Giving Thanks

As I went to the farm today and spent my morning transforming the last of this year’s milk, washing the tommes made this fall, I gave thanks. When I visited our truly beautiful and affectionate goats (may they all be pregnant!), filling their water buckets and receiving their nibbles, I gave thanks. And as I drove back to my house in a driving, cold wind filled with sleet and snow, I gave thanks.

At this time last year I was scheduling a trip to the Pyrenees to help design this structure. I had not yet told many people (other than my goat cheese makers) what I was up to. It was all in the planning, and all far into the future.  We didn’t know yet where we were going to live, if the boys would be okay with the shift of worlds and schools. I hadn’t yet broken the news to their father. The planning stages that would need to happen to move a family of 3 plus dog across an ocean and into a different language and culture had only just begun to manifest.

And here we are, in the midst of an incredible and beautiful project. With my boys by my side, I’m learning,  growing, and creating.

I’m grateful to explore and develop this goat farm, from the choice of animals, to the experiments with cheese, caramel, ricotta and… It is one thing to learn and to study and to think a project. It is far more enriching to actually make it all happen and work with it from the beginning through its many stages of completion. A project such as this has the potential to grow and evolve throughout its existence. We’ll get the buildings built, we’ll get the first does and bucks of our herd, we’ll make our first selection of cheeses. And then all these will continue to evolve, to be tweaked, to be adapted to our needs and to the markets we end up supplying and reacting to.

I am grateful for the many teachers I’ve had: The cheese-makers I befriended so long ago in Provence, who first taught me and shared this passion.  The technicians who’ve helped me take this traditional knowledge and skill to a more intellectual comprehension of what I’m actually doing and trying to do — and who are there to answer my questions and help me work through problems in, ahem, camemberts that are most terribly temperamental.

I’m very lucky. I know it. And so I sit and grow in the positions of manager, visionary and cheese-maker. Thank you all of you.