Ami & Her Goats

lessons learned on a little farm

Back for the holidays!

So yes, I have been sorely neglecting this space.  I have so much to talk about!  But I’ve been working hard to get all the soap ready for several Winter markets this year- the first of which is this coming Saturday, Nov 30!

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This market will be the launch of our new holiday soap that is scented with cinnamon and clove.  It’s guaranteed to wake and warm you on cold winter mornings!  We’ll also be offering a new way to gift and enjoy your Bay Buck Shaving Soap- in neato 8 oz. silver tins, perfect for use with your shave brush.  No mug needed!

Hope to see you at this fabulous new event, hosted by Bust Magazine and The Basilica.  There will be plenty of regional farm goods and crafts to explore.

farmweather:

Obviously an old photo. But these two. Man. Elvis saved Cy’s life last night. The goats have been pastured far up the mountain this week, happily browsing through the forests understory. Luke awoke in a panic at 2am though to Elvis’s ferocious and panicked howling.  A chorus of screaming goats accompanied his bark. We immediately put on our clothes and darted outward. It was instantly clear as we got closer that one goat was in serious trouble. Very luckily, it was not a predator, but Cy had slipped on some rocks it seemed and fallen through the electric fence, and in a panic had completely entangled herself. It is terrifying to think what we might have discovered in the morning had Elvis not woken us up.  In the dead of the night we herded the goats back to the barnyard. Other than a bruised shoulder she seems to be ok, but was not content lying anywhere in the barn except near Elvis. We are quite lucky to have such a family of creatures. 
And in case you still are not convinced that Maremma’s are not some of the most interesting and cool creatures out there - check out this article about them reviving a flock of endangered penguins in Australia. 

An amazing story demonstrating how a guardian dog did his job, and saved a goat in a far pasture.

farmweather:

Obviously an old photo. But these two. Man. Elvis saved Cy’s life last night. The goats have been pastured far up the mountain this week, happily browsing through the forests understory. Luke awoke in a panic at 2am though to Elvis’s ferocious and panicked howling.  A chorus of screaming goats accompanied his bark. We immediately put on our clothes and darted outward. It was instantly clear as we got closer that one goat was in serious trouble. Very luckily, it was not a predator, but Cy had slipped on some rocks it seemed and fallen through the electric fence, and in a panic had completely entangled herself. It is terrifying to think what we might have discovered in the morning had Elvis not woken us up.  In the dead of the night we herded the goats back to the barnyard. Other than a bruised shoulder she seems to be ok, but was not content lying anywhere in the barn except near Elvis. We are quite lucky to have such a family of creatures. 

And in case you still are not convinced that Maremma’s are not some of the most interesting and cool creatures out there - check out this article about them reviving a flock of endangered penguins in Australia. 

An amazing story demonstrating how a guardian dog did his job, and saved a goat in a far pasture.

Available Oberhasli goat kids!

It’s been so long!  I’ve been working hard at getting these goat kids raised up big and strong.  And now that they’re down to one feeding a day, it’s time to find wonderful new homes for them.  We have a big goat family here, and as much as we’d like to we can’t hold onto everyone. 

This is Paprika, a doeling, and she is standing in front of her brother, Pepper.  Paprika is very pretty and spritely!  Pepper is a loving boy with a great personality.

This is Cricket!  She is sweet, loving, smart as heck and has a beautiful long body and straight back. 

Doelings are $300 and the buckling is $200.  All have been disbudded and will come with ADGA paperwork, CDT shots and wormed.  If interested, please send me a message!  Please be in NY or surrounding states, as we will not ship.

You can find out more about the Oberhasli breed here.

It turns out that being materialistic makes us bummed out, disconnects us from nature, and engenders less empathy in us.

This is a great little vid about the consumerist dilemma we face and how we can counteract that (read: own more goats).

The High Price of Materialism (by centernewdream)

Even strong, seemingly together people have private strife. Nothing is as perfect as it seems. You make the best of what you’ve got, work hard, follow your passions instead of your ego, and tell a good story- a story of strength. Stretch out your neck and prick up your ears!

Today I took my time milking the goats, letting them eat the long grass along the way, stroking their cheeks, leaning my face into their bellies, admiring their straight backs, long legs and graceful faces. I want to believe today is the beginning of something. It’s easier when I watch these animals, who live by the seasons and let the time pass easily, without a desire more complex than to eat, lay in the sun, and drink water in big gulps.
 
