Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
It’s been a crazy summer so far and it’s been a while since my last blog! Goat School® here in Maine, was not only successful, but we had a great time!
Even though we had torrential rain on Saturday, our barn was comfy and cozy and our guest speaker, Andrew Beals, from Poulin Grain in Vermont was very informative. Every time Andrew comes to speak about animal nutrition, we all come away having learned something new. He talked about hay to grain ratios and also about the quality of hay and how to tell whether or not your goats will eat it!
Andrew explained how taking a handful of hay from as close to the center of the bail as you can, squeezing it in your hand and seeing how prickly it is can determine palatability. If you can count how many times your hand is being pricked, you can very easily tell how many times your goat is going to feel the same sensations in its mouth!
At the end of the day we traveled a few miles to Cedar Ares Farm in Newport Maine, to visit a licensed raw goat dairy. Our friend, Shawn Donovan, the owner of Cedar Acres Farm, came to Goat School back in 2007 and now has his own thriving business! He machine milks for the most part, he does have a few girls who enjoy being hand milked. We had some very successful “first try” hand milkers! After everyone got a try, our friend, Shawn, demonstrated machine milking. It was a longer than usual class, but certainly a fun day!
Sunday of Goat School® provided much better weather. We were able to get outside and work on some animals! When my good friend Tina showed up with a parcel of little dairy goat kids that all needed to have their bottles, well, what can I say? Everyone had a ball and the babies enjoyed it too! Folks were really surprised at how quickly a two week old kid can down a bottle of milk!
Once Goat School® in Maine finished up; we had exactly a week to quickly get cleaned up, packed up, and hit the road for our 3 ½ day trip to Minnesota.
It was a long drive, but, we, and our dog Jack really enjoyed the trip! Jack sat in the front seat of our truck all the way there and back (he gets car sick in the back seat). He did provide lots of entertainment and we found that he is quite adaptable! He made lots of new friends both human and canine.
Minnesota Goat School® was fantastic. What a great bunch of folks! A beautiful barn was provided by the hosts for a class room and their goats were more than willing to participate.
On Saturday folks got to observe a disbudding demonstration. Disbudding is always informative, but not always enjoyable, especially for the recipients.
Sunday was chock full of information. The host did a milking demonstration and everyone got to try their hand at doing a little hand milking. Later in the day, after demonstrating worming, and giving inoculations, we got on to hoof trimming. Our host, Elizabeth, had borrowed a pretty female Saanan doe that came along with her twin, week old bucklings. This poor doe needed hoof trimming desperately, and after spending a great deal of time on straightening out her overgrown feet. The whole class then got to learn how to trim goat hoofs properly by practicing on cadaver hoofs. This never fails to be a fantastic learning experience.
On Monday a cheese making class was held in the morning, and the attendees learned how to make mozzarella, ricotta, chevre, and feta out of goat milk. The afternoon was spent making wonderful, creamy, white, goat milk soap.
Then it was time to hit the road to home. We decided to take the “scenic route” home and went through the U.P. of Michigan and over the Mackinaw Bridge. For this Maine girl, it was pretty exciting to see three great lakes in one day!
We’ll be home now until mid-September when we hit the road again! Ohio Goat School® is our next destination. If what you’ve read so far sounds exciting and you would like to join in the fun, we’d love to have the pleasure of meeting you in Ohio! For details on Ohio Goat School® in Hillsboro, Ohio on September 21st, and 22nd, with a Soap and Cheese Making Class on September 23rd, please click here!
Can’t come to Goat School®? Perhaps you or your groups might like to sponsor a Goat School® in your area, click here for more details! You can also contact us at 207-938-3714 or email at email@example.com. My husband, Ken, will be happy to provide you with plenty of information to help you out!
Don’t forget, my “Goat School® Manual” and other books I’ve written are available for purchase at our web site www.GoatSchool.com Just click on the Goat School Shop link.