Thursday, December 24, 2009


The ever-lovely and so up beat Gavle Boken (the biggest straw goat in Gavle Sweeden-they have two) has burned to the ground!!!! At 3 a.m. this morning local time. So sad! He had a twitter page and a blog this year and he is ever so optomistic, even as his "little brother" was stolen earlier in the month.



Perhaps next year they can sell more baby goats (stuffed versions) so that they can hire more guards to protect him. Ah well. His spirit live on!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Saga of Brett the Goat

In my sordid past, I was a high school student in Winona, MN, and it comes as no surprise that one of the strangest stories to come from the Viking Farve tone poem (sorry!) is out of that river town.

Seems a 21 year old girl along with a dude and a kid went to Tires Plus to get a belt replaced in her car. There, she confided in an employee that there was a goat in her trunk. Not only that, but when the guy opened the trunk, he found the goat was painted purple and gold (Minnesota Viking football colors) and had former-Green Bay Packer-turned Viking Brett Farve's #4 shaved on his side. The goat was only one year old.

Conflicting reports exist as to whether or not the goat was actually going to be sacrificed, but kudos to the repair guy for reporting the incident and rescuing the goat!

First reported in the famed Winona

The goat, now named Brett, is going to a new home. In Wisconsin.

Next up-a report on the "goat sanctuary" (some day.)

12/05/2009 -- UPDATE! Check out this page for information on Brett's home:

Monday, July 20, 2009

House on the Rock

I now work for House on the Rock and thought I'd post some goat-ness from that bastion of eclectic agglomerations:

I'll be on the lookout for more. I'm sure there's one on the carousel. And apparently a goat named Lucifer used to live on the roof of the Mill House.


Swissland Mini-golf

I was very impressed that for the last two Sundays, there have been goat photos in the Wisconsin State Journal. This week it was for Al Johnson's restaurant (which I've already covered in this blog) and the week before it was Swissland Miniature Golf course which I had not heard of. In the article "Charting a Course," the author wrote about the 18 best holes in the Madison area. Holes 2,612 and 10 of Swissland in New Galarus made it onto their list.

Of course, the most important part about this golf course is Hershey and Marshmallow, two goats who live next to the course. I have not visited but apparently you can buy ice cream cones filled with food for them. (Note-New Galarus also hosts Heidi-fest which features goats prominently. I missed it this year, but hope to attend in 2010!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vintage Goat Cart Photos

I just read an interesting article in "Goats" magazine, a special issue produced by Hobby Farms Magazine group. It was about "The Goat Cart Man," name unknown, who was a guy who went around in the 20s-40s with a goat and a cart and a number of banners with the year printed on them. He would pose children in the cart, take their picture and sell the resulting photograph.

I actually have a number of these images, but never thought to look on ebay for others. Lo and behold, there are quite a few, and all very reasonably priced! So if anyone is trying to find that perfect gift for the goat maiden, do a search for "Goat photo," and I would be happy to receive any of them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Goat breaks into home, eats cake

Found on:

Sherry Shirley of Westford, WI, opened the front door of her home to let her dog in when a goat burst into the house, jumped onto a kitchen counter and helped itself to a freshly baked chocolate cake, according to the Dodge County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies responded to a call from Shirley at 11:43 Saturday morning, but a neighbor had already dragged the goat out, patrol captain Molly Soblewski said.

"The goat didn't do a lot of damage. It knocked some dishes to the floor that broke and began eating the chocolate cake she had just made," Soblewski said. Deputies followed the goat's tracks to a nearby farm on Mill Road and Soblewski said the owners of the goat will not be cited.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Vote for a Goat"!

In the Sunday May 3 issue of the Wisconsin State Journal there was an article on "Discovering Brodhead by Bike." Brodhead, a small town south of Madison, hosts a bike and car tour of 5 farms, including goat, sheep and emu farmers. Tour the Farms takes place on May 9 this year.

Of course what caught my eye was the "Vote for a Goat" contest! It is not clear from the article if the contestants are live goats or statues, but you can go to Tinker's Garden and vote for your favorite.

