Cultivating Success™ At Quillisascut Farm

Introduction to Small Acreage Sustainable Farming
April 30 to May 4, 2014 at Quillisascut Cheese Company


Interested in getting your hands in the earth and your feet on the ground? Learn from experienced value-added producers through a hands-on, multidisciplinary, immersion course in small scale sustainable farming!

This course offers a unique opportunity to spend time at Quillisascut, a picturesque goat dairy located 85 miles northwest of Spokane and 45 miles south of the Canadian border. Lora Lea and Rick Misterly, operators of Quillisascut, have been milking their goats and producing their artisan cheese on 36 acres since 1987.

This fun, informative, and inspiring course will give you actual hands-on farm experience while you gain awareness of the skills necessary for successful farming.

Gain experience in:
– gardening
– composting
– building a raised bed
– transplanting garden starts
You’ll also learn about small livestock care, how to milk goats, how to make four types of cheese, and more.

Leave with the skills to assess your farm goals, personal strengths, soils and site, and product marketing models.

Tuition is $895 includes food, lodging, course materials, and farm tours (transportation to and from the course not included). Early Bird Discount $795 sign up by April 1

For more information or to sign up for this course, visit

Or contact Hannah Cavendish-Palmer, WA Program Coordinator at

For more information about Cultivating Success™, visit the website at

This program is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant #2012-49400-19575. To find more resources and programs for beginning farmers and ranchers please visit



A compulsion to collect things that others might throw away.

I don’t think it is a secret that I have an obsession for Q’s. It took hours of looking at web friendly fonts to find the perfect Q for the this website. Sometimes the q theme hasn’t worked out so well. Like when I wanted to spell “kudos” with a q “qudos” for the media webpage (since it links to articles about quillisascut). But mostly people told me I spelled qudos wrong, so I scrapped that idea.

Then there is Quesday, Thank Q, and Qaptivated. Yeah, all a bunch of silliness.

My web guru was pondering what this philia might be called and came up with Qphilia? Qphiliac? as one having an abnormal appetite or liking for q.

This obsession for all things q has grown to include what shows up in nature. It might be an abstract image in the ice on a frozen mud puddle, a round tomato from the garden with a little tail, twirly garlic scapes and twisty chili peppers. For some reason they speak to me in the language of Q.

All these swirls in nature bring a lot of pleasure. No they aren’t all Q’s but they are curly q’s. I hope you lique them, too.

What It’s All About

Today the goats are halfway through kidding. Sixteen girls have had forty kids (eight sets of triplets and eight sets of twins) So far everything has gone pretty well. Except, one of the weaker triplet kids didn’t make it, even with extra nurturing from Rick.

The weather has been fair, no cold or snow during any of the births. Most of them were born during the day. We haven’t had any that required us to stay up late at night waiting for action. (knock on wood)

Our life at Quillisascut Farm has followed this pattern every year since 1982. In early spring our herd of goats kick-off the season of rebirth where light and dark come together and remind us of the fragility of life. Spring is here, kids jumping for joy, new milk, and fresh cheese.

On a connected note, some of you know that Rick has been taking piano lessons and this week he is learning The Hokey Pokey.

The Birds

(Disclamer: don’t watch the following video if you have Ornithophobia.)

Back in the beginning of time, before we moved to this farm, Rick and I spent a couple weeks in San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico. One morning, sitting in the center of town we  heard  a beautiful trill and chatter coming from the trees. There was a flock of “tropical birds” singing a crazy song. Looking up into the trees we could see the birds, they were medium sized many of them had shiny black bodies and bright yellow heads. We were wowed, it seemed so idyllic sitting there in paradise, the sun was out, the birds were singing.

Then one day after we moved to Qullisascut we were outside and heard the same tropical trilling song and realized what we had thought were “tropical Birds” were Yellow Headed Black birds. Here in North Eastern Washington state, we have their black bird cousins, some with red strips on their wings, some all black, and sometimes a visiting yellow headed pair adds to the mix.

Yesterday when I went out it felt like spring in the air, the sun was out, blue skies, mud between the bits of snow and these birds making a bunch of noise. Seems like Paradise.