One interesting aspect of the courses is that during the week-long ones, you visit and learn at other farms as well as Quillisascut.


Their Intro to Home Cheese Making course is coming up June 20-21.  This is immediately followed by a 4 day Hearth Bread and Wood-fired Oven workshop (June 21-24).  (We can't imagine a better way to spend 5 beautiful summer days!)  

You can even suggest a topic for your own workshop if you have a group of 10-12 people who would like to stay at the farm for 3-5 days.

2014 Workshop Schedule:

Introduction to Small Acreage Sustainable Farming April 30- May 4, 2014

Let’s make cheese! June 20-21, 2014

Hearth Breads and the Wood Fired Oven June 21-24, 2014

Food Service Professional workshop designed for those working in the food industry. July 27 – 31 (or sign up for one of the student dates) August 23-28, September 7-12

Sense of Place - A Culture of Food August 15-18


There is a beautiful, free e-book on the Quillisascut website (click here) about the farm.  In it, the writer recommends "The School of Essential Ingredients" by Erica Bauermeister as a way to begin to understand the spirit of Quillisascut.  I read the book and I loved it.  It's about taking the time to experience and savor the essential ingredients in our lives while learning to make real food.

I guess it's why the media page of their website is filled with testimonies to the magic of Quillisascut.  Two blog articles, in particular, seem to capture the spirit of the farm-

http://seattlepastrygirl.blogspot.com/2012/06/goat-cheese-asparagus-prosciutto-pie.html

http://www.teaandcookiesblog.com/2011/08/making-cheese-at-quillisascut-farm.html

The best way to understand what the Misterlys are about is to read their beautiful blog.  The pictures are amazing.


I hope someday to travel across the country from Massachusetts to Washington State.  Quillisascut will be my last stop before I reach the coast.  Maybe I'll see you there and we can learn from Rick and Lora Lea how to discover and savor the essential ingredients in our own lives.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Entering the ACS Competition 2014

Ricki with her Lifetime Achievement Award at our Sponsor's Table
in the lobby of the 2013 ACS Conference in Madison, Wisconsin
We Challenge You!

If you're already a member of the American Cheese Society, you received the message below and we hope you're ready to send them your cheese(s).  If you aren't a member, it's time to join so you can enter.  Why?

The purpose of a cheese competition is to help the participants become better at their art.  A team of incredibly well qualified judges will taste your cheese and give you feedback about it.  Where else can you get that?

There are many secondary benefits to entering, like exposure to the wider market, networking with the other entrants, the thrill of being able to say you won in your category and the increase in sales when you mention your awards on your labels.

So, if you're thinking maybe it's time you took your cheese to the next level, here it is.  What have you got to lose?










American Cheese Society
For Immediate Release


THE AMERICAN CHEESE SOCIETY ANNOUNCES
CALL FOR ENTRIES FOR THE 2014 JUDGING & COMPETITION


DENVER, CO — April 9, 2014 —The American Cheese Society (ACS) today announces its Call for Entries for the 2014 Judging & Competition. This annual judging of American cheeses and cultured dairy products takes place July 27 and 28, 2014, at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, Calif., immediately prior to the 31st Annual ACS Conference, Celebrating the American Cheese Plate, which will be held from July 29 to August 1 in Sacramento.

The largest competition of its kind, the ACS Judging & Competition saw a record 1,794 entries in 2013, submitted by 257 cheesemakers. As the ACS Judging & Competition returns to California for the first time in more than ten years, participation in 2014 is expected to be stronger than ever. The ACS Judging & Competition Committee has enlisted 38 renowned judges from around the world to evaluate products across 106 different categories. The Judging & Competition recognizes cheeses of the highest quality for their aesthetic and technical merits. Awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place are given to the cheeses which receive the highest scores in their category, based on a minimum point threshold. After two intense days of judging, first-place winners in each category are evaluated together, and a “Best of Show” is chosen. Winners will be revealed at the annual ACS Awards Ceremony on Thursday, July 31 in Sacramento.


