Monday, May 9, 2011

Taking Advantage of My Mother's Day Power

Mother's Day and my birthday are the two days out of the year when my family, which includes two teenagers, feels obligated to do what I want.  I kind of like that power of being the queen for the day, justified by memories of living my life around those of my children for so long.  Last Mother's Day, I blogged about how we went to a butterfly pavillion where my daughter Kelsey faced her fear of beautiful bugs. 

I had read last month in The Day newspaper (yes, we actually read a physical paper; also comes in handy later when one wants to start a fire in the woodstove) about Beltane Farm.  Beltane Farm is a small goat farm in Lebanon, CT, offering tours and cheese tastings every Sunday in May.  I had been interested enough in visiting that I'd put the dates on my calendar as a reminder although I never mentioned it to anyone else. 

Here I was on Mother's Day morning, waiting for the day's planned event of a cookout at 1 pm.  The problem was that the farm is only open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  With a lunch planned right in the middle of that, it would be a tight schedule.  Husband Jay was already psyched up to cook, marinating the chicken and cleaning the grill and utensils for their first use this year.  Could I possibly sell him on doing both? 

As a young adult, one of my mottos was, "Be prepared to be spontaneous."  Although I'm fairly certain that motto was referring to birth control, I could apply the same idea to visiting a goat farm.  Jay balked at the idea of just picking up and leaving.  He argued that it would take 45 minutes to get out there (actually it took 30 minutes, but Jay has a tendency to exaggerate), he had a law school exam to study for, his daughter Erin and the grandkids were supposed to come over for lunch, he's cooking, etc.  Not giving in, I gave him the option to stay home or just calling Erin and changing the lunch time to a supper time.  Reluctantly, Jay agreed and changed plans with Erin.  It was Mother's Day, he had to be nice to me, right? 

Tyler, who just got home from USC this past Friday, was still asleep at 10:30 a.m. when this discussion was going on.  Being a college student, he was better prepared to be spontaneous and quickly got dressed.  Besides, Tyler loves goat cheese so he had a different motivation.  Kelsey doesn't like to eat anything different, but was up for a trip involving animals with cloven hooves. 

Tyler and Kelsey being greeted by a young goat

Within 15 minutes, we had the whole family in the van, ready to go.  Jay had his notes to study so I drove to the farm, thanking my family first for going along with my whims.  The first thing we noticed when we got to the farm was the kids (as in baby goats) on dog leashes being held by a woman.  My uncertain family lit up as the farm dog, a gorgeous collie, greeted us.  Kelsey, who has a strange fear of butterflies and other insects, has no problem with other creatures that share our space (including snakes).  The kids (baby goats) won us over with their cuteness and fondness for sucking on our fingers.  Jay immediately commented on how beautiful the farm was with its pond, barns, property, friendly people and animals.  "Glad you came?" I asked. "Go ahead, admit it, once again I had a great idea." 

I expected 15-year-old Kelsey to get a thrill at seeing the goats, cow and donkey as we don't have those animals at home.  She got equally excited with the two farm dogs, cat, chickens and the multitude of tadpoles in the pond.  Uh, we have those animals at home Kelsey.  Critters are always more appealing in someone else's yard I guess.

We tasted all the cheeses and narrowed our purchases down to four kinds to bring back, the Chevre, Harvest Moon, Vespers and Riscotta Fresca.  We could have easily brought back one of each, but I tried to show some restraint.  If any of you are repulsed at the sound of the words "goat cheese", I advise you to free your minds.  My absolute favorite is the Chevre with Herbs de Provence.  Finicky Kelsey found she liked the Harvest Moon cheese, which has a harder, cheddar-like consistency.  For those of us who love cheese but have mild lactose intolerance, goat cheese is the solution. 

Sacrificing my fingers as goat pacifiers

After about an hour, we said good-bye to the wonderful folks at Beltane.  We stopped on the way home to pick up a loaf of French bread and devoured two of our four cheeses as soon as we got in the door.  My family is happy I pushed them to go there and I had a memorable Mother's Day thanks to the goat farm.  It's over seven more months until my birthday....what will I force them to do next?


  1. At our house in Maine, we live close to friends who raise goats and make the most fabulous cheese! We particularly love the hard cheese that is aged and more like cheddar or parma. Meanwhile, your former buddy, Langston, continues to grow and thrive and be one of the best adapted animals we have ever know. My husband refers to you as the woman who really knows how to raise perfect cats!

  2. She got equally excited with the two farm dogs, cat, chickens and the multitude of tadpoles in the pond. Uh, we have those animals at home Kelsey.

    What? Tadpoles? I don't remember seeing any tadpole stories. Have you been holding out on us?