Test Day Diversions

Our goats are on DHIA milk test through the American Dairy Goat Association and the USDA.  We milk monthly, measure the amount, and then the fat and protein content of the milk is measured.  This all gets recorded and goes into the great computer in the sky. What it does for us personally is tell us objectively who our most productive does are.  I use this information in my cheesemaking, my breeding, and my culling decisions.  I love test day, not because it is more work, but because I actually use the numbers.

Last night test was made particularly exciting as Allie decided to deliver during test.  I had one eye on the  delivering goat and the other on the milking goat.  Thank goodness Debbie was here too!  Allie delivered 2 bucks (first freshener).  One was large/normal and the other just a little squeak of a thing.  He must weigh about 1.5-2 lbs.  Had him in the house all night but he is out with Mom and brother this morning.  I am bottle feeding him colostrum every few hours (a whopping 2 oz. per feeding!).  He is not preemie, just small.  He sucks, walks around, and has good temperature control.  They do so much better outside and at least in with Mom and brother.  I will be out in the barn most of today anyway-more new ones coming soon to a stall near me.

One More Coming

Then, after all this excitement, Debbie and I were eager for some supper.  We decided to put WaMaPa in a birthing pen while we went in.  Deb got her and said-Oops, we have feet.  So, WaMaPa subsequently also delivered 2 vigorous bucks.  We got supper about 10:30 pm, then back out to the barn for the other bottle babies who got missed at 7pm.  All is well, all are fed, and are OK.

Today Eliza looks imminent. For her sake, I sure hope so!

Very Pregnant Eliza

Farmers Market Relief Help Wanted

We find ourselves busier by the year!  This is a good thing. We are in need of a person to work markets on a relief basis.  This will involve Saturdays (mostly) and maybe an occasional Sunday and/or Thursday evening.  Must have reliable transportation. Prior market experience a plus. MUST love great cheese.  Must have excellent customer service attitude and skills.

Position is seasonal and runs from May-September/October.

If interested, contact Rhonda at 360-202-2436 or rhonda@gothbergfarms.com

Zip’s Trips

Zip before delivery

 Zippy, a  13 month old first freshener, had triplets this morning starting at 4:30 AM. I missed the first one (even though I was sleeping on the couch in my clothes with the barn cam on!). She of course knew what to do and was doing a fine job. The second one was breech, which she also handled quite well. The third came nose and toes and we hoped that was going to be her final count! She has plenty of milk, plenty of maternal capabilities and plenty of instinct. We love easy kidders, good maternal instincts, and great dispositions.  This doe has it all! Final count 1 doe, 2 bucks.

Debbie and Newborn Care

 Debbie and I have such a good routine worked out this season.  She is very good with animals.  She has gotten quite proficient at newborn care.  She is one of the great assets of this farm.  Thanks Debbie! Here she is drying them with the hair dryer. 

Such a Good Mom Awaiting #3

 And, since I anticipated a 5:00 AM delivery last night, bless Sarah for coming in at 6:00AM to get the cheddar out of the press and get that all cleaned up.  I’m telling you all, I have the BEST employees anyone could EVER imagine! 

Successful Spring births and the promise of new life always starts the day with a good attitude.

Debbie and FAX

And the Work Goes On…

Part-Time Goat Milker Needed

We have an opening for a part-time goat milker here on the farm.  This person will be required to milk every Saturday, both morning and evening milkings.  Other shifts will be available, to be decided among milking crew, once established. Prefer experience, but will consider training the right person. The position is seasonal and starts late March or early April, and ends somewhere around the end of September-October.

This is a great opportunity to participate in a small, personal, Grade A Goat Dairy.  Must be at least 18 and speak fluent English. 

Contact:  Rhonda 360-202-2436

Cheesemaker Apprenticeship

We are offering a free, 2 day cheesemaker apprenticeship opportunity here on the farm.  This is for an aspiring cheesemaker between the ages of 18 and 30.   The recipient will work side by side with an experienced and passionate cheesemaker.  You will meet the goats, the milk, the farm, and of course the cheese.

Woman of LaMancha

At Gothberg Farms we love making cheese!  We love sharing what we do!  We love young folks who may aspire to be a cheesemaker.  Of course 2 days won’t make you a cheesemaker, but it will give you a feel for this amazing craft.

Application Criteria:

1.  Must be between the ages of 18 and 30.

2.  Submit an essay on why you may want to be a cheesemaker and what led you to that thought.

3.  Attach a resume or some chronology about your life up to this point.

4.  Applications must be received no later than 5pm February 25, 2011.

There is no fee for this apprenticeship.

Transportation costs are the sole responsibility of the recipient.  Housing may be provided if needed.

We are strictly a no smoking, no drugs, no pets allowed farm.

Submit applications to:


or:  15203 Sunset Road
      Bow WA 98232

Pre-Kidding Preparations

With kidding due to start here in about a month, there are some preparations I consider routine and beneficial.  Over my few years of herdsmanship I have found if I do these few simple things-the does and kids just do better overall.  I include all the goats on the farm at this time-does, dry does, bucks, and any wethers in this routine. I want to stress this is MY routine that has worked well for ME. Consult your own veterinarian for your own herd.  I am NOT a vet.


CDT   Clostridium Types C & D and Tetanus
Each animal gets this. It is to prevent the above diseases. I happen to use the BarVac brand, and with that brand, I give each animal a 2cc injection, regardless of weight.

Pregnant Warner

BoSe    Selenium and Vitamin E
Our soils in the Pacific NW are selenium deficient, so I give selenium injections twice a year.  It is a mixed Selenium/Vitamin E solution.  The Vitamin E is a carrier for Selenium absorption and utilization.