The 2014 Call for Entries is open through Friday, May 16. The entry fee for each product is $60 through May 9. From May 10 to May 16, the entry fee will increase to $85. ACS is accepting entries via its dedicated online entry site, www.cheesejudging.com. Producers can log into the site to enter new products, or to view previous year’s entries and make edits or additions for 2014.

Registration for the ACS Annual Conference opens May 5, 2014. Individuals who purchase a full conference registration or a Thursday Day Pass can attend the ACS Awards Ceremony on July 31. Individual tickets to the Awards Ceremony may also be purchased by ACS members beginning on May 5.



Members of the public are encouraged to participate in the 2014 ACS Conference & Competition by volunteering (all volunteers receive one complimentary ticket to the Festival of Cheese), purchasing tickets to the Festival of Cheese, and attending the annual Cheese Sale. The Cheese Sale, on August 2, offers the opportunity to purchase artisan cheeses at incredible prices, with all proceeds benefiting the nonprofit American Cheese Education Foundation. Those interested in volunteering must be 18 years of age or older, and are encouraged to sign up for a variety of shifts and events at http://www.cheesesociety.org/conference/volunteer/.

For more information about the 2014 ACS Conference & Competition, please visit the ACS website.





About the American Cheese Society (ACS)
ACS is the leading organization supporting the understanding, appreciation, and promotion of farmstead, artisan and specialty cheeses produced in the Americas. At 1,500 members strong, ACS provides advocacy, education, business development, and networking opportunities for cheesemakers, retailers, enthusiasts, and extended industry. ACS strives to continually raise the quality and availability of cheese in the Americas.

Since its founding in 1983, ACS proudly hosts the foremost annual educational conference and world-renowned cheese judging and competition. The 2014 ACS Conference & Competition will be held in Sacramento, CA from July 29-August 1, 2014. For more information, visit http://www.cheesesociety.org.

Media passes and photos are available upon request.

Media contacts:

Caitlin Sandberg
Ellipses Public Relations
415-874-9900
caitlin@ellipsespr.com

Diana Haven
Ellipses Public Relations
415-728-5803
diana@ellipsespr.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PART 3 - The Cheese Queen's Story: The Early 1980's

Phenomenal Growth!

This is the third in a comprehensive series about the history of New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.  We hope you will enjoy reading about our challenges and our triumphs.   If you haven't read them already, check out Part 1 and Part 2.

By 1981, making cheese was still a big part of Ricki and Bob's lives.  They acquired a Jersey cow, Nellie, while still milking their 3 Alpine goats.

Their refrigerator "cave"

In the early days of the business magazine ads were used for advertising and the business continued this way until the internet came along.  

1979 ad in Countryside Magazine

1982 ad

In 1981, they began selling their products to artisanal cheesemakers as well as home cheesemakers.

Ricki and Bob were teaching workshops both in Ashfield and around the country.



Bob and their friend, Margo Potter who Ricki worked with laying out the 'Ashfield News'  worked together on "The Little Home Cheesemaking Workbook" (19 p., illustrated by their neighbor Linda Taylor).  Covered in the workbook: equipment needed, how to make and use cheese starter culture, and step-by-step recipes for lactic cheese, small curd cottage cheese, Coulommiers and Caerphilly, Gouda, ricotta and Mysost.



That year, they sent their 20 page catalog to a mailing list of 10,000.  As soon as their last workshop of the season was finished Ricki gave birth to their first daughter Jennifer and the next day they hired Kate Spencer, a friend who worked with Ricki at the Co-op, their first full-time employee.

Bob stopped teaching special education at Mohawk Trail Regional High School to work on the business full time.  Ricki was still helping at the Grange, running the Ashfield Food Co-op, and organizing art classes for young people, along with shipping orders and taking care of Jennifer.




Ricki and Bob sent out a questionnaire to 200 workshop participants asking if they thought a newsletter was a good idea.  The response was overwhelmingly positive, so they published their first issue in Mar/April 1981.

