got GOATS!

Hi campers! How was your spring? We are busy little monkeys around here. I took an unspoken blogging “break”… lots of real time action for us has meant putting my photos and writing on the back burner.

We had a couple of kids last month! Basically from November 20th when our Nubian doe, Shirley had her “encounter” with Jimmy Mac until about 2 weeks before Shirley gave birth- I wasn’t 100% sure the deed was done. After all, the moment consisted of little foreplay and lasted about as long as the time it took Ollie to unscrew his coffee cup to check how hot it was. We had anticipated a little kickback time and literally it was done as he screwed the cap back on. But then Rocky and Jane happened April 22nd…

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goats 5-15-4Earth Day presents and Ollie’s birthday… so birthday lunch was postponed and we pretty much stayed close to home all day.

goatsI of course have spent loads of time reading and watching videos on goat births. We even spent a couple days with our friends at Mountain Lodge Farm near Tacoma. They birthed about 200 kids this year. We witnessed 5:)

goats 5-15-5I had the birthing kit ready. Only thing I didn’t get was the rubber gloves and K-Y Jelly. And in our little town I missed hearing the nervous chuckle that would have likely ensued at the checkout of our one and only pharmacy.

goats 5-15-12I looked out that morning from our porch like always and saw everyone but Shirley hanging out like they  do… waiting for the gate to open and us to appear. The difference was, I swear, they were all staring into the shed.. The sheep, Helen and Irene, and the other goats, Dinah and Nena looked in there like some kind of cruel and unusual punishment had just happened. I threw on some boots and yelled out to Ollie- IT HAPPENED!

goats 5-15-3And sure enough after 5 months and looking like this at the end-

shirley April 17

There were 2 little goat babies in the shed surrounded by a lot of goo…. Not in the nice, sanitary, freshly hayed “birthing suite” I had prepared in our barn that is really more of a shop- so I had moved work benches around to to create. With the buckling almost dry and the doeling still damp, we did get them into the barn and I started reading my printed materials on newborn kids.

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They were slow to walk- was this normal? Now I think I could say yes. Jane seemed to be born second and was a little weaker. We actually milked a little colostrum, the liquid gold, and pumped it in her mouth to get her going. Then I held them up to her to start. After just a few days of me not interfering, or of wondering if they were getting enough milk, or if they were nursing out of both sides… once I let nature actually do its thing… there was a lot of this going on-

We decided to have these kids be “dam raised” meaning they will stick with their mom to nurse and learn the way of the goat. We spend a lot of time handling them and playing and they are not shy to come to us- especially for morning and evening snuggles. Yes- I know what you are thinking but you would so do the same. And trust me- if you had one in your arms you would be swaying it like a baby stomach down… You don’ t even realize it.

goats 5-15-11Janegoats 5-15-7Rocky

goats 5-15-6They have already learned the joys of rough cut siding.

goats 5-15-9And who has been the most patient with these little creatures? Dinah. She’s getting her rub on too- It’s a thing with goats. Well hell- we all like it. Right?

goats 5-15-10Ollie did get his annual ultimate strawberry shortcake  birthday cake that night.

wendyellenthomas.comBut it had a little less fussing around than this one- This pic has been like a blog hit royalty check on Pinterest!

Strawberry cake-12So we’ll say good bye now and try to check in at least a few times this summer! Enjoy:)

wendyellenthomas.com

 

NYC Feb 2015 Walk about and more…

The larger part of our week was spent roaming NYC and hanging with my awesome son who is living a totally grown up life. I’m so proud and I still can’t believe he’s been on this earth almost 27 years… WHHHAAAT?!#$%%

We often meandered from the apartment in Tribeca through Soho… Look water leaks in the big apple

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and north on Broadway stopping at Dean and Deluca’s – here’s a pic of one of our vendors- Big Picture Farm- great folks with lots of goats in Vermont-  These caramels are back on the shelves now at Chez Chloe in seasonal boxes and cello bags- chai, mocha latte, raspberry rhubarb… yum

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and always a little stop at ABC Home. They have a cool foodie market downstairs now. It was just getting going last year. I don’t know how much actual traffic it gets but I find so many interesting lines there-

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then on up to Union Square

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I rarely see a winter farmers market and love it when I do

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So is this pooch a little winter warrior with his orange booties, red vest and purple leash!

