Girls and their Goats 

Another Fair week is in the books!  The girls worked hard and had a lot of fun.  The goat show provided a day of fun and learning.  My favorite part was when one of our goats first ate my daughter’s show number off her back then took another number off a competitor’s back during Showmanship! 

I appreciate how 4-H offers something for every child.  Don’t want to show animals? Pages and pages of non-livestock projects are available.  Want to show animals but have limited time?  Some 4-H clubs only meet a handful of times before Fair Week.  Want to “go for the gold” and utilize 4-H as a stepping stone to other shows?  Our county fair has several representatives who advance to the State and National level. 4-H provides a starting point for kids to explore interests, learn responsibility, and develop useful skills for the future.  Check out 4-H opportunities in your local area!

Below is a video, highlighting some of our adventures in the goat barn.

Thanks for reading!

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Get Thee to the Fair!

 

girl and her goat

I’m writing this from the goat barn, my reading and relaxation spot for Fair Week. This year, I took on a new and fun challenge, serving as a 4-H Goat Leader. After the glorious chaos of the show, the girls had the rest of the week to enjoy the fair, spend time with friends, care for their animals, and make memories.

Two girls joined our group this year, my daughter and niece. We stayed in a friend’s pop-up right at the fair, a new experience for all of us. I loved how all the many cousins and friends showed up to play cards, hang out, and stay over. I loved how the local farmers drove their old tractors through the campground each night. For those who spend the week, I noticed an ebb and flow of activity. One barn might be frantically preparing for a show while another is relatively quiet with kids playing card games and raking and watering the aisles.

 

tractor parade

I’ll admit I’m one of those parents who doesn’t take competition too seriously at fair. While a bit of healthy competition builds character, I tried to teach my girls that fair week was about having fun and learning along the way. More important, the journey makes the 4-H kid.

leah winner

Students must meet on a regular basis to prepare, a notebook (or portfolio) is required for all animal classes, those portfolios must be presented to a judge for evaluation (including an interview), and animals need to be checked on at least every two hours during the day to ensure they have adequate food, clean water, and clean bedding.

fair booth

These kids learn valuable, lifelong skills: How to prepare for a large event, the art of the portfolio (By the way, you need to produce several of these in college), and how to survive an interview. Most fair entries include an interview with a judge. Part of their score includes interview performance, a skill which will serve them well as adults.

Hula Goat

Are you looking for a program that builds character and provides fun for all? Look no farther than your local 4-H! Here’s to future fairs and watching our program grow! Thank you to Allison and Sarah for your goat support and thanks for reading!

Chevon: The Other Red Meat

My adventure with goats started through a unique set of events. I made the decision to sell my dad’s 1957 DeSoto because we lacked the proper space to store and protect her. I wanted half of the money from the sale to go to the kids’ college fund, but I wanted the other half for something special, an adventure for me. I decided to hire the local high school building and trades to construct a 24 x 24 barn. I wanted to raise goats (and other farm animals)!

mk and goats

Two goats and two lambs joined our farm in the spring of 2014. One of the goats and both lambs were processed for our freezer. Darryl, the freebie goat, ended up becoming my daughter’s pet. Unfortunately, he thinks he’s human and hops the fence and climbs our back deck to look in our slider, wanting company (hubby wants to shoot him). Back to the reason for this post, we now have a goat or two per year for our freezer. When I mention that we eat our goats, or chevon, most people are grossed out.

mk and d

I will admit in my current foodie status, chevon is still in the beginning phases. However, this meat source is a healthy, low-fat option (similar to venison), and I question why more families do not try chevon. While a few dishes are not worth repeating, the following were worth our time. Here are a few options added to our family menu:

Chevon is ideal low-fat option to add to meatballs, spaghetti sauce, and chili.
My daughter, who wishes to be a vegetarian, loves this dish!

Goat Italiano:

1 lb. ground chevon
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced onion
5 shakes hot sauce (or more if desired)
Salt and ground pepper

Form in patties, coat in bread crumbs.
Heat oil on skillet. Cook until medium.
Add a slice of provolone or mozzarella for last few minutes of cooking.
Heat up one cup marinara. Coat top of each burger. Coat each plate and set burger on top.

Roasted Leg o’ Goat:
This recipe tasted even better as left overs!

Whole Leg o’ Goat:

Mix the following and coat leg:
Fresh Rosemary, minced
Minced garlic
Olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees

Place the following in covered cooking dish:
3 large carrots, peeled and cut in half
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
Place veggies on bottom of dish
2 1/2 cups white wine
Coated goat leg

Place cooking dish in oven and cook covered for 30 min.

Then, reduce heat to 300 degrees and cook covered for 3 1/2 hours.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading! I hope you give goat a chance!

Observations and lessons learned from living in the country

School is back in session, football season has begun, and harvest time is in full swing. Since life is so busy for all right now, I wrote a quick list, reflecting on our first year in the country.

egg pic

  1. Never, I repeat, never wear dress shoes to the barn!
  2. Farm fresh eggs really do taste richer.
  3. Living so far from town, we learned to make due with what was here instead of a quick trip to the store.
  4. In the days of teen drama and mean girls, watching my daughter embrace her inner farm girl gives us great joy and relief.
  5. That welcoming call of the goats and sheep at feeding time, so simple, such happy and friendly animals, I look forward to night time chores.
  6. A clear, country night sky for star gazing
  7. The magic of the woods: Fiddle-head hunting on a rainy spring day, the refreshing coolness of the creek in summer, autumn’s fire and beauty…
  8. Watching the garden grow and learning to incorporate endless meals with tomatoes…
  9. Peace and happiness…

MK goat selfie

Happy Fall!

veggie pic