If you are into alternative farming and looking for growers and local business that specialize in alternative methods of raising and preparing food then the National Exposition is for you next year.
I participated this year by bringing my San Clemente goats to the exposition. I had intended on bringing seven goats, three bucklings and four doelings to sell. Since it was an educational exhibit, I spent days designing posters on the history and the markings and how to identify a San Clemente goat. I designed a flyer to pass out to people interested in the goats.
Unfortunately financial issues limited me. The car was overheating so I was afraid to bring the second group of goats to the exhibit. And I was unable to afford the printing for the posters. I did bring the three 8-month-old bucklings to the show.
Almost immediately the bucklings leaped out of the stall that they were suppose to stay in. They steeple jacked over the wooden fencing between the empty stalls all the way down the row in the sheep barn. The fair had to give me some wire panels to keep them from climbing out and that did hold them for the three days.
Of course it did not help when one of the exhibitors paraded her Nigerian Dwarf goat in front of little bucklings. Her goat was in heat. It was the School Children’s Educational Day and crowds of curious children were looking into the pen as the three frustrated bucklings began mating with each other right at child level.
“Daddy what is that thing hanging down under the goat?” I kept hearing, as parents realizing what was happening in the pen, dragged their children away.
I was confronted with another thing and I was caught totally off guard by it. A great many people remarked that they were uncomfortable with a goat with horns! Cows were too big and they were not going to be dealing with an animal that size, so no problem. But goats were something that you could keep and a goat with horns was something many people were afraid of.
All the goats at the exhibit except mine had been dehorned. Everyone had Nigerian Dwarf goats. They all looked over-fed, pot-bellied and the goat in the stall adjacent to my stalls looked as if there was a lost, little soul behind those eyes crying to get out.
Then I looked back at my three little guys sparing and screwing in the stall in front of everyone and maybe there was something to be said about…that.
While I did not sell any goats and spent a lot of money getting to the Exposition, I did have a reasonably good time and it was well worth seeing. I have posted some of the images I took while walking through the show.
Each day began with the exhibitors getting their booths and animals ready.
The Exposition opens for the day.
A corner shrine to the Anti GMO movement
The Grand temple
Raising joy at all that food.
PsiKeep Ranch and Center for the Arts
will be exhibiting San Clemente Goats
at the National Heirloom Exposition
at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds
September 9 – 11
Look for us in the Sheep Barn
The long wait is over.
PsiKeep Venture is proud to announce the launching of its sister web site psikeep.com.
In the months to come the new website will cover more specific details about the development of the art center and events and workshops taking place at the Center. It will also cover information about the breeding and sale of San Clemente Island goats at PsiKeep Ranch.
Check out the new link and stay tuned.
It has been slightly more than a year since the logo for PsiKeep Venture and the blog was launched. It is time to clarify the mission statement and to update several of the categories.
The mission of this blog is to find people who are interested in both following and participating in the adventure of constructing the PsiKeep Center for the Arts with all the trials and tribulations of building an art center in the wilderness from brush clearance to sculpture garden; from art classes to gift shop.
Currently classes are taught in the main studio. Plans for the buildings to house the workshops and classrooms will be online. Also look for the site plan for the general layout of the future buildings and gardens on the property. Both of these documents should be online sometime this year.
Also the sister website psikeep.com will be online shortly.
Last year the top section of the Mushroom Wedding Arch was installed. The completion of the Mushroom Wedding Arch will hopefully happen by this summer.
The next sculpture project is the revision of the Dragon Head Entrance.
The Dragon Head was constructed in 2010.
The dragon was in the 2010 Lake County Eco-Arts Sculpture show.
Today the Dragon Head sits in the driveway looking very mush like a tarped motorboat.
