Monday, June 16, 2014

Soap & Goats!

There are a lot of stereotypes about people who live in rural areas. I know because I used to believe them. The notion that people with acreage are under-educated, close-minded, overly dogmatized bigots is proven over and over on television and partisan politics. But the longer I live around here the more I am realizing that out here people are as (if not more) varied in their demeanor and beliefs as any city. And that was proven this weekend when me and an entire workshop-load of guests went to a Messianic Jewish Commune to learn about goats…

I've written about Common Sense Farm a lot on this blog. They are part of the Twelve Tribes, and international organization of Messianic Jewish folks. I'm not Messianic or Jewish, but I like the cut of their jib. They are living together on a gorgeous 200+ acre organic farm and all the people running the WWOOFers, and interns are folks my age: early thirties. So to have people the same age, three miles away, also dealing with kidding, weeds, haying, and frozen water fonts is a kinship that overrides faith. When you raise farm animals you're all the same religion.

So me, the crew, and the one very special member of Common Sense got together this past Sunday. I have mentioned her many times, but Yesheva, my goat mentor, was our introduction to dairy goats.

Here is what you need to know about Yesh. She is a grace personified. I hope to someday share her level of self possession, gentleness, and confidence. She is a mother of four, wife to the hardest working farmer in Washington County (and that is saying something) and one of my closest friends. She lives on a commune and wears funny pants. I live at Cold Antler and wear kilts. It's works. She is simply a better person.

And she did an amazing job showing us her farm, Goat 101 basics, and dairying. That day folks who came to CAF learned the basics of making milk-based soap at the farm, but in the afternoon we went to Yesh's place to hear about conformation, hood care, udder evaluation, weight tape, grain, hay, injections, home vet care, freshening, and everyone who wanted to try to milk got a hand on a teat. I have been raising goats for three years now but every time I listen to Yesh I learn something more, something new. This past workshop I learned more about Selenium, and that it is safe to give supplements of the good stuff more than just before kidding.

The day ended with 11, 3.5 oz bars of goats milk soap, eight guests with newfound confidence, and my love for a doe named Opal. She is the doe you see Yesh presenting onto the stanchion in the photo above. She was darling, a perfect goat. Healthy, in milk, a good mother, and let everyone touch, pet, and try milking. Opal is for sale from Common Sense Farm now, so if you want a low maintenance Apline doe at your farm with milk on tap, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the goddess, herself.

In conclusion: it was a grand weekend. I got to meet some new friends, new Season Pass wielders, and share my corner of the world with friends. We made soap, we met kids. We shared stories, a meal, and got to swap emails and cell numbers. It was a workshop in every sense of the word but I must say, the best part, was sharing Common Sense and Cold Antler's friendship with others. We are proof positive that religion, politics, and personal history don't put up walls between women who are grabbing life by the horns. Literally.

So I thank all who attended, and Yesh, and all the goats and folks at Common Sense! And anyone who attended who wants a bar of soap - just holler! 24 -hours later the stuff has cured to the point of safe mailing!


Blogger aart said...

Well, that's just Good Common Sense!

June 17, 2014 at 6:23 AM  
Blogger barbsbirds13 said...

Those 'funny pants' look great for all the gyrations tending the farm folks do. Wonder where I can get some?

June 17, 2014 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Controlled Jibe said...

That sounds like a fabulous weekend workshop. I wish we had something exactly like that - a Goat 101 workshop - over here in the Pacific NW. We have our first goat doe kidding in a week and still feel a bit unprepared for the new adventures in kidding, kid raising and milking. We couldn't be more excited though!
- Katie and Mark

June 17, 2014 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That's wonderful. I hope to move to a rural area someday and have access to that kind of knowledge and kinship...

June 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I wish we'd had time to stop by for our soap on Monday before we headed home. So I guess you can consider this a holler -- I'll FB you with my address.

June 17, 2014 at 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a great day. I learned so much more than I'd expected and came away with that much more inspiration. Your workshops are informative but they also feed the soul.

June 18, 2014 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger T. Crockett said...

I want to send a thank you card to Yesh, but I wasn't sure if that's her full name or a nickname. Could you let me know?

June 18, 2014 at 11:22 PM  
Blogger sandalfoot said...

I just wonder in amazement, or am amazed in do you ever do all of this? Mazel Tov!

June 18, 2014 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger sandalfoot said...

I just wonder in amazement, or am amazed with do you do all of this? Mazel Tov!

June 18, 2014 at 11:36 PM  

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