Basically, I want goats so that I can mostly make goat products such as soaps, cheeses, lotions, etc., because the butterfat content on certain breeds are very high, the glycerin content is high, so this is the reason certain goat milk lotions feel so scrumptious to the skin. Since I go through gallons of lotion every year, it might actually be cost effective for me to learn to make my own body lotions from goat milk. And my daughters are hooked on a nearby farmer's home-made goat lotions, so it will definitely be something my family would enjoy. And soaps, oh yeah buddy...I'd love to be able to make soaps.
|The farm portion of a goat class Deputy Dave and I took|
this year in Houston. The 2nd portion of the class was a
field trip to this farmers two acre goat farm...I believe she had
around 30 goats and lots of chickens.
|I got to milk this little beauty. My first time to ever milk|
a farm animal and I must say that I felt very comfortable with the process.
Even though I was initially looking for the other two "missing" teats.
Anyway, Heather and her fiance go to this farm and they get their milk from the farmer's customer refrigerator and there is a jar full of money left sitting out for you to add your payment for the milk you are taking ---- all of it is based on the old-fashioned concept of "on your honor."
My daughter says that sometimes there is clearly about $200. in the jar and she thinks it is amazing that people are so honest in the country and that the owners have such faith in their local customers to allow them to fully trusting. I call that kind of honor system an example of pure country goodness.
|The Houston area goat farmers new room to satisfy her|
goat dairy inspections.
|Our local farmer gal showing us a few products to help|
with raising goats. However, we want to go for our organic
certification, so a lot of these products we will not be able to use.
As for goats, we will likely start with a few of them so that we can enlist their help in keeping the land clear. This forested area is difficult to keep clear of underbrush because of the terrain. Some areas are extremely difficult to get lawn equipment into, especially because we need a couple of bridges on the land. We have steep embankments, hills, creeks, thick forested areas, a ditch and impassable blackberry vines that have grown for who-knows-how-long without interruption. This will make having goats worthwhile. Once we get some proper fencing in place, goats will probably be one of the best investments into livestock that we can make right away. However, I am very nervous about being able to keep them fenced in and safe from predators.
As we go about our business on the land, it will be so very nice to be able to travel around on the acreage and to take a few goats with us for tying up in a zone for chowing down. I've seen several goats that are trained enough to be walked on a leash, like a dog, kind of strange, but it looks workable. I wonder how difficult this will be to accomplish????
Maybe we could work with our goats so that we could lead them by leash to the exact spot we want without too much herding difficulties. But, I'm positive that Howdy will be in full herding mode, no matter what.
So, I can imagine that each animal we raise will be suitable for a specific purpose. I'm also sure that each animal will make a gradual appearance on our little farm so that we have time to adequately prepare for each one that joins us.
I'm also sure that we will have no idea about what we are doing, until we are doing it.
Deputy Dave has also raised humongous swine, so I guess we'll raise more of these once we're on our land. Personally, I don't know how much space they require, but it seems as if they don't take much.
One thing is for sure...our family loves pork. Us Texans keep a side container of pork fat for cooking. Many foods are made more flavorful with a tad bit of pork fat added. We didn't need Emeril to clue us in to this fact. Texas understands the power of pork fat. But, I can't imagine what it must be like to eat farm-raised pork.
Of course, we'll have our chickens. We'll be raising enough chickens to also process for us to have fresh chicken on hand at all times. I dread processing chickens, but the determination in me to raise farm-fresh chicken meat is stronger than my fear. Besides, I can already smell Deputy Dave's home-made chicken and sausage gumbo...made with fresh ingredients from the farm.
We won't have to raise a ton of animals, just a few different varieties so that we can have a diverse food supply and so that we can be as self-sufficient as possible. It feels great to own enough land to raise farm animals and to have ample room to grow a good, large crop of veggies for our tummies to be happy. And, we will certainly be canning all kinds of veggies for year-round consumption. So, that's another entire area of learning that we must embrace.
|A never ending job on the land...fallen branches everywhere|
that need to be gathered and burned.
Years ago, we planted a couple of peach trees, a plum and a lemon tree on our land...they appeared to be dead for a couple of years, then, one day, we found the lower portions of the trees to have off-shoots growing nice and strong. Now, I don't know what this will mean for the trees health and production, but we left them there. Hopefully, we'll eventually enjoy their fruit...if they survived the drought. Of course, over this next year, we will be planting many more fruit trees throughout the land.
|Our little chicks...so young, so sweet, so free from the burden|
of laying eggs. Ouch!
|Howdy introducing himself to the foliage.|
|Living on a farm means that my master bathroom garden tub won't|
need to be a chick incubator any longer.
So, the animal list for the acreage would be as follows:
1. Dogs...hopefully we'll still have Howdy around and he'll be ready for a girlfriend and a bit of breeding. The world definitely needs more Howdys and Howdyettes.
2. Chickens...I'm not sure how long our backyard chickens will be around, but maybe they'll be able to enjoy the bug goodness of our acreage and not be eaten by a hawk. We'll be glad to raise chicks and to continue savoring fresh eggs and to start processing our own chickens.
3. Goats...I think I prefer the Nubian breed (spelling?) because of their naturally high butterfat content production.
4. Swine...oink, oink salty goodness and big snout piggy business will be delightful for rooting out challenging blackberry vines.
5. Cattle...not many, only 2-3 for ongoing calving and milking and more farm fresh meat.
6. Crops...more land equals more crops which equals more food in the kitchen WITHOUT a grocery store bar code attached.
My mental list is growing. But, we'll start off nice and easy, building our little farm one step at a time. And, a little bit of stumbling is to be expected.