Goats Helped Save the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library?

While it is hard to prove a negative (the library hasn’t burned because of the goats), the goats certainly helped! About 500 of them!! Here at Two Bucks Ranch, we are still aiming for 30-40 goats next year for our 37 acres. (All the does should now be pregnant and we expect 10-12 new kids in March).

Here’s a link to the article about goats and the Reagan library: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/31/goats-save-ronald-reagan-library-wildfire

While on the topic of fire resistance (and resilience), Michael Wara from Stanford said this according to “The Guardian: “this crisis, and much-needed climate adaptation as a whole, could be an opportunity for a kind of California Green New Deal for economic investment in the state’s infrastructure. Through a package of home hardening, vegetation management and microgrid backup for blackouts – so that they don’t continue to disproportionately impact low-income people – California could turn PG&E’s crisis into a public climate adaptation project.”

I think he is right on. All three are doable. Let’s get started. There’s no out-running climate change.

Pomegranates (Punica granatum)

We started picking the pomegranates today. We juice them by hand, and then freeze the juice for later use. A five-gallon bucket of pomegranates makes about a gallon of juice. We have five more buckets to process. We have a number of different varieties: wonderful, ambrosia, garnet sash, kashmir. Each variety has a different color and taste. Wonderfuls are the darkest.

I have found the easiest way to get the seeds out is to cut the pomegranate in half, then turn it inside out sort of like an orange. Then hold a half loosely in my hand, seed side down, and smack the pomegranate shell with the backside of a wooden spoon several times. This dislodges the seeds and they all fall out with a few smacks. Then we just use a hand juicing colander to extract the juice from the seeds.

Diamonds!

According to our cultural rituals, couples that celebrate 60 years together are celebrating a diamond anniversary. We witnessed two of them in a span of months: Neil’s parents have been married 60 years; friends Dennis and LeRoy have been together 60 years. A 60-year marriage is a phenomenal accomplishment. A 60-year male relationship is probably a world record.

We love them with all our hearts. Congratulations to them all, please!

Why is Our Goat Cheddar White?

Another way to ask it would be “Why are cheeses orange and yellow? ”

A mellow, creamy cow cheese gets color from beta carotene, and will be darker when cows are pastured on green grass, and when the cow’s milk used for the cheese is rich in fats. Grain-fed cows, or cow’s cheese made from low-fat milk will be very pale, and cheesemakers will often add color, for a variety of reasons.

Goats process beta carotene into vitamin A, so goat cheese will always be white unless something with color is added.

Oh, by-the-way, we now have 2 blocks of white cheddar aging!

Here’s a short article with more details about cheese colors.

First Cheddar

… day-old cheddar cheese, from goat’s milk

Now it is to be wrapped in buttered cloth and kept around 55 degrees for a year. We are to occasionally brush the mold away when it has formed a crusty surface.

David said that it is a lot like making feta, but much more involved. He started with 2.5 gallons of goat’s milk. End product was a 2.5 lb chunk of cheese. We are not parting with it for the price of store cheese, that’s for sure!

Bucko’s Last Hoorah at this Ranch

Since March when all Bucko’s kids were born, we have kept him isolated in the north pasture. He hasn’t liked it one bit. But now he is in Billy Goat heaven. We returned him to his herd yesterday.

Bucko is a pure, white goat (Savanna / Boer cross). You don’t really want to know what he does to turn everything forward of is male anatomy from white to brown, sticky and stinky. Poor guy spent too much time alone.
Bucko engaging his Flehman Response to see who’s ready to mate.

As soon as he’s worked his way through the herd, he goes up for sale. He’s been incredibly effective and we expect about 10-12 more kids from he and his six, available does, which will bring our herd up to around 40 in March sometime. It will take that many to expediently turn our foothill brush land into something less flammable.

Creekside Brush Duty for the Kids

Yesterday we shuffled the goats around to get Bucko out of exile and back to the herd. We moved he ones that should not get pregnant (Toy Story, Espresso, Spot, GG) along with Cracker and Prince for company. Espresso and Prince are not in the pictures below.

We did have a little trouble keeping the little ones in Bucko’s old pen because Bucko had ripped holes in the woven wire fence and the little rascals found those holes and poured through like water. At one point, I felt like the Dutch boy at the dike. At any given time there for a bit I had four goats at various stages of going through holes and as fast as I could pull one backwards another would push through. For those of you familiar with woven wire fence, a goat can get through if just one wire between two squares is broken! We got it all patched up and so far, they are staying in.

GG and Spot devouring blackberry vines and leaves along the creek. These two were among kids born this Spring. GG is one of Daisy’s twins. Daisy is the milk goat and now Daisy provides almost 2 quarts per day since the kids have been moved away from her.
Little Cracker (born July 4) tearing up the blackberry vines with his momma, Toy Story. I think Lucy (the heifer) misses Cracker now that he’s been moved into a different pasture.