Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goats and grazing

Jim and I camped out on a beautiful private ranch at the based of Devil's Tower last week. We were in the area learning about how a herd of goats is used to control a leafy spurge infestation on a cattle ranch. It's for a children's book about goats that I'm working on.

My friend Carolina Noya is running 700 young goats on the ranch, using electric fencing to control the grazing. The goats key on weeds and other browse, leaving the grass for the cattle. Here's Jim with Carolina and her husband Greg Fink. There was a range fire in the area, so smoke obscured the tower most of the time we were there. It's a beautiful area anyway – wild turkey and white-tailed deer country.

Here's Carolina out feeding her livestock protection dogs early in the morning, with a goat assisting of course.

And a few shots of goats doing what goats do.

Carolina's dogs were great - they love their goats and had little or no interest in us. Good dogs!


BorderWars said...

I've heard of fainting goats, but is that a fainting livestock guardian dog? Funny photo for sure.

Andrew Campbell said...

Cat: as ever, great pictures from a great opportunity. Love to hear about folks using non-mechanical, non-chemical ways to keep farming on a sustainable level. And goats, well, goats are pretty funny.

all best

Cat Urbigkit said...

Christopher, I never thought it could be a fainting dog - too funny! The dog was definitely trying to get a belly rub though.

Andrew, thanks so much for your comments. Like you, I love sustainable agriculture,using nature to deal with nature. And of course I'm willing to throw down my sleeping bag nearly anywhere so I'm ready for that early morning light ...

Jenny Glen said...

What type of guardian dog was the one with the beard?

Cat Urbigkit said...

Jenny, the dog is supposed to be a pure Akbash, but I'm sure she's not. There are several LPD breeds with those bearded faces in Europe. Regardless, she's a wonderful guardian - and a big girl too.

Matt Mullenix said...

Cat that first picture of the goats in pasture with the tree and ridgeline is now the background image on my iPhone.

I realize that is no great honor, but this is truly one of my favorite photographs ever. The composition is perfect and the multiple mannerism of the goats gathered there seem to exemplify all goats, everywhere.

Mind I know nothing about goats, but I feel I know them a lot better by looking at this picture.

Also, it is almost an homage to those great 18-19th(?) Century pastoral oils that I find so moving in my simpleminded way.

Thanks very much for sharing it

Cat Urbigkit said...

Wow, Matt, you're wrong. It's always a great honor to me when anyone enjoys any of my images. That's what I'm all about - sharing this beautiful life.

Besides, I just learned from that trip that goats are very cool creatures.