Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: The Farm Year in Review

It's been a good year on the farm.  Nothing too dramatic in any direction.  We like that.  It is nice to settle in a bit sometimes and work to enjoy the somewhat familiar and pleasantly hectic pace of life.

Goats:  We milked 20 goats through the year.  We have determined this to be our 'sweet spot' as far as how well we can know each one, manage the herd, maintain the quality we demand, and also enjoy what we do.  We had 69 goat kids born here.  That's a LOT of cuteness, but also a whole lot of work.  Those long, cold, sleepless nights in the barn are even predictable now.  We have learned as long as we are fed good food, we can keep going.  It's the key to everything so it seems.
Goat Midwives
Milk Happens

All the does are now bred for the Spring kidding season, which we are anticipating in a few weeks.  The Season's of Life are so apparent on a farm.
Piles of Cuteness


Farm:  This year we added an aging room onto the actual cheese room.  Oh Glory Day!!!!!  This made life so much easier!!!!  Spane Buildings did the shell, and Roy finished it off.  Beautiful AND functional.

We had the best garden ever.  It was productive and fed quite a few of us.  In fact, we are still eating from it, even here, in the Winter.  This was a shared project this year with an expert growing friend of ours,  Julianne.  We shared food for food---oh what a fulfilling and satisfying system that is!

We had another good hay year.  We got 4 cuttings on our un-irrigated land.  Lucky goats!  Plus we fed some neighbor's cattle and sheep too.  Our grass has been of excellent quality-and quantity.  We are so grateful for this outcome.  It's a huge part of food security for us.
Our Grass Hay

Over the years, we have had so many requests for a farm store.  There is no way to make this economically possible.  So, we tried something new-an Honor Box.  Yep, that's right.  You come on your own, select your cheeses, and leave the money in a jar.  There is a tin of change you make for yourself.  We come talk to you if we see you and we can, but otherwise there is a cooler of cheese and a few simple instructions on the table.  Thank you all for supporting this!  This money is being saved separately for an outdoor pizza oven-which we will share with all of you in the form of private parties.  Ask me about this sometimes.
Farm Stand Honor Box

Cheese:  We stepped up the pace a bit and participated in 4 (!!!) farmers markets.  In Anacortes, this was our 10th (!!!) season!  Oh my!  We continued with Bellingham and Everett, and added Edmonds. Thank you all for such awesome support.
On Farm Cheese Tasting

We entered a cheese very last minute in the American Dairy Goat competition.  Our Chic Choc Cheddar won 1st place in category.  This is a cheese I made on a bit of whim a couple of years ago trying to incorporate chicory-a bit of home food from my past.  It has a vein of chicory in the middle, and a coating of Chocolate on the outside.  We thought it was a hit, and it was nice to have that confirmed by the judges.

And there are not words for the Thanks and Gratefulness we feel for so many of you for the continued support and encouragement.  Truly we could not be here without you.  Chefs, restaurant owners,. market shoppers, cheese shops stores, honor box....it takes every last bit of it to keep us going.  Thank You.
Grateful for Where We Live

Employees:  Our beloved Debbie is still here.  She keeps us going with hope, hard work, commitment, and friendship.  Jenna graduated college and moved on in the world.  We miss her as one of our own and wish her every success.  Julia continued to be our weekend milker and leaves us funny and insightful sayings on white boards.  Sarah, the 3rd leg of our 3 legged stool, came back on a partial basis for cheesemaking and baking.  This was a Hallalujah moment.  It was great having her back, even for a bit.  Others came and went, each bringing their own strengths and colorful personalities along the way.  We are eternally grateful for each and every one who crosses our path here.
Shared Sisterhood on Graduation Day

Big Event:  Our biggest event was participating in TEDx Bellingham as a speaker.  Having a woman, in ag, as a part of a community so much greater than any individual could ever be was mind blowing awesome!  Available on You Tube.
For the Love of Goats


Economy:  Like each of you, this is till a struggle many days.  Overall we had a decent year. We still struggle to balance those daily price increases we incur against how efficiently we can operate to continue to bring you Delicious, Nutritious, and Sustainable goat cheese.  Some days are just a challenge and then the passion takes over......and we cross the threshold of hope and begin another year.

Thank you all for continuing on our journey with us.  It is the partnerships of our community that sustain us.  Together we should never go hungry.
Gothberg Girls


5 comments:

  1. As always, you are a continued source of inspiration. We need more strong women models like you! And I love how your team is made in big part of women! I have no idea how you manage to live life at such a furious pace, but you ARE doing it! Keep rocking on!

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  2. Thanks for the kind words Corina. I love what we do here. If I can be any kind of inspiration to anyone, I am happy. I am blessed with good health, and that keeps me going. Good cheese. Good food. Good Friends.

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  3. Happy New Year! we love all that you do and that you share so much of yourself with others. Keep on keeping on in 2014 and I am sure our paths will cross soon!

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    1. oh, weird, it didn't use my google name or pic.
      Ithe above "unknown" is Jan on Shaw

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  4. Jan, you are one of our inspiring circle of farm women out there! You are welcome here anytime.

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