This weekend I celebrated my birthday.
34 years old!
Matthew and I woke up the morning of my birthday at 5 a.m. and scooped the Sainte Maure cheese that had been incubating all night. Thankfully Leo, Matthew’s younger brother who lives on the farm while he’s going to college, offered to do our morning milking and feed the animals. We then loaded up ourselves and the kiddos to head to the Puyallup Farmer’s Market (which has an 8 a.m. showtime). Matthew and I took turns working our booth and playing with the kiddos (Puyallup has an awesome playground right next to our booth which is lucky for both our farming kids). After market ended at 2 p.m. we drove back to Olympia, dropped some yogurt samples off at the Westside Co-Op to see if they wanted to order any, and then headed back to the farm to milk (32 goats now) and do chores (feed the pigs, feed the three different barns of goats, feed milk to the bottle babies, and feed the mini horse) before heading inside to make dinner. We celebrated my birthday with some cupcakes and candles and then started the never changing bedtime routine anyone with children is all too familiar with. After we got both kids to bed Matthew and I headed back into the make room to salt and turn the cheese. And then finally, somewhere around who knows when, we poured our tired little bodies into bed.
Living on a dairy farm, and especially living on a dairy farm that makes their own cheese, is painstakingly tiring.
We milk our goats twice a day and we make cheese every third milking. We are currently working two markets but in June we’ll start two more. When we’re not selling at the market we’re dropping our cheese and yogurts off at various places hoping to strike up a wholesale relationship, plotting and scheming our next event at the farm, or researching our next cheese make. Oh yeah. And we’re raising two tiny humans.
Did I mention we’re tired?
But here’s the thing.
We are so lucky.
Our bodies—These shells that we’ve been given, made up of flesh and bone and muscle. Yes, muscle. They were meant to be used. How lucky we are that we are strong and capable enough that we can plow through day after day of this gut wrenching work.
Our kids—oh! Those kids! Banzai is almost a year old and he is FINALLY at the point where strapping him on our back and getting to work is no longer a liability or a test in who can handle his moaning (you know how some babies just moan when they’re not pleased) better. It would be faster to do this work without our children strapped to us, or without having to pause for a meltdown, or (my favorite) stopping to admire a special rock or stick, but then, what’s the point of raising them on a farm? How lucky we are that our children are growing up learning the value of work, understanding what it means to take care of something bigger than themselves, and can name where every ingredient on their plate came from.
Our souls—Dang. Our souls. We’re literally living our dream. To live on our farm, to raise our children, to make ridiculously fabulous goat cheese and yogurt, our souls are fulfilled. This week Matthew and I had a team meeting and discussed where we want this creamery to go. To date we’ve branded ourselves by making chevre, feta, halloumi and yogurt. We’re really proud of our products which we know are universally palatable and have made goat believers out of even the most finicky eaters. But at the same time, there’s so much more to goat cheese than what we’ve been doing. So we have decided to expand our repertoire and really start experimenting with what it means to be cheesemakers. Last week we made Saint Maure, a bloomy rind cheese, and this week we made Asiago. Conversations between the two of us pretty much focus around geeking out on making cheese. How lucky we are that the work we are doing nourishes our creative spirit and inspires us.
So yeah. We’re tired. In fact, if you have read this blog for any amount of time you’ll notice that being tired is a common thread in my posts. At this point I’m pretty convinced that tired is just my homeostasis.
But how lucky we are that we get to be tired.
We GET to be tired.
There’s a difference.
It’s the difference between someone laughing at your joke because they think you’re funny or laughing because they don’t want to make you feel bad.
It’s the difference between talking to someone who you think is listening to you just because they’re in the same room as you or having a conversation with someone who pushes other distractions aside to focus on you and what you have to say.
It’s the difference between being with someone who puts up with you and being with someone who gets you.
We have a dream.
We get to live it.
And, because of that, we get to be tired.
Our cup runneth over.