Folks have often asked how I got into goats. Well, it’s a long story that really began in 1994 that lead up to us even being in North Caroliina coming from Tulsa,OK. But … I’ll cut to the chase and tell you the actual day I saw my first goats.
Bob and I were driving up the driveway to a home we were previewing for the first time, after having searched for two years. First, we liked the long driveway … putting the house off the main road fit criteria number one. Second, we liked the view from the back deck … tall pine trees completely surrounded the property creating a protected feeling; criteria number two was to have a ‘woody’ feeling. But the clincher was when we saw the full basement; we knew at that point that we had found our new home. A full basement was in the ‘would be nice’ criteria but it cinched the deal.
What the property lacked was a barn, fences, and a pond so we could have horses. After all, having horses was our primary goal of getting property in the first place. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
While driving up that driveway for the first time, a neighbor had several goats off to the left. Never having seen goats before Bob and I stopped and watched them climb and jump over the mounds that surrounded the pond. They were so cute and fun to watch that we watched for several minutes. The dogs having never seen goats before either went berserk while Bob and I maintained our decorum, of course, we were in our truck so who would have known.
The first time we passed through the gate, an adorable boxer greeted us and followed the truck all the way to the house. Since our three GSPs were with us, they immediately joined the fun of saying ‘hello’. Come to find out that boxer’s name was Gretta of Hansel and Gretta fame, but Hansel had disappeared a couple of years ago leaving Gretta to live outside alone. The owners told us that she always stayed in the yard and never ventured out to the street nor had she ever had puppies.
We bought the place and moved in. We learned at closing that the previous owners couldn’t catch Grethel so they would call the pound to come pick her up. After getting my breath back, I said that we’d keep her and for them not to worry about it. What they couldn’t do at all I did within about 4 weeks. Liverwurst has been my greatest friend when it comes to catching dogs. After several bites of liverwurst, Ms. Gretta decided to let herself get caught. It was her choice because she laid very still while I placed the rope around her neck. Ms. Gretta was in the house at long last and an inside dog like the rest of the pack. I digress … .
By now I had become acquainted with the goat-neighbor. The first time she gave me a taste of goat milk, I was hooked. It is truly nectar of the Gods. I had to have more. The milk was initially what sparked my desire to have goats. My mind worked overtime on figuring out how I could get a goat or two. It took time but I figured it out.
After several months of paying to have 4 acres mowed, I started the conversation with my beloved husband about the advantages of having a few goats so we wouldn’t have to pay for mowing. Yes it would require fences and shelter but we knew we needed fences anyway, you know, for the horses. We finally acquiesced to the financial investment and built a fence and shelter — of sorts. After the space in the front pasture was ready, my goat-neighbor sold me two goats; one Nubian and one Lamancha.
She had told me that both goats had been milked before so I shouldn’t have any problems milking them. Well, those two goats were used to HER milking them; not me. Besides, I had never milked ANYTHING before so didn’t have a clue as to how to go about it. My attempting to milk those goats was hilarious … chasing them around the pasture. I couldn’t catch one of them much less milk one. The next day I called my neighbor and asked if she would come back and teach me how to milk them. Thankfully, she did. The rest is history.
I love working with my goats. They are incredible creatures with personalities and intelligence that keeps me on my toes and a smile on my face. They are a new love in my life that I enjoy talking with and working with every day.
Now about the horses … .