If you didn’t know already, I am here to inform you that goats melt like little wicked witches in the rain. Seriously!
And we live in the Pacific North West where we have 3 months of beautiful, glorious sun, and 9 months of…well you guessed it, rain, rain, and more rain.
Our property was once owned by horse people, and horses aren’t particularly concerned about wetness, so our fields and paddocks were set up without consideration of shelter from the elements. Last winter we had our goats in the paddock that our long-term plan is to use for our garden. We kept them there because that was the only field that had proper fencing, and, having just moved, we had far more pressing things to attend to than fencing another field. It had a little leaky lean to that was adequate for really rainy days to keep them dry.
This summer I hired four 12-16 year old boys and over about 3 weeks they were able to fence a approximately ¾ acre field for us. The goats have been loving the extra space, but they have not had any shelter, and rather than listen to them scream until they get hoarse when it is wet, I have so far kept them in the barn on rainy days this fall.
As long as goats are in good health they don’t really need much for shelter. They need something to keep the wet off, and if it is really cold, they need some nice warm bedding to nestle down in when they are resting. Since we put ours into the barn every night, we have the night-time-really-cold thing covered, but for day times in the field, we haven’t had a solution yet.
I was delighted, therefore, when I found an ad on craigslist for some boxes being sold by the local senior center. They are a bit weather beaten, but still have several good years left in them. These boxes probably cost between $200-300 just in materials to build, and they were selling them for $95 each! So Josh figured out logistics, and we went to get one.
The little old volunteer ladies were so sweet. They told us the price had dropped to half price, and only charged us $42. Then one of them came out to help. I naturally was not about to let her get her fragile hands, skin, or bones anywhere near the actual moving parts, so we asked her to watch and make sure our blocks on the wheels and tongue of the trailer didn’t slide (a stand to the side and out of the way job).
It was super heavy, but with the help of some rollers, lifting straps and an extra guy (thanks, Dad!!), we were able to get one loaded into the trailer, strapped down and home.
It will need a coat or 2 of paint to make sure it continues to hold up to the elements, and now the goats have a home away from home when the weather is damp! At first they ran away from it, but natural curiosity won out, and by the time I left to take Wyatt to wrestling practice this evening, they were all happily standing under shelter in the sprinkling dusk.
We live in the coolest place! As the weather cools, the mushrooms come back up again. We love this time of year! This weekend, while I worked, Josh took Emma and Wyatt up into the mountains to fish and look for mushrooms, and elderberries.
The fish they were after were the Kokanee, and they had all swam up into the creeks to spawn where they were not legal to fish for. So no fish were caught.
Luckily, the Chantrelles are up so they did not come home empty handed. Josh and the kids harvested about a gallon and a half. I am not the biggest Chantrelle fan ever, however Josh and the girls will literally fry up an entire pan of mushrooms and happily eat them by themselves with a little butter and Bragg Seasoning.
Much more exciting to me, they also found some Rishi type (we think ganoderma oregonense) mushrooms!! We have never found this mushroom before in the Cascades although we have been told they are there. Josh plans to take them to the Yachats mushroom festival this weekend to make sure of our ID. I can hardly wait to make medicine out of them!