The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Astounding Goat Break-In

October 9th, 2017 by Ed Bruske

It began with a knock on the door.

“Have you lost a goat?” asked a neighbor who lives down the road. “A small white one with a big yellow ear tag?”

I couldn’t imagine how one of our goats might have gotten loose. More importantly, our goats don’t wear ear tags. But I agreed  to follow our neighbor back to his house for a look. Sure enough, there was this buckling–about six months old–peering at us from the yard and ready to run if we took one step in his direction. He looked just like our own buck–Tigger–who had bolted from our property just minutes after we brought him home from the breeder four years ago. Tigger was missing a whole month before a neighbor pointed us to a vacant home nearby where the runaway had taken up residence. It took me further weeks of offering him grain to gain his trust and finally recapture him.

I explained to the neighbor how difficult it would be to nab the latest escapee. I suggested he call the sheriff, then drove into town to run some errands.

Less than an hour later I returned home to the strangest sight. There standing outside our goat shelter was this very same little goat with the yellow ear tag. Not only had he found his way up the hill to our herd of goats, he’d somehow gotten inside our electric fencing. It was the first I’d ever heard of a goat breaking into a farm.

I had no time to deal with him as I was scheduled to leave town on other business the following morning. Next thing I heard, our new friend was jumping our fences at will and causing all kinds of consternation. The last thing we need in mating season is an interloping, sexed-up buckling crashing our herd. Our goats are normally well behaved. They don’t even try to escape.

I told my wife that if we couldn’t find someone to take the goat away I might have to shoot it when I returned. My wife made a beeline for the village liquor store, which acts as a hub for local news and gossip. The owner immediately posted the story of the runaway goat on the store’s Facebook page. Within minutes, a woman on the other side of town replied that the same white buckling had been hanging around her house five days earlier. She assumed it had gotten loose from the auction barn not too distant.

Sure enough, when my wife called the auction house she learned that a buckling with that ear tag escaped the previous Tuesday after being sold. The owner was now empty handed; the goat had wandered some five miles to find us.

Two days later, to our great relief, employees from the auction barn arrived to try and apprehend the escapee. Our clever daughter used one of our fetching females to lure the miscreant through a gate into the main paddock where he was chased into corner and snagged.

Last time I looked, we had no strange goats on our pastures. But around here you never know….

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A Fine Day for a Slaughter

August 6th, 2017 by Ed Bruske

Andrew’s back!

Our opera-singing friend this year performs as the snake oil salesman in “L’elisire d’Amore” (The Elixir of Love)  at  Hubbard Hall and he hasn’t lost his magic touch with our Freedom Ranger broilers.

For some reason, opera singers are especially adept at eviscerating chickens. Maybe it’s the controlled breathing. Andrew showed his skills last time he was here two years ago, and this year he didn’t miss a beat when it came time for the July harvest.

We typically market 50 Freedom Rangers each month June through October. From the time they arrive here as baby chicks until they are bagged and offered for sale, our broilers are raised entirely by hand on green pasture with supplemental non-GMO feed from a local grower. When the time comes, we process by hand as well: I’m in charge of killing and plucking; my wife handles the eviscerating and final detailing. Clients often comment on how beautiful our finished birds truly are.

Andrew stays with us for almost a month rehearsing and performing the annual opera. In addition to helping Lane with eviscerating, he lends a hand daily feeding and watering the chickens and moving them to fresh pasture. It’s a great relief. If only he didn’t have to leave so soon.

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