The April Post

Yep, it’s April…here’s what has been going on!

We moved into our new, larger, better, beautiful, spacious, new-equipment filled creamery!! Did I mention it’s spacious? And beautiful? We have our walk in freezer, a new 6 gallon ice cream maker (compared to the 1.5 gal I had before), and a new 100 gallon pasteurizer (used a 30 gal before)…I guess you could say we are growing up a bit. In a good way! I will do another post for a complete tour.

Our new walk in freezer. Set a cool -20 degrees. Pun intended.

freezer

This is before the pasteurizer was completely installed. Dang! Check out that beautiful stainless steel…

past

Isn’t it funny how things change? Three years ago if you would have told me that I would consider a stainless steel piece of equipment ‘beautiful’, I would have called you crazy. And would have said something along the lines of, “Um, equipment? A pasteurizer? What does that do?”.  Yep. Things change.

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This past weekend we attended the Earth Day Food and Wine Fest. Remember last year we had the ‘run of the sheep’? Oh, you don’t? When our sheep escaped and ran through the middle of the entire festival? With Wade chasing after it with a lasso?

Ya…. well needless to say, we didn’t bring sheep this year. But we did give the folks something just as memorable: CHAMPAGNE FLOATS! We paired our Raw Honey Ice Cream with Domaine LeMieux Apple Champagne. It was a hit.

earthday

I highly recommend you serve champagne floats at your next dinner party. DO IT.

On a non-creamery-related note, and for my shameless pet photo, here is Lucy and I at the ranch last week. I think she is smiling more than I am!

alexis.lucy

Can’t wait to share some more big news with you next month…. and I WILL post a tour of the facility soon!

Stainless steel admirer,

Alexis

Hello 2013

Whoa, whoa, whoa…has it really been a MONTH since my last blog? Um…my bad.

Well first of all…HAPPY 2013! I have a feeling this is going to be (another) exciting year! We have big things coming and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. But for now…

It’s been raining, like, a lot. Here on the Central Coast of CA we’re not used to that much rain, so it’s muddy here. It’s also cold. Like…below freezing. Now, you east coasters may be laughing, but when it hits the 20’s, we think the world is freezing over. Let’s just say our little wood-burning oven has been in overdrive. Thank goodness for my Bean Boots. They are a dairy girls best friend this time of year.

bean.boots

We’ve had some escapees. What? Yep. Our yearling ewes (the ewes born last year here on the farm), are devious!! They charm you with their friendly demeanor and good looks, and next thing you know they are walking down the road and eating EVERYTHING in the front yard. Ya, it’s happened.

escapees

{Please note the angelic sheep on the correct side of the fence}

Here are some photos I have snapped of our ewes recently. Aren’t they purdy?

ewes

mistymorning

And today while heading out of the creamery after making ice cream all morning I noticed that this little lady had been watching me through the window.

ewe

Cutest ever. Ever. EVER!

Oh, and I ate this delicious salad for lunch yesterday. Because I know you really care.

salad{arugula, black beans, Gorgonzola, tangerines, red onions and balsamic}

Cheers to 2013!

Alexis

All before 8 a.m.

On Sunday Wade and I moved our sheep to greener pastures…sounds kinda corny… but really, we did! We have separated our ewes into two groups. We moved one group closer to the barn (they will be lambing soon, and we all know the only reason I do this is to see all our lambs! Um…not really. But kinda…).

Anyway, we moved the other group to the back of the property with green grass (thank you rain!) while they wait to be bred. I should mention that to get to the ewes on the back of the property it is literally across the river and through the woods……and up multiple hills…and….you get the point. But once you get there this is the view our ewes have.

I’m pretty certain they have a better view than I do. And I am also pretty certain we have the most spoiled ewes ever.

So yesterday I fed the ewes by the barn then got in my handy dandy yellow ‘vintage’ (makes it sound cuter) golf cart, loaded it with some alfalfa, and Lucy and I headed over the hill and through the woods….

…and up the hills, and through some more woods

…and up the last hill and…

….my little yellow golf cart died.

Right there.

Opps. I may or may not have forgotten to charge my little yellow electric cart the last couple days. My bad.

So I had to carry the alfalfa down to the ewes. And walked up this hill a total of four times to get all the feed.

Now, this hill may not seem like much. But after my fourth venture up the slippery dew-covered hill, I was over it. I’m pretty sure Lucy was thrilled.

But the ewes got fed. Spoiled ladies.

And Lucy and I had a nice hike back down to the barn. And on the way down the last hill I took this photo.

It might just be the most beautiful photo ever. Not that I am biased or anything. But really, seeing this made me so thankful for what we do, where we live, and how we live our lives.