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Loads of hardy, grounding winter veggies like sunchokes.

IMG_6237and celeriac- a little of this pureed into your potatoes adds just a little sweetnessIMG_6234Always a stop at Eataly – around 2.30 on a weekday is great. Less bodies to navigate and room to absorb the sights and smells of cured meats, cheeses, pastas and the highs and lows of voices, tablewares and general noise. Wed was brisket day at the sandwich stall. Extra green pesto sauce please. Thank you. IMG_6248We walked west towards the river and into the village- One block in and it’s like entering a church. Quiet with a lack of chaos.

IMG_6251We passed by Murray’s cheese

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And I thought this poster was a pretty good description of me… or cheese.IMG_6253

and quaint little shops with clever signs

IMG_6252This day ended back in Soho at Vosges

IMG_2155With a couple of gorgeous hot chocolates and ever so lightly sweetened, piped whipped cream

IMG_2157And a couple randoms must adds …

Gotham West Market in Hell’s kitchen- GO there.

IMG_2147Eat Tokyo Shoyu noodles at Ivan Ramen and slaw:

GothamwestGo to Tiny’s in Tribeca for brunchIMG_6294

and eat these killer potatoes… like mini square hash browns and

IMG_6301and check out their adorable bathroom – that’s me in the mirror – not a painting. I didn’t realize that myself at first. Going all Mona Lisa there

IMG_6303And if you aren’t suffering from scroll down trigger finger… I’ll leave you with some shots of our day up the Hudson- We took the train from Grand Central

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to Tarrytown on the metro North to rent a car

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We wanted time to enjoy the close proximity of the river together without either of us having to drive. Nor did we feel like driving in and out of the city. We saw lots of lovely white snow.

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 Made our way to charming Rhinebeck- here’s their cute little chamber of commerce

IMG_6278Then we drove north and admired farmlands and white vistas- then west and stayed a night in MA and woke to minus 11 degrees, crystal blue skies and even more dreamy white snow. THEN we headed back to NYC on the highway to little Tarrytown to drop our rental and train back to the city at sunset. It was a sweet 36 hour retreat mid trip.

IMG_6286Ok- we’re finished here. More food coming next post:)

 

Happy New Year

Finally. Your new year probably started a couple weeks ago. But our first week felt like a hiatus between the lines of time. Now we are looking ahead at travel plans to NYC for the Gift fair. Excited to get back on track with yoga and exercise… you know that momentum of righteous resolution. After days of barely having any appetite my buds re-calibrated post holiday to not needing so much sweet and I already dropped my holiday mid waist luggage.

We nursed a gnarly flu with the following arsenal… This is how we do it.

herb pharm herb blend Herb pharm echinacea goldenseal blend. I’ll take this 2-3x dayIsland Thyme respitory balmLocal Island Thymes‘ respiratory balm. Made by friends of mineflu remedies Digital thermometer- I’m obsessed with taking my temp. And a myriad of items for symptoms.Hoffman honey Loads of this honey in fresh ginger and lemon tea. Strong and spicy and soothing.Emergen-C Sucking the Emergen-C’s down every few hours. I’m not too concerned with the extra marketing of ‘joint health’ but we like the citrus flavor:)Manuka honey The honey loquat syrup is great for chest and coughs. The Manuka honey from New Zealand, supposedly high in healthy anti-bacterial microbes.fresh lemon and gingerThe fresh ginger I peel and slice thin and boil/simmer in water. I’ll add juice of 1/2 to 1 whole lemon and a couple tablespoons of raw honey. I drink it hot. I love that stuff.

quick chicken soupWhen I’m really down and out I eat homemade applesauce. My first meal this week was some chicken stock from the freezer thawed with the addition of a little chicken breast, carrots, shitake mushrooms, carrots and spinach. Maybe a little left over rice in there too.

