Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cleaning up the site

{art by }

From the Maiden,

Just a quick note that I am going to be working on an update to the blog and

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Year of the Goat

I have found a kindred spirit in Margaret Hathaway, author of the book "The Year of the Goat - 40,000 miles and the quest for the perfect cheese." I thought this would be the case the moment I heard there was a book out there written by a woman who took a year off to travel the U.S.A. visiting goat farms in order to see if her dream truly was to own goats and make a living as a farmer. I have not been disappointed by the book.

From her initial pie-eyed dreams of living the simple life, connected to the land, to her cheese explorations to her guarded description of a goat sacrificed for a religious meal, I connected with much of what Margaret wrote. I connected even more with her telling her family that she and her boyfriend would survive off of money made selling puppets and her thoughts of a simple marriage ceremony that rapidly grew more unwieldy then first anticipated.

Published in 2007, it is a book that I feel I could have written, and that's not to take anything away from the author. She did write it, I did not. But it was like reading the description of a life I have partially lived, and in the book, I found inspiration to be even more outgoating - that is, to talk even more to the craftspeople and cheese mongers I meet at fairs and farmer's market. To investigate local goat dairies and creameries and cheese makers with abandon and fearlessness.

For those of you interested in examining small-scale farming as a hobby or a life-change, please visit her site and buy her book!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

GOAT PATROL - LA California branch

Award for the best lead in "The hills were alive with the sound of munching!"
Fun blog site here:

There is a newscast video here:

GOAT PATROL - North Carolina Branch

According to the web site, "Goat Patrol offers an environmentally friendly solution to weed and brush problems. Unlike noisy machines and toxic sprays, goats remove problem plants quietly and safely. The herd will happily devour poison ivy, honeysuckle, wild rose, blackberry, kudzu, privet, chinese wisteria, and more!"

Check it out!

(Be sure to click on Meet the Herd - they have some of the cutest mug shots!)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Spanish Goats

A friend of a friend took some time off and went to Spain to tend goats (lucky.) These were some of his goats.


This is Sydney. I met her when I was working at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. She's a character and a hell raiser and I think she's one of the main reasons I ended up so obsessed with goats.

Goat on Wall Street

This was the illustration on the front of the Money & Investment section of the April 3rd 2008 Wall Street Journal. I really didn't understand what the article was about but the headline was "The Auction-Rate Lockout: Values Tossed Around As Individual Investors Can't Get at Their Cash."

Goat Art

I pick up goat art whenever I can. I can't even remember where I got the postcards by Laura Marshall, but I love their whimsey. I believe she is based in Colorado.

The Goat or Who is Sylvia?

Some day, when I have more time, I'll talk more about the goat as a sexual character. Believe me, as I try to build support for goats as grand animals, I get some strange responses, and I think a lot of that is tied to people perceiving goats as somehow being tied to bestiality (people having sex with animals). Well, this play, "The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?" by Edward Albee, may have had a liiiittle to do with that. In the play, a woman finds out that her husband is having an affair with Sylvia. Who is, well, I don't want to ruin it for you (and anyway, it's the sheep that are the kinky ones.)

Goats and Coffee

There is a legend that a monk walked the monistary's goats out into the field one day, and decided to take a nap under a tree. When he awoke, he could not find his goats anywhere. He walked a long way around the side of a mountain and finally found them dancing around on their hind legs as if enchanted! The monk was dumbfounded. He watched in awe, and then he saw it. The goats were munching on berries growing on bushes nearby. He went and chewed a few himself and found them horribly bitter. Still, his head felt lighter, his heart beet faster and he decided to take some back to the monistary. There, he roasted the beans, ground them up and made them into a tea. And coffee was born!

Thank you Dancing Goats!

You can give the gift of goat!

Heifer International is an organization that helps teach people all around the world the benefits of sustainable farming to help alleviate poverty. Its start can be found in a Christian charity when a man sent a boatload of cows to another country to help the poor. Now, people can apply to receive training and animals and in return, they pass on offspring from those animals to another person in need.

For $120 you can "purchase" a goat (or for $10 a "share in a goat") -- and the donation goes to support these efforts. They have also branched out to trees, bees and other farm-related means of helping people help themselves.

A book was even written about Heifer, and even though the group is named after the bovine species, the protagonist animal in the book is ... wait for it ... A GOAT!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Best Pirate / Goat scene ever

Hey look, another goat comercial! Honda

Are goats finally starting to get the attention from Hollywood they deserve? Time will tell.

"Mom" at Grand Lodge

In Oregon (and Washington) there is a strange and beautiful thing called the McMenamins Kingdom. In this vast conglomerate of bars, reclaimed theater and old hotels, exists The Grand Lodge - an old Masonic Retirement Home that has been remade into a hotel / movie theater / restaurant curiosity. At one time, orphans were also housed in this building, but were moved out when they began to annoy the oldies. Still, there exists a painting, emulating a photograph (which I hope to get a copy of sometime to add to my collection of "goat cart pics") of Mom - one of the caretakers of these orphans - riding her goat cart above the lodge. Fantastic. You can buy teeshirts of this, and the image is featured on the Grand Lodge brochure.

