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Homage to a donkey and farmers' market news

Posted 5/21/2015 10:37pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Our donkey, Jemimah, came to us almost five years ago.  Her “job” as guardian had been cut short when her flock of sheep was sold.  Jemmy or “Rusty,” as our former farm hand Ben fondly called her, had come from the school of hard knocks.  She was already an old lady when she arrived on our farm (no one knew her age exactly, but we suspected she was close to 30 years old), but her defiant nature belied her age.  

I’ll never forget the day she arrived at the farm.  As we unloaded her from the stock trailer and moved her into the doe barn, a myriad of goat heads turned, in unison, in her direction, Nubian ears curled and pointing towards this very tall and fury equine.  Their curiosity reminded me of nosy and suspicious neighbors peering behind the curtains of their houses as the new family on the block moves in.  At first, a fence separated the donkey from her future herd, as she was suffering from a severe case of despondency after losing her sheep flock.  It took weeks to get her to lift her head high and bray when she wanted something.  She was leery of strangers, but gradually, she became more relaxed, letting us pet her muzzle and give her carrots. 

Once she was ready to move in with the goats, they played the dance of familiar strangers; simultaneously drawn to each other and terrified.  Over the years, she forged a strong bond with her herd of goats; at times their cacophonous nature annoyed her, at other times she would protect a doe in labor from the head butts of her fellow herd mates.  She showed her might as guardian when our dog, Blue first arrived at the farm, baring her teeth at the dog, then turning to bare them at the goats to shoe them away from the “predator.”

Jemimah had bad feet when she arrived on the farm, and despite frequent visits from our ferrier, her hooves finally foundered.  She has been stoic throughout her time as our goat guardian.  She has hidden her pain well. However, a visit from the vet yesterday confirmed that her age and her prior living conditions have finally caught up with her.  Tomorrow we will say our good-byes to her, our fuzzy equine with an attitude.  Wes came in from milking this evening, singing this old Gene Autrey song, his homage to our donkey:

There's a gold mine in the sky far away

We will find it, you and I some sweet day

There'll be clover just for you down the line

Where the skies are always blue, pal of mine

Take your time, ole mule I know you're growing lame

But you'll pasture in the stars, When we strike that claim

And we'll set up there and watch The world roll by

When we find that long lost gold mine In the sky,

far away, far away we will find that Long lost gold mine some sweet day

And we'll say hello to friends who said goodbye

When we find that long lost gold mine

In the sky, far away, far away in the sky.  

Jemimah the donkey


Farmers’ Markets

This Saturday, Memorial Day weekend, we will be attending both Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  Cheese and gelato are the perfect foundations for a holiday pick nick or backyard soiree, so let us set you up for a great weekend of eating.  Our raw milk cheeses are on break as we wait for the early spring batches to ripen. However, we have LOTS of fresh and bloomy rind cheeses for you to enjoy:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh, whole milk ricotta
  • Goat milk feta
  • Angel Food
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat

If you’re planning for pie, how about some gelato to top it off? 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Salted caramel swirl
  • Toasted Coconut
  • Green Tea
  • Fresh Mint
  • Rhubarb sorbetto

We’ll also have a few single servings of vanilla, lemon chevre, rhubarb crème and fresh mint. In addition to cheese and gelato, we’ll have salted goat milk caramels, house-made crackers, goat milk soap and a few other items.  Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest farm happenings including Wednesday Farm Open House, Third-Friday Pop-ups and Dinners on the Farm. 

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.