Featured goat farm on the tour is Scotch Hill, which raises Nigerian Dwarf and Oberhasli Dairy Goats;

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Goats on the roof!

In Wisconsin's Door County is a Swedish restaurant called Al Johnson's. On their roof, they have some goats. Now, goats don't normally eat a diet of just grass so I have to assume they are getting browse and other goodies when they come down, but for the most part, they stay up there and amuse the tourists.

The first goat up there was Oscar, placed there as a practical joke in 1973. On the website it states, "Today, there are usually 5-7 goats on the roof daily during the May-October season. They graze during the day and “pose” for pictures by the many tourists who frequent Al Johnson’s. They seem rather unaffected by all the attention and play, eat and sleep on the roof, just like they would back at the farm, where they go every evening. They don’t go up on the roof in bad weather, or cold temperatures, and they work about 9-5 on an average day." Goats are extremely sure-footed due to the fact that most breeds originated on the slopes of mountain sides. Not everyone knows this, as is evidenced by question number seven on their FAQ:


. Do the goats ever fall off the roof?


There is also a Country Market in British Columbia Canada in Coombs (North of Washington State) that has had goats on the roof for about the same length of time.

However, the biggest goats on the roof attraction appears to be a gift shop and emporium in Georgia. It is named, quite unsurprisingly, Goats on the Roof! Why are the goats on the roof? Apparently, according to the website, "Our Tiger Mountain goats are direct descendants of aliens...Tiger Mountain goats cling to the shingles because they are watching the skies for one magical sign: a solar eclipse of the apricot moon, when the constellation Aries turns gold. When that happens, the Mother Ship of the Goat Universe will swoop out of the Northern Sky and carry our goats home to Aries."

No word on if any of this was the inspiration for the board game:

Random goat pics

When people know you are into goats, you get some interesting photos sent to your cell phone! The handsome fellow above is Capricorn, AKA "Cap." He lives under the porch and likes to come out, roam around the shop, and eat sheets of paper.

I am not sure who this is, but he is eating a tin can pie with a newspaper crust. The images was labeled "luckiest goat in the world." I also got another image of him riding a plastic bat through the sky labeled "magical adventures!"

Friday, April 17, 2009

Goat Art!

Click here to bid on a piece of art created by the little goats below:

This is an item in the "Art by Animal II" online auction/art show. Proceeds go to help AZA Accredited zoos care for animals.

Item # 18 – Art by “Breeze and Hailey the Goats”

from Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

The gray blue baby goat is named Breeze. The multi-colored (black/white/brown) baby goat is Hailey. They are 8 month old sisters and are part of the new herd of goats Omaha’s Zoo received in December. They are on display in the Red Barn contact yard in the Petting Zoo.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Midwest Alpaca Show

Is there something like this for goats? I wonder. I would like to go (and use the experience as fodder for an article) but I'll be at the Between the Bluffs Beer and Cheese Fest!

Upcomming Goat Events

Wisconsin Dairy Goat Association Annual Badger State Show
May 16th & 17th, 2009 Portage, WI.
Watch the calendar of events for details.

"Save the Date"
September 12-15, 2010 for the National Goat Conference in Tallahassee, Florida.
Sponsored by the Florida Meat Goat Association.

USDA to launch first national goat study


"In July and August 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will contact randomly selected goat producers in 21 states to participate in the first national study of priority health and health-management issues facing the U.S. goat industry.

Two USDA agencies--the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service--will conduct the study, which will focus on the health, productivity and management practices of the meat, dairy and fiber goat industries. USDA will collect data from producers representing 78.4 percent of U.S. goat operations and 85.3 percent of U.S. goats.

APHIS' National Animal Health Monitoring System, which designed the study and will analyze the data, worked with industry representatives, academia, veterinary representatives and other stakeholders to ensure that the study addresses the industry's priority health issues. The Goat 2009 study has the following major objectives:
  • Determine producer awareness of veterinary services program diseases and describe management and biosecurity practices important for the control of infectious diseases--including brucellosis, scrapie, caprine arthritis encephalitis, Johne's disease and caseous lymphadenitis.
  • Establish a baseline description of animal health, nutrition and management practices in the U.S. goat industry.
  • Estimate the prevalence of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (Johne's disease) infection, internal parasitism and anthelmintic resistance.
  • Characterize contagious ecthyma (sore mouth) in U.S. goats. Determine producer awareness of the zoonotic potential and practices to prevent sore mouth transmission, and assess producer interest in an improved vaccine for sore mouth.
  • Examine factors (e.g., genetic and management) that correlate with CAE virus levels.
  • Provide genetic and serological banks for future research.