NOTE: Do NOT give this in areas where Selenium is adequate. Check with your vet. This requires a vet prescription to obtain it.

Lack of Selenium tends to contribute to very thick amniotic sacs in my observations.

OK, so far I have drawn up and given 74 shots!!!!  I am a nurse. Yes, I draw up each one with a new sterile needle and syringe.

This generally seems like a good time to administer deworming meds if indicated.  The does are dry now and any withhold times can be easily adhered to.  We always far exceed any withhold times here anyway.

If indicated, I will use either Cydectin pour on or Ivermection cattle injectible, but give the dose by mouth.  This means I draw up the required amount of Ivermectin with needle and syringe and then REMOVE the needle and squirt the med into the animals mouth.

The Cydectin pour on should be used only as a pour on.  I know some folks give it orally and this is extremely dangerous.  DO NOT give a pour on by mouth!!!

Check with your vet for dosages and withhold times.

I have tried the herbal dewormers and was not all satisfied with them.

My first and best approach is prevention.  This is accomplished by pasture rotation, clean bedding, and generally overall healthy animals who seldom need deworming.

Goats Enjoying a Sunny New Years Day

Hoof Trimming

Maggi & Eliza

I like to get this done before they are too big to comfortably stand on three feet.  We trim here about every 2 months, year around.  Our farrier, Maggi Holbert, is the BEST!  She works with animals just as naturally and easily as she breathes in and out.

CAE Testing
We have been negative for 5+ years now.  We test annually, just prior to kidding.

Maggi the Farrier

Next Steps
Every pen will get fresh sand added as needed. Walls in the main barn will be scrubbed, cobwebs removed, window sills dusted, etc.  In the kid barn, the walls and floors will be scrubbed and sanitized.  Buckets, feeders, and tubs are scrubbed with soapy water.

Kidding supplies will be rounded up and packed into the barn for easy, retrievable access.  This includes:
clean towels (lots of them), hair dryer, extension cord, Betadine scrub, short and long exam gloves, iodine for navel cords, feed sacks to open for kids to be dried on, an 18 inch double clip tether to secure a doe if need be, flashlight batteries are changed out.

This year I am seriously investigating a barn camera system.  Those cold, late night checks are getting harder by the year!

Anacortes Farmers Market Off-Season

Great news!  Anacortes Farmers Market  will now have a monthly, off season market each month until the full season starts in May 2011. 

Where:  Sharp’s Corner (old Frontier Auto building) INSIDE!!!!!

Dates:  January 15, February 19, March 19, and April 16

Times:  To Be Announced

We will of course be at these markets.  We have been excited about the possibility of making this happen for a long time.  Thanks to all who made it reality-Johanne, Peter, Keri, and Bradley (and others I am sure).

The Farm Store will continue to be Open from 10-2 on these Saturdays.

Mark you calendars, order your cheesecakes, and get your plans in gear to attend!

Feline Foodie Reviews Woman of La Mancha

Woke up this morning to a very pleasant surprise cheese review from our favorite Feline Foodie-Spaulding Gray.  He and his madam are surely appreciated and loved around here!

We have this signature original cheese we produce here called Woman of La Mancha.  It is a favorite of us here on the farm and with our local eaters as well.  It is fun to make, but more fun to enjoy-after about a year of ageing!!  When we developed it, we put it in the ageing room, and proceeded to care for it and wait….and wait….and wait…..Then, once we tried it and loved it ( a year later) we proceeded to  make some more of it….and are waiting…and waiting…..and now we are just beginning to bring some more out on a very limited basis at about 8 months of age.  Mostly we are waiting for the 12+ month time frame to finally arrive.  It is a bit labor intensive to make-more than most, but we feel the results are worth it.  All cheesemaking is labor intensive and an act of art and love and passion.  This cheese is currently available at the farm.  We are open Saturdays from 10 to 2. 

Early Woman of La Mancha (sorry about the blurry pic)

Nan Naw Zell’s Recipes

4 Generations-Traci, Rhonda, NanNaw Zell, and Alice Harris
Taken at Catfish Cabin (Zell’s favorite place to go)

Nan Naw Zell (aka Joe Zell (Harkey) Tullis) was THE most awesome woman I have ever had the pleasure to know.  She has been gone for years now, but rest assured, MANY of us carry her forward every day to the core of who we are.  She was a marvelous home cook.  She also cooked for years at their local cafe (Splendora, TX, pop.<300), and also cooked at the school lunch room.  She cooked for family events most of my life.  I could write an entire book about her attributes, but for today, I am going to share two of my favorite recipes of hers.  Sometime in the early 1970’s, I came home from UT-Austin and asked her to tell me her recipes so I could write them down.  She chuckled her gentle chuckle, with her shiny glint in her big brown eyes and said “Welllll, I don know about that.  I don’t really have a recipe.  I just make things.”  So I said, OK, let’s make them then.  So we did.  I wrote down approximate measures, how much salt she put in the palm of her hand, the shape of the bowl she used for the dumplings, the thickness of the dumplings as we rolled them out.  I never guessed at the time what a treasure this day would be to me.  So, I want to share it with you a little bit here.  I’m sure the cousins will really appreciate having these some day too. Enjoy!

Chicken & Dumplings

This is the size and shape of bowl she used for the dumplings.  I have carried this size and shape around with me for years, because that is what Nan Naw had!  I even saw to it that my daughter has one.

By the way, I “named” her Nan Naw as a baby myself, and it just stuck for eternity.

The tamale pie had a layer of cornmeal on the bottom of a pie plate, then the the meat layer, and was topped with the final layer of the cornmeal.

Tamale Pie-Texas Style