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September 04, 2014


I recently - for fairly random reasons - read up on the grooming habits of billy goats. While I'm normally enthusiastic about new life experiences and judging things first-hand, allow me to be first in line to decline your so-kind offer of mailed Tupperware. I'm not sure I'd be a kind enough soul to forgo the car wash. I can only wish you highly elastic rubber, heavy rain, and strong winds. That, or a sucker on craigslist who is far, far downwind.

If you want to reduce the overgrowth to bare dirt, and never see anything grow there henceforth, goats are definitely the way to go. On the other hand, there is a lot to be said for sheep. Less damaging to the land. Less bad smell.

And given a choice between eating lamb and eating goat? Not a hard choice at all!

Rebuilding an old house house in the country,
dogs and goats --
you're the target audience for the Whole Earth Catalog.

Oy, a landlord of mine kept goats and a horse in the back lot. The goats kept eating the poor horse's tail. Even pepper spray would not keep them off - we had to keep a rag tied to the nub so the horse could keep the flies off.

These particular goats had no personality and felt like walking brillo pads. OTOH, my current neighbor keeps several adorable goats up the street. It is a treat watching them climb to watch traffic. I guess its livestock verse pets.

Good luck Slart, hope you can blog a bit more. Rnjoy the puppy!

I have fond memories of Slart's blogging contributions regarding various home renovation projects, so OBWI returns to a bit of its long ago and far away.

Billy Goats now? O.K.

The closest I've been to goat was years ago in the barrio in the Philippines, where I was served goat intestine (unpurged, so I was told, though smirks abounded in the room) as an appetizer at a party.

Later, the neighbors barbecued one of their watch dogs.

Happily, I was well into my 4th high-alcohol content San Miguel at that particular moment.

Otherwise, I remember lots of billy goat gags in the old black and white comedy shorts years ago - eating the shirt tails off of Spanky in the Little Rascals, chewing the carburetor off of an engine while the mechanic mopped his brow looking the other way, that sort of thing --.

I look forward to reading the billy goat's political commentary during the upcoming silly season.

Good to see you back, Slart.

Ah smart, living a Spanish Pipedream

Two words: jerk goat.

Or maybe: goat curry.

you're the target audience for the Whole Earth Catalog.

I can't tell you how much I miss the WEC, along with its subsequent periodicals, the CoEvolution Quarterly and the Whole Earth Review.

They had a good run, but eventually they ran the magazine into the ground. All of the then-current subscribers got a free sub to the Utne Reader, which is weak beer indeed in comparison.

God bless the freaks. The world needs more hippies.

Best of luck slarti!

Heart of the country, where the holy people grow.

We got the goats to clear some overgrown vegetation where the chickens will live, and then we're going to have them clear where the garden will be, then they're going to clear the rest of the three-ish acres that are currently fallow and overgrown.

Goats don't eat grass much, actually. They prefer tall weeds and trees. Sheep are really grass-only, with some clover thrown in. Oh, they'll nibble the tender tops off of ragweed, but they're not going to take down the 7-foot-tall weedy stuff, or the small trees, or the multiflora rose, or the nettles; all of which the goats seem to like.

Once they've eaten everything to the point where we want it, we probably rid ourselves of all but one or two of them. Possibly we have a barbecue.

But the buck is either going to go to a local goat farmer (if they'll take him) or he's getting neutered. We actually even considered donating him to this organization in Indianapolis that takes live and recently dead animals and (believe it or not) feeds them to lions, tigers, etc at the zoo. Probably they kill the live ones first. But then we considered that a lion might turn its nose up at a freshly dead billy goat, even after it'd been skinned.

I hope to follow this up with a recounting of my first hunting trip, which hasn't happened yet. I had planned on obtaining a rifle, but didn't know that in Indiana, hunting with rifles is a no-no. So now I have to buy one of those.

And possibly a bow.

Also coming up, with higher certainty: my first experience of chicken processing, disassembly-line style. We have 13 so-called "meat chickens", which are fantastically ugly creatures that mature very quickly. They will in effect be free-range chickens that we raise ourselves.

The laying hens we acquire sometime soon, so that part might be of interest as well.

Thanks to LJ for doing this. It actually didn't occur to me that there'd be interest.

"one of those" was supposed to refer to a shotgun, but didn't.

My comment about goats was in reference to the fact that, in the long term, they trash the land. They do so because they not only eat the tops (i.e. down to ground level) of the plants, they rip up and eat the roots as well. Which, if you are trying to get rid of weeds, is probably a feature, not a bug.

As long as you are going to get rid of them when the job is done, and as long as you then plant something else to hold the soil, you should be good.

And your comment about "chicken disassembly" took me back to my childhood. At least my Dad took care of chopping the heads off for us. But I definitely remember plucking the chickens (after dunking them in boiling water to loosen the feathers), and helping with cleaning and cutting them up for cooking. It was, I suppose, . . . interesting. As in, I may be glad to have had the experience, but I have no desire to go back to it.

Ensure that the goats don't manage to get into your house while you're away. You may come back to find a house that looks like it was hit by a SWAT team looking for drugs. With added urine and crap.

The rubbery-fingers semi-automatic pluckers save a lot of trouble. Sometimes people will lend or rent them, or trade slaughtering days.

Yeah, we eventually came into possession of one of those automated pluckers. It didn't do a very good job -- feathers missed and the meat seriously battered. Not to mention that it tended to make a huge mess, scattering feathers widely. (And if you are just doing a single chicken for dinner, it would be serious over-kill.)

But perhaps the technology has improved since the late 1950s.

Actually, there are chicken pluckers you can make from e.g. an old dryer or washer. But we intend to do ours by hand the first go-round, and see what other people are using.

Processing the chickens: I want to do it myself, so that I am more part of the process than e.g. stopping off at the supermarket. There are places around here that will process them for you, but as I said: I want to have done it on at least one occasion.

Here in NJ, I'm pretty sure I heard of someone who named their goats "Poison" and "Ivy" because they were so useful for clearing areas overgrown with Toxicodendron, aka NJ's State Flower.

Do you name your animals? What about the ones you plan on eating?

I know someone whose parents did the whole Green Acres thing in the 70s, throwing over the bourgeois lifestyle to get back to the land. They raised a few cattle for slaughter (mostly home consumption), and the couple named them -- for their parents.

Oh, and Slarti -- interest?!? You bet there's interest! especially if you include photos.

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