Last Saturday our bulk tank broke.
The bulk tank is the piece of equipment that rapidly cools the milk after it comes out of the goats.
We’ve already repaired this tank twice, which is annoying in it’s own right, because it’s made in Eastern Europe and no one at the plant speaks English. Technical support is non-existent. (And believe me, we’ve tried, even going so far as to add an International Calling Plan to our phones and staying up until 2 a.m. to make a call). Side note, if you’re planning on opening a dairy of your own don’t get a Nieros Bulk Tank. On Monday the HVAC technician came out, correction, we paid for an HVAC technician to come out, to confirm that, indeed, the bulk tank was dead. Not mostly dead. Not nearly dead. 100 percent dead.
So yesterday we bought a new one. It’s shipping from the East Coast and will be here next week. And we got it for a bargain. $4,000. yay.
Over that same weekend our brand new tractor got a flat tire when we ran over a hay hook left in the field.
And then, today, while delivering cheese, our truck broke down. Our brand new (to us) truck. What happened you ask? Well. It’s a diesel truck. And it accidentally got filled with gasoline.
What sucks even more is it happened 1.5 hours from the farm. In the parking lot of the Edmonds PCC (where we deliver all our PCC orders to). The mongers had just finished congratulating us on our win at the Washington State Artisan Cheese Festival. (Queue Alanis Morisette’s ‘Isn’t it Ironic’ chorus).
In case you didn’t hear, two of our cheeses, Thai Garlic Chevre and Halloumi took third and second place for the People’s Choice Awards. That’s out of 18 different cheesemakers and 80 different cheeses. I still can’t believe our little creamery pulled it off. Hilariously enough the Halloumi almost didn’t happen. I had forgotten to grab the the cord for our griddle (which wasn’t in the same bag with the griddle, because, of course it wasn’t) so Matthew had to run out at the beginning of the event and scrounge something up. He ended up finding a George Foreman grill and I guess you could say it worked.
Adding insult to injury, all of this happened on the tail end of me being sick and on antibiotics for three weeks. I was jussssst starting to feel like myself again.
Are you noticing a trend?
Because I’m starting to.
It seems like something is always broken. Or frantic. Or lost. Or messy.
I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Over the past couple days we have asked ourselves if this dairy is still our dream. Honestly and openly. Because if it’s not our dream anymore, then what the hell are we doing?
But it is. It’s still mine. And it’s still Matthew’s.
I’m positive at this point that we are both masochists.
Stupidly, and possibly to our detriment, we are hanging on to the idea that two, hard working, inspired people can make a living wage with a 60 head goat dairy.
We still believe, in spite of literally everything breaking around us, that this farm is where we’re supposed to be. We want to be successful, to not only prove that we can, but also to try and pave the way for other stupid souls to do it too. We have failed a lot in our quest to try and start a first generation goat dairy from the ground up. We’ve made more than our fair share of mistakes, possibly more than is necessary, definitely some that could have been avoided…but when it’s just you two making those decisions sometimes your brain fails you. From the animals, to the equipment, to the cheesemaking…everything on this farm has been an education.
The school of hard knocks.
Maybe someday we’ll write a book.
And we’ll call it, “How Not to Start a Goat Dairy.”
And everyone will buy it because it will be hilariously funny in the, can you believe what those people did, kind of way.
Because I say that to myself on an almost daily basis these days.
So I guess today I choose laughter.
Check back in tomorrow. I may be in a puddle of tears on the floor.