I’ve mentioned the café/wine bar fantasy before. The other one that comes up from time to time is the goat ranch. No, really. We’d raise goats and make cheese. Maybe we’d have a few sheep, too, so we could make feta. (Well, we could make it with goat's milk, too, but I’ve always heard that sheep’s milk was used in the authentic article.)
While we were in La Push, there was a place for sale on the road to Forks: 80 acres, mostly in pasture (or so it seemed) with house and barn, on the bank of the Bogachiel River. I still have the phone number of the real estate agent out in the car. We were gonna call to see how much they were asking, just as a lark. Realistically, I don't think we actually will.
See, the thing is, what makes a pleasant fantasy doesn’t always translate into a pleasant reality. Setting aside the fairly huge monetary investment involved in putting together such an operation, there’s also the steep learning curve. When I was a kid I raised a calf myself, but that’s about the extent of my experience in animal husbandry. Science Girl doesn’t even have that background. Also, neither of us has ever made cheese. At all. Again, another steep learning curve. I’m guessing we wouldn’t have market-ready cheese from our first batch, and quite possibly not from our first several batches.
There are plenty of resources available, of course. Neither of us is stupid; I’m sure we’d pick it up, eventually. But the animals won’t wait patiently while you educate yourself. Goats are pretty hardy, as I recall, but things happen – difficult pregnancies, disease, etc. – which need to be attended to right now. And, while the cheese may very well stand alone, it needs help to get to that point.
Also, let’s not forget that taking a vacation from such a set-up would be difficult, if not entirely out of the question. Certainly we wouldn’t both be able to go at the same time. Someone would have to stay at the ranch and take care of the stock & the cheese. They haven’t quite perfected the self-milking goat yet.
Still, it’s fun to think about. It would be a hell of a lot of very hard work, but I can’t honestly say that I’ve totally dismissed the idea. Just almost totally. In the meantime, I guess we can try out this recipe and see how it goes.