By: Steven H. Atherton
Animals have been a big part of ranch life from the start. We’re still getting our feet under us in many ways, but the gallery of images below is a treat for animal lovers as you see our goats, horses, geese, chickens, dogs, cats on display.
None of us were born to ranch life so we have much to learn. For example, starting in the next couple of weeks, we plan to earnestly milk our goats to see how we like their milk and what we can do with it. Over time, our hope is to get things set up where our animals will supply an important part of our diet, whether that be meat, eggs or dairy.
At present, we are still putting in place the infrastructure we need. Our well supplies sufficient water for our animals. Hungry predators like coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and raptors abound, making security a must. Thus far, we have fenced in roughly 30 acres of pasture and created various pens, chicken coups, etc… Those create areas that are reasonably protected from predators, but the addition of our Great Pyrenees guard dogs Sarge and Peewee, who have bonded beautifully with our goats, is a great comfort.
Over time, our hope is to fence nearly another 200 acres, including a pre-existing several acre stock pond and what is probably the thickest area of natural growth in the local area. Completing that project, together with others like a chicken tractor for layers and more efficient structures for raising meat birds and rabbits should put our food production on a much more sound (and economical) basis.
Simultaneous with that, we are working to make better use of the food we produce. This includes everything from the implementation of new recipes to the infrastructure needed to harvest, process and store meat. All of these things take time, money and changes to the way we operate.
Our experiences to date have been helpful, but we are now working through that ofttimes difficult transition to focus on food production and processing. Should you have knowledge in this area and a willingness to pitch in and help out, please be in touch. In the meantime, check back here periodically and on Facebook for updates.