Sunday, October 11, 2009

Goat School Part 2

Today was the second day of Goat School with Jan and Ken Spaulding. We hit the road at about 8:30am after feeding our animals and of coarse making coffee for the trip. There is no Dunkin Donuts between here and Saint Albans. We had a beautiful trip as the sun peaked out from behind clouds. The autumn colors were bright and intense with these bursts of sunshine.

Up and down winding country roads with peaceful views of lakes and woods.

We arrived to a breakfast feast of homemade muffins, chevon sausage and egg bake, coffee, tea, and apple cider. After we ate and socialized with our new friends class began in earnest.
Jan and Ken started with a discussion of vaccinations specific to goats. There is so much information available on the Internet that it is easy to become confused and not know which way to turn. I like to keep it simple. Limit our selections to medications that are specific to goats and are effective in our climate. Jan introduced the class to the vaccinations that goats need on an annual basis. CD&T (Clostridium Perfringens Types C&D with Teetanus Toxoid) is one of the main vaccinations for goats. It protects them against Tetanus and Overeating Disease. Then Jan got on her soap box, literally. She is a strong proponent of providing the correct and necessary nutrition for goats. Not using the same feed for all livestock. Goats dietary needs change through out the year as the season changes, gestation occurs and after delivery.

We welcomed Mr. Andrew Beals, Technical Manager- Speciality Feed for Poulin Grain. He discussed how to obtain a hay analysis, how to understand and apply the information to your herd. We learned how to supplement with the proper minerals specific for goats. Sheep and goats are not interchangeable. Sheep are very limited on how much copper they can ingest, goats need this included in their daily feed. Mr. Beals discussed where Poulin Grain obtains feed components, how the mix is done. I think we may be switching to Poulin Grain in the near future. They work pretty hard to meet the customers needs and provide a valuable service in a rural setting.

All questions were answered and I think we all went away feeling that we had a better handle on goat nutrition.

The weather was cool but not as windy as the previous day. We were all bundled up and sitting in the sunshine.

The farm is located at the bottom of a ridge surrounded with woodlands. It was so peaceful.

Jan works very hard canning all sorts of vegetables from pickles to salsa. She even makes goat milk soap. What a treat to the senses. They sell these items along with chevon, baked goods and cookies at local farmers markets in the area and at the Common Ground Fair. This fair is a unique fair that occurs every year in September. It is sponsored by MOFGA. Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. MOFGA is the oldest and largest state organic association in the country. No midway just agriculture and green technology. Our kind of fair. We love it but didn't get to go this year. We had to work. Next year we will have that weekend off.

Before we knew it lunchtime was here. Again Jan went to great lengths to provide a healthy and delicious menu to please all. We had chevon with cabbage which was a comfort food to warm us

Chevon with noodles in a tomato sauce.

Macaroni with cheese made with goats milk. It was so rich and creamy. Goat milk is an excellent base to start with.

Chevon lasagna. What can I say. It tasted wonderful. No we did not stop with just one. I tried to get a little of everything.

So when desert came, I took a small white brownie. I couldn't hold another bite. There was the goat milk fudge calling to everyone, cake with that bowl of whipped cream. It all disappeared with such speed.
Even the goats were taking it easy in the sunshine.

As promised we got pictures of our new girls. Please meet Isabella, a registered Nubian with long flowing ears. Isn't she a dream? Her personality is as sweet as her face.

She is a rich brown with that typical Nubian nose. I just love those eyes.

This gorgeous lady is Corinna. She is a registered Alpine complete with beard and wattles. Wattles are little pieces of skin complete with hair that are located just under her jaw. They are soft and she looks great with them. Both girls will remain with Jan and Ken at Stony Knoll Farm until the are bred. We didn't think we would have kids next spring. Sophie and Bella are still too small to breed this year. What a treat we will have with new babies.

Alex the Alpine buck was still in a tither over this Toggenburg doe. We were able to observe a breeding at the farm. Time will tell if she took or not. If not she will come into heat again in about 3 weeks. To have milk you must have a baby. That is the goal of this whole process. It's is nature and we try real hard not to make it complicated. Keepin' it simple. We had another question and answer session after all was done. We feel that we left with so many more answers than questions. We may take the class again when we find out that we have so many more questions than answers again. It's a process. Learn, do, learn, do and repeat.

After class we headed over to Skowheagen, Maine where our favorite store is located. Tractor Supply. We needed to pick up a heated water bucket for the goats inside the barn. Our water freezes solid in the winter and the animals must have a fresh, clean, and continuous supply of water. They are not good at eating ice pops. You never just pick up one thing at that store, we also got more goat minerals, new feeding buckets, a big tank water heater for the sheep. New Toys! We stopped at Thunder Road Farm on the way home and got winter squash.

To much to resist. We were exhausted when we finally arrived home. We fed all the animals and tucked them in for the night. I am going to tuck myself in now. And by the way, the acorn squash was so good. Fall is such a comfort time of year. Warm and cozy inside and chilly out. I love Maine. Thank you to all the new friends we made at this years Goat School. We will keep everyone in our thoughts and prayers for a safe trip home whether it was close or far away. With the internet we hope to keep in contact with everyone. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm. Goodnight to all.
Kelly

4 comments:

katiegirl said...

Sounds like another great day! Your goats are gorgeous! Are they going to be bred to bucks of their breed, or will you get crossed babies?

I can't wait for my doe to kid this spring! Good thing gestation is relatively short. I have limited patience waiting on babies!

Peggy said...

Had to shed a tear when I saw your Isabella. She looks just like Diva's daughter Princess Diva. You are going to be so blessed with your goat family. The class sounds awesome!

Eggs In My Pocket / Yesteryear Embroideries said...

Oh, this sounds like such a great thing to go to. If they had goat school here, I would probably be more brave about getting goats. The food sounds delicious! Blessings,Kathleen

Kelly or Alex said...

Katiegirl-The girls will both be bred to Alex-the Alpine buck seen in the picture. The babies will still be registerable. We plan on picking up an Alpine and Nubian buck of our own for next year. I know how excited you are. I feel the same way. I WANT BABIES NOW! LOL
Peggy-You made me cry. We miss you so much. The class was awsome and we feel a little more prepared now. We did mention you and your knowledge in class. You are a treasure.
Kathleen-We jumped in feet first but backwards. Just ask Peggy. She was our phone contact with many questions. When you buy a doe or buck the person you buy from should be your reference person. If not then don't buy from them. Goats are a wonderful creatures. I recommend them highly.
Kelly