 

The Skipping Goat kids go outside in the yard for the first time to play some tag.  This video might make you a little dizzy! 

They encountered a group of chickens who were mutually displeased about the newbies.  Their parents lined up on the fence to watch as they played chase and stepped in snow for the first time.

Hug a Goat Farmer (or Any Other Farmer For That Matter…)

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Regretfully, whenever I have to say that I cannot attend an event, or meet a friend or come to a party because I need to go home and milk my goats, I next feel the need to explain that this is not a ridiculous brush-off.

Likewise, trying to explain to people what it is like to work at getting a handmade goats milk soap business off the ground so you can pay off your student loans, put a family room addition on the house, or just take a vacation once a year (but never during kidding or milking season) is very difficult.


When you tell a new friend, or even an old one that remembers how you used to love to dance/eat out/drink Kir Royales during Saratoga Racing season, all that your after work life entails, their eyes glaze over.  Tell a stranger that you have a herd of dairy goats and they think you are a “weekend farmer” or one of those 4H people that go to the county fair once a year.

Raising goats for milk is year-round work.  It requires daily attention and close monitoring to do it well.  It requires continuous investment.  Even if you’re not a certified dairy - which means opening up a whole world of paperwork, state testing, expensive machinery and meticulous cleanliness - I still consider it important business.  Because you are doing something to be self-sufficient and ecologically efficient.  You are either providing food for yourself and your friends, or goat-scaping property until the tick population or brush fire risk declines dramatically, or making soap and lotions, and other useful things.  You are saving money on gas and carbon emissions, because you’ll be too busy taking care of the goats to go to the movies or take a day trip.  You’re investing in some animals and doing your freaking part to reclaim that feeling of living by the seasons, valuing something you can’t buy on Gilt, and enjoying the simple pleasure of a day’s hard work.  I hope you own a heating pad.


I have so much respect for full-time goat farmers.  That’s an even tougher job that my 40 hours at day job + 3-4 daily hours of home dairying.  Full time goat dairying is a day and night job.  It’s a blood and sweat and tears job.  A friend of mine has a goat dairy and cheese making business and I still shudder when I think about the time she told me her regular schedule meant doing 2 am milkings.  Whoa.  Add children under age 3 to the mix.  My mind was just now blown all over again!

Also, during kidding season, goat owners are known to sleep in their goat barn overnight, just to make sure everything is ok.  In JANUARY.  In Minnesota.  True story.  That was almost me this year, in February.  It was every bit as cold as January.  That is dedication, not weekend farming.  It’s a little more than a hobby, in my opinion, even if the tax man doesn’t think so!

I think what I am trying to say is that every effort deserves merit, whether it be growing an impressive vegetable garden, erecting a hoop greenhouse, marketing your own natural skin care products, keeping alpacas (they are cute, eco-friendly, provide wool AND poop in one designated pile.  Easy clean-up!)  These things take major resources and require work every day, not just on the weekends.  Applaud and respect your farmer friends, even if you think it’s a little silly! 


We’re seriously in danger of succumbing to factory farms for our main vegetable and fruit sources.  Aside from being very sad, this brings a lot of other trouble with it.  What the world really needs right now is a bunch of young people making farming look good and viable while they’re breaking their backs at it.  Hug your farmer friends and go visit them with snacks and cold drinks and maybe a helping hand (as long as you aren’t a pest or want to talk about relationship problems while digging.)  They may not have time to come to your event, your dinner, or your party during the busiest season, but they surely miss and love you.

By the way, I repay kindness with soap and chevre. 

Anonymous asked: I have been on the search for a small milking momma goat..I have a 4 month old daughter who is allergic to all the formulas out there. We were going to buy powdered goats milk and make homemade milk for our baby...but we have wanted a goat for a few years now and how ironic our little one could use a pet goat to provide her with food...we were going to get a few babies when just shopping for a pet but now we are looking for a goat that is producing milk already...

Hi there!

We only breed as many goats each year as we can handle at milking time (my husband and I both work full time in addition to our dairy).  I’m not sure where you are, but every year, local goat dairies sell milking goats when they need to reduce their herd size.  I would search for a cheesemaker in your area and inquire!  We will have two doelings for sale so far this year, so if you are interested, please let me know.  They come from excellent milking lines and would make fabulous family milkers.  But they won’t be able to be bred until at least next year.

Good luck!

Ami