Then I moved onto a healing beef bone broth with spinach, mushrooms, kimchi and a poached egg and avocado. This was a lovely meal I won’t wait till I’m sick to make again. I made the bone broth overnight in the crockpot with short ribs and soup bones and the general aromatics- onion, carrot, celery, parsley, bulb of garlic, peppercorns. I’ll cook it 12 hours overnight and strain. I then just shred a little of the short rib meat to add in to the broth. Healing and tasty.

Hope your 2015 is off to a good start!

bone broth, kimchi, poached eggLast but not least one little farm shot. Not our farm but some baby calf buddies nearby. They are still skiddish but so sweet!

baby calf buddies

raw nutty seedy nibbles

Hello again…

Summer is winding up and we are flush with garden vegetables and fruits yet, I still love to make these raw nut and seed bars. They are a nice fit after yoga or to help fill in the hunger gaps creeping into my afternoons. I’m one of those people that rarely awaits the pang of hunger. Now and again I like to feel it… but rarely.

Print: {organic raw nut and seed bar}
raw bars - wendyellenthomas.comI use a base of almonds, cashews and dates and sometimes hazelnuts get thrown in depending what’s on hand. I find the cashews help a little more with binding and it’s important for it not to be too dry or they really crumble apart.  I’ve tried my new vitamix (which I LOVE) but really this recipe is working better in the cuisinart.

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I’ll start with the nuts and dates- brace yourself as it’s a bit noisy and disconcerting to get them crunched up and mixed. My favorite dried fruit to add is cherries. We had a lot dried from 2013. This year I under-ordered and we literally consumed about 20# in a couple weeks with little help from outsiders. I’ve looked up loads of these raw bar recipes and there is a lot of trading ingredients in and out. This is what we like at the moment but I encourage you to experiment.

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From there it’s pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, coconut… and why not a few chia and hemp seeds while we’re at it? I do use a little maple syrup for further sweet and bind factors. I’m done with agave- read more from Andrew Weil here or from here. And to continue that side note, here is an interesting sweetener comparison.

Lastly, comes the dark stuff. Cocoa nibs which are still A-OK on my list and raw cocoa powder. oh and a wee pinch of sea salt:)

nut and seed bars-6Then it’s hands on. I line a glass dish with either parchment paper or plastic wrap.

nut and seed bars-8The nut and seed mix is pressed into the dish.

nut and seed bars-9Then covered with plastic wrap and I take a small glass and roll it over the top to really get it glued together.

nut and seed bars-10It spends a night in the fridge before getting cut into squares and boxed up for grabability from the fridge.

nut and seed bars-11I’ll take these to work in a little plastic baggy. There solidity often depends on the batch and how long they are out of the fridge. I’d be lying if I said they hold together like a Lara Bar. But you can easily squeeze it back together to pop in the mouth and the taste is great.

I’ll end on a farm note…

Here are a couple shots of animals at play… sort of… it might induce your curiosity and for sure make you smile. Otis loves Helen. They are working on their mode of interaction.

Otis and Helen 2-3

 

Otis and Helen

I’m still keeping him on a leash so we have control if he gets too excited. The goats are not interested as of yet. But Helen I think likes Otis too:)

Otis and Helen-2

 

new faces on the farm

We’ve been so enjoying the summer. I’m especially loving the feeling of warmth into evening. That’s maybe the only thing I miss about my home state of Florida, the sleeveless shirts worn into the evening. Although, rare is the day I wear a sleeveless shirt and I can definitely live without the sweltering heat of a day in central Florida. We did have a fantastic visit last month to my sister’s in South Florida- nice family and beach time. I also tripped down memory lane and toured Chloe around my high school. The instant we discovered my graduation stone, we looked at it, then at each other and tears welled up. A sort of cosmic connection that ventured outside of real time. She felt, for that moment, standing in front of my high school, connected to who I was at 18. A glimpse of recognition that I too have been there. It was bittersweet. My best friends Melissa and Kelly- and who we liked/”loved” at that time. Little did I know at the time that my good fortune would bring me an amazing son only a couple years later. Thanks “J”.

