There are three kinds of men
The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. Will Rogers
but only one kind of goat
The kind that escapes through old fences.
It's new fence time! Here's the pasture in front of the dairy, with the goats in the corral, marked off with this post and cord into our new arrangement of separate paddocks for the goats. We will rotate the goats from space to space, to preserve the grasses. There'll be a pathway around the whole, and a lane through the middle of the field to herd them from the loafing barn to the paddocks. (Yes - we will have electric fencing to prevent the goats chewing on the wood posts and pushing and scratching against the fence until it breaks, but they are girls, and won't be peeing on the electric fence.)
Brian of Brian Lawson Construction, building and installing our new fences and gatesBrian's crew having a tough time with their auger in our rock-solid clay soil - but staying cheerfulThe Big Creek lumber guy had never delivered to a field of goats beforeCan't wait for our new gates, Brian! Thanks!
The Bartlett Kids are ready to work. Cambria and Elijah saw an opportunity at the farm - look what they've made.
The kids made and sold Christmas decorations at the farm fair two years ago. A family friend gave them the idea of designing T-shirts, and they got to work. The Harley Farms Jumpy Goat Staff T-shirts are a huge success. There are now sweatshirts and tote bags, too. The farm reorders almost every week; the kids may make as many as 80 garments a week
Cambria peels the back off a new stencil
Elijah applies the stencil to a T-shirt. Purple is a popular color
Cambria sprays the stencil with a bleach mixture and then immediately dabs the liquid off the stencil
Pile of washed Ts in the sink. Their mother rinses out the bleach. The kids recognize their parents' time but do not pay them. They do, however, pay for all materials and household utilities
Quality control. The stencils can bleedonto the fabric when they've been previously splashed with bleach
Elijah checks their filed accounting. They have graduated from huge money jars in their bedroom to bank accounts. There is a saving agreement - 50% of their takings will be saved, 40% is for each to spend as they please, and 10% is donated to charity. The kids support the Nine Lives Foundation. Neither is a spender (their parents are accountants) - Elijah mentions a car, and Cambria's main hobby is needlework
There are some adorable seconds (the kids are wearing some, too)
and yes, they will have different designs for sale at the Pescadero Arts and Fun Festival this summer. Meet the Bartlett Kids at PAFF or at our Christmas fair this December for any business tips or job openings. Congratulations to Cambria and Elijah on their excellent business
The farm's first Secret Garden Tour was yesterday. It is a walk on the wild side of the farm, to show you more of our animals and pastures and our very private gardens.
Check in at the baby goat nursery barn
but cross the road to these pastures, where later on you'll see squash and beansThe bees are in the old orchard by the side of the pastureThe rabbits are over the bridgeThe gardens have a magical feelingLavender lemonade, cheeses, strawberries and whipped ricotta under the trees
...the babies in Tony's Pen in the farm corral are drinking milk on their ownthey are usually in a tight posse, which will have a leadertrying out alfalfa hay - not so confidentlythey are alert to their surroundings and prick up their ears when they hear voicesthey are fascinated by the milking herd in the field behind themthey nuzzle and chew everything in the penWatch their tails wag - which is most of the time
Our first ricotta batch of the year is in the cheese shop today. The steamy soft scent of Salud, our chief cheesemaker, pouring the curds into their moulds means spring to me. Early spring, with stalls of baby goats, milking mothers, and their unbeatable milk. We use this whole milk, frothed in a double-boiler, curdled with white wine vinegar and a little kosher salt.
Ricotta means twice-cooked, since traditional ricotta is made from the whey of other cheeses. We use that morning's whole milk, with a little salt, heated to just under 200F. It should froth but not boil. Take it off and add an acid, about a tablespoon to every cup of milk. We use white wine vinegar, but lemon works beautifully.
The steaming pan of curdled whole milk, left for about 10 minutes
Strain the curds into moulds and drain overnight. Use layers of cheesecloth for a smoother finish. We like the firmer ricotta for simply snacking, but if you're making pizza and want a damper ricotta, drain for a shorter time
Don't gloat over your ricotta. Eat it. It's utterly delicious. So good in pancakes, cheesecake, with pasta, at breakfast, any time at all