I had to save the best post (for me) for last, the one that lets me talk about goats. I don't know what it is about cuddly animals, but I can't resist them!
After a whirl around Achadinha Cheese Company’s creamery, Donna led us around to the “teenager” area of the farm. Here, adolescent goats can frolic in their own space before joining the rest of the herd in their enormous barn and pastures. From this vantage point, we had a superb view of Donna’s nearly 300 acres, vast emerald green fields with rolling hills. Larry Peter of Petaluma Creamery is a neighbor, and across the way, we saw McEvoy Ranch (think olive oil). All we heard were goats, birds of prey, and the wind. It was awesome. The farm cat, adopted from Peter, immediately came to inspect us newcomers as we held out our hands for the goats to sniff/nibble.
Okay, holy smokes. Apropos of lambs, here's something you don't see every day: a pair of baby lambs paling around with a whistling tupperware nest of little goslings.
In the wake of the California Artisan Cheese Festival, publisher Stephanie Skinner and I took a trip out to visit Joel Weirauch at his eponymous Weirauch Farm in the hills of Sonoma County, California.
Joel's holding Irene, who was bottle fed at home for the first month—her mother had udder problems, so Irene got very comfortable around people. She's one of the older lambs: some of the wee ones in the barn were only a few days old, but they all have names that start with "I"; Irene, Iris, Ivy, etc. Nex year, every lamb will have a "J" name, and so on.
Joel and his wife Carleen are making humane, organic, farmstead sheep cheese in an old-fashioned, new-fangled way: bootstrapping their way into the business, renting land and using recycled schoolhouse trailers for aging caves. Never throw anything out, eh?