For my senior project, I have a stack of books that are on my to-read list for the rest of the year. I picked them because I think they have a great amount of knowledge for the beginning goat owner and reflect what it is I’m trying to do with my project. Number one on the list is Goat Song by Brad Kessler. The author “Brad” writes about his own first experience with owning a small goat herd, and all the trials and triumphs he and his wife encounter. It’s a great and fun read that also explores the history of the goat and human connection, as well as his own experience raising goats, because no two stories are alike. This is the second time I am reading this book, the first time I didn’t own goats, it was my plan to get two, but I was still in the phase of gathering information. Before I read it, my mother did and she loved it so she gifted it to me. In the beginning I was more focused on the information I could get out of it, sifting through the story for the information on how to make cheese, what to look for in a breeding doe, those types of things, but this time I’m reading the story. I’m not a literary person in the slightest, and I tend to take things at face value, so I don’t understand going in depth in the books I’m reading, but with Goat Song I think thats okay, Kessler is just writting his story, there is no hidden meaning behind his words, like a goat they are who they are and don’t hide behind masks.
The next book I keep close at hand is The Complete Herbal Handbook For Farm and Stable by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. She is a wonderful herbalist, and although the book has some very old remedies it’s a fun read with great knowledge. I do suggest for a novice herbalist to have backup to this book, because her measurements can be loose. But the stories and history recorded in this book are fascinating. I got this book for Christmas two years ago, when I first bought Rue and Odin (my first goat project). I don’t know how to describe this book, or Juliette, so instead I will share a link to a documentry about her, in her last days. She seemed like so a wonderful women and I wish I could have met her. http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/8638/Juliette-of-the-Herbs
Other books I keep on hand are The Backyard Goat By Sue Weaver, this is, as it states on the cover is a “introductory guide to keeping pet goats”. It has a lot of information on the basics of goat care, housing, breeding, and more. The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks is another book that I have cracked open, its not about goats, but about the life of a multi generational herdsman in the Lake District of Northern England.
There other books that I sift through that have to do with cheese making and goat packing, just about anything I can get my hands on. There is a surprising amount of books out there that can help the first time goat owner, or entertain the long time farmer.