This past week has been full of good news from women I love.

First, some of you may recall that three summers ago, I took my daughter on “the last mother/daughter road trip before my daughter starts to hate me because she’s a teenager and I’m her mother.” I’m so glad we took that trip, because as any parent of a teenage girl who looks 21 will know, the past three years have been full of slamming doors, broken curfews, smashed hollyhocks (which had the misfortune to grow directly under the bedroom window of which she routinely snuck out), and of course, boys. And more boys. Did I mention boys?

In good news, my daughter is now almost 17, has settled down a bit, and seems to be past most of the rocky spots, except when it comes to driving fast and furious (she’s one ticket away from having mom as chauffeur) and I’m hoping (fingers crossed) we’re on the road to a really good relationship. In fact, when I mentioned this might be the last mother/daughter adventure we take because she’ll soon be going to college, she informed me she would never be too busy to take a road trip with her mama. I’m taking that as a very good sign (again, fingers crossed).

Landmark Creamery Nuage Noir.
Photo by Anna Thomas Bates

The second good bit of girly news comes from Anna Landmark, who this past week quit her day job and launched Landmark Creamery (woot woot)! Anna’s been working to attain a cheesemaker license since earning the 2012 Wisconsin Cheese Originals Beginning Cheesemaker Scholarship.

She”s now making her sheep’s milk cheeses at Cedar Grove Cheese full-time and has reached the stage where she’s ready to start getting her cheese into the retail arena. She’s even taking orders from individuals through her website, At the moment, she’s only selling in the Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago areas, but will hopefully be able to ship nationwide by next March.

Congratulations, Anna! You go, girl.

Sarah Pinet with her teenage doelings.

The third bit of girly good news comes from Sarah Pinet in western Nebraska. When Sarah found out her favorite mother/daughter duo were staying in a cabin a mere three hours north of her farm, feeding the “wild” burros in Custer State Park, she messaged me and invited us for a visit.

So we trekked down to the picturesque Victory Hill Farm and hung with Sarah, her husband, Lee, their three children, 39 milking goats, 12 doelings, two sows, one boar, three piglets, two calves, two horses, one pony, two dogs, four cats, numerous chickens and two kittens that I had to persuade my daughter not hide in the backseat and take home with us.

Meadowlark Reserve

Sarah is making a whole line of goat’s milk cheeses, including fresh and flavored chevres, feta, a 6-month cheddar she calls Meadowlark, Beer Cheddar (washed in Fat Tire), a gouda named Goldenrod, and my favorite, a 2-year gouda named Meadowlark Reserve.

We got the full tour of the milking parlor she designed based on Anne Topham’s set-up, the creamery, based on Diana Murphy’s make-room (see a pattern of Wisconsin-inspired cheesemaking here?) and the barnyard, complete with three giant pigs which promptly climbed out of the mud pit, shook every bone in their body, and completely splattered Avery and me with dark oozy gooey chunks. With a look of horror on her face, Sarah immediately started apologizing and shepherding us into the house to clean up, to which my daughter proclaimed: “That was awesome!” Ahh, that’s my girl.

The offending pig.

So all in all, I’d say it was a pretty good week for us girls. A road trip with my daughter, a week away from my desk, and a cooler full of cheese to put in the fridge when we got home. Win-win!

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