Saturday, December 4, 2010
We Love Our Goats - Our Goat Story
Years ago I experienced the joy of owning a small herd of dairy goats. Circumstances and life took me down other paths that goats weren't possible in my life. But, what did happen is that goats got in my heart. They have this way of doing that. . . getting in your heart.
So, when the opportunity came to rent the house on Cactus Rd. and lease the land - the possibility of having a few dairy goats seemed more like a reality. We spent many many months in preparation - building, tearing down, putting up and cleaning out the spaces on this property to not only house our dairy goats but to reclaim the land to be the farm/ranch it used to be years ago.
In the meantime with all the building, planting, etc. I'd spend time searching online for 'our' Nubians. I wanted Nubians because I think they are adorable with those long ears and I liked the butter fat content they produced.
My search took me to Kathryn and David's ranch in Show Low - Black Mesa Ranch. Michael didn't fully understand (yet) my love of Nubians and he was so sweet to just go with it. After many conversations with Kathryn about our needs and goals we settled on Lavender and Cinnamon knowing they'd be perfect for our suburban farm here in Scottsdale.
During this time, I started researching and reading and talking to other goat owners. Michael and I needed to go into this new adventure in becoming goat herders with a little bit more confidence.
So, that led me to a few conversations with Rhonda Crow of Crow's Dairy. In April, the Crows were so kind to invite Michael and I out to Buckeye to their dairy for a visit. It was an invaluable visit with a little training session and what that has turned into a precious friendship for Rhonda and I. I call her my "Goat Mentor." In our opinion, Michael and I think that Wendell and Rhonda are two of God's very best and their cheese is the hit of this town - being sold in many restaurants and farmers markets. They've recently even opened up the dairy to the public for tours. Go here for more info on Crow's Dairy tours.
In May, I started ordering goat management supplies along with the milking equipment we'd need. We also took a two week trip to India to visit friends and attend a wedding.
I also took a quick trip to Pdx to visit our daughter and three incredibly amazing grandchildren. Goats require a commitment and I knew that once our girls came to the farm, I'd be limited on the time to get away.
While in Portland, I also bought seeds. . .
. . . and books on cheese. . . and then finally the day came in June we headed up to Black Mesa Ranch to pick up Lavender and Cinnamon. . .
. . . and spend a bit of time with David and Kathryn . . .
. . . totally enjoying these two amazing people and of course David's cooking.
Uh....it's not advisable to wear flip flops around a bunch of goats.
A highlight of the trip to Black Mesa included seeing the last of David and Kathryn's does kid. Amazing.
Michael had never milked a goat before and so here's his first 'training' session milking our Lavender.
It was quite an interesting trip home. It's about five hours from Scottsdale to Show Low and when you have two goats in the back of your van - you have to go really slow. I became the designate driver and Michael sat in the back with the girls who flagellated all the way home. I never laughed so hard in all my life.
There's this strange thing among goat lovers. It's hard - really hard to have just two (you must have two - goats are herd animals and would be horribly unhappy being alone). It didn't take long before I returned to Black Mesa Ranch web site to see if Kathryn had any other does for sale. She did and it was fairly easy to convince Michael that Storm needed to be at our farm.
In the beginning of September, Marie and Charlie came to the farm too. Both are amazing Nubians and were loved immediately.
And, now the rest is history. . . we are hopeless goat lovers, love goats milk and the cheese Michael makes. Goats aren't just a "Lylah" thing - they're an "us" thing. They've gotten in Michael's heart just as much if not more so than mine. He's the one who gives them their cookies and massages their backs and talks to them.
It's now breeding season for us and many goat owners. And so I imagine this is just the first of many goat stories we'll get to share with you.