Tall Grasses and Goat Trainers

Tall Grasses and Goat Trainers by Melissa McLaughlin I have been spending the early mornings and evenings pulling weeds in the lavender while the boys play various games throughout the large lavender plants. I work my way up the rows, clearing out the tall grasses within the plants so that, when we harvest, the bouquets will be… Read more »

Goats as Psychopomps!

Animals act as psychopomps between the worlds in dreams and everyday life. How many of us have a beloved cat or dog whose warm, soft body reminds us that we too are animals? My husband and I have two cheerful yellow labs, siblings, who have been with us for almost 12 years. Tending to their… Read more »

Battening Down the Hatches

Battening Down the Hatches Goats hate to have their hooves wet and muddy, so we have stone paths which go from the barn to the llama shed, to their lookout posts and rock and log piles. The rain has muddied these paths, and Ramon cleaned them yesterday morning, spreading thick flakes of straw on squishy… Read more »

Rainfall: Only the Goats Complain!

Rainfall: Only the Goats Complain! We woke to light rain, 0.3 inch, added to the 0.1 from last week. After months of the summer dryness in the third year of drought, everything looks fresh and clean, except, of course, the goats, who hate rain and complain about coming out and about staying in. In the… Read more »

Lessons in Biodynamic Goat Keeping

Lessons in Biodynamic Goat Keeping   Despite all the theory and spiritual discipline that Biodynamic agriculture offers, there is always the practical to consider, and goats are good reminders.  Lesson: always keep a goat busy doing what you want the goat to do. Otherwise, the goat will make the determination herself. Goats need a project…. Read more »

Guard Llama

Hijo and me after our bonding walk. Now I hope he likes Gaviota and Dasher, Boey and Petunia, Agaleah and…     Racu’s demise has left a power vacuum on our ranch. The goats have been unruly and the coyotes get way too close at night. A consult with our Animal Communicator Rafaela Pope suggested… Read more »

Compost Cycle of Our Ranch

Dasher and Valley clean last leaves from chardonnay vines. White strips are pheromone strips to control European grapevine moth. Compost Cycle of Our Ranch I think of our goats as kinds of blenders: they mix up the food stuffs of the ranch, then release what isn’t digested to be composted and put back into building… Read more »

Walking the Land

Walking the Land   There is so much you learn from walking your land each day!  There is an old saying: the best fertilizer is the farmer’s feet. I understand this in many ways. Most days my goat companions walk with me, along with the dogs, of course. There is an implicit order: who walks… Read more »

Cows and Climate Change

Okay, these goats are trimming up the toyon, good for fire prevention, but it is important that they move on. Browsing goats need to be monitored so they do not deforest an area.   Research shows that wise grazing of cattle (and other animals, including goats!) improves fertility of the soil while also sequestering carbon,… Read more »

A Win/Win with Juniper Poles

Notice Dasher’s crowbar-like horns.               A Win/Win with Juniper Poles This last week we visited In the Sticks, a north central Oregon sawmill, kiln, and source for juniper poles. Our (dear) goats test the pole structures and fence posts, breaking them off as they weaken. Perhaps they are in… Read more »