I am also thankful for that yellow golf cart my husband brought home for me….but now I have to figure out how to bring it back down the hill before he realizes it’s missing. And that I killed it….

And this all took place before 8 a.m.

Off to rescue the cart,

Alexis

Shepherds!

This weekend Wade and I were driving into town and surprisingly saw…real life shepherds! And guess what? They were…shepherding! The flock must have been close to three hundred sheep. It was quite the sight and I wanted to share.

Some shepherds control their flocks with dogs, a calm demeaner and a shepherds crook….me? I just bribe them with food. What can I say? They’re suckers for some alfalfa…

Just look how they come running! No dogs, calm demeanor or shepherds crook necessary. Happy Tuesday!
Shepherd in training,

Alexis

Our weekend.

Wade and I had a romantic weekend. Let me tell you all about it.

It started at 4:30 PM Friday afternoon when the temperature had cooled down enough to stand physical labor outdoors; we built fence. Lots of fence.

And we put up some electric fencing too.

Wade was thrilled that I had stopped to take photos of him working. Wade: really? Me: yes honey! you look sexy with those sweaty, fence building muscles. Wade: silence. I love my husband.

The sun set, we fed, watered, and went to bed. Then we woke up to go to market Saturday morning.

{ thanks to my sister for making this purdy sign }

After market we went to our friends (who own the only other sheep dairy in our county) to pick up our new ram. He’s a beauty.

He makes this gurgling/burping noise that sounds like a cross between a sea monster and a catfish. It’s really quite lovely.

On Sunday morning we continued building fence. Lucy was a great supervisor.

Our friend Niccolo (yes, he is miraculously still our friend even after Wade took him on a two day venture to Idaho…) came over and helped finish up the fencing.

After all the fence was built, we moved all thirty of our new ewes into the pasture. When I say we I mean Wade and Lucy…I was busy taking photos.

They were happy sheep.

On the other hand, my boots weren’t so happy. They were made for walking…not fencing wire!

And Bonnie and Clyde were waiting for us at the barn when we got back.

Clyde was in there somewhere….

And that was our romantic weekend. A fence building, ice cream selling, ram buying, sheep moving romantic weekend. And I wouldn’t change a thing. The end.

Loving life,

Alexis

Black and white woolies.

I took these pictures this past weekend of our new black and white woolies. They were wanting some blog love.

See the ram in the middle-right? The one all up in that ewe? (by the way, “all up in that ewe” is an extremely technical term). Anyway, see him? Yup. That’s our ram Brett {Please don’t ask how he got his name}.

When I took this photo I was focusing on the pretty black ewe in front; little did I know Brett was “sniffing out” (literally) his next mate (literally). Photo-bombing at its finest.

You know what 29 more ewes mean? It means 29 pregnant ewes (thanks to the photo-bomber Brett). Which means 29 more lambs will come. And all my sanity will leave.

Say what?!

Loving our new woolies.

Alexis

On being a cat person.

I was never a cat person.

That being said, meet Tommy. Or Thomas. TomCat, or Tom. You can choose.

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Side story about the above photo: Tommy has figured out how to sneak in the house without being seen. And when we come home we find him on our bed. And when I flip the light on to see him, the damn cat covers his eyes. The worst part about this story is that I am not even close to kidding. And it’s so stinkin’ funny to see him do it, I can’t even kick him off the bed.

—–

This is how the big T came into our lives: We were at the house up the road from us. There were kittens. We were asked if we would like a cat. Cowboy and I just shook our heads and said in disgust, “oh no. we’re not ‘cat’ people.” And then we chatted a little more. And talked about the weather. And then chatted some more. And then this mini ball of orange fluff came scooting around the corner of the house. Mini + fluffy = heart melting.
I want that kitten.

Cowboy “what?!

But it’s mini.

“No.”

But it’s fluffy!

“We’re not cat people.

But it’s mini AND fluffy!

 
And next thing you know Cowboy was capturing this feral, orange, fluffy, mini ball of fluffy. And we named him Tommy. Or Tom….  either way, he has grown on us tremendously.

And clearly, he is no longer feral.

Six months later I came home with a brown fluffy. She was mini. And fluffy. And I couldn’t say no.

{not the most flattering photo of her….}

She stayed small. Small like a kitten. So I named her KittenKitten. Clever, right?

Anyway, I was waiting for KittenKitten to get a little bigger so I could have her fixed and next thing you know KittenKitten has kittens of her own.

Now we have kittens (from KittenKitten). Confused yet?

I have to admit I never thought I would be a cat person. Ever. But here I am with two cats and five kittens. And I love them all. Because they are mini and fluffy. And because everyone needs some fluffy in their life.

