Friday, February 22, 2008

Country Roads

We took Michael's parents out to the farm on Monday, which turned out to be a gorgeous, sunny, 70-degree day. I could tell they had misgivings before we left. Perhaps because we had forewarned his mother and sister that they should wear closed-toe shoes to the wedding on account of the goat poo. But when Michael's dad stepped out of the car, he said, "It is gorgeous out here!" One parent down, three to go!

Elodie Farms is a real, working goat farm. It's not a stage-set for rural fantasies like le Petit Hameau or this place in Apex. That means there are live animals and they poo right where they're standing. They also make noise and smell . . . um, earthy. It may be a bit too rustic for some tastes, but I find it irresistable.

The family warmed up to the rustic setting very quickly. Thanks undoubtedly to the lovely weather and the pretty drive through the hills of Durham County's old tobacco country. Thanks as well to the abundance of adorable baby goats, stumbling all over the property.

This is an exciting time of year because February is kidding time. Anne, who operates the farm along with its owner Dave, says that they expect 75 kids this month. That means lots of nursing mothers, which means lots of goat milk, which means marathon hours of cheese making. Hopefully some of that cheese will end up on the buffet at our wedding. We are nuts for the stuff, and it is hard to come by. Last fall we tasted their Goat Gruyere melted over French onion soup--divinity in a bowl.

We are also hoping that the new barn will be built in plenty of time for the big day. The old barn is coming down now, though its half-demolished skeleton looks no worse than the shambles it was. Dave and Anne are assembling the financing they need for the new construction, which will be able to accomodate more guests for their renowned monthly dinners and weddings like ours, as well as meetings and retreats. It will also have a new dairy and a cheese kitchen. I hope that our commitment to them and the guarantee of future business earns them points on their loan application!

After cooing and admiring the kids, and watching Gunndi gleefully run around with the farm dogs, Michael's mother and I took a look at the farmhouse porch where we plan to have the rehearsal dinner and the cocktail hour. It's a 100-year-old house with graceful proportions and lanterns that hang from the eaves in front. A bit run-down but undeniably quaint. One of the dogs had left a rather mutilated carcass--some kind of mammal--right on the step. I think that tops the list of unwanted wedding gifts. Michael's mom may require a little more persuasion than his dad.

Wear those closed-toe shoes, ladies!

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