It featured stories about cheese makers, recipes, letters from customers, and updates on new products.  At one point, for a few years, it was the newsletter for the American Cheese Society.


The first issue.

In 1981, Annie Proulx came to one of Bob and Ricki's workshops and suggested to Garden Way publishing that they should write a book for them on cheese making.  They called, Ricki and Bob wrote it and to this day still sell an updated version of this same book.

In 1982, the book was published and Bob and Ricki made an appearance on the NBC today show promoting home cheese making.  The first issue included a diagram for making an effective cheese press from a coffee can, broomstick, plywood board and bricks!



From the 1st edition of Cheesemaking Made Easy

In 1982, they published "Making Cheeses at Home" by Susan Ogilvy, under the aegis of the Cheese Press.


They also published a little booklet - "Recipes for Cheese" with illustrations by Linda Taylor.  The first outside book they published was the English version of  "Goat Cheese: Small Scale Production" by the Benedictine nuns of Mont-Laurier, Canada.

During all this time, the growth of the business was nothing less than amazing.  To summarize, Ricki and Bob were doing workshops all over the country, publishing the Cheesemakers Journal, traveling to visit cheese makers in Europe, Canada and all over the US, publishing out of print cheese making books, and doing whatever they could to support artisan cheese makers.






In 1983, they attended the first meeting of the ACS and soon Bob became the Executive Secretary.  Their mission was to increase the membership and they did this by sending out registration forms to their mailing list and advertising every meeting in the Cheesemakers' Journal.

Third meeting of the American Cheese Society (Ricki and Bob are front center).


By the end of their fifth year in business, they had been featured in the NY Times, the Boston Globe, Business Week and they had demonstrated cheese making on the Today Show.

They were sending out a 20 page color catalog 4 times/ year. 



By now, sales were over $400,000 and they were receiving 100 orders per day.  Of course, they were still doing all this in their home:

In the Union News, 1984 - "...As a result, their home turned into a warehouse of equipment and supplies.  "We were importing 400 gallon cheese vats from Holland."  Ricki says, "There were times when we would have 4 or 5 in our living room and a shipment of milking machines on the porch."

Unfortunately, as many of you know, rapid growth and actual profit do not always go hand-in-hand.  By 1985, it became clear that their expenses were way too high.  Stay tuned for the next phase of the business when Ricki and Bob faced some financial realities.

Stay tuned for the next phase of the business...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Patrick Drennen in Arlington, Virginia


Patrick in Atlanta, inspecting cheese for it's proteolysis breakdown.

When one door closes, another opens...

Patrick Drennen wrote a note to us recently and I asked him if I could share it with you.  (We always appreciate it when you share your experiences with us.)  I was impressed by Patrick's candor and I expect you will be, too.  We all benefit when someone has the courage to talk about their "failures" as well as triumphs.  It helps us to be more open about the times when we didn't live up to our own expectations...

Here's Patrick's letter to us:

Dear Ricki, Jim and All the Rest!

I wanted to thank you for all your help and advice with cheese related incidents. We started making cheese about two years ago and what we have found is that it is a very cumulative process.

A little background about me. I have been a chef for about ten years now. It is a very hard and competitive field and as such, after a year of service to one of Atlanta's top restaurants, I was let go. I was soo depressed and despondent. About three or four days after I received the news (and we were already on a tight budget) my partner woke me up in the middle of the night and said "honey we need to make cheese!"

Casevm Blanc (Casevm is Latin for cheese).  Patrick's partner, Firat is from Istanbul, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire so they named most of their cheese in Latin.

He had had a dream that we were making cheese. The next day he told me stories of how his grandmother would make cheese back home in Turkey. I think he wanted me to have a creative outlet to vent my frustrations thru and re-establish my passion by taking my mind off of the loss of my job. When I was pulled in to the conference room and was told that same old story of "we don't think this is working out..." type of thing, I felt like a failure, not only professionally but as a partner as well. 

