Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quirky Goat Farm South - Dec 17, 2010

I had to put the cat in the feed barrel again. This is the second day that I've found a little mouse in the feed. Have you ever tried to catch a frightened mouse by hand? It's just NOT happening. So, I caught Miss Kitty and put her in with the feed and the mouse. Instant success. Cats aren't as inhibited and slow as humans when it comes to rodent capture.

I made the mistake of leaving the Tupperware corn chip box on the table where Orange could reach it. She managed to get the container open for three days in a row. I finally put it on a high shelf where she couldn't see it. She looked on the table, searched back and forth, and then she carefully and deliberately looked UNDER the table. Goats are deep thinkers, and they constantly impress me with their cognitive skills.

Making a change in the routine always gets the goats' attention. Putting hanging feeders for the horses on the fence that adjoins the goat pen caused some turmoil. The horse feed has molasses on it, and the goats could smell it, so they were trying to figure out how to get through the fence to get horse feed, too. Then, as the horses were eating, I put out the goat feed. The goats perceived that there was now competition for feed from the horses, so they behaved quite decorously and each stayed at a feeding station, chowing down instead of running from one feeder to the next to see what the next goat was getting.

Rambo, the borrowed Saanen buck, has accomplished his job, and all six does are now bred. We have kids due to be born starting in early February, a few in March, and the rest in May. Anybody need a barbecue goat? There are sure to be some!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Milk Board to allow testing

Can Properly Done Tests Clear Dairy to Sell?

Missouri Milk Board Agrees to Allow Morningland Dairy to Test


Morningland Dairy of Missouri, the farmstead cheese operation that has been shut down and under investigation by the FDA and Missouri Milk Board since August 26th finally obtained agreement from the Milk Board to properly test their cheese. Morningland, a farmstead raw cheese company, was shut down over concern by the Missouri Milk Board and the FDA that their cheese may harbor harmful bacteria.

On Monday November 8th, Morningland Dairy attorney Gary Cox, of Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, informed Morningland that an agreement had been reached with the Missouri Attorney General’s office which will allow Morningland to test batches of their cheese that have been under embargo since August by the Missouri Milk Board.

The Missouri Attorney General’s office, representing the Missouri Milk Board in legal action against Morningland Dairy, offered eight stipulations under which they would not object to the dairy testing their cheese. After negotiations, Morningland Dairy and the Missouri Milk Board settled on six requirements to be followed. The stipulations agreed to are that the Milk Board be present, have three representatives observing, receive split samples of the cheese, approve the sampling and analysis process, receive results after testing, and receive production dates of sampled cheese. The two stipulations that were dropped were the advance identification of the lab to do the testing and the identity of the individual who designed the protocol for test sample collection. The removal of these conditions is significant to Morningland because approved laboratories are licensed by the agencies investigating the contamination, and this secures the opportunity for testing through a non-affiliated lab in the nature of a double-blind study.

During the course of the investigation Joseph and Denise Dixon, owners of Morningland Dairy, have maintained that they should be allowed to do properly sampled tests on the alleged contaminants to clear their cheese for sale. Denise Dixon said, “It seems to me that if tests that are done improperly can condemn our cheese, accurately done tests should be able to exonerate the cheese.”

Conversely, Don Falls of the Missouri Milk Board has stated, “If you want to do testing for investigational purposes only, that would be fine.” The Milk Board has held that all Morningland Dairy’s cheese is suspect and must be destroyed. Joe Dixon responds, “We hope that the Milk Board will see reason. If properly collected test results indicate the cheese is clear of contamination, we should be allowed to sell and resume production.”

The agreement does not state that Morningland Dairy may resume normal business operations if tests indicate no pathogenic concerns.

