Saturday, October 10, 2009

Goat School 2009 Part 1

This morning we got everyone fed and out where they belong early so we could take off for, Yes.....GOAT SCHOOL! We have been waiting for this since Lisa from pinkporches.blogspot.com
told us about a Goat School that she had attended recently. She highly recommended it for us. It was only about an hour away in Saint Albans, Maine. It is put on by Jan and Ken Spaulding at Stony Knolls Farm. They have been in the goat business for 21 years and are very knowledgeable. Not only are they knowledgeable, but they share this knowledge. They have an informative website Mainegoats.com . We signed up immediately. Today was the big day. The weather was cool this morning, the drive was Maine at it's Autumn best. We will take pictures on the way there to share tomorrow. When we arrived we were handed our text book. All good classes have a text book. What a unique name. Goat School.
Janice and Ken work together to present an informative program. Questions are taken immediately. The atmosphere is friendly and easy going. Attendees are as near as the next town to as far away as Shreveport, Louisiana and Georgia. Much time was spent on the basics of goat husbandry and kid delivery. We discussed the different needs of goats up north from their southern cousins. Medications, wormers, disinfectants and sanitizers were all explained at a comfortably level. The class was made up of people from all levels of goat experience. The mix was very nice. We all shared laughter and experiences that brought us all closer.

We weren't the only ones that were impressed with Janice and Ken's knowledge. They were chosen as a feature article in the Nov/Dec issue of Hobby Farms magazine. Although we are not a hobby farm we do find this magazine very helpful and informative. It mostly addresses farms of a smaller scale. Not the big mega farms with hundreds of goats. Our needs are totally different.

Great picture of Ken working with one of their Boer goats. They have both Boer and several breeds of dairy goats. Boer are short stocky meat goats. They have a very laid back personality.
For lunch Janice prepared dishes that featured chevon. There was stew, chili, lasagna, corn chowder with goat milk. Baby greens salad with feta cheese.

I had my very first taste of goat milk. I didn't know what to expect. It was mild, fresh and clean tasting. I was greatly impressed.
Janice served milk from different breeds allowing us to taste the difference in the butterfat content of each. It was nice having milk to go with the goat milk fudge. Wow what a wonderful combination.
There was apple crisp and whipped cream to die for. I had to stop with the fudge. It was very sweet.
We got a chance to visit with the goats. They all seemed very happy and well cared for. All of their needs were met. The had free choice of hay in this centrally located hay feeder complete with roof to keep the hay dry.

Romance was in the air between this young buck and his beautiful doe. He is young and his hormones were raging. Not unlike young love in the human world. They kind of acted the same. Jumping around, trying to show off and impress the girls.

The Oberhasli were taking it easy in the barn. They are quiet and peaceful goats.

Everyone wanted to get into the picture. They want love and kisses. Such sweet beings. Just look at those eyes and I swear she is smiling.

This beautiful Saanen was all about getting a close up. Very close! See my beautiful nose? Give me kisses now.

This Sable has quite a personality. She is all that and knows it. Can you tell what she is thinking? Yea, just get a little closer.

One of our favorite breeds is the Nubian. They have the most lovely ears. It makes you just want to kiss their noses and rub their ears. And they don't mind at all.

Janice and Ken went in depth about trimming goat hooves. This is a very important aspect of goat care. If trimmed too close the goat can become lame and very painful. They brought in Caribbean, otherwise known as Beanie. She has such a peaceful and loving personality. She stood very still in the fitting stand for the hoof trimming demonstration.

Janice showed how to trim and inspect the hooves for any problems.

Then they provided the cadaver hooves for students to work on. No harm to live goats. What a great experience. Gloves were provided. Thank You.

The afternoon was another treat. We had a chef from The New Forrest Institute come and prepared 2 dishes on the grill. The first was garlic goat sausage on french bread with an oil cured black olive tapenade. It was a nice blend of salty from the tapenade with a rich meaty garlic flavor.

The second dish was Capra Scottadito (grilled goat chops). Scottadito means "finger burning" in Italian. Refers to a joke that in cooking the chops they are so good that you would risk burning your fingers snatching them from the grill. Not an off description either.
We head back tomorrow for day 2. More pictures to follow. Oh and guess what. We bought more goats. Yes, we will have two beautiful girls after they are bred late next month. We will be welcoming Corinna, a registered Alpine and Isabella a registered Nubian. I will have pictures. Somehow I took pictures of every other goat except the girls. They are beautiful. I got to milk Corinna for the first time today. It is harder than it looks. I will have to practice and build up my finger and forearm muscles. We have to get going on a milking stand. We have to train Bella and Sophie to eat in the stand and be still for milking. Hahahahahahahaha......hahahahahaha. Yea right! I can just see it now. Oh, what have I done with the spoiled children? See you tomorrow with family photos. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.
Kelly & Alex
















9 comments:

Farmgirl_dk: said...

WOW! So much cool stuff. I wish they had a school like this in our area. All the goats are gorgeous!

Becky said...

How exciting! It looks like such fun and great information! I love goats and would love to have them again one day.

katiegirl said...

Looks like y'all had a great time! It's great that they hosted such an informative and hands-on class!

So, out of the different milks, which was the best?

And I can't wait to see pictures of your new girls!!

MarmiteToasty said...

Dam, I nipped over from 'basiclivings' blob.... and now Im bloody hooked on yours LOL...... just enjoyed a mug of tea and a right proper scroll back and read and read.......

I can live my dream through yours and basics blobs now :)

x

Kelly or Alex said...

Farmgirl- If you ever want to fly over for goat school you are welcome to stay with us. We have 6bedrooms. The school is wonderful. We feel so much more confident in feeding and treating the girls now.
Becky- We love them too. What more can you say. They are beautiful creatures.
Katiegirl- Yes, we want to do it again so we feel even more confident. Plus Jan and Ken are always available as a resource when you "graduate" from goat school. I personally liked the Nubian the best. They have a higher milk fat. The mixed milk from all the breeds seemed to be the hands down favorite.
Marmite Toasty- Welcome, we are so glad to have you. Welcome to Maine, paradise to all us here.

Thank you to everyone for reading and posting comments. We love to hear from you. Stop by and sit a spell. (not Maine talk) LOL.

Martha Ann said...

Thank you for the wonderful post. We wrote about it at http://allthingsgoat.com/2009/10/goat-school/.

Here's hoping your windows are tight and your wood laid in.

Martha Ann

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Aw, thanks for the invite!
So you all don't mind the occasional unknown blogger showing up and "staying a spell"? :-)
(careful what you offer!) lol

MarmiteToasty said...

Oh I spent most of the summer of 2007 in Maine :) I know its Paradise, and I would move there tomorrow if it was possible... I fell in love with Maine lock stock and barrel :)

x

Kelly or Alex said...

Martha Ann- Thank you for the mention on All Things Goat. That was great and unexpected.
Farmgirl- No worry. Don't you know that in Maine kids receive their first fire arm at the age of 5. Everyone is armed. LOL
Marmite Toasty-Come any time. Maine has so much to offer. We may be a poor state but a truly blessed one.