So, in a way it did pull me out of my depression. I originally started brewing my own cider and while we both retained our vision through batch after batch of our home brew (we had one or two successful batches but the rest was just swill), I found that the cider was best for washing rinds of cheese so needless to say the home brew was out. So I became an excellent cheese maker and he became an excellent cheese taster!

Patrick and Firat exploring what appear to be cliffs in Ireland (really its on the way to Napa Valley!)

Of course at the time, I groaned and turned over to try to get back to sleep. But he brought it up again the next day and at first I was sort of indecisive. We then decided to take a trip to our local brew store and get a few things. We made our first cheese that day....and it was terrible! But I didn't give up. Eventually, I stumbled on your website and started pulling recipes and trying out new things.

Patrick's cave is a wine cooler that can hold 50 bottles or 25 10" tomme or a whole bunch of little cheeses.  He regulates the humidity with a humidor hygrometer and  a small little humidifier from CVS Pharmacy for about 20 bucks.  It keeps it cool with an RH of 90%.

Still to this day, two years later and a relocation to DC, I still peruse your site and reference your recipes. I believe that with recipes, the basic knowledge is there and you can follow it to the letter or, in some cases, you may need to improvise.

S.P.Q.R., a wine washed cow's milk cheese.

So, after I developed what I like to call my cheese intuition, I started to look more at the technique of the recipes and then go from there to develop my own. I guess all in all, cheese making pulled me out of a very dark place after I lost my job and gave me some sort of feeling of self worth.

Casevm Bleu with a natural rind.

Eventually, I found a great position with a restaurant group in Atlanta. That is where I made my first cheese sale! And what was great is that they were return customers! When my partner got a job in DC, it was very sad to leave. But we took a risk and went.

Another Casevm Bleu at a wine and cheese tasting party they hosted.  Needless to say, it was a smashing success.

Now, we are making cheese in a skyline apartment with the noises of the number 34 bus and the street below (sometimes I would rather have the noise of animals and the country side).  I wanted to thank you for all the work you have done and acknowledge what you are doing.  What you have done for me has impacted my life in a positive way and now I am on the road to try and establish my own business and help other artisans get their product to market.

5 lb wheel of Cabra Tenebra (goat ash) which is actually a blend of cow's and goat's milk.  Patrick said he finds that the cow's milk adds a bit of stability to the curd and the goat milk adds tangy-ness.

I wanted to tell you thank you so much, what you are doing is truly a blessing to some people.

Cheese "molds" Patrick bought from IKEA. They are perfect 4" molds for $1.99 a piece.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Madi Shaw in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Madi and Lilly
Madi Shaw is truly amazing.

She's a homeschooling student in the seventh grade, but she has already accomplished as much, if not more than most adults.

She makes cheese, of course:

We love making mozzarella, muenster, cheddar, chevre, and farmstead.  We like to add our own herbs to some of the cheese from my brother's garden, especially basil.  One of my favorite things is when my mom and I make the fresh mozzarella, slice it, coat it with our own Italian breading, fry it a bit in olive oil and then eat it!  Yum!  One of my favorites!  Scrump-dill-ie-ish-ous!

She also spins yarn and weaves, breeds rabbits, cans jams and jellies and raises her own herd of goats!  She will soon be selling some of her products in her family's new business:

I do have a bit of other news as well.  Its very exciting and the rest of why we've been so busy.  My family has been looking to "grow" our adventures into a business venture.  My older sister is about to graduate from college in the spring with an ag degree.  My mom and nana have a yarn shop that they are going to expand into a fiber mill.  Our neighbors are going to be moving (I will miss them) and we are going to buy their place to put our business which will offer Pennsylvania products that we will be producing!  Guess what one of the items we will be offering?   CHEESE!  I'm so very excited and can't wait.  So now, I'll really be milking out my 4-H projects won't I?

We first met Madi (via e-mail) when she entered our 35th Anniversary Essay Contest last December.  At that time, she had just begun to raise a few goats and they seemed to be her beloved pets.  In the months since then, however, she has had to deal with some real challenges and now she is working very hard to maintain her herd.