The sculpture had been skinned with paper mache. The paper mache needs to be stripped away. The wiring for the lights in the eyes and the walk-thru needs to be installed and the sculpture needs to be prepped in order to be permanently coated with cement and ceramic tiles. This summer volunteers are welcome to help with the construction and installation. Contact email@example.com
San Clemente Island Goats
The Center is located on a nine-acre goat ranch in Lake County California. PsiKeep ranch breeds and raises San Clemente Island goats. Last year this bog was launched with the lines “This morning I buried to kids”. This year’s kidding season went a lot easier. As of this posting all the kids that were born have survived and are healthy.
San Clemente Island goats are a rare breed of feral goat. They once inhabited the Channel Islands off the coast of California. They were probably introduced to the Islands by Spanish ranchers who eventually abandoned them. The goats survived on their own for about three hundred years until the Navy began using them as target practice in the 1970’s. A rescue mission was set up to save the goats and the goats on PsiKeep ranch are from a long line of descendants of the goats taken from that rescue mission. Today there are approximately 650 San Clemente goats in the world. Twenty-two of them are on PsiKeep ranch.
This year’s kidding season began in December. Twelve kids are currently available for sale. People who are interested in owning and raising heritage goats should contact firstname.lastname@example.org at PsiKeep Ranch.
Wildlife at PsiKeep
The pair of ravens who have claimed PsiKeep as part of their territory are busy refurbishing their nest in the Ponderosa pine tree next to the main house. The pair is working most of the day flying in with twigs and pieces of material to line the nest. There is a lot of commotion, re-establishing the boundaries of their territory and driving off last year’s offspring. Every few minutes a shadow passes overhead as one of the ravens fly past.
As I stepped outside for a break in writing this post they were high in the sky dive bombing a red-tailed hawk.
You might enjoy reviewing the raven diaries from last year and look for more on the ravens in the weeks ahead.
I have not seen any sign of Scruff, the orphan deer with the mange. If he survived he is probably much larger by now. Most of the deer come by at night. Right now this is plenty of water for them and the grasses and bushes are leaving out providing them with fresh vegetation.
Care-taking the Land
The first sign of spring at PsiKeep comes with the blooming of the Red Bud and the unveiling of the Euphorbias, which have been draped in nursery cloth to protect them during the winter.
Last year a number of trees came down. Several trees had to be cut down due to beetle-bark damage or just plain old age. Since PsiKeep is nestled in the forest, falling trees are a big issue. Luckily the property sits in a bowl against the hillside where the ground water tends to converge. But dry days lie ahead with the prolonged drought in California. Hopefully the spring at the bottom of the hill can be dug out and reconnected to the water tanks.
Looks like lots of work ahead for this year. Hope to hear from you all. Comments are always welcome.
It is our third year of drought.Without the rains we had a long drawn out autumn that graduated from golden to brown to brittle. We had a hard freeze and the winds ripped the last of the leaves from the trees. Now we languish, day after day, as the rainstorms roil out in the Pacific or slam down from the Arctic only to arch over the land as if it is under a bell jar or cupped in a giant fist of drought.
Kidding Season Begins
It is kidding season at PsiKeep. Actually the kidding season began early last December 2013. Two does dropped their kids in one week. My seed female, mother of all, from which all my does have come from, had a difficult delivery. The first kid was born a healthy buckling and labeled E-01. (E for year 2014, odd number for male and 01 for the first male born in 2014.) The doe passed the remains of tissue that might have been an undeveloped second kid. But the next morning she passed a third kid. It was a healthy developed looking buckling but it must have strangled on the umbilical cord or had been too long in the birth canal.
For a couple of days I thought I might lose the mother doe. She was so weak she could barely stand and nurse her kid. I milked her and fed her the extra colostrum/milk, which is high in antibodies. This seemed to help and give back some if her energy. She drank her own milk for about three days and started nursing on the second day. I was careful to make sure the buckling had enough milk especially those first days when it is high in content with colostrum. But since there was only one kid I had extra milk to feed the mother.
A few days later the second doe dropped two healthy kids, a doeling and a buckling. More kids are on their way in the next few months.
Below are current photos of the three kids. They are ready for sale now.
For more articles on San Clemente goats at PsiKeep check out the menu at the top of the page.
