Friday, July 22, 2011

All the Chatter....

 ....these days on the homesteading, hobby farm and urban farm blogs I read seems to be about goats.  Urban Farm Magazine had several articles about goats in the new issue that just came out.  (yes, goats in town)  Some folks are blogging about how they make cheese in their own kitchens from their goat's milk and Amy over at  Homestead Revival wondered earlier this week if she should take the plunge and get some Kinder goats to milk for her family.

On Wednesday I was at the Lion's Club Fair here in Lexington, promoting the KY Sheep and Fiber Festival.  Kind of hard to generate enthusiasm for wool when it's 147 degrees!  (OK, so I'm exaggerating, but it felt like it)   Anyway, the featured livestock that evening for the 4-H show was ......goats!   Meat goats, not dairy, so they were less interesting to me.  I like goats, but sheep are my favorite ruminants, so it was it was good news when I was told there that Kentucky now has a Sheep Dairy!

Check these out - Good Shepherd Sheep Dairy ,

They are on Facebook, so I took a look there and one of the first things I saw was a link to the KSFF!   I left a comment about being a sheep & food festival, and they have food from sheep, maybe we can get together?   Mr. Dotson seemed to think that was a very good idea, so who knows, maybe next May you will be able to buy feta and sheep's milk farmer cheese at KSFF from Good Shepherd Sheep Dairy. (???)  In the meantime, they report they will have their first booth at the Lexington Farmer's market on July 30.   

At the Fair Wednesday I met Terry Hutchins, who was interviewed in the first video, (and several other UK AG professors) and he marvelled at how the last time they offered a beginning cheese making workshop, people flocked to it (no pun intended).  It made me wonder - why not a cheese making workshop at KSFF?  What do you think?   Would anyone be interested? 

As for the Lexington Lion's Club Fair  (sigh) they try, I guess, but it's nothing like what I grew up with.  The Fairfield County (Ohio) Fair is a classic, great County Fair.  The Fairgrounds is right in the middle of town, and the house I lived in was less than a block from there.  The Fair is special to anyone from that little town, and even now on Facebook, people I went to high school with many, many years ago speak of it fondly, and even plan trips back there in October, just so they can be there during Fair time. 

Now this is a Fair!!

The big white building you see in the photo below, (taken from the rock outcropping in the photo above - known as Mt. Pleasant) is the Art Hall.  In there are handwork like crochet and quilts, flower displays, photography,  vegetables, baked and canned goods - all to be judged, mind you, and 4-H projects.  It is so old-fashioned, and so terrific. 

There is a half-mile track where they have harness races, tractor and pony pulls, and usually some performers. 

from an old postcard

Off of the upper right corner of the track are all the animal barns.  They have ALL kinds of livestock, and  that was always my favorite part. Even at a tender age, I was drawn to the cows and chickens and sheep.  My sister too - although we were far enough apart in age we never went together. 

Below is the old grandstand (and stables in the background} that are next to the track.  A few years ago the grandstand was damaged in a storm, and some wanted to tear it down. (It's got to be 100+ years old) But a cry went up from local preservationists, who conducted a campaign to raise $100,000 to do the repairs.  Gosh, I love this photo.  I can just feel myself there.

This building sits inside one of the admission gates.  It's a round cattle barn - much more efficient for feeding, milking and mucking out than a rectangular barn with the cows in rows.  It's been there since long before I was born - moved there to preserve it.  Since I moved away, they have moved several old buildings to the Fairgrounds - an old general store, a one-room schoolhouse, etc. - that would have been lost otherwise. 

The Fairgrounds is also the place where I got my very first bunnies - Holly and Ivy. In fact I took the photo above on that day.   Lisa, the breeder, was going to be showing her French Angoras in a rabbit show there, so we agreed to meet so I could pick up the girls.  When the subject of directions came up, I told her no problem, I knew where it was - I mean right down to the exact building where it was!  ha-ha. 

Thanks for indulging me on this little trip down memory lane.    Until next time, from Wren Cottage.......   


  1. How about a pack llama? Easier on the environment (padded feet vs sharp little goat hooves) and besides, you can spin their luscious fiber!

  2. Hey Deb, We appreciated your support by coming out to the farmers market to buy some Good Shepherd Cheese. Have you tasted the cheese yet? If so, What did you think of it. Colleen and I were very excited about all the ideas you discussed with us. And our daughter Jenny really needs a mentor to help her learn spinning and felting and maybe even soapmaking.

    Hope you will make it a point to visit the farm and tour our sheep dairy. Let us know when would be a good time.

    Sanford & Colleen Dotson