I'll just take this interview in chronological order so you can see for yourself what has transpired.  It began with her essay:

Madi's Essay

Why Did the Goat Cross the Road?  To Make Cheese at My Farm.

So I wanted a way to milk out my 4H projects.  I was udderly excited to start raising Nubian dairy goats.  Ok - I know this all sounds very cheesy so let's stretch our way through my real story.

I have been involved in 4H since I was five.  I began as a Dauphin County Pennsylvania 4-H cloverbud and when I turned 8, I was finally able to participate as a full-fledged clover.  I love all animals, but I can honestly say that, now at 12 years old, my favorite projects include my rabbits and my goats.

Before beginning my adventure in goats, my mom made me do lots of research on the different breeds.  Every morning, she would arrive at her computer to yet a new research paper from me until I finally decided that my favorite breed was the Nubian.  I then talked with my vet about the possibility and wouldn't you know it, she had a client who was looking for a new home for several of her does.

The next morning, my mom, brother, and I went to go meet them.  I was almost as excited as I would be on Christmas morning as we traveled to begin my new journey.  When we arrived, a number of the goats were very shy, but one singled me out.  We bonded instantly and then her owner told me her name.  I couldn't believe it, but my nickname is Madi and the goat's registered name is also Maddy.  She just had to be mine!

Clover

Soon, I also discovered Roo.  Both of them came home with me that day.  Only Maddy was in milk, as Roo hadn't been bred yet.  So, we thought, how hard can it be for me to milk one little goat without a milking stand?  Well, needless to say, my family spent that night building our own milking stand!  We must have done a good job because three years later, we're still using it.  Thus began my milking and cheese making venture.

Over the last three years, my herd has grown a bit slowly, but that has worked for me to allow time for me to learn what to do with all the milk.  I love making mozzarella cheese because we grow many of our own herbs and add that to the cheese which everyone loves.  I've also made Muenster, cheddar, feta, and of course ricotta.  My family is working really hard to start selling our products at local farmers markets.  We've even been accepted into the PA Preferred Program which promotes local products produced by local farmers.  I'd like to think that a lot of where I am today started because of my Nubian goat named Maddy who gives me lots of milk to make great cheese. 

That was the situation in December, 2013.  Then, in January, Madi went to the Pennsylvania Farm Show and School:

The PA Farm Show is actually an event held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Building.  It is the nation's largest indoor agricultural event and it runs for a whole week.  It offers opportunities for people to exhibit all their farm commodities, food contests, square dancing contests, educational exhibits, livestock competitions for youth and adults, rodeos, and a whole lot more.



During this event, I competed the first day in the rabbit show.  I won best of breed with my own line of satin angoras.  The next day, I competed in rabbit showmanship and I won first place.  Later that day, I demonstrated for Penn State's agricultural stage about the many uses of rabbits.  In the evening, I competed in a fashion show wearing my own designed wool poncho, hand spun & knit fingerless mitts (which came from my rabbits), and a blouse & pants.

Sunday, Jan 5th, I sang in the talent show with my friends (our group was the Wonderstruck 5).  On Monday, I showed my market swine, then I volunteered for 4-H in informational booths.  Tuesday, I demonstrated spinning & knitting on the rabbit stage.

Wednesday was my favorite day.... Sheep to Shawl day....  I served as a spinner on my team.  My team took fleece from my family's Leceister Longwool Sheep, washed it, processed it, dyed it, spun it into yarn, made a practice shawl, and then the day of the event used another fleece from our sheep.  We then carded it, spun it and plied it into a 2ply yarn and our weaver wove a shawl.  We did it in 2 1/2 hours.  Our shawl was then auctioned off and we gave the money to our 4-H club Ronald McDonald House and raised over $1,400)!  Wahoo!  It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun.

Madi's Sheep to Shawl team holding their finished shawl

Thursday, I finally got to show two of my dairy goats.  (We are only allowed to show up to two per person.)  They did very well.  Later, on Thursday, I helped my family bring animals to what is called an "Exceptional Rodeo."  It is a private rodeo for kids from unfortunate situations.  I volunteered two of my goats, Aurora & Borealis, a few of my bunnies, and my miniature horse named Journey for the event and I was very proud to do it.



Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I participated in an equine showcase with my mini horse Journey with 15 other girls and their mini's.  We set-up an entire show ring with obstacles, jumps, and more where the horses show their skills much like dog agility.  I again showed my dairy goats on Friday!

I forgot to mention that I also was awarded the Best In Show award for 4H Food & Nutrition Canned Foods for my jams & jellies.  I learned that when I saw them displayed on the hutch my brother made for my mom.  He was awarded Best in Show 4-H Engineering award for his hutch.  I'm including that picture too.

Madi's brother made that amazing hutch

Whew, I was very tired, but proud to have done all of this.  We love the farm show and being a big part of it from the opening ceremonies to the closing, its a wonderful event filled with opportunities that I really look forward to.

Then, at the beginning of February, she went to the PA State Rabbit Breeders Convention:

I raise rabbits.  I've been doing that since I was 5.  I currently raise giant angoras, English angoras, Satin angoras, and French angoras, American fuzzy lops, and Crème D'Argents.  The angoras I raise are for fiber since I like to weave, knit, and spin.  The fuzzy lops are for fun, and the Creme's are for showing and meat.

The state rabbit breeder's convention is part of PA State Rabbit Breeders Convention.  It's held every February.  There are youth contests and showing for youth & adults.  In the youth contests, we must first submit a written application (very long), compete in judging, a breed identification contest, showmanship, a written test, and an interview.  They then announce the winners at a banquet.

They select a king & queen, duke & duchess, prince & princess, lord & lady.  Your category is based on your age.  For the last two years, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as princess, but this year I aged up into the duchess category.  Guess what?  I competed against 16 other girls & won.  I was so excited, I balled my eyes out, on stage, in front of everyone.

Madi is front left.

After the convention she wrote:

I have a few dairy goats that I am expecting to kid any day now!  I keep checking, but they're not here yet.  I'm glad that they didn't come yet though because it has been very cold.  Now we have a lot of snow and more is coming tonight.

Feb 10th:

My goats still haven't kidded and I'm not sure what they are waiting for!  Two of them, Precious & Clover, look like they are going to burst!  They've started bagging up during farm show a month ago!  Maddie (another of my goats - she came with that name if you remember from my essay) is about to burst as well.  The others aren't quite as ready as them.

Feb 25th:

Guess What!!!  Finally, one of my goats kidded!  She had twins, one boy and one girl!  Their names are Lilly and Willy.  Sadly their mom rejected them so now I have two bottle babies that live in my own house.  They are just adorable.  I've had to bottle feed them around the clock.  At least their mom is allowing me to milk her and she's producing a lot of milk which I am using to feed the "kids." 

Lilly and Willy

I also had one of my angora goats kid.  She had the most precious little girl and just loves her.  In fact, she didn't lay down at all for hours because she stood there watching the baby's every move.  When that baby nurses, the mom actually squats a bit for the baby to reach better and she even lifts her leg out of the way of the baby.  Now, if only I could get her to teach "Clover" how it's supposed to be done!

I have more goats to kids and I'm not quite sure what they are waiting for.  Two are showing signs of going very soon.

I was able to get pictures of the babies being born, but I'll attach one of them all fluffed up and cute.

March 3rd:

Lilly and Willy drink about 15 oz. four times a day.  All of my other goats need to be milked twice a day, but right now they are dried up and getting ready to kid!  My one goat, Maddie, (came with the name) just had her kid, but sadly he is very weak and can't walk right.  His front leg tendons are loose, but should strengthen in the next few days.  He was quite large when he was born which contributed to this.  I work with him, massage his legs, make sure that he nurses- (his mommy, Maddie, loves him).  I made sure that he was given a shot of BoSe (selenium booster for him) and he is getting better every day.

