Last night we went to a wedding. We were out late (for farmers, especially) dancing and eating cake (two of my favorite things). Gizmo learned how to YMCA and Banzai tried his hardest to catch the garter belt. The kids were in heaven hanging out in such a festive setting (there's no doubt about it now, we are raising two very gregarious extroverts). Matthew and I enjoyed getting to dress up, dance, eat, and, you know, be merry. We had made the decision before-hand, we wouldn't milk the next morning. It's getting time to dry the girls off for the last few months of their gestation so the morning after a late night felt like the right time to do it.
We slept until 9 a.m. this morning.
All of us.
I can't believe it, I'm still in shock.
Of course, this doesn't count the few times a night Banzai still woke up and the odd request Gizmo had for a kitten to be placed in her arms in the middle of the night.
So it wasn't uninterrupted (I mean, let's be serious here, we're parenting a 4 year old and a 2 year old). But. Our bodies did not get out of bed until 9 o-clock this morning.
Is this how other people live?!
Since our last frantic post of all the things we needed to get done before winter, things have started to slow down. We still have some big things to get done, of course. The horse shelter needs walls (it's only a roof at this point), the pasture needs to be limed, we are re-grading our driveway, re-shaping the main dairy girl's pasture to change the way the field drains into the barn, the parlor still needs rain gutters on it (and trim, if I'm being greedy), and then there is the end of the year power washing that will happen when we dry the girls off completely. Chores still happen twice a day and we're still making cheese every day. And we're still packaging for our distributor (Farmstand Local Foods) order once a week, our Beechers order (Seattle can't get enough our Thai Garlic Chevre, it seems!), and Proctor Farmer's Market (last day December 16th!).
But, all that considered...things have really slowed down on the farm.
For the second year in a row we participated in the Downtown for the Holidays parade with the goats (Bjorn, Toto, Lady Clara Von Chaiserstock III, and Ziggy Stardust); our new herding dog, Zac; and our mini horse, Noomi. We wrangled in a few more friends this year (including my Mom!) and managed to avoid the rain by exactly 23 minutes.
We've reached the point in the season where it's easy to forget how hard we ran ourselves all year. It's a dangerous place to be. The fatigue and exhaustion that kept us a little paralyzed all year, allowing us to function through muscle memory alone, has given way to a more ballsy approach that has us slightly convinced we can take over the world. There is talk of expansions and whispers of growth. Matthew and I toss ideas out to each other almost jokingly, as if to say, I know this is crazy, but...
Except maybe it's not crazy.
We're about to wrap up our second season of dairying and, from a first glance, the business didn't lose money. We're nowhere near making a living wage, or even, if we're being serious, a wage. But with a few tweaks here a few changes there, it's easier than not to see how the dairy could, in fact, turn a profit in it's third year.
It feels reckless to even write that. As if, by suggesting that farming could be profitable, we're tempting the gods to strike us down and prove us wrong.
But the truth is, we believe the farming can support our family. Not just because we grow and trade for all our own food. No. We believe that farming can create a salary, a retirement, and even college funds for our children. Is that greedy?
I don't know.
What I do know is that we work 14 hour days in the on-season (sometimes more). We have thrown everything we have into this dairy. We have devoted all but one day a week of Matthew's career to milking goats, making cheese, and running the farm (he still works in the ER as an nurse one day a week to keep his credentials up). We schlepp our kids to farmer's markets on the weekends, force them to work alongside us in the milking parlor and in the field (thankfully they seem to love it) and, with few exceptions, devote all conversations to talk of dairy.
We eat, sleep, breathe this farm.
Is it greedy to think that it could provide for us the way we provide for it?
No. It's not.
Matthew and I have always said, from the beginning, that this farm is meant to enrich our community. Many of the improvements we made this year were in an effort to expand our parking and event space, a necessary move to ensure more people can set their feet on the ground of a real working farm. We are passionate about not only helping children understand where food comes from, but also showing them what real food looks and tastes like. Our cheese (with the exception of the flavored chevre) has just four ingredients. Goat milk, vegetarian rennet, culture, and salt. Our yogurt has just two ingredients, goat milk and culture.
You cannot. Absolutely cannot. Find a more pure and beautiful dairy product to feed your family. Dairying may have left me with a lot of uncertainty, but of this, I am positive.
Our products are the best and, with few exceptions, everyone's diet can benefit from a little bit of goat cheese in their life.
And so, it's our mission, no, our obligation, to continue to grow our business and continue to spread the good word on cheese.
It's crazy, right?
Yes. It is.
But the day we stop feeling a little crazy about this farm is probably the day that it's gotten the best of us and we should sell it all. I am convinced, there is absolutely no other way to run a small business or pursue a dream, than by being a little crazy.
On December 16th we'll be having our last Open Farm Day of 2017, from Noon to 3 p.m. We will have Santa in the Event Space and I'll be taking photos (which will be available for digital purchase for $40 each). It will be free for anyone who wants to sit and talk with him though, so please, bring your kiddos out, feed the goats, sample our cheese, and, pick some up for your holiday table. We would love to see you and spread a little bit of our goat-ey Christmas cheer :) And, maybe, a little bit of this craziness we call our farm.
Come see us:
Lost Peacock Creamery 5504 Cross Creek Lane NE Olympia, WA 98516