Pave D'Jardis

Origin: France
Price: $13.99 / lb.
Description: If you are looking for a clean, somewhat creamy, somewhat crumbly cheese with only a hint of goat flavor, this is the cheese for you. It smells stronger than it is. Coats and melts in your mouth a bit like butter with a very gentle grittiness. I found it described as "fudgy" here which is a good adjective.


I am lucky enough to live just down the street from New Season's Market. Most of the cheese I taste test and review here was bought there.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bok Bock

Beer + Goats = happy Goatmaiden!

Many times, if you are a peruser of beer labels, you may notice a picture of a goat on certain kinds of beers. Examples include:

So - what is Bok (or Bock or Dopplebok) beer? It's a German word and could have originally come from the medieval town of Einbeck, which was known for its brewing. Bocks are high alcohol dark lagers that historically were created by monks (who have a surprising history of brewing - see this link to world famous beer expert - don't laugh at his name - Michael Jackson's webpage) and was a high calorie beverage many times drank during colder months. Bock is also German for a male goat; thus the goat image on many "bock" beers.

- Maibock is a lighter bock beer brewed in the spring (mai = May)

- Doppelbock is a heavier, higher-alcohol beer, considered "liquid bread" by some. According to Wikipedia, the original was called Salvator and so breweries give their Doppelbocks names ending in - tor in homage (such as Celebrator above.)

- Eisbock (ice bock) takes Doppelbock, freezes it, and takes out the water. Wow.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

First inductees to the Goat Hall o Fame

So, my plan. At some point I will have a goat farm. On that farm I'll have some goats, and in the goat barn, I will have, if nothing else, paintings of famous goats. I was in a conversation with people the other day, I think that the first painting I will have to have, and the first inductees into the Goat Hall of Fame will be.....

What do people think about when they hear the word "goat"? Many think of Billy goats, mostly due to this fairy tale. It's a simple tale and, in case you forget it, here's a quick retelling:

"Once upon a time, three brother goats named Gruff awoke and got ready to head off to the green mountainside for breakfast. To reach the very best and tastiest treats they had to cross a bridge. This had never posed a problem for them before, and so when the youngest of the goats raced ahead, his older brothers thought nothing of it.

The little Gruff ran across the bridge: 'trip trap trap trip.' But what he didn't know was that a huge, hungry troll had taken up residence under that very bridge, and so when he heard the hoof-falls of the little goat, he growled: "Who is that trip trapping across my bridge?"

The frightened little goat said , "it is only I, the youngest of the goats Gruff."

"I am hungry and I think you will make a tidy breakfast for me," said the troll.

"Oh no!" said the little goat, "please don't. I am ever so skinny and bony. Wait for my brother to come. He is much bigger than I and will make a much better meal."

"Fine," said the troll, and the littlest goat dashed to the mountainside.

Next came the middle brother. He started across the bridge without a care: 'Trip Trap Trap Trip!'

"Who is Trip Trapping across my bridge?" roared the troll.

Startled, the middle-sized goat said, "it is only I, the second of the Goats Gruff."

"I am hungry and I think you will make a grand breakfast for me!"

"Oh no," said the middle goat, shaking his head, "I am stringy and thin. You want to wait for my oldest brother. He is much much bigger than me!"

"Fine," said the troll, and the middle goat ran up to the mountainside.

Finally, the oldest and largest of the brothers came along and stomped across the bridge: TRIP TRAP TRAP TRIP! The troll's eye's bulged in the darkness under the bridge! He wrapped his sharp fingers around the edge of the bridge and jumped up in front of the oldest of the Goats Gruff. His mouth watered and drool dribbled down his sharp white teeth as he gazed upon the large burly billy goat.

"I am hungry and I think you will make the best breakfast for me!" he bellowed and lumbered towards at the oldest goat. However, the oldest goat was very wise and had dealt with trolls before. He lowered his head and charged the horrible troll. He stabbed him with his horns and dashed him with his sharp hooves and butted him off the bridge where the troll fell to the river below, never to be seen again.

The oldest goat joined his brothers on the mountain side, and together they ate until their bellies grew so fat and round, they could barely walk home again."

*The End*

The story may trace its origin to Norway.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service

MOSES runs an organic university - you can view the online course structure here:

4. Organic Sheep and Goat Production
Whether for milk or meat, full time or part time, small ruminants may be a good fit for your operation. Veterinarian and producer Ann Wells, DVM, and Iowa goat dairy producer, Merle Steines, will share their farm-based knowledge and best practices for successful organic production. Although dairy goats, dairy sheep, lamb and goat meat systems are all unique, there are many commonalities that will be discussed in this session. Ann has had her own sheep flocks and goat herds, and has also done a lot of research and writing on small ruminant systems. She has also done work specifically on meat goats. Merle and his wife have milked a small herd of certified organic goats for over 20 years, and have utilized a wide diversity of markets. General herd and flock management will be discussed, including a look at the elements of successful pasture systems, feeding systems and how to manage your animals’ nutritional needs. Learn about herd/flock size issues and discuss the economics of different types of systems. Explore facilities you may need and various marketing strategies. A good amount of time will be spent on the details of successful reproduction and organic animal health management. Ann will detail parasite management strategies generated from research she has undertaken.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Goat racing!

