Friday, August 30, 2013

Billy Goats Gruff

"Mary, I'm going to Peterborough tomorrow."
"OK, that's nice, dear."
"And I'm buying three goats."

Poor Will. In the course of our homesteading adventure these past months I've had to apologize several times for failing in awesomeness. If I were awesome, I'd be totally into goats. Also into wild cows, like Galathea the Devil Heifer.

Yes. We bought a cow. I haven't managed to photograph her because she is so terrified of people that she hides in the barn, invisible but for her glowing green eyes. The Devil cow.

But Will has been so sweet and so persistent in becoming a cow whisperer. He's been scything hay for one thing. (Yes...scything...with a scythe.) And a very adorable sight it is, I must say, to see him working in our hilly little pastures....under a blazing sun....sweating, smiling, and singing! He hand scythed, raked, and stacked several hundred pounds of hay for the delectation of Devil Heifer.

We continue to haunt the internet for information on taming wild cows, and the Dexter breed in particular.  (Dexters are a sturdy Irish breed, ideal for small acreages. They're also very pretty). I'm afraid halter breaking might be our only option, but that's a discussion for another day.

In the meantime we've brought her some company.

Hannah the milk goat....

and Mathilda and Morris....the pygmy/Alpine pair.

They are as sweet, funny, and friendly as puppies. They follow the boys everywhere....

...put the dog in his place....

and seek out human company whenever they can.

Their antics keep us in stitches all day. I knew goats were mischievous (ours aren't) but I had no idea they were such good company. They're very smart and trainable. The only animal that compares, in my opinion, is dogs.

But the best surprise by far is the sweet, fresh milk! Hannah gives us a litre plus of beautiful milk every morning and evening, and it's creamy, beautiful, and not even a hint of goatiness. Which is odd, because she's a goat.

These little friends have given a real boost to us two YouTube farmers and our problem cow. I've also decided to persevere with my commitment to smile sweetly when Will drops animal related plans on me. (I really shouldn't be arguing with a man with a scythe anyway). Will does all the work, builds all the equipment and shelters, feeds them and brings us fresh milk twice a day. He understands and interprets all the bizarre animal behaviour for me, especially Morris (the male of the species...oh my!), builds fences, fixes fences, innovates fences, just to placate his wife. He's a good soul, that Will Pemberton. And not one bit boring!


  1. Hurray! I had wondered when the goats would arrive. They seem much more manageable than the devil heifer! Wonderful.

  2. That's hilarious! I love how you just up and got three goats! I've heard goat milk doesn't taste goaty when fresh, maybe pasteurization brings out the goatiness. I hope you have some luck taming the devil heifer soon.

  3. My husband would love to be your husband lol...going to have to move!

  4. It is not all 'goaty' because if you have a billy among the other two he is immature.If you had a full grown male goat living with her the milk would pick up the horrible aroma.

  5. (So it turns out my husband is an avid reader of your blog, too. He alerted me to the fact that you had a new post! And then my children were clambering to see pictures of your goats. Your clan is very popular and admired in our household.)

    Well if Will is happy to do all the work, tell him to bring home whatever animals he so wishes.

    I must say, the scythe is just too dear. I am quite delighted by this detail.

  6. Mary! Can we come to your place someday?:) I love all of this! You're so blessed!!!

  7. how delightful! oh, the milk. This summer in Canada I was disappointed that the only milking cow Mom had was a true devil cow with horns out to there, who would run clear across the field to knock over another cow if she thinks it has a better bit of grass. I didn't try to tame her. I have enough problems with my kids. :) Keep the posts coming! (I read that goaty tasting milk means a lack of certain minerals).