I recently road tripped up to Whidbey Island to see my favorite milkmaid and cheesemonger, Vicky of Little Brown Farm. Vicky is, as I like to call her, my Fairy Cheesemother. She is the first person in the dairy world to open her doors to me, to invite me into her cheese room, to GIVE ME A RECIPE for a goat cheese mozarella...in short, she is amazing. It was a beautiful day. The drive was perfect, the ferry ride was perfect, lunch in town was perfect, and then, at the farm, it was even more perfect.
Vicky and I have both been going through transitions. Me as I work to pare down the farm to a manageable size that Gizmo and I can run, while finishing the dairy, without losing our sanity, and Vicky as she takes a sabbatical from dairy goats and focuses more on her cow products. We're both tired. We're both run down. But we're both still passionate about these animals and the jobs that they have when they live on a working farm.
I was at Little Brown Farm that day to take home one of Vicky's prize bucks, a boy she had been saving for her own herd but, because of the sabbatical, was in a position to send to The Farmstead.
While sitting in her buck pen (yes, you can sit in her buck pen), four bucks curled up around us like cats (yes, literally, curled up on our laps like cats), the sun beating down, the warm grass blanketing the pen, Vicky and I just looked at each other.
THIS IS WHY WE DO IT.
There is a camaraderie that is automatic when two farmers who truly love their animals, who truly believe in the passion they are following, and who aren't afraid to open their doors to others, find each other. There are very few people in my life I hug. Vicky is one of them.
Our personalities are very different but, at the core of it all, we know what it means to be tied to a piece of land in a way that just your presence on it feeds your soul. We may make mistakes and go through changes, try on different business models over and over, open our farms to people we wish we hadn't, bring home animals that end up causing destruction and spend too much time trying to save those that can't be saved but, we know, that just one afternoon spent in the pasture, goats piled around you, can heal so many wounds. I'm lucky to have a huge network of farmers that I call friends, both locally and digitally. These are salt of the earth people, the best kind of people, who care more about how many bales of hay they can fit in their vehicle than the last time it was washed, who are more concerned with how many people they can welcome to their dinner table then what their dishes look like, and who, when push comes to shove, will give you their last jar of blackberry jam because it's more important to them that you experience what homemade blackberry jam tastes like over them having a spread for their toast.
This is exactly what Vicky did. She sent me home with her AMAZING rustic brie, super delicious cheddar and you don't understand unless you've tried it ugly butter. Giz and I have been feasting on apples and cheese for days.
The life we lead isn't glamorous but the people we meet and the relationships we forge because of it, are beautiful. And right now I am still basking in the beauty of a delightful road trip to Little Brown Farm and the very sexy boy I got to bring home with me. He is pure magic. Thank you Vicky for opening your farm, your herd, and your arms to me. You feed my soul.