As usual, I'm behind. On the blog and on everything else, if that makes anyone feel better!
Last week, Scott, myself, and our friend (and vet!) Andrea Adams drove down to Rogue River (in southern Oregon, near Medford) for a cheesemaking class. I will now quote an email I wrote to a friend about driving from here to there and back again (dear J.R.R.!):
"Can I just say that I am not the spring chicken I once was? Before I was, say, 25 Scott and I drove, at various times, from WW to San Francisco (straight thru) and then four days later San Francisco to Seattle (straight thru), eastern Montana to WW (straight thru), and Loma Linda to WW (straight thru). (That sentence had enough commas to qualify for the Charles Dickens Comma Award.) It seemed an absolute breeze. Sure, one got tired of sitting on one's bum, and sleepy. But now, driving (riding) 8-9 hours from Medford to WW makes me long for a traveling epidural just so I can't feel my lower back anymore! Danged aging process."
And boy was I right when I wrote that! Who knew that one actually would get older and one's body wouldn't just spring happily along like when it was 23?
Anyway, philosophical musings aside, we spent three days at Pholia Farms, which is a goat dairy and creamery, and produces award-winning raw-goat's-milk cheeses. I learned SO much. Gianaclis Caldwell, the owner/cheesemaker, is really serious about proving that small and raw-milk cheesemakers can produce high-quality and safe cheeses. So we learned all about testing the pH of milk and cheese (unusually high acid contents can indicate high bacterial content), doing bacteriological tests, etc., besides actually making cheese. In a perfect world, you see, we would have a nice little side-business as artisanal cheesemakers. What I did learn at this class, though, was that it's pretty impossible to have a "side" cheesemaking business without have a random couple of highly-trained and at-least-fulltime workers to run it. This will be a bit of a facer, as the British say. I'm trying to imagine where I'm going to put this in my current schedule. Perhaps between teaching and the laundry? Skip making any meals? Cancel piano lessons and basketball camp and require the children to stay home and clean out the barn? (On the other hand, I guess that's what Almazo Wilder did for his childhood, and he seems to have turned out well ...)
Anyway. At least I know how to make cheese now! I'm fairly sure no one will ever end up mistaking me for Almanzo Wilder's mother ... or, for that matter, Ma Ingalls. And now I will leave you with some very. cute. goats. (and yes, the baby goats do have little todder-sized slide/climb units to play on -- they work great!):