Spidey

I had another angora goat finally have her baby.  Her name is Willow and she had the most precious little girl that I named Ella.  Willow has been a fantastic mommy.  In fact right after Ella was born, Willow wouldn't take her eyes off her.  She is now 4 days old and bouncing everywhere.  The best news is that I was able to put Lilly & Willy in with Willow and Ella and they are making friends!  They are so adorable.  I still give Lilly & Willy bottles 4 times a day, but Willow is teaching them now how to be a goat.  I just love Willow.

Ella
Another view of Ella

One other goat I have is named Whoopie Pie.  Today I checked on everyone around when I fed Willy & Lilly and there were no signs of kidding.  Two hours later I went back to the barn to do another check and 15 minutes later, Whoopie was giving birth to a beautiful little girl.  I'm not sure what I'll name her yet, but her momma loves her too.  I just will keep checking on them to make sure that the baby nurses and stays warm. 

Whoopie Pie and her baby, Maple

I still have one more goat to go and her name is Precious.  She looks like she is going to pop any minute now!  I feel so blessed to have been able to see and help with all the deliveries of my goat's babies!  What a wonderful life!

March 12th:

Right now I have sixteen goats (Four angora goats, four nubian goats, and seven kids).  But the vet came last Friday and I asked her why three of my goats got lumps on their jaw-line right before kidding.  She said that we would have to lance the lumps and test the fluid inside.  Unfortunately, the tests just came back and I learned that they have CL (caseous lymphadenitis) and that is very contagious and not a good thing to have in your herd.  We think that it came from the last goat I added to my herd.  She was to be clean, but wasn't.  I have no way of knowing for sure and the blood tests to check for it, according to my vet, can actually give false readings.  Of course it happened to my three best goats (Precious, Whoopie Pie, and my first dairy goat Maddie) for milking or showing.

Eclipse

I had to pull all the kids and have been bottle feeding them ever since.  When I cleaned the wounds from lancing on my dairy goats, I had to take every precaution as the fluid can even be contagious to humans.  When we were finished with them, we had to burn all the tools and I had to isolate all three of my girls until the tests came.  I was very sad when I got the news on Monday as they had to be put down.

Now I am bottle feeding all the babies as the only milking doe I have left is Clover and that is Lilly & Willy's mom.  You know her story as she rejected them the day they were born.  Do you have any idea how much time is involved in bottle feeding all these babies?  Well, I have to unfreeze milk, sanitize bottles, fill bottles, heat bottles, feed bottles, wash bottles, and repeat!  Whew!  My days are going very fast right now.  The babies are worth it though and having them has made it a little easier to accept what has happened.

So far the babies are ok because I separated them from the moms as the illness is passed through the fluid in the abscess.  Since I took all precautions, the babies should be ok.  Also, as they get a little bit older, I will be vaccinating them for it.

Also, Precious did have twin boys!  Sadly, she rejected them, goooooooooo figure!  right now they are living in my garage and they drink a bottle four to five times a day....... Good thing they're cute!  I named them Meteor & Eclipse.

Meteor, Maple and Spidey

March 25th:

Well, all the babies are growing.  Clover is still not a fan of her babies, but she is producing a lot of milk every day.  Right now, I'm not using it though for my cheese making, instead, I have been using it to top off the bottles for all the babies.

They are growing, jumping, getting out of their pen, and I just love them all!  In fact, they're all staying here!  I love them all too much to part with any of them.  I did wether three of the boys.  My best friend, Cami, who loves animals, but doesn't have any at her house, has adopted one of them so she can show him at our 4-H fair.  (she's always wanted to do that).  I'm going to show his brother.  I kept the one, Spidey in tact to help rebuild my herd.  I'm almost finished with the vaccinating and then I hope to add an older doe that my vet recommended from one of her clients farms.

The girls of course will stay here and I likely won't breed them until next year unless they grow enough before fall breeding time.  I like to give them enough time to properly grow before I breed them.  Little Ella - the angora baby, is just beautiful.  Her momma has been wonderful.

Well, time to go do the night time bottles.

Meteor

Willy

Lilly and Willy