Participation in USDA's Goat 2009 study is voluntary and confidential. Results will be presented on regional and national bases; data provided by individual participants will remain confidential and cannot be identified. Links between NAHMS data and participating operations are confidential.

Note to Stakeholders: Stakeholder announcements and other APHIS information are available on the Internet. Go to the APHIS home page at and click on the "Newsroom" button. For additional information on this topic, contact Lyndsay Griffin at 970-494-7410 or e-mail: "

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cheese Wars

I receive the Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW) email newsletter and they had a little piece on upcoming food based movies included in this year's Wisconsin Film Festival. One is a short film called "Cheese Wars," a documentary on the battle between California and Wisconsin for cheese production dominance.

One might think, "Isn't it the more cheese the merrier? Why does it have to be a war?"

Because California started it.

If their marketers had left well enough alone and not forced upon the nation the campaign known as "happy cows" perhaps we all could have been friends.

Instead, I feel a certain sadistic satisfaction in pointing out that when Wheat Thins came up with a new cheese snack, California cheese flavor was significantly absent.

More info about Cheese Wars and the Wisconsin Film Fest

Blog post on Cheese Underground.

And just for fun, I found this clip of some cows in Wisconsin. See how horrible the weather is? Now I'm not saying that there aren't factory farms in WI, and I'm not saying it doesn't get cold, but you don't see Wisconsin implementing a campaign about how cows in California are going to fall into the ocean when the San Andras give way, do you?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Words to chew on

One of the first problems with marketing goat milk, goat cheese or goat meat in this country is that there are no good names for those products. We don't call it cow milk or cow cheese (the former is getting a little more play than the latter as of late I would think...) One thing that really bugs me is when a legitimate food magazine will tell someone to use goat cheese in a recipe. There's such a huge array of goat cheese that's almost insulting! You wouldn't tell someone who's making a salad to top it with bits of "cow cheese" would you?

When we do find names for these items, many times they are in other languages and thus are difficult to pronounce. Examples include:
Cabrito - Spanish (Mexico) - young roast goat
Chivito -" - young roast goat, slightly older than cabrito
Chevon - French - another term for goat meat
Chevre - French - means 'goat' - is used in reference to cheese

I've heard this last word pronounced from "Shev" to "shev-ray" to "shevruh." Needless to say, not a word that easily rolls of the tongue for most people in the US. I guess I prefer the idea of refering to cheese first by it's name (cheddar, feta, Humbolt fog) and then by what it is made of (a goat milk cheese, made of a blend of cow and goat milk).

Contemplating the mountain goat...

The mountain goat-goat in name only? I'm trying to remember taxonomy...mnemonic device is Kids Prefer Candy Over Fresh Green Salad (or Kinky People Come Over For Group Sex if you'd rather):

kingdom= Animalia
phylum= Chordata
class= Mammalia
order= Artiodactyla
family= Bovidae
genus= Oreamnos
species= Oreamnos americanus

Domestic Goat:
kingdom= Animalia
phylum= Chordata
class= Mammalia
order= Artiodactyla
family= Bovidae
genus= Capra
species= C. aegagrus

So technically they only share the same classification up to being in the same family as about 140 species of cloven-hoofed mammals. That includes cows, antelope and sheep. However the Mountain Goat is the only member of its genus and species (there was another in prehistoric times.) That, teamed with the fact that it has "goat" in its name makes me think that we can adopt it into Capra when necessary.

Mountain goats are native to North America. Mountain goats are the largest mammals found in their high-altitude habitats, which reach elevations of up to 13,000 feet or more. The have horns, short tails (like capra), and eat both grasses and shrubs (plus moss, lichen and I would guess, whatever they can find at that altitude.)

