Meet The Farmers...
Super cool picture coming soon.
( Scroll to bottom for young farmers)
"The farm" is a dream come true for Tamara who pestered her mother non-stop as a child for "just one more" cat, dog, hamster, well, you get the idea. But since they were city folk there was not a chance of real country critters. For many years Tamara's husband, Solar Mo, was able to hold off the onslaught of various critters until one fateful day. Okay, maybe it was actually a series of fateful events.
Shortly after moving to "the country" (at least it is by Southern California metropolis standards) their beautiful, indoor-only cat escaped during the night. All that was found the next morning was evidence of a visit by a predator - the most likely being a coyote. After crying for a few days and patching up the escape hole the family just accepted it as part of country living. A few months later the Miniature Schnauzer was attacked by a predator, most likely a coyote, and only lived thanks to one of the large dogs saving him. $400 of surgery and a drain in his side and he was ready to come home and recuperate. A short time after that Tamara followed the dogs out in the yard only to watch them chase a coyote over the fence and out of the yard. At that point the coyote turned and seemed to sneer at the bunch of them and then very s-l-o-w-l-y sauntered off, even as the canines aggressively barked and growled and Tamara stood jumping, shouting and pitching dirt clods. The indignity of it all! "ENOUGH!" Tamara cried to Solar Mo. And then Tamara got out her weapon of choice. The internet.
Thanks to the world wide web Tamara found out that llamas can make great guard animals. So began the search. Tamara and Solar Mo visited many breeders. Solar Mo was hooked and happily agreed to llamas. They especially enjoyed meeting Norma and Dick Stevens of Mountain Oaks Ranch where they picked up their beautiful llama Tiara Star. Tamara and Solar Mo have had their llamas since fall 2002 and up until the winter of 2003/2004 had not seen any evidence of predators. Chickens and ducks ran free. Cats frolicked outdoors. The little dog was growing old worry free (except for maybe when it would be meal time again).
Time went on and the idea of milk goats was discussed with Tamara and Solar Mo's friends & neighbors the Caldwells. Not just any dairy goats. But small, easy to handle, delicious milk producing dairy goats. Yes, Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats. And why not add goats? The Rousso family was already living with llamas, chickens and ducks. Tamara and Gianaclis (of the Caldwell clan) , with children in tow, set off in the dead of winter to Idaho (anudder story - pardon the pun) where they purchased their first dairy goats from Quicksilver Farms. The dairy herds were born. Goats are extremely amusing critters and Nigerian Dwarfs are no different in addition to being great mothers. The Rousso family has had many a laugh at the antics of their goats and been surprised to find that weaning kids causes some does to go into mourning. Of course owning dairy goats, means breeding dairy goats which means becoming a goat midwife. Yikes! And then you have to learn to milk. Oh my! Once again the world wide web proved a great resource. One of the best places to go for information is Fias Co Farm. Tamara was able to get information about raw milk, making cheese, treating illnesses, and even birthing on that site.
The whole family agrees that one of the very best parts about having goats is the milk. Fresh goat milk is incredibly delicious. Tamara, Solar Mo and the kids were quite relieved to find that it does NOT taste like store bought goat milk. And they were quite amused to find that a wether they had purchased REFUSED to take store bought goat milk. The day finally came when it was time to start milking their own doe. Milking and other goat supplies were purchased from Hoegger Goat Supply and Caprine Supply.
The Southern California fires of the summer of 2003 had pushed the predators out of the hills and trouble struck again. Wiley coyote snuck past 2 dogs and 3 llamas to kill one of the drakes (male duck). The next night the coyote climbed over two fences and took the other drake. And 8 days later the little old dog was attacked. This time the kindest thing to do was euthanize him. The next week three large coyotes were seen by the children watching the yard. Barking dogs and throwing dirt clods did little to scare the coyotes. After much discussion among the family, and fearful that the 2 lb Nigerian Dwarf babies would someday become a meal, it was decided it was time to add a livestock guardian dog. An Akbash was chosen and a deposit placed on a puppy from Tamara Taylor of Texas . Livestock Guardian Dogs have been bred for centuries to bond with livestock and are very alert and protective. Update: Athena has proved to be just what we needed! No coyotes have been visiting after Athena reached about 8 months. She loves her goats, the kids are her favorites, she likes to lick the kids faces. She patrols the fence barking from dusk 'till dawn. What a good girl!