So I came across some info on goat racing while looking to see where Trinidad and Tobago were on a map. These islands are the home of some carnival festivals leading up to and including Easter. One of the most off-beat is the The Buccoo Goat Race Festival, which takes place on the first Tuesday after Easter. The tradition started about 75 years ago as a grassroots response to the upper-class pastime of thoroughbred horse racing.

This is a really cool pic, although a little large to post here:

In looking for more details about goat racing, I found that in Tanzania, there is a charity goat race that happens in the summer called the Dar es Salaam. To quote the site: "The main point of the Goat Races is the serious business of raising money for very needy causes here in Tanzania. Money is raised through the sponsorship of races, ticket sales, goat buying and betting plus a variety of other generous donations. We are deeply grateful to all those who have contributed. Over the last seven years a total of around $180,000 has been raised to help over twenty different charities all over Tanzania."

The Tanzania fest is in tun based off of the Royal Ascot Goat Races in Uganda The first goat races there were held in 1993 at Kampala Rugby Club. The idea of goat racing was developed from a pig race that had been held in Zimbabwe to celebrate the birthday of a horse breeder who did not have enough space in his garden to hold a horse race.

You should check out their goat info page where you can learn, among other things, that goat meat is not called muchomo (?)

I am still searching for US goat racing. There is a Phoenixville PA race in May that is sponsored by Sly Fox Brewery. The winning goat will have a seasonal beer named after them!

The Falmouth Goat Races legend has it, were started due to a practical joke played on a man by the name of Glen. After Glen lost money at the (horse) racetrack he and his friend joked that since they both had goats, they should just bet on them. His "friend" took out an ad in the paper telling people to call Glen to register their goats for the race. When more than a few people registered, they decided to hold the races to save face. There was also a video made about these races.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I saw a very watchable 1980s cartoon movie the other night called "Animalympics" which was more or less a collection of short sport-centric stories staring animals. Most were pretty humorous including skicap wearing squids from Italy competing in the bobsled and a new-age otter from California in the swimming events (apparently the winter and summer Animalympics happen at the same time.) The most disturbing part was the goofy trippy music video type interludes (such as when a canine downhill skiier gets lost in the mountains and goes to Dog-ri-la.)

There was one main story that runs through the whole movie which follows the competitors of the marathon (which is run over 4 days!) The two main runners are an African cat (cheetah?) named Kit and (ta da!) a French goat named Renae Fromage.

Well, as you can see, the congeniality of the games soon overtakes the two of them and they cross the finish line holding hands - awe!

Note: this movie is featured on this wepbage which happens to be all about cats in the movies! Happy to fill the gap that seems to exist regarding goats in the movies! More to come!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How much is a pound of milk?

I have found a note on this page that an Australian Saanen doe (the breed originally came from the Saanen Valley in Switzerland) named Osory Snow Goose holds the world record milk production of 7,711 lbs in 365 days. Dairy records are usually kept in pounds not gallons so it is helpful to know that 1 gallon equals roughly 8 pounds. Average dairy goats can give 4-8 pounds of milk a day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Goat Supplies

I stumbled across this site :
which has all types of goat dairy supplies while reading , a blog about a city girl who moved
to rural Michigan. A fun read. The caprine supply site has some good tips under their article tab, such as goats will drink warm almost hot water in winter which helps with milk production.

Another farming blog with a sad / telling entry on goats is
- the author describes it as "a beginner's tale of mistakes.

Little Critter Heater
A microwavable blanket designed to raise the core temperature of hypothermic kids. Easy to use: simply remove bags from blanket and micro-wave 1-3/4 minutes. Blanket will reach peak temperature of about 110 degrees and cool down over 45-60 minutes. Reusable, water-resistant, washable, American-made. A must for every barn.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

AFLAC goat comercial

Siletz River Drum

Siletz River Drum

The Little Goat Dairy by the River, River's Edge Chevre, Logsden, OR
Price: $2/ oz. (I bought a $4 drum)
Description: This is a surface ripened cheese coated with a mold-rind which, if you don't mind the slight mildew taste, is very tender and earthy. I would say that the size of drum I purchase (drum just designating the hockey-puck shape) was a little too small. You get too much mold taste and not enough of the creamy white cheese within, which was a little sharp. It may have needed to age a bit more (see their tutorial on how to serve "bloomy rind cheese" here.)

Crescent Dairy Goats

My mom pointed me towards this story. A married couple in New Zealand wanted fresh milk and cows were too big so they went for goats. They started the Crescent Dairy Goat farm. After a while at their farmer's market, the milk customers kept asking about cheese so they tried that. In 2007 they won the best cheese award for all of New Zealand with their herd of only around 20 goats!