There comes a time in (almost) every goat farmer’s life where you need to bite the bullet, dive in head first… and buy a buck. After three years of owning goats and two seasons of borrowing bucks from friends’ herds, it was time for us to go shopping for our own leading man. It’s a big deal! A buck is half of your herd! I really didn’t want to screw the pooch on this one. So I did my research, gave it a really good thought, did some math (!!!!), then did more research and more planning. But then it came time to go shopping for our buck. Two weeks ago, we brought him home. His name is Humphrey Bogart (Bogey), our first leading man, and he’s amazing. Let me introduce you to him and walk you through the process of buying our first buck.
Welcome to the recap for our first live facebook broadcast! Something that will be henceforth be known as Such and Such LIVE! Episode… whatever. Or at least until we come up with a better name. After each episode we’ll do a show note/recap on our blog so you can get more information! Without further ado, here’s what you missed:
Kidding season is almost here! We have three girls due beginning-middle April. This year will be our second season kidding and milking. I miss the anticipation of kidding. I miss the smell of fresh goat kids (they smell like vanilla milk). But most of all, I miss milking! It’s my favorite “chore” around the farm. I also miss opening up the fridge to see a shelf full of fresh milk. But mostly, milking is the shiz. I put in my headphones, listen to a podcast or audiobook and head out to the barn to see my girls patiently waiting for me. One by one, they walk up to the milk stand and I get to spend lots of personal one-on-one time with each of my girls. My cold hands on their warm udders, the sound of their breathing and ruminating bellies next to my cheek. Then marching out of the barn with a pail full of liquid gold. It’s like carrying a trophy back into the house every morning. I am the milk maid victor!! But there’s a lot more that goes into milking. Cleanliness, feed control, blah blah blah that you don’t always hear about when you’re getting ready for milking for the first time. So today, I’m going to fill you in on my all natural milking supplies that I use for my girls. First of all, I like raising my goats as naturally as possible. Meaning, I give them herbal dewormers and tinctures when they need medicine as a preventative and treatment. If those don’t work or something serious happens, I go ahead and use regular medicine. When they’re in milk and I’m milking them, everything that happens from start to finish is all natural as possible. After all, you are what your milk… consumes. That doesn’t really apply. But when milking, I like to use as few chemicals as possible to ensure the best possible, farm fresh, most delicious, all natural goat’s milk as possible. So let’s start from the beginning.
I know things have been quiet over here on the blog and social media. Why? Well because it’s finally fall and most days (and nights) are spent outside enjoying this beautiful fall weather we’ve been having! I feel like this entire spring/summer season has been one long marathon and fall is finally our finish line. It’s that perfect time of year in between extreme chaos and hibernation. But that doesn’t mean we’ve all been lollygaggin’ and jumping in leaf piles. Maybe some of us have. Certainly the dogs have been. Fall is the perfect time for reflection and construction and both of those things have been happening. Here’s a little catch up on some of our fall activities and one new adventure that I’m about to start (hopefully with all of you!).
Goat’s milk. It’s what dreams are made of. It’s everything I dreamed of when we started raising goats almost two years ago. Well, that and lots and lots of cuddles. And goat kids. Really, goats are just the best. But the reason why we started raising goats is for goat milk and goat’s milk products. About a month ago we finished drinking our last gallon of store bought milk and started milking our first freshener does, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. More on the joys of milking goats later. But ever since then, our fridge has been full of delicious goat’s milk. Once we started getting milk in larger quantities, our eyes widened with all the possibilities of what we can do with goat’s milk. Homemade greek yogurt, homemade ice cream, soap, butter, and cheese! In fact, I started a pinterest board dedicated to goat’s milk products and recipes. Honestly, I’ve been practically standing on my milk stand, preaching the benefits of goat’s milk to anyone who will listen. But let’s get right down to it. Today we’re talking about reason #459 why farming is awesome. And that’s cheese. Delicious, creamy, farmmade raw goat cheese (also known as chevre).
Last weekend was a big one for us! We started milking our goats every morning and it was Dave’s birthday! Since Dave is a certified and qualified workaholic, getting him to relax and pull himself away from work is sometimes a battle. For his birthday weekend, I tried to equalize his fun:work ratio quadrant. And other.. math related.. stuff. And things. I don’t know. For a while now he has been wanting to build a chute around the goat barn to make our morning milking rodeo a little easier. And he has also wanted to make a pallet fence somewhere … Continued
This past weekend two amazing miracles happened. After months of anticipation and many nights of worrying that I would screw everything up; our goats finally had their babies. Judy’s due date was on Thursday the 14th and Liza’s was on Wednesday the 20th. The day before and the day of Judy’s due date, I checked her over a few times throughout the day. I had heard that first timers usually kid a few days late anyway so I wasn’t all that concerned. But then around 5pm I went to check on her and saw Liza in the corner with babies. Well, so much for first kiddings going a few days late! Liza was six days early. This was the beginning of a whirlwind weekend and our experience of our first kidding with our first fresheners.
A few years ago, I begged and begged Dave to let me get goats. Because 1) They’re adorable and 2) goat’s milk!! But not only that, but goat cheese, goat’s milk soap, ice cream, the works! Eventually he did let me get two yearlings (Judy and Liza) and then a few months later he surprised me with two 1-week old bottle babies. Jump forward to last December when Judy and Liza were ready to be bred. They got knocked up big time by our stud buck, Ridge Runner. And now… they’re a few weeks away from their first kidding. Every time I look at their growing udders I start salivating at just the thought of the wonderful goat’s milk we’ll be getting soon. And of course, beautiful, bouncing baby goats! But the closer that we get to their kidding due date, the more and more nervous I’m getting. What do I need? Are they going to have trouble? How are they going to behave on this milk stand when they don’t even like me touching their belly?! Are the babies going to be ok? Did I feed our does correctly during their pregnancy? How do I actually milk a goat? Am I going to screw all of this up? I’m not going to lie to you guys, I’m really nervous.
It’s all been leading up to this moment, my friends. We got the goats, we built the barn, then we got some more goats. And now it’s time to (finally) breed the goats for the first time. I sat down with Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli and gave them “the talk.” But I wish someone would have given me the talk. Wait! No! Not THE “the talk.” The talk about scheduling goat breeding, what to expect when breeding goats for the first time and then the consequential cloud of goat math that has been following me around for the past few days.
You guys, it’s been way too long since we’ve posted anything decent. Our bad, dudes. Frankly, I’m ashamed and a little sad. But we have a good reason why we haven’t had time to chat. You see, every year the month of May is when we basically disappear off the face of the Earth and continuously work long, grueling hours trying to get the garden in and summer projects completed or started. And we also begin a strict farm workout regimen of dirt and sweat. We’re looking like bronzed lobster “after examples” in medical weight loss ads. It’s great. (PS I will never, ever convince myself in January that I should join a gym. That would be silly.) It’s like the entire month of May becomes farmer hell week. So here’s what we were up to during our month of May.