Long story short: I was never a cat person. And please come get these kittens before I turn into the crazy, fluffy cat lady.

Alexis

Newes!!!

Newes = New Ewes!!!! I’m so clever.

As of Monday at 3:30 AM (yes, that’s AM) 29 more ewes arrived to our dairy.

Cowboy and our good friend Niccolo went to Idaho this weekend to pick up more ewes. NOTE: Niccolo makes gelato. We like to select our friends based on occupation. The frozen dessert occupation is preferred.

Anyway, Cowboy showed up at Niccolo’s home Saturday morning and informed him he was going to Idaho. What? Yep. Cowboy convinced him it was a good idea and after some resistance, off they went. They didn’t get on the road until 11 AM. Please note: initial departure time was 7 AM…oh well.

And then they drove.

And drove.

And drove some more.

But the view was nice! Here are some photos they sent me from the road…

I am not super clear as to when the two road travelers arrived in ID. But what I do know is that at 3:30 AM Monday morning, they arrived back at the dairy. With 29 ewes in tow.

I was excited to get more black ewes. For their great milk production?! Nope. I was excited for no other reason than black ewes make spotted black lambs. And spotted lambs are the cutest.

Our newes are settling in well. And Cowboy has decided he never wants to drive again. As for our good friend Niccolo… after Cowboy convinced him to ride 30+ hours in the car over a two day period…I’m not sure he wants to be our friend anymore.

Happy to have everyone home.

Alexis

 

Chicks, Man.

We’ve got chicks, Man! (shout out to Joel McHale from The Soup on E!…love him!….anyone? anyone?).

Anyway, we received our Standard Bronze turkey chicks last week! (Why yes, we are trying to make ourselves crazy and fill up any free time we had).

These little things will be ready just in time for Thanksgiving. People often ask me, “don’t you feel bad about eating animals you have raised?” The answer is really simple. No. And here’s why….I know my animals have had a good life, been treated well, free to roam around the farm, and well fed. So in short, no. I don’t feel bad at all.

So these are the chicks, man (I can’t resist…).

Check out the look from the chick in the middle. He’s saying, “I didn’t sign no photo release, lady.”

Oh, and for the record, check out my garden. I was so ashamed I finally got my act together.

Tomatoes.

Pole Beans.

Watermelon.

Note: Please disregard the sheep turds in the upper right corner. Not super photogenic but super good for the garden. Oh, and we have sheep turds coming out of our ears….if you would like to have a crappy garden too let me know.

Uhhhh, the new lettuce hasn’t come up yet. But it’s coming???

Perhaps this is why my garden doesn’t grow.

Really dogs???

Happy Wednesday.

Alexis

Names Please!

It has been a busy week here at the dairy. In our area we had Wine Festival Weekend and we worked at HammerSky Winery selling our ice cream..which is conveniently located right down the road from us. I can hardly call it working though. How can you beat a great vineyard view, eating fresh ice cream and drinking vino? Sounds more like a great escape from reality if you ask me. Anyway, between selling our ice cream, milking, managing accounts and taking care of our (deep breath): chickens, chicks, lambs, ewes, dogs and cats, we decided it was a good idea to get two puppies.

Yes. You heard (read) me correctly. Two puppies.

Two fluffy, adorable, loving, licking, darling, irresistible…did I mention fluffy? Puppies.

Have we lost our minds? Probably. But let me explain. These are Great Pyrenees puppies. We have one adult Pyrenees named King (you can see photos of him on our Facebook). He lives with the lambs and protects them from predators. And he does a dang good job. Since we have lambs in one pasture, milking ewes in another pasture and non-milking ewes with the ram in yet another pasture, we needed more dogs to keep all our sheep safe.

In two weeks we will put these fluffy bundles of love with our lambs (which are only a little bigger than the puppies) so they get used to the sheep. And when they grow up they will go out to pasture. Now some people may say, poor dogs, but no need to feel sorry for them. Actually, these dogs are happiest when watching over their flock. Seeing our dog King in action and his ability to care for the sheep is truly amazing. Just last week we had a really sick lamb. I went out to the pen and King was standing over the lamb, protecting him. And he wouldn’t let any other lambs near the sick lamb (he would nudge them away). When I picked up the sick lamb King whimpered and followed me to the barn, upset I was taking his sick baby. The point is, that these dogs have a connection and intuition with the animals they watch over, and it is really stinkin’ incredible to witness.

OK, back to the fluffies. We bought a male and a female. And they need names.

This is the male.

And this is the female.

I’m in love.

Speaking of losing our minds…we have turkeys coming next week. And then the week after that you will find us on TV for a new show called Animal Hoarders. Just kidding. For now.

Names please!!!

Alexis