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From the Farmstead Creamery Advisor, 10 Questions for Aspiring Cheesemakers

Gianaclis Caldwell, award-winning cheesemaker, goatherd, and author of The Farmstead Creamery Advisor, wanted to make sure her book brought the notion of small-scale dairy farming down to earth. Not because there’s no romance in a close relationship with animals and the earth, but because it takes a LOT of work to maintain a successful creamery. It can be frustrating, and Murphy’s Law (i.e. anything that can go wrong, will) exerts a force not unlike the Laws of Thermodynamics. Especially with animals as clever and willful as goats! They’ll always figure out if you left a gap in the fence, they’ll eat the wrong thing and get sick, they’ll eat your raspberry canes before you get any fruit, etc. Take this brief quiz to see if you’re up for the task.  The book looks at these questions in greater depth:
 Ten Questions to Test Your Suitability
  1. Do you like to get up early – every day of the year and for many years to come?
  2. Do you mind working late into the evening – and then getting up early the next day?
  3. Do you mind working hard between getting up early and going to bed late?
  4. Does your spouse or partner also enjoy these hours?
  5. Do you have a good head for business?
  6. Do you have an artistic or creative flair?
  7. Can you be satisfied with repetitive labor and a lot of dishwashing?
  8. Do you have a great love for working with animals, no matter how exhausted you are?
  9. Can you deal well with constantly changing challenges and problems, including animal deaths, equipment failure, product loss, possible lawsuits and product recalls, and rising insurance and power costs?
  10. Do you mind working for below minimum wage for several years, or do you have an independent source of income to help pay bills?
Get a copy of this essential guide during our Gardening & Agriculture sale, which ends next Wednesday! Thanks to the bloggers over at GoatLove for mentioning this!


“If we work hard, we sleep well.” Independent Farmstead Q&A (part 2)

Twenty years ago, the land that authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased and have come to name the Sow’s Ear was deemed “not suitable for agriculture” by the state of Ohio. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food.Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture […] Read More

The Miracle of Farming: Toward a Bio-Abundant Future

Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer’s Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin is a celebrated model of innovative, ecological agriculture in Europe, connected to national and international organizations addressing food security, heralded by celebrity chefs as well as the Slow Food movement, and featured in the inspiring César and COLCOA award-winning documentary film, Demain (Tomorrow).In this excerpt from their […] Read More

Sow Seeds: Stop Walking Around Doing Nothing

“In the last one hundred years, 94 percent of seed varieties available at the turn of the century in America and considered a part of the human commons have been lost.”That’s one of the key takeaways in award-winning author and activist Janisse Ray’s book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food. In her book, Ray […] Read More

True or false? Figs contain dead wasps

They are trees of life and trees of knowledge. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty … more precious than gold. They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Gods, Wasps and Stranglers tells their amazing story.Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles […] Read More

Imagination, Purpose & Flexibility: Creating an Independent Farmstead – Q&A (part 1)

Twenty years ago, the land that authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased and have come to name the Sow’s Ear was deemed “not suitable for agriculture” by the state of Ohio. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food.Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture […] Read More
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