Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lori's Worldview

Yesterday I went to the Western National Stock Show. I go with a friend who used to own sheep so we have a great time drooling over the animals. The sheep dog trials are also a favorite of ours. But yesterday I rediscovered yaks. I enjoyed seeing them last year, but kind of forgot my infatuation with them. They have wonderful fiber, are docile and wonderful animals! I've now put them on my list of animals to own someday. Here is a website if you'd like to know more about them

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Goat Philosophy

There are some rules I've learned over the years - they are rules the goats live by - let's say goat philosophy.

1. Always be very helpful especially when Lori is working in the corral. It is good to learn how to use her tools with your mouth.
2. Always do the exact OPPOSITE of what Lori wants you to do - unless it's part of the standard routine.
3. When Lori is trying to catch a particular goat, ALWAYS run interference.
4. If it is after dark and we are still outside - it is not safe to be put in the barn - RUN

There are some others, but these seem to be the main goat philosophies.

For example, last night as I went out to do chores I discovered that Isabelle (Arlo's grandmother) was in heat - so it was time to put her with the buck (Kendal). Well of course this game that we played for at least 20 minutes involved going around and around the corrals, but never through the gate to get access to Kendal. Isabelle was definitely interested, but I was not going to catch HER! Every time I'd get close enough to almost grab her collar, Arlo would tangle himself in my legs. I finally put Arlo out by the milking stand - which he yelled about, although usually he loves it out there. So then it was Maggie's (Arlo's goat mom and Isabelle's daughter) turn to run interference. She has excellent judgement as to when to dash directly in front of me.....
Finally I turned the whole milk goat herd into the next corral which then lead to a smaller pen next to Kendal. At that point most everyone was just sniffing around in the new area - which allowed me to close a gate and let Kendal in with Isabelle. You just have to be smarter than your average goat.....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I'm Bernedette the Head of barn security - mouse catching department. I don't have much time for this blogging stuff, there are more important things that need my attention. However everyone needs to know about me, in case you come to visit: I like cat treats and goat's milk. But NEVER bring another cat with you. Lori tried to have Nelsen live in the barn - but I made sure to let everyone know that he belonged in the house - not the barn. Nelsen is that cat over there in the picture of Lori's bio. I'm much happier now that he stays out of the barn. I do tolerate Wendy, she cleans the old milk out of my bowl so I can have fresh. Gotta go - there's a mouse under the milking stand.....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lori's Worldview

With the snow falling heavily and not being able to get out of our steep driveway, I think about the Navajo view in the book "Crossing Between Worlds":

"You're not supposed to go anywhere when the winter comes. You're just
supposed to stay home". And then the anthropologists' view "Be nice to live in a
place where the pace of life is supposed to parallel natural and biological

Maybe we should pay attention to this rhythm.

Arlo's Worldview

Hi! I'm Arlo, the exceptionally cute and friendly goat ambassador. I don't really know what an ambassabor is, but my human mom, Lori, says that's what I am. Actually I am very smart - I went to college with my mom for the first two weeks of my life.

So - I hate the snow! And I double hate rain - all goats do, you know. The problem is it's wet! The worst is I have to get wet in the snow, if I want to go out and do stuff with Lori - I decided to stay in the barn this morning instead :(

Here is a picture of me when I was about 6 weeks old. I wish my mom could still hold me like that, but she says I'm too heavy now.

I'll be introducing some of my friends around here as time goes along. Some of the milking goats don't like me very well though, they say I'm a spoiled brat!


I have been reminded by my chore dog, Wendy, that she has not been introduced yet. You can see her face at the bottom of the picture with Arlo.

Wendy is known as "The Great Mouse Killer" she will even dig them out. One time I picked up a 2x4 and four mice ran out, she caught everyone of them!

So a little about Wendy. I found her on a back country road in SE Colorado on New Year's Eve in 1995. She was about a 10 week old puppy at the time. From what she looks like we think she is part Corgi and maybe yellow lab??? She is a stocky, short-legged, 30#, food vacuum.

A couple of years later she crawled into the pig pen to eat food scraps and was almost eaten by the pigs! She had badly crushed femur and numerous bites, but she managed to get away and drag herself across the corral to where I was feeding the goats. Well she healed fine.

We almost lost her this last summer when she developed Cushings Disease, which when given the medication suddenly caused a crisis where she almost died. But thanks to the wonderful vets at Wheatridge Animal Hospital, she is still around and doing better that she had in couple of years. The Cushings Disease actually changed to Addison's disease and is easily controlled.

Wendy lives to help with chores. If I had trained her better, she might actually have been helpful in rounding up the goats - natural Corgi instinct I think. But as it is she tries, and usually does the opposite of what I need....

So some posts will be presented by Wendy, as well as Arlo. In fact there are many voices around here that may want to participate.

That's all for now, it's almost time for morning chores - which today won't be very fun since it's snowing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Making Soap

This is Shannon, one of my beautiful nubian milk goats. Shannon had twins this year: Nellie and a male that we won't be keeping. The kids are definitely old enough to be weaned - but right now I have plenty of milk without adding another to the twice daily milking job.

If it weren't for my "girls" I wouldn't have the milk to make goat's milk soap, which is what I've been doing the last two Saturdays. Soap making is messy and an all day project. It was time however to restock from the holidays. This year for Valentine's Day we have created 3 new limited edition fragrances. As it cured from last week the "chocolate vanilla" turned a dark brown - it looks and smells like a brownie! I'm excited to see how the "chocolate" and "chocolate peppermint" turn out.

We have also added two more fragrances to the list of regulars : "patchouli" and "cedarwood". All the regular fragrances had to be restocked as well.
I will be adding a link where you can order these super moisturizing goat milk soaps.

Thanks for visiting - Arlo says "hi".

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Welcome to the Goat Farm

Happy New Year and welcome to Westfarm Goats new blog. We'll be telling you about the adventures of goat farming and all the products available. Arlo the goat ambassador will be adding his comments every so often as well. This farm is a small, one woman operation so I like the question posed in Barbara Kingsolver's book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"

"Is Bigger Really Better? Which are more economically productive, small
family farms or big industrial farms? Most people assume they know the answer,
and make a corollary assumption: that small farmers are basically asking to go
bankrupt, they're inefficent even though their operations are probably more
environmentally responsible, sustainable, diverse, and better connected to their
communities than the big farms are."

Even though I'm not near as far along in the process of sustainability as I'd like to be, I'm working at it and we dream alot.