Friday, December 27, 2013

Owl Tree Farm: Goats!

November 2010: 

We had moved here to the house and land because we wanted to stretch our legs, grow more of our own food, and maybe have some chickens. We hadn't thought much about anything more than that, but once the little seed was planted it was all we talked about. We discussed and researched all kinds of livestock and weighed the merits of each. I spent the winter daydreaming about Spring and the future farm. The daydreaming turned to planning and we decided to build a barn.

July 2011:  

In the spring I pointed out a barn whose shape I liked. I then added that it had to be red and have white Xs on the doors. It was my idea of the perfect barn. My husband sat down and taught himself to use a CAD program and drew up some plans. It looked small on paper. 

During one of the hottest summers on record (with the help of our parents) we built a storybook barn...shiny red, with white Xs, and a hayloft too. 

In the meantime, we had settled on raising dairy goats. They are gentle on the land and would give back in milk, yogurt, cheese, and soap. We found a Craig's List ad for Nubians and the farm turned out to be just around the corner. We fell head-over-heels in love with the Nubians...gentle girls with long, floppy ears. We picked two girls they had named Isis and Floppy and renamed them Ruby and Fanny. We began to dream of a whole herd of Nubians.....

Ruby and Fanny

Ruby and Fanny settled into the otherwise empty barn, but we found them reluctant to venture out into the pasture or up to the trees. Most days I walked them up to the trees to browse and finally starting taking a chair and a book with me. Watching the girls browse was (and still is) one of the most peaceful things I do on the farm. After a couple of weeks, we decided that two goats was not a herd and we called the other farm. She had no other Nubians for sale, but she did have a cross between Nubians and Mini-Manchas. Now, at the time we were very opposed to the little LaMancha elf ear (we can talk more about ears later), so we chose two girls with "airplane" ears. Gypsy was the same age as Ruby and Fanny, but Vaca was a year older and she became the herd leader and guardian.

Gypsy and Vaca

For the next few months, we learned all we could about goats... We still spent a lot of time "up pasture," but Vaca led them out and watched over them and everyone quickly settled into a routine. It was sometime during this fall that we realized our "mistake"...we would need a Nubian buck AND a Mini-Mancha if we wanted to close our herd and breed our own girls.

There was more dreaming and planning. Another barn, smaller this time, was built and in the Spring of 2012 we added bucks to the herd. 

Stay tuned for the next post: All about Bucks and Boys!

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