Contact: Doreen Hannes: 417 962 0030 email:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A letter to the Missouri Milk Board and the Missouri Attorney General

P. O. Box 345
Alton, Missouri 65606

Missouri Attorney General, Mr. Chris Koster
P. O. Box 899
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
October 13, 2010
Dear Mr. Koster,
There are several constitutionally based protections offered to citizens of the United States that are essential to our freedom and serve to protect us from a government run amok. These include due process, the right to face one’s accusers, and the pursuit of happiness. The confrontation between the Missouri Milk Board and the Morningland Dairy epitomizes government violations of all three of these protections. The Attorney General’s office is participating in the persecuting of the honest and innocent owners and employees of Morningland Dairy.

There are legal and procedural processes required for our government to interfere with business. In this case, the government has ignored their own procedures for testing a food product for safety.
From Morningland Dairy’s rebuttal to the order to destroy their cheese:
"No sample of said product [from Rawesome Dairy in California] was shared with Morningland Dairy as is required by California and Missouri statutes; therefore, there is no confirmation of the findings reported by California Food and Department of Agriculture."
"No Missouri State Milk Board representative obtained samples from Morningland Dairy."
"Contrary to section 196.565 of the Revised Missouri Statutes, the only witness to the sampling from Morningland Dairy was the employee who did the sampling. When Morningland Dairy owners, Joseph & Denise Dixon, learned how the samples were taken, they knew that the tests would be inaccurate and, consequently, erroneous. Despite repeatedly informing Don Falls and also Audra Ashemore, of the FDA, of the faulty sampling methods, both of these individuals used the results of this inept test in their reports."

Although the testing of the product was not carried out correctly, one would still expect the original documentation to be presented to Morningland Dairy so that they can ‘face their accusers’ and have an informed basis on which to mount a defense. In the absence of such documentation and evidence, there would be and can be no legal basis for interfering with the business of making cheese at Morningland Dairy. From the Morningland Dairy website:
"To date, there has been no legitimate test performed on Morningland Dairy cheese, although Morningland Dairy owners have repeatedly requested that proper tests be done. California authorities did not sign the test they allegedly performed until 55 days after product was seized at gunpoint from Rawesome Foods. No sample of said product was shared with Morningland Dairy as is required by California and Missouri statutes; therefore, there is no confirmation of the findings reported by California Food and Department of Agriculture."

In addition, there has never been a complaint against Morningland Dairy’s products. Ever. From the dairy’s rebuttal of the order to destroy their product:
"Denise Dixon, owner and General Manager of Morningland Dairy says, “Morningland has been producing raw aged cheese for 30 years, and in that time, absolutely no reports of illness have been made by anyone who has consumed our product."

With no due process and no documentation of the alleged testing process and no accusers, rational observers must wonder what motivates the Milk Board in their ongoing legal assault against Morningland Dairy.

The constitutional right to pursue happiness should logically include the right of citizens to own and operate a business without unwarranted government interference. The Missouri Milk Board has obviously decided to trample over the rights and freedoms of the owners and workers at Morningland Dairy.

The right to pursue happiness also includes the right of citizens to eat the food of their choice. There appears to be a concerted effort by the government and the Missouri Milk Board to stop production of an internationally respected and much loved food product (raw milk cheese) and to prevent the populace from having the freedom to eat what they choose. Everywhere else in the world, raw milk cheese is a highly treasured food, demanding the highest prices at market and extolled by gourmets. Only here in the U.S. do we see an uninformed government trying to eliminate a valued and traditional food.

I respectfully request that the Missouri Milk Board and the Attorney General’s office immediately cease persecution and prosecution of Morningland Dairy. The Milk Board’s attack on the dairy has no legal basis and is repugnant to the citizens of Missouri and the rest of the United States.


Alice G. Kaspar

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fall Breeding - 2010

Here are the fall breeding plans:
Alpine Buck - Sir Guy

Breeding to:
LaMancha Doe - Louise

Alpine Doe - Faline (aka Peanut)

Mini-Mancha Buck - Jim Dandy

Breeding to:
Mini-Alpine Doe - Lemon

Mini-Mancha Doe - Cassie

Breeding decisions pending:
Saanen/LaMancha Doe - Snowbelle to ?
LaMancha Doe - Princess - to unnamed Saanen buck

Friday, June 11, 2010

Meet "Palmer"

We've been waiting to see when Faline (aka Peanut) was going to kid. We now know that "Happy" bred her through the fence because the kid is spotty with three colors, like his sire. We are sure the bucks were NOT in with the does in mid-January.