Individuals interested in purchasing San Clemente Island goats should contact: email@example.com
PsiKeep ranch does not ship life animals. Buyers must arrange their own pickup.
A day at PsiKeep begins with a bloat and ends with a bang.
Treating Bloat in San Clemente Island Goats
This morning I found myself dealing with a case of bloat in one of my does. As I was setting out the feed I saw that she was a balloon! She was as wide as she was long and standing listlessly under the trees by the feeder. By the time I got the olive oil and a turkey baster prepared she was lying down and looking pretty miserable. It was easy for me to catch her and put her up on the stanchion. I administered 2 turkey basters full or about 120 cc of olive oil slowly against the inside cheek of her mouth. Two hours later she was back down to a normal size and eating. Lucky I caught this one in time.
Singing Plants in the Garden
It is the time of the shower of the Pleiades and summer is dwindling into autumn with the promise of one or two furnace days ahead. I was walking back up from the goat pens through the Garden of Earthly Delights, the euphorbia and cactus collection at PsiKeep.
The ordeal of treating the bloating goat made me sit down on one of the ledges of the terraces and rest for moment. This is not something I normally do. I am always racing to the next project as soon as I complete the current one. I have a hard time relaxing. I am the one who orders the relaxation tapes back in the days when we were using cassettes and never broke the cellophane seal on the package. A long time in the grave for resting.
But this particular morning I forced myself to sit down and take a look around at what I am trying to do with this place.
As I sat there watching the San Pedro cactus and several of the other euphorbia, which I had planted a month ago, I noticed that they were glowing. I stepped closer to investigate. I could see that it was the position of the late morning sun above and behind the cactus and that the light was bouncing off of the fluid in the plant.
But there was something else. I could almost hear the sound of the capillary action as the inside the plant thrust upward, step laddering cell-by-cell toward the sky.
Out at the edge of the nub where new tissue was unfolding into the geometric five and six faces of the plant, there was a singing but there was no audible sound. It was an empathy of the same fluid within me unfolding, becoming, rising toward the light. And for a moment I felt at one with all that was around me. Blood, sap water, all the intricate fluids of life thrusting from the great wellspring of the earth into the infinite facets of being.
Of course I had to run into the house and get my camera and take the photos of the plants and then I had to write down what I saw and put it into the computer all the while leaving that small miracle trailing behind me while I walked into the day with my shopping list of things to do.
Sculpting the Mushroom Wedding Arch
Construction has stumbled to a standstill. Three out of the four sacks of cement I opened were setting up like a fast-set mixture. Something in the dry ingredients is wrong and as soon as I add the liquid to the cement it begins to set. It is crystallizing in the bucket before I can even trowel it out to spread on the surface of the sculpture.
I had called the company several days before leaving messages regarding the cement but no one had returned my calls. When I could no longer sculpt the gills of the mushrooms I stamped up the stairs to the phone and prepared for battle. After a number of phone calls and email messages I got the right number and that person referred me to the area rep.
I started out by representing myself as a contractor loosing money on a job because of the faulty cement. I figured I would get a better response than if I represented myself as a sculptor but this guy recognized me right away. “Oh your that instructor who is using our product in the way it is not supposed to be used.”
I could not believe it! I must have talked briefly to this guy back in 2009 when I had another problem with the chemistry of their product. I told him that I had been using it “in the way that it was not supposed to be used” but that it was working for me for a number of years and that maybe they ought to rethink how their product could be used. It might even open up a bigger market for them. But that was not the issue. The cement was setting up in the bucket before I could apply it “in the way it was not supposed to be used.”
After some haggling he said he would see about exchanging the fifteen sacks and would call me back on Monday.
This year’s raven offspring have flown away. I occasionally see them. When they arrive they are like gang busters, squabbling and squawking with each other. The littlest one I call “Little” is still alive. I did not have much hope for that one since he was so far behind the others in growth and size. But he is still hanging in there and seems more aggressive and forward than the other two.