By the way, there are some very cool wild goats in the genus Capra, including the ibux, tur and the markhor.

Monday, March 16, 2009

RE: new tourism logo and slogan here in Wisconsin

A little off topic: Our Governor just spoke in La Crosse WI at the Conference on Tourism and unveiled the new "Live Like You Mean It." logo and motto that will grace brochures, websites and ads for the next few years at least.

I see that this slogan will be used not only for tourism, but for business and other state programs. And I understand the want of the Governor to call on all residents to support this as a way to prove we are "fiercely proud, hard working, loyal and have fun with life; and where the culture fuels creativity and embraces original thinking." The idea behind the branding of Wisconsin is to ''emphasize Wisconsin's creativity, hospitality and unique destinations under the platform, "In Wisconsin, originality rules."" And the logo and slogan support this.

As a marketing person, I understand all this. And I understand the great burden of coming up with something that can be used by Universities, cheese makers and bed and breakfast owners alike. But, in the same breath, what the Tourism Department and the PR agency Red Brown Kle came up with is still kinda... square (as is the whole Wisconsin Department of Tourism website in fact.) Wisconsin strikes me as more of a thoughtful, philosophical-yet-determined state, and I don't know if that really comes through. Still, we'll see how it goes. It would be nice to get this state some much deserved attention outside of the crazy teen sex scandals that have been appearing lately. There is a depth of interesting things happening here, there's a quirky humor to the place, and the sheer beauty of the rivers and Great Lakes, rolling hills and fields, the balance of the four seasons and the respect people have here for there history gives Wisconsin a real identity that I guess you just have to experience.

Just some info on Wisconsin's goat industry

Okay - apologies for being biased towards my home state, but I just did some searching regarding goat production and support here in the Dairy State.

Here is a link to the Wisconsin Dairy Goat Association. Although they have dairy in the title, they are in support of anyone who is interested in goats: The main page is very friendly and chatty. Some plans they have for this coming year include increasing membership, increasing attendance at their show in May, a doe and kid auction and working on their website to perhaps list results from shows. Lots of good info here.

I found out that Wisconsin has more dairy goats than any other state. It also is working hard to polish its reputation (a line stolen from this article on the opening of a goat cheese plant in Lancaster WI) as a state that supports the production of gourmet and craft cheeses. "Wisconsin cheeses won fully a third of all the medals in the recent World Championship Cheese Contest."

I also found this PDF overview document of the Wisconsin Dairy Goat Industry from 2006 . There was a recent ag survey done that had a very small amount of info about goats in WI but a little info is better than none!

The American Goat Federation (AGF)

Please support the idea to unify the goat industry in the US. There is so much potential if only the structure existed to join all people of similar pursuits. Industry associations have baggage, but they also help to unify many people behind one voice. The world is so complex that, when you may only have three minutes to address congress on some sort of legislation that affects your industry, it helps to have a respected and trusted name to get behind.

American Sheep Industry Association - founded 1865
National Cattlemen's Foundation - organized 1972
US Goat Council - ?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Goat Blogs-not about actual goats


I have been searching for other people blogging about goats. That is, the livestock animal, its wild kin, and said animals' place in history, literature, pop culture etc.

However - many blogs with "goat" in the title aren't about goats at all. Here is what I have found: = A pretty fun blog not about goats, but about gear for people traveling back country (back packing, off roading etc.) Everyone who contributes has goat in their names! But it's just a funny food blog. = Not about goats. A news blog about topics that effect the Western US. = A CA winery website. Named after the donkeys in France and their goat companions.

I was able to find the following: = A blog started by Baby Belle, a Nigerian Dwarf in 2005. Still going strong! It is kidding season and so Belle has lots to talk about. = A blog started in 2006 by Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist for University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. Good info, but a lot of sheep. = Based in VA, a very nice site about boer goats with lots of links. Very cute blog with lots of pics of a farm in Kansas. = An eclectic anyone-can-post blog that's rather hard to navigate. One post was about snail control by goats! = blog about Kinder goats-cross between Nubian and Pygmy goats. Unfortunately hasn't been updated since 9/2008.