This morning, Feline was humming. This is a sign of impending labor. She wasn't in labor when we loaded feed into the feed house after lunch, but at 3:00 PM when I was loading the truck for a trip to a friend's house, I could hear her hollering.

When I got to the goat pen, I could see that the kid was part way out with the head and one leg protruding. The kid's tongue was hanging out, and there weren't any signs of life.

After fetching towels from the house, I moved Feline out of the goat pen and onto a clean clover covered area. I pulled the kid, who was completely limp. After putting him on the ground and seeing no movement at all, I felt for a heartbeat. It was strong, so I lifted the kid by his back legs and slapped his ribs to help clear fluid from his lungs. When I put him down again, there was a small wiggle, and the doe and I started working on him. She licked and hummed; I rubbed him with a towel. Pretty soon, he started moving better and began to call out to her.

It took him about 20 minutes to get to his feet and a few more to find the teats, but he nursed strongly.

His name is Palmer in keeping with our NCIS theme this year. His sire was a registered Mini-Mancha, and his dam is registered Alpine.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend

I don't goof off well. I tried. Really I did. I sat on the deck with the newspaper and a cup of mocha, and that lasted about ten minutes.

Then, I mulched the potatoes with compost and straw. Then, I sprayed Round Up along the fence line toward the road from the house and around some trees.

Burning old deteriorated firewood and a tarp that had been deteriorated by the sun. Also picking up the branches out of the yard and adding them to the burn pile.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday projects

I'm making yogurt today with fresh goat milk because I ate Yoplait this morning and read the label. YUK! Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. What happened to yogurt when I wasn't buying it!? It changed from a natural food to an over-processed food.

My yogurt will have two ingredients. Milk and starter culture. When I get ready to eat it, I will add fruit. No sugar, no flavoring, no coloring, no OTHER STUFF!

I'm reading an interesting book now called Healthy At 100, by John Robbins. It's about other societies and what they eat, how they live, and how they are so much healthier than ours. My diet is going to improve.

I got quite a few outside projects done. First, I mowed around the garden, then discovered that the battery powered weedeater works well, and now there's a clear path for a new low-to-the-ground electric fence around the garden. This is to keep Ziggy the big footed Basset Hound out of my raised veggie beds. She respects the electric wire so much, I might not have to put any power to it!

The feeder that the goats broke was shortened and repaired. Goats are VERY pushy, and building things that they don't tear up is a challenge.

Two raised beds that didn't have anything planted have the dirt turned over, and the cucumber seeds are now planted. Also planted some flowers! One bed is left to do, and that's going to be Okra.

Lots of things already up or coming up. Two kinds of squash, two kinds of beans, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and a good selection of herbs. I'm especially excited about the potatoes, as we have two varieties: Yukon Gold and German Butter potatoes.

The thornless blackberries aren't blooming very heavily, so I soaked them with Spray N Grow. Then, I cut back the canes that froze over the winter and tied up the canes that were threatening to overtake the north end of the garden.

Gibbs and Ducky followed me down to the gate of the buck's pen when I went down there to cut back some grass that was getting in the electric fence. As it is time to wean them, I picked up each one and shoved them through the gate. They are now in the big boy pen. There was some hollering for Mom, but they came to the feeder at suppertime and didn't seem too distressed.

During the day, we had three rain showers. We even had a shower while I had the goats on their browse walk, and I learned that rain doesn't bother the goats when they are in the forest. Kate and Abbey, the only kids left with the big girls, were very busy climbing on stumps and leaning trees today, and I should have had my camera.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I really need to post more often

It's April 29, 2010. The Quirky Goat Farm animals, all 14 of them including dogs, has moved back to the Ozarks for the summer.

We lost Grumpy, the Mini Mancha buck, to urinary calculi in mid-winter.