The parents remain guarding their territory.
They spend most of the day in the blue pines or prowling in the goat pens. I feed them once a day and they have plenty of water so I imagine they have found paradise. The only time they disappear is at dusk when they fly off somewhere to a roost for the night. I have no idea where their roost is located.
This is not the image you want to see at the end of the day. Ten miles away it holds a warning of things to come.
While the saga of PsiKeep continues you might like to visit my new and second blog at http://tenabraecafe.wordpress.com/. Sign up at the Tenabrae Cafe for a notice of new postings. Looking forward to also meeting with you there.
Between water and blood.
We travel far between our birth and death. We forget how to address these gateways of our life.
This video is pretty graphic. I have found myself uncomfortable watching it even as I was putting it together. Birthing is a traumatic event. After all the kids I have helped bring into the world I am still exhausted after every birth, even when there is nothing more that I can do but wipe clear the nostrils of the newborn, snip umbilical cords, and feed a healthy dose of molasses and warm water to the mother doe after everything is over.
The mother doe was the last doe this year to become pregnant. I knew she was coming along but I was unprepared for the birth. I had cleaned out the barns from their winter stay and I was out of straw and shavings when it happened. All I could do was spread out a tarp and some old sheets that I used for sculpting.
The birthing time was short but she seemed to be having some initial difficulty. There is a break in the movie clip as I went to assist her just as the head is beginning to show. You never want to pull on any part of the kid for fear of tearing something inside the mother. I gently eased back the open to her birth canal and slipped the head through as she pushed. The process took only a couple of moments.
The next step is to quickly wipe away the membrane around the kid’s nostrils. This is extremely important. Inside the doe, the kid has been breathing underwater through the umbilical cord and when that breaks the kid’s transformation from a life in water to open air is immediate. Usually the doe will lick away the membrane but I have lost kids born out in the field because for some reason the kids never pulled out of the membrane and suffocated.
As I watch this video I realize that each of us has come into the world this way. Maybe not on the floor of a barn but the process is the same. Blood and water and the first gasp of air; our journey begins from darkness to darkness down the path of light.
Three days later…
Note: I have not added a sound track and have left the original effects in place for the moment. There is something about the jabbering of NPR in the background with the wind chimes blowing, and the mother goat reacting to the sound of the dog walking on the porch above.
This video clip shows a yearling doe playing with a two month old buckling kid. They are every familiar with each other. They both have the same mother and bed together with the mother in the same stall at night.
There is a certain restraint in the movements of the yearling. Toward the end of this encounter things get a little more serious and another adult female intervenes.
The background sound that you hear is the sound of a frustrated adult buck that has been separated from the does while they are raising the kids.
Goats spend a great deal of their leisure time competing with each other. It appears that they are establishing their position in the herd. This position is flexible and changes over time depending on circumstances such as age, the introduction of other goats into the herd, or becoming a mother with kids.
The story of the origin of the San Clemente Island goats is that they were brought to Channel Islands by the Conquistadores as a supply of milk and meat for their sailing expeditions. A more realistic version of this story is that they were probably brought to the Channel Islands by Mexican land owners who ranched the islands before the United States claimed the territory of California. In either case they were abandoned and ran wild in a closed environment for several hundred years.
The image above is the doe and buck that started the herd of San Clemente Island goats at PsiKeep.
A good site for information about the San Clemente Island goat breed is at http://scigoats.org/
In the 70’s there was a rescue mission to remove the goats from the islands. A slide show of those rescues can be found at: http://scigoats.org/gallery/slideshow/slideshow.htm
The latest official count of San Clemente Island goats is that there are about 500 in the world.
The two herds at PsiKeep expand and shrink with the breeding season so this total number of 500 might be small. There have been up to 25 goats at PsiKeep. Currently there are 18 goats on the ranch.
Each year the kids are sold people who are interested in heritage livestock and saving the breed. One good thing about raising a heritage breed is that thankfully no one is going to pay $400 for a goat to BBQ.