Pickles and Milk?

March 22, 2010 at 9:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

By: Miriam

There has been a lot of talk lately about goats and cucumbers, dairy and pareve, and feta and half sours.  Just about a year ago Adamah began it’s new kosher goat dairy business, making delicious artisinal cheeses and yogurts alongside our dill pickles and kimchi.  Aitan, our dairy manager, moved his operation into the Picklarium (the pickle-making kitchen), and among other things, we  had to come up with a new name for the space.  It has since been renamed the Cultural Center, and now the goats and pickles are becoming one in a whole new way!

Not only do we have a new combined apprenticeship position, where Emi Stirm (who has been working at Freedman in the dining hall since Fall 2009) and Julia Sheng (Adamah alum, Summer 2007) will split their time between the Barnyard and the Picklarium, but the goats have been dining on last year’s expired sauerkraut. At first they weren’t very interested in lacto-fermented cabbage, but eventually they saw the err of their ways. I’d even use the word “infatuated” to describe their desire for, and commitment to, this new part of their diet. Every few days, as we pulled our little red wagon with a 5 gallon bucket of soggy kraut towards the barnyard, the goats would come running to the edge of the fence, pushing and shoving one another. Most of the ladies would crowd in so closely to the bucket as it was being poured into their trough, that they’d end up with a pile of kraut on top of their heads. Coming back later to clean out the troughs, I’d see that I didn’t even need to scrub them out. Not a single shred of cabbage or a sip of salty brine was left… ever.

Bringing Kraut to the Ladies

Sheba's a sucker for sauerkraut

There's just about room for everyone around the kraut trough...

Not a shred of cabbage left!

"Yum. I love lacto-fermented foods!"

I now know all about these nuances of herd management, because I had the honor of taking care of the Adamah goats while Aitan was munching cheese and exploring old alleyways in Southern Spain on his highly deserved vacation (I think this was one of his first times away from the goats since he arrived in 2006). Other highlights of my three week stint as Barnyard Manager included:

*Using a rectal thermometer on Csardas (our rented, Hungarian-named, buck) when he came down with a cough. Ellie, our new field manager, actually did the honors, while I made sure he had plenty of grain and that he didn’t wiggle his behind too much. It was important that I, as Barnyard Manager, be able to oversee the procedure (which is the only reason I didn’t use the thermometer myself).

*Keeping an eye out for “love-making” (Aitan’s term) between Csardas and Vivian or Sabina, the two lady goats who still weren’t pregnant, even after the first round of mating. There wasn’t much to report when Aitan got back, as neither Vivian or Sabina were in heat. This was one of the more disappointing aspects of my time in the Barnyard. Nothing x-rated, just a Disney movie scene with tweety little birds and gentle mamma goats roaming and chomping.

*Coating the inside of Labaneh’s eye with Bacitracin, or as I like to refer to it, medicated eye goo (it’s a more technical term). She had been diagnosed by our friendly local vet as either having pink-eye or a “booboo” from another goat’s horns. Each morning I squeezed out a goopy worm of gel and had to get it inside her eyelid, on her eyeball. You would think the designer of this tube of medicine, meant to be put inside an eye, would NOT have made the applicator out of metal and fashioned it into a sharp tip. Well, if you thought that, you’d be wrong. Metal and sharp and meant to be used very near to the eye! I’m worried I may have caused additional injuries, trying to cure the pinkeye, or whatever it was. Obviously it was a blast and I am VERY confident Labaneh enjoyed it as well.

But really, my favorite part was the connection that I developed with the goats from the responsibility of taking care of living beings. Well, that and the view from the barnyard in the morning, which I’ve decided is the best view in all of camp. I have grand plans to move my bed and a few house plants into the milking parlor in the coming weeks (as it warms up of course).


Miriam / Picklady (formerly Lady Barnyard)



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  1. miriam, this is wonderful and hilarious! great job!

    tali (allen)

  2. I love this!! not only does it transport me back to the pickle kitchen and the view from the pasture in my past, but it also brings me to the future, where all systems will continue to evolve and change and eventually, baruch hashem:), will become as inspired and resourceful as nature has the potential to be. Thanks for sharing Mir, and i love the pictures!!

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