Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Goats are cool too

Alas with all of the piggie drama of late, I feel I have neglected to mention the other (and more numerous) residents of the farm. That would be the Goats. But how did we become Goat farmers? Can you tell another picture loaded adventure is about to be written? LOL. I'll keep this one shorter than the Hog story.
So in 2008 we bought the farm. In this case literally. It had been unoccupied for about a year and lets just say the level of maintenance had slipped a little in the previous couple of years. The house, garage and machine shop were in fine shape to be sure. Irrigation system worked great (ton of water, nice buried lines, piles of pipe). But the fields? Ummm...well you can see below what it looked like when we got there. And I did have to upgrade the old tractor from the 1947 Fergusson seen below to a newer (and more powerful) Kubota.

Wild America!How's this thing work again?What is that in the distance?
So first order of business once the wilds were properly tamed was to get some animals. The Mrs. wanted Goats. You can milk them to make cool stuff like soap, cheese and (of course) drinking milk. She REALLY wanted to make cheese. In fact today, as of this writing, she is bringing me some of the first batch of home-made-goats-milk motzarella. She says it's amazing. Where was I again...oh yeah, getting goats. So the Mrs. knew this lady (Kim) who made goats milk soap at the Midnight Oil Soap Company who was in the market to get rid of some surplus dairy goats. Kim makes great soap, I highly reccomend it. I use it on a daily basis. Good stuff.

Well we went out to Kims place and made off with Miracle and Lily, a mother-daughter pair of pureblood Nubians. With some top-notch dairy goats, our herd began. We also managed to abscond with some three wethers ("fixed" male) Nubians as well. Well I am not one to be out done, and surely two goats were not enough, so I went on the hunt for some meat goats. I scared up a couple of Boer ladies, Madras and Blanca. Dissapointingly, Blanca is destined for the freezer and not the breeding herd. Madras was the one I originally selected (she is a massive girl) and in hind sight I should have stuck with my first impulse and not picked up that second critter just because it "seemed like a deal." *sigh*

But not to be deterred, and seeing another screaming deal of a herd reduction sale in the paper (how many goats do we need?) The Mrs and I were off in search of more goats. Well we picked up some more Boers to breed. We need to stock our freezer and there is something of a growing market for grass fed goats. Enter Swiss Miss, her kids and the very pregnant Frosty (who has kidded Jack Frost and St. Nicholas since we bought her).

The Swiss Miss

So that's it. Well, almost. We're shopping for a buck this weekend. We have bred the Nubians to a local fullblood/pureblood buck and should have more kids this spring. Lily is getting quite large. Once we have our own buck, the herd will close. We'll probably pickup another buck so that we have a couple of crossable lines, but from then on the flow will only be animals out of the herd, primarily as food. We'll see what Lily and Miracle produce as we may have some marketable bucks. And that's how we became goat people.

Now for a pointless shot of my last trip to Puerto Rico. The Mrs and I had a great time. First went there for work, and had to go back for fun. Old San Juan is amazing. Sunday brunch at The Cafe Berlin. I highly reccomend it. I could trade today's 32F and clouds for this any time. Hope it makes you warm inside :)
Nice, eh?

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