Because of the difference in time zones, I went to bed last night not knowing how things turned out for Cullen and the Spinning Spider Starlets. When I woke up this morning, I still didn't know because I was too kind a person to call and wake them up after what I knew was a late night for them. When I finally got Cullen on the phone, I got the news I was waiting for.
BUT, we can't talk about it. Seriously! Cullen had to sign a contract that said he would disclose nothing about his part in the show or any other aspect of the show until after the the pilot had aired and they released him. It was a serious contract. It was one that said he would be sued to the tune of, GASP, One Million Dollars, if he said anything about the show. And there you have it. We will wait until the show is going to air and we'll give all the details so everyone can watch.
Sunday was the day for all parts of this road trip to come together. Cullen was picked up at the hotel at 6 am and taken to the studio. Jeff stayed behind to milk the goats and get them ready for their moment in the spotlight. Cullen's day began with wardrobe, makeup and photos. Then the wait began. He and the other contestants sat in a lobby for hours waiting for their turn. Jeff arrived with the girls at the studio late afternoon, set up their pen and began to do the final grooming. And still they waited.
The nerve wracking part of this for me was that we really had no idea what to expect. Because we didn't know, my worry was about how Cullen was going to handle this. Was he going to be tense? Was he going to experience nervousness or stage fright? Was he going to keep a solid hold on his sense of humor? As many have said, Cullen is pretty much bomb proof and I do know my son, but from my side of the country sitting at home and waiting, the stress was taking me over the top.
Around 7:30, Cullen and the does were on stage in front of a live studio audience. Jeff got to be part of the audience and watch the show. Cullen claimed to be completely calm with no nervousness. The girls played their parts. And then it was over and it was back to reality. Once again, it was time to milk the goats!
The goats seem to be enjoying their accomodations at the ranch in LA. They have big box stalls and plenty of room to move around. Jeff and Cullen are enjoying being able to use the milking machine and rest their hands! After morning milking, the guys headed to the beach to relax, see the sights and put their feet in the Pacific Ocean.
Cullen also spent time today getting his wardrobe finalized and getting the lay of the land. Tomorrow morning, 6 am, he'll be picked up by a driver and taken to the studio for the day. Jeff will be managing the goats and bringing them to the studio for their appearance later in the afternoon. We're all nervous with the so many unknown elements to deal with. LA is truly another world. It would help if we watched reality TV shows and knew a little more of what to expect. Ah well! The most important thing to remember is that we came into this with no expectations other than to have some fun traveling and enjoy the adventure!
It's been a long 4 days on the road but the girls are due to arrive in LA tonight. As they get closer to their stage debut, I thought I'd take an opportunity to introduce the Spinning Spider Starlets.
Bang Bang thinks she should be a bad girl mainly because she thinks anyone named Bang Bang should have a tough girl attitude. Her daddy was a temperamental rascal but her mamma was one of the sweetest big boned girls to ever grace the farm. When all is said and done, Bang Bang takes after her mamma. She's sweet, solid and oh so productive. The only way Bang Bang fits her name is when she sways her big boned body up onto the milk stand and shows what she's really made of. Boom!
Tush and LaGrange were both named after ZZ Top songs. They're the ultimate in Alpine attitude and their tough girl names follow their personalities. They don't take any grief from anyone. Period.
Isitany Wonder and Rebel Rebel are our glam girls. They're young and impressionable and all the while are absolutely certain of their worldliness, as long as they look the part and their costumes are right.
Hot Pants just thinks she's a hottie. Well endowed at an early age, she likes to strut her stuff!
Respect and Koko Blue are a little less hard core than LaGrange and Tush. Their Alpine personalities can flare in a heartbeat when riled. Koko has seen her share of action in the show ring. Respect is an up and coming show girl with a hot pedigree.
Serenity and Strawberry Fields are peaceful, centered Asheville girls just looking for enlightenment. They're not sure what LA holds for them but California is where they're hoping to find it.
Velvet is a Georgia girl and a southern lady through and through. She knows just how a lady is supposed to behave. She's taken charge of Oh My My and is determined to keep her on the straight and narrow in the city of Angels!
Tomorrow the rehearsals begin at the studio. Here's hoping the spotlight shines on all the Spinning Spider Starlets and that Cullen is ready for his role as well.
