Saturday’s Farm Diary – Novella Carpenter & Urban Goat Raising

This past Sunday Tom and I joined a group of like-minded people at Biofuel Oasis in Berkeley for their Urban Goat Husbandry Class. The class was taught be the well known Novella Carpenter who wrote one of our favorite books, Farm City. If you haven’t read Farm City I highly recommend you read it. It’s not a how-to book but a charming story of how she created an urban oasis on someone else’s vacant lot – her own squat urban farm.

Novella demonstrating how to trim hooves.

The 3 hour class was incredibly informative and I HIGHLY recommend anyone contemplating goats to take it. I wish we had taken it before we got goats. I don’t regret the decision of getting pygmy goats (as opposed to a dairy breed) at all. I’m just not very happy about how we got them as it makes our ability to breed them very difficult at the moment. I’m hoping the situation corrects itself very soon so we can get going on the task at hand – to start breeding them. Either way, we need to get them to a vet and get them tested for CAE, CL and Johnnes. We don’t have their previous vet information right now, but they need to be tested once a year if we are to take them onto someone else’s property.

Tom’s turn to trim hooves

The best part of her class was the hands on hoof trimming. We had NO idea how to do it (fortunately Bella and Daisy’s hooves are pretty good) and pictures online and in books just aren’t the same as real experience.

Novella’s quickly put together stanchion

Novella also showed us how to quickly put together a stanchion. Of course Tom will use his handy woodworking skills to make something a bit sturdier, but I was amazed at how simple it seemed to go together just from scrap wood she found around the station.
She also quickly went over how to make yogurt and also how to make cheese. We got to sample some of her cheeses which were fabulous! I am really looking forward to learning more things about goats.
She also teaches a Complete Rabbit Class that we really want to try. Her next class probably won’t be until September so we’ll just have to be patient. Urban homesteading can’t happen overnight even if we really want it too.

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