We came north with four kids: Cassie's triplet kids, sired by Grumpy, and Cocoa's LaPine cross, sired by Sir Guy.

While in Texas, Orange, the herd queen Alpine, kidded with twin bucklings, and they were sold for herd sires before we left.

We're letting Snowbelle and Lemon grow till the fall before breeding them.

Feline (formerly known as Peanut) is due to kid in early May.

Everyone has settled in nicely here in the cooler northern climate.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lots of Milk!

The changing seasons and needs have prompted some changes at the goat yard.

As we have to dry off Cocoa before she kids, we've reduced her feed by half, and are milking her in the mornings only. I figure about a week of that, then we'll go to every other day for a while.

We made a kid pen for the four little ones, and last night was the first night that all the kids were separated from the does. Abby did escape into the bigger pen sometime during the night, but that's fine.

This morning's yield was over a gallon of milk, collectively, from Cocoa, Orange, and Cassie.

I froze three bags of 3 cups each for Kaci, the soap lady, and had a half gallon for the fridge for us.

There will be morning milking only now till the kids are weaned. My wrists will be happy about that!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Goat Spit

I have a confession to make, but I have to tell you a story.

We've had just a wonderful week with the goats. Cassie's Mini-Mancha triplets born on the 16th, and everything went smooth! Total of about eleven pounds in two bucklings and a doeling.

Orange's twin bucklings born on the 24th, early in the morning. HUGE kids. Nineteen pounds of kids! Orange is still a bit sore.

Because we are selling one of Orange's bucklings as a bottle kid, we started them on supplemental bottles right away. I go to the kid pen three times a day and work on getting Tim and Tony to take a couple of ounces from a bottle. As they are getting plenty of milk from Orange, the goal is simply to accustom them to milk from more than one source.

This afternoon, Tony had drunk a couple of ounces, and I was sitting with Tony in my lap, and he was reluctant to suck the rubber nipple. Thinking it might not be flowing well, I took it off, checked the inside, checked it again as I put it back on, and tried again. No sucking by Tony. So, I did what any good Goat Gran does. Sucked on the nipple to see if it worked. YES, I have goat spit.

Here's Anthony (Tony) DiNosso and Timothy (Tim) McGee.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Introducing Abby, Gibbs, and Ducky.

Cassie, our Mini-Mancha, gave us triplets on February 16th. They are named after characters on our favorite television show, NCIS. They each weighted close to 3 1/2 lbs, a little more and a little less. They were up and active and sucking very soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Took Sir Guy DOWN!

Our young Alpine buckling, Sir Guy, won't be a year old till April, but he thinks he is hot stuff.

This morning, I was in the buck pen, moving their dogloo shelter. Sir Guy jumped up on my back twice. The first time I twisted his ear. The second time, I grabbed one of his front legs, bulldogged him to the ground, and sat on him, holding his head to the ground till he stopped wiggling. This is the proper procedure for teaching a buck that he is NOT the boss.

He didn't jump on me any more after I let him up.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Unexpectedly Preggers

Our herd queen, Orange, is most obviously pregnant. Now. HOWEVER, we didn't realize this until recently. We had been planning on 'milking her through' as she was giving a nice half gallon a day. Then, suddenly, production dropped to a couple of cups or less. The obvious thing to do was dry her off and breed her to kid in the spring when we will be back in Missouri.

HAH! Orange apparently had other plans, starting back in September, shortly after our purchase of a nice registered Alpine buckling.

We had some problems keeping the bucks in when we moved them to a fenced area just downhill of the does. The plan was that we would be able to tell which of the girls were in heat by their flirting with the boys at the fence line. We didn't anticipate the determination of the bucks and their disregard for electric fence tape. It took about a week to get the fence reinforced enough to keep the gentleman restricted to their side of the fence.

Apparently, Orange came into a quiet heat during this time. By mid December, we began to suspect she was in the family way. Here it is, the end of January, and we're watching every day for signs of kidding. We're getting closer. Lonnie is predicting February 7, Super Bowl Sunday! I'm thinking it will be sooner than that.