WPHS stoneAnd now our new farm friends:)

We have real live livestock. We put up a big fence. Built a goat shed and got ourselves three goats and two sheep. We love them! They are so sweet, funny and curious. We are all getting into a new routine and getting to know each other. The plan is to breed both goats and sheep in the fall and start milking in the spring. And here they are…

Meet blue eyed Dinah. She is a cross of La Mancha and Nigerian Dwarf. A total sweetie who craves attention. April 8th of this year, my birthday, I happened to be in the store filling in for someone. My mood lifted when I met Sherwin from Mountain Lodge Farm. Within minutes I learned she was a goat lady. I quickly stalked her farm and found there was an upcoming open house in May. Ollie was happy to go. I left out the part of the story of her four starter goats turning into over a hundred, supplying the milk for a full on dairy operation.  Point here is, Dinah is one of her babies. It was fate.

wendyellenthomas.comfarm faces farm faces-10 farm faces-9And Shirley. She is a yearling and full Nubian. She came to us as Bon Bon and we named her Etta (as in James) then changed it to shrieking Shirley cause she was so chatty and loud. Now she’s calmed down immensely and goes only by Shirley.

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farm faces-7 farm faces-6Then we have Nina, also a full Nubian from Myers Creamery here on the island. They make wonderful cheese. Nina feels a little intimidated by Shirley who’s a bit of a bossy cow but hopefully as Nina gets bigger she’ll be able to hold her own. Look at those ears! She’s channeling Sally Fields.

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farm faces-15 farm faces-11The dairy sheep, from Glendale Shepherd on Whidbey Island, are an East Friesian Lacaune cross. Having been bottle fed they are rather tame, are gaining more and more trust and are quite endearing. They are letting us rub their chins. Meet Helen and Irene named for a couple of my aunties. Better pics to come of those two.

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Time for a little walk and brush clearingfarm faces-13

 

Otis is SO EXCITED. We are hoping he’ll settle off a little more with time- He just wants to dart around and play.

goat shedBut sometimes he can contain himself. Here they all are in one shot-

farm faces-4He does love to kiss Irene through the fence.

farm faces-16And after a long day in the garden, Otis likes to kick back in bed the following morning

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Hope your summer brings laughter, joy, gardens and farmer’s markets!

Coming soon… nut and seed bars

nut and seed bars

 

Detmold Germany 2013

Here’s a few shots, mixed iPhone/Nikon D80 photos of my trip to Germany last fall. I went to see O. You are going to meet O now. I’m getting personal. Enough with the initials and such. I’m even going to show you what we look like. Yeah, that gravatar of me is about four years old.

I arrived in Frankfurt and whilst getting my bearings after a ten hour flight, I picked up my bag and raced downstairs to the trains. Searching the depths of my mind for my German vocabulary, I panicked, and jumped on an earlier train than planned. So no pics in Frankfurt. Here is the train station in Köln (Cologne).
Detmold Germany 2013I love the kind of place where while you are waiting for your next train you are staring at an amazing CathedralDetmold Germany 2013-3

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Celebrating spring and mid life!

I want to share a little of my lovely 45th birthday and a little of our goings on…

I’ve always loved that I decided to push on through to this scene on April the Eighth. My life runs on even numbers with a real focus on the number eight. It’s a little bizarre at times… like I could sign up for some reality show about number freaks . Do they have that yet?

Here’s my new birthday boots…

Celebrating bday and more-10

 

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New York City: Day one on foot

Here’s a little visual recap of my first day in NYC. Instead of dropping my son at school with a kiss and a wave goodbye, it was at work. I watched him swipe his card to disappear behind the ’employee only’ door with a proud smile on my face.  On my own till lunch at 1.45, I began to traipse south from Madison Square Park…

Not having had breakfast, I started at the Union Square Farmer’s Market

NYC March 2013 Day 1 copy

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Chez Chloe bricks and mortar

I want to share a new venture on the horizon…I’m re-opening my little shop, Chez Chloe. It’s focused on kitchen and housewares, specialty foods and I’ll be branching out just a wee bit into body care- can’t go wrong with luxury soap and lotions I say. Here are a couple quick picks of the beginning…

The storefront, located in Eastsound on Orcas Island ( at Christmas)- It’s still the same minus the green trimming. It will be loads of fun opening this garage door to the sidewalk and passersby (how do you pluralize that one!)

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