12 does from Spinning Spider Creamery were chosen to make the trip to Los Angeles in search of fame and fortune. Normally, when deciding which does should travel the long distances to large goat shows, we choose the "fancy" girls. The fancy girls are the ones that have the showy udders, the well proportioned bodies, and the high headed presence that is so appealing in the show ring. But for this trip, a different type of girl was needed. This trip called for the "working girls" to step forward into the spotlight.
The working girls are the money makers on the farm. They literally, are the does that put the milk in the bucket. When it comes to the other points that make a show doe, some of these girls more than qualify. Several of them have gone grand champion, best udder and even best in show. But they still aren't the ones who are normally chosen for the big events. Instead, they're considered the backbone of our family farm.
So how did we choose who got to travel with Cullen and Jeff? We evaluated our does in several categories. The first priority was if we thought they could handle the stress of travel. No prima donnas allowed! They had to have strong, healthy, well supported udders that were not prone to mastitis. They had to have strong feet and legs that could handle the rigours of the road. And of course, we wanted them to look good on camera!
This post was supposed to be the one where we introduce the individual Spinning Spider Goats on their way to their Hollywood debut. Instead, after numerous phone calls with Cullen this morning, I've decided to write about the reality of traveling with goats.
Goats are not the tough cookies everyone assumes them to be. They don't eat cans or laundry (well, they may nibble and experiment!). They aren't even really grass eaters but are instead browsers, preferring twigs and stems to leafy grass. Dairy goats in particular are notoriously tricky to manage. Their relatively small bodies (150-200 lbs) can produce an astonishing 8-16+ lbs of milk a day. That translates to one to two gallons of fluid milk, every day. Their metabolisms are delicate to manage when they are heavy producers. The key is nutrition and minmizing stress. Enter the road trip...
Yesterday found the goats loaded in the trailer and ready to go with fresh bedding, room to lie down, access to alfalfa, fresh water with electrolytes, minerals and baking soda. This morning's milking found one of our does, Serenity, down with hypocalcemia (milk fever). Essentially, this reflects a doe having a problem metabolizing calcium. The solution is to make calcium available to her, get her eating, minimize stress, and give her lots of supportive care. Cullen was able to handle all of this and by the time they were ready to get on the road again, she was on her feet and feeling much, much better. She's not out of the woods yet and Cullen and Jeff will have to stop often and make sure she's holding her own but as things look now, she's doing fine in her own private stall in the trailer, back on the road to LA.
What started as an out of the blue phone call from Fox studios in California has resulted in an extraordinary road trip for Cullen and his copilot Jeff (also known as his dad). About a month ago I received a phone call from a representative of Fox studio, asking if we'd be interested in participating in a reality tv show pilot. I, of course, assumed it was a hoax, but after many conversations, a producer flying in from CA with a cameraman, and money from the studio up front, Cullen is on his way to LA.
Our Family Farm
Spinning Spider Creamery is an artisan goat dairy nestled in a mountain cove on Bailey Mountain in Madison County, NC. Our elevation is high, our air and water are pure and our goats reflect this in their vitality and production. And because of this, our cheese encompasses the essence of our mountain environment.
We are a family farm with our roots in 4-H and homeschooling our three sons. Our family mission is to maintain a lifestyle that incorporates the cycles of the seasons with our love of our animals, our craft of cheese making and our family unity. The entire family participates in the operation of the creamery. The end result is a variety of handcrafted artisan cheeses brought to their fullest complexity of flavors through care and attention to detail in an old world style.
The creamery is operated by our family with help from several employees. Everyone in the family is involved in the day to day operation of the dairy. Chris is the head of the operation. She's the main cheese maker and makes the day to day management decisions on the herd. Milking, chores, and herd maintenance is shared by Sylas (19) and Morgan (14) along with staff. Cullen (22) is currently in college at UNCA but contributes when he's home, especially with decisions regarding the herd and with marketing cheese at farmers markets. Chris' husband, Jeff, is employed full time with NC Cooperative Extension service. When he's not at work, he contributes the equivalence of another full time job building and maintaining the facility and most importantly, marketing cheese on weekends at the farmers markets.