Saturday, January 24, 2015

New beginnings for The Goat Cheese Lady farm

Posted By on Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 7:28 AM

click to enlarge LINDSEY APARICIO
  • Lindsey Aparicio
The last six weeks have been a bit of an adventure; we sold the old farm, we jaunted down to El Salvador just in time for the December cold snap to spend three warm weeks with family, and then we bought the new farm. I thought I'd introduce you to it.

I'll go back to the beginning. First, the earth cooled, then came the dinosaurs, then we looked for land in Lake George, Calhan, Ellicott, Hanover, Peyton, Black Forest and Costa Rica - why not look a little outside the box? But thanks to a tip from a friend, we started researching Cañon City and the surrounding area. (If not Costa Rica, why not the banana belt of southern Colorado where there's water and some semblance of a growing season?)

In my Googling, I came across the Canon Co-op, and sent a blind email to the nameless "contact us" address requesting information about the area. In response, I received no less than 15 emails from different farmers, orchardists and backyard gardeners extolling the beauties and benefits of living in the area. The consensus was that Cañon City and Florence are more expensive but there’s more water for irrigation and thus better produce farming. And, the Penrose area, although having less water for irrigation, is unincorporated — i.e. fewer rules — livestock-friendly and less expensive.

Several hazelnut syrup laced coffees at Coyote’s Coffee Den later we landed on Penrose.

Thanks to the equity built up in the old place, we bought the new farm with cash. Moolah. Dinero. We put down 100 percent of the money for the debt-free 1,080-square-foot house and surrounding five acres — four of which are irrigated with runoff from Pikes Peak via the Brush Hollow Reservoir with gravity-fed culverts snaking through the community.

In the second week of January, we began the final steps of moving the farm. Now, step-by-step, we’re bringing the furniture, goats, yard art, dogs, garden tractors, children, rabbits, hay, pots and pans, frozen chickens and side of beef, fingernail clippers, an entire garage, goat milk soap, and everything else. (But, I have yet to find my slippers.)

I made mention of the garage; two days ago the walls, trusses and soffits of the previously-used-elsewhere, now disassembled, 24x24 garage — soon to become a cheese creamery — arrived on a flatbed from Divide, Colorado, a stellar Craigslist find.

After we lay the drains and pour the foundation between the house and barn, we’ll have a good ol' fashioned barn raising. After that, as rapidly as we can, we’ll build it out to house The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery, where we’ll make and sell varieties of goat milk cheeses.

For the creamery, however, we will need more than the two gallons of milk we will get daily from the two pregnant but soon-to-be-lactating-does we currently have. So we're looking to increase our herd size to 15 to provide us with enough milk to run the creamery and create the cheeses of our dreams.

Since moving into the 3,400-square-foot house on the old farm six years ago, I've yearned for a smaller house, and more land than the one-and-one-half acres we had. A smaller house means less to get dirty, less to clean and less to fill. It means more time to spend outside with the goats, to improve the land, to plant food forests and to make cheese.

Thankfully, the stars aligned and we found what we wanted. We'll soon start a flock of chickens again, and plan to teach more on-the-farm cheese making classes come spring. (If you know anyone with a herd of exceptional dairy goats they're looking to sell, send them our way. We're down in Penrose.)

Lindsey is a city girl turned urban farm girl. She and her family are the proud stewards of a few milking goats, a lot of working chickens, an organic garden and a budding orchard. Follow her on Twitter (@goatcheeselady) and FaceBook (The Goat Cheese Lady) or visit her website (thegoatcheeselady.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Lindsey at: thegoatcheeselady@gmail.com.

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