We finally decided it was time to start slaughtering some goats. We raised six on pasture this year to be butchered in the fall. We mostly pressure can it as stew meat and for whatever dishes we want, but we save the rear legs to freeze as roasts.
If you’ve never had goat, you are missing out. Plenty of people have had a bad experience with “goaty” flavored goat milk or meat. But that is not the goat’s fault, usually, most of the time it is due to bad preparation or storage.
We had a goat that was going lame, so we, obviously for humane reasons, decided he needed to go first.
Pip is fascinated by the whole process. I love watching and helping her work through her emotions. I truly believe this is a very important part of our life. Not eating meat is not an option for us, and factory farmed meat is something I am loathe to feed my family. Unfortunately, pasture raised meat is very expensive. It’s even more expensive to raise, but our costs are spread out over the year in labor and hay.
Labor I have, hay we can afford, and we ate willing to do the hard part. It’s never easy, and that’s how it should be.
Now that Pip’s birthday is over, Zachary and I are working full steam ahead on our winter barn for the goats, pigs and rabbits. We got the rest of the posts pounded in this morning, peeled some cedar logs for the doorway, got those set into the ground, and now we are attaching the fencing panels.
My husband is a man with a vision, I can’t wait to see it come to life.
You know, in September I think “yay, September, the weather is cooling off and now we can get all this STUFF done in preparation for winter.” And we work like crazy. Then October rolls around and my thinking shifts to “shit, it’s almost November. We’ve been knocking things off our to-do list, but it isn’t getting shorter nearly as fast as the days are.”
We moved the beehive last week. I’m always nervous dealing with the bees, my dreadlocks must remind them of a big scary bear because I always get bees stuck in them.
Last week we also consolidated all of our goats into one pen. The does, bucks and wethers are all living together now. The bucks are quickly getting disgusting (peeing all over themselves) in preparation of breeding season. The bucks and wethers were living down in our grassy spot getting fat on branches and rehabilitating the pasture, but now that we’ve had a couple light frosts the grasses are dying back and it was a lot of work hauling hay to 2 different goat pens. So I walked the girls down to them (the boys will be going on the dinner table this winter so they are all semi-wild), left the girls in the boys pen overnight, and then walked them all back up to the main pen the following morning. The boys were easier to herd being with the girls who are comfortable with people.
We brought all the fencing panels up to the house from the pasture so we can build the winter animal pen/future greenhouse.
It’s going to be a 32′ diameter round pen split into thirds. One third for grain, hay, rabbits and milking stand, one third for the 5 goats we will be over wintering, and one third for the pigs. Zach is going to shrink wrap the roof with clear plastic to let lots of light in.
Speaking of pigs, that picture is Meg, one of our shoats (baby boy piglet) and Mushroom (our only girl piglet). The boys are scheduled for castration later this week. We were going to butcher all 4 piglets next year, but I think I’ll be keeping Mushroom to add to our breeding program. She is such a great piglet. She’s the biggest, fastest and smartest of the litter and it would be a shame to see her on the dinner table.
This week we are focusing on turning our concord grapes into wine, and finishing our root cellar so we have somewhere to put all of our meat when we butcher the animals next month. And we have 2 litters of purebred silver fox rabbits due tomorrow!