"Let's make our own goat cheese". That sounds so nice, doesn't it? To make goat cheese though, you need goat milk - and for that, usually, you first need a goat. And that last bit might be kind of a thing, as all over the internet (and in real life) people are telling us how hard it is to keep goats. Thankfully, our friends Mellissa and Dan happen to have a few of them. And they were willing to lend us some, for the sake of the experience.
They arrived yesterday around 15:00, and they left again today around 17:00.
We learned a lot in those 26 hours.
Goats will take you to places you've never been
Climb every mountain? Yup, been there today. I discovered it wasn't actually impossible to climb the ridge behind the house - and the view is beautiful.
Goats will take themselves to places you can't even imagine
Yes, this is the rooftop they're standing on. They were just a tiny bit quicker than me... and went to test out the stability of the roof. It's stable, all right. They also kept trying to get inside the house (where the guys are busy tiling, so NOT a good moment for goats to come and visit) (as opposed to other moments when it's very convenient for goats to trot through your living room)
Goats are very gentle animals
I grew up with ponies; they will push you away, trample you, headbut you, try to eat your hand if you give them a treat - basically, they're rude. I thought goats would be exactly the same, and was amazed at how gentle they were when taking treats, how they would walk around me instead of pushing me out of the way - generally, I found them more gentle than expected.
Goats need a lot of active supervision.
And that's where it all went a little bit wrong... I was expecting I'd be able to do stuff while herding goats. Like clean out the maset, answer e-mails, do some yoga,... - None of that; as soon as I looked down to my phone, they climbed 3 terraces at the same time and I had to go running after them. Which only made them run faster.
The original plan was to get an electric net-fence, so we could keep them confined a bit while we weren't there; so I could go to that get-together with friends, clean up the house once in a while, go for a girls' day out,... After watching them for a few hours though, I wasn't counting on an electric fence being able to hold them for long.
Thankfully Dan wasn't difficult about taking them back (which was the plan all along, only not this soon). We'll finish the house first, then building a stable is first on the priority list... so we can get goats again. They really stole my heart!
Note: this story was originally published on January 30th, 2016. Since then, our house has been (kind of) finished, but we have decided goats are not for now... yet. Sadly, both Billy and Jojo are no longer alive. Their progeny is still alive and kicking and living with Mellissa and Dan at Little Herd Farm though!
A few questions to you, dear readers...
Do you have animals of your own? What are they, and would you recommend keeping them on a small scale farm like ours?
We keep chickens for eggs, but we're currently looking into alpacas and kune kune pigs - to keep the grass around the olive and almond trees short, and to provide us with fertiliser (and wool, in the case of alpacas). Any advice on that?