NANNY BERRIES GOAT FARMING CAMP
Connie S. Reynolds
Lately Iíve been receiving a lot of pamphlets, brochures, and advertisements on One Day Goat Seminar, one week long Goat Field Days, Three Hour Goat Nutrition Talks, and so forth. And, I started thinking it was high time I had a Nanny Berries Goat Farming Camp.
I think it should start about a day before first cutting hay season starts. And, I really should have a follow-up camp starting about a day before the second cutting hay season starts, to make it more rounded.
Living arrangements for that week or two: Bring your campers, tents, or sleeping bags. Self contained campers, tents, & sleeping bags are preferred, since no electric will be provided. So, donít forget your candles and kerosene lamps and gas cook stoves and gas refrigerators. A garden hose will be provided from our well for water and showers.
A tarp draped around a couple of bushes will provide the shower, with the above mentioned garden hose dangling above a handy tree branch. Shower as long as you want. We have plenty of water and cold well water can be quite stimulating. Bring your own towels, but I should be able to spare a bar of soap for the group.
The first day will be taken up trying to level up the campers, tents, and sleeping bags on the side of the hill. We have a large hill side so as many people that want to come, can. We will also provide various rocks, sticks, tree branches, and dirt to help level out everyoneís accommodations.
Also, on the first day, shovels, used boards, used nails and used rusty roofing will be provided for the outhouse that will be needed for the large group of people expecting to attend. I would suggest the goat campers to build a 2-4 seater since so many people will be attending and that way it will cut down on long lines. Catalogs will be provided, so no need to bring the Charmin. Handy bushes will also be available, but we do have neighbors with binoculars, so be careful where you go. Also, no visiting the brushy vegetation in the buck pen. The bucks tend to attack anything thatís large and shiny. This might be embarrassing, besides being painful.
Cost: Bring plenty of food and soft drinks. Lee and I eat a lot. If you decide to leave before the camp is over, leave the food and soft drinks.
Alcoholic beverages: No alcoholic beverages. We act pretty dingy around here anyway and no need to add fuel to the fire.
Speaking of fires, we will provide the kindling, so donít forget to bring chain saws to cut firewood for camp fires. And, while you are at it, cut a couple of truck loads for our winter firewood supply. Woods for firewood cutting will be provided. Just watch out for the bears. I know we are more generous then most in providing so much stuff, but that is our nature.
The day or two after everyone has their accommodations set up and leveled and the outhouse dug and built (I suggest people work in teams to get everything done), we will head to the hay fields to learn first hand how to put up goat hay. If it happens to rain that day or for a couple of days, we will then head to the barns to learn first hand how to clean out a winterís worth of manure. It is extremely important to also bring your own manure shovels and rakes and manure forks that, just in case, we do this. And, if the West Virginia weather holds true, we will be doing both, cleaning barns and doing hay. You just canít be more fortunate then that.
When we have that sunny hay making weather, everyone is to learn how to operate antique farm equipment. This includes walking around the fields with the baler older then everyoneís combined age, and being ready to tie each bale it forgets to tie. Which can be a lot since itís memory is not that great anymore on remembering what a hay bale really looks like.
If we donít have any mechanics in the group to repair equipment as it breaks down and the rains suddenly decide to move in, everyone be prepared to learn how to play "Stomp around the hay pole." This is where part of the group carries in hay by the forkfuls to throw around a pole in the ground while everyone else stomps it down to make a huge hay mound. That way you can go home and tell your great, great, great, grandfather you did what he use to do on the farm.
We will also study goat feed nutrition. This is where a group of you will take your vehicles and pick up a ton of goat feed I have ordered (Iíll pay you back later), bring it to the barn and the rest of you will unload it into the grain bins. I will personally read what is on the goat feed label to you to educate you further.
We will also have guest speakers one day at the Nanny Berries Goat Farming Camp. I have invited vets, goat breeders, and extension agents to come and speak. And, if we all pitch in and pay their gas bill, feed them, and bribe them with $100 each, they will show up.
The topics they will speak on are the ones they mention to me all the time. For example:
"You Must Be An Idiot To Be A Goat Farmer" by the extension agent. "Are You Crazy Giving Your Goats That?" by the vets. And, "Profit? WhatĎs that?," and "Do you want to buy a goat?" by several goat breeders in the area. Iím sure they will come up with even more enlightening subjects then the ones I mentioned up above.
And, I bet you are wondering if we will be going on any traveling field trips while you are here. If the flood washes all the hay away (donít worry, your camps are safe on the hill side, if the mudslide hasnít taken them), we will definitely be traveling around to buy hay for the goats. So, bring plenty of money and your trucks.
Well, I am as eager to meet you all as you all are eager to come. Iíll be anxiously waiting by the mailbox to receive the many requests to come to the first annual Nanny Berries Goat Farming Camp. Youíall drop by, you hear?