JOURNAL

Getting Lost and Getting your Goat (in a good way!)

On the phone Carol assured me I would get lost on the way to her place. I assured her that I always get a little lost so that wouldn't be a problem. And Google Maps didn't disappoint either dropping me off around 6:15am at the bottom of a dead end road in front of a gorgeously sunrise-sunlit pond. Tripod out and snap - It's good to get lost sometimes!

Then I got back on the phone and Carol lovingly guided me towards my true destination.

When I arrived Carol had just called the milking herd from their field to the dairy doors. And they came - is it okay to say sheepishly? - towards us in the pink morning light

Carol described them as a mixed herd comprised of Saanens, Alpines, Nubians and one outlying Toggenberg. These Saanens were quite curious about what I was up to in their milking pen and what was that strange clicking noise?

I was particularly impressed by the Saanens well-coifed beards.

Carol expertly herded 3 goats at a time to the milking station.

After a moment of hesitation they relaxed munching on a big bucket o' grains.

Carol then swabbed their udders before attaching the milking tubes.

Ten minutes later all three goats were milked and she was ready for the next batch. Off you go!

Carol knew the name of every goat but a white board hung close by for assistants and newbies to learn the herd.

Once all the goat-lets had been milked Carol strains each pitcher into a bucket. I guess it makes sense but I didn't realize that the milk comes out of the goats at 100 degrees - their internal body temperature, the stainless-steel pitcher was hot to the touch!

We then headed to the upper pen and pasture to visit with the goat buck. Rocky or Rockstar as Carol called him is a handsome fella.

He really enjoyed using the coarse barnwood to scratch a primal chin-itch.

We then caught up with the milking herd down at their feed manger happily munching on straw bales.

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The connection that Carol shares with each of her goats is really quite moving to experience.

It's no wonder that her goat cheeses taste so good! A new batch of one my favorite flavors was coming off the line as I was saying goodbye, the creamy pimento.

Besides Heritage Homestead's line of creamy goat cheese they also produce a beautiful Gouda with a mix of goat and cow's milk. This beautiful wheel was one of a batch maturing in the walk-in refrigerator.

Big thanks to Carol for sharing her time, energy and goat-family with me on a late Summer morning - truly a calming balm for a super-busy photo season. You can try and buy Heritage Homestead's cheeses weekly at the Watauga County Farmer's Market and purchase them too at many area stores including Stick Boy Bakery.