Athena our female Akbash.
The Saga Continues ...
It was becoming apparent that Algedi Farm was quickly outgrowing the 2 acres owned by the Rousso clan in Southern California. In 2003 Solar Mo and Tamara, with kids in tow, began the arduous task of trying to find a place with more land that wouldn’t require “creative financing”, and that wouldn’t send local zoning enforcement officers into spasms of enforcement fever. This process of trekking to property after property went on for close to 2 years. In the end it became apparent that it was time to take advantage of the California real estate boom, and sell the little place at a decidedly handsome profit. Oregon here we come! In 2005 Algedi Farm was loaded lock, stock and barrel and moved to the wilderness, or as the locals call it -Applegate. Or at least it seemed so by Southern Califormia standards.
One of our neighbors harkened the process of moving the critters to watching Moses and the ark in action. Algedi Farm didn’t have 2 of every species, but they did have many goats, several llamas, a couple of horses, a mini horse, 2 mini donks, a bunch of chickens, quite a few ducks and the dogs, cats, and a lizard that resided in the house. Moving all of those critters was going to take reinforcements. Tamara again turned to her favorite resource – the Internet. Going to yahoo.com and joining several groups regarding livestock transportation helped Tamara find a trustworthy carrier. Before deciding on a carrier she posted to a couple of groups asking for references. This turned out to be a seldom seen act of brilliance on the part of Tamara as one of the carriers she was considering had burned several people, and had a reputation for smoking pot while driving!!
The new place in Southern Oregon is 40 acres backing up to BLM. While a nice pasture would be the icing on the cake, Algedi Farm has plenty of browse for the goats, the horses aren’t subject to founder from spring grass on pasture, and the dogs are kept busy chasing skunks. Pew! Taking the bait to the wilderness has required putting up a real barn (www.barnmaster.com), and electrifying the hen yard as the local foxes thought Algedi Farm was fine dining featuring fresh fowl.
Living in the woods with several herd of deer means living with an astronomical number of deer ticks. Deer ticks are a vector for Lyme Disease. It turned out that guineas (www.guineas.com) are a natural source of tick control. Word to the wise – locate the guinea coop far from the house or buy stock in earplugs. Guineas are probably one of the loudest critters you can add to the farm, but earn their keep in decreasing the tick population, provide eggs (which can be eaten by some folks sensitive to chicken eggs), and will keep a good herding dog feeling important.
UPDATE 2010: All in all country life in Southern Oregon is grand. The kids are growing up drinking water that is pure from a well (yep, had it checked), the air is clean, and life is good. The guineas have greatly decreased the deer tick population and we fenced a good portion of the property and put the dogs on deer patrol. That 8 week old ES puppy is named Jedi, and he will be 5 April '11. He is such an incredible dog that Tamara helped out with an ES rescue which resulted in bringing another ES to live with us. She is actually a mix, but don’t tell her because her heart is all ES. The yellow Lab made the move too, and enjoyed the country walks that kept her spry until she succumbed to cancer at age 11. And then there is the Sheltie who will be 6 in May and is as bossy as ever.
The goat herd is now Kalee’s and has brought her many a show win along with strong hands from milking. The llamas and livestock guardian dogs are kept busy keeping coyotes, bears, and the occasional cougar at bay. The horse herd has changed some with the hard decision to put one of the mares down that was suffering, and the addition of two young Tennessee Walking Horses. The donkeys and wethers have all gone to live at pet homes; although we would have kept them all if hay would just rain from the sky.
The night of winter solstice found the Rousso clan on the back porch, looking up at the beautiful night sky at stars that can only look so brilliant when not competing with city lights, heads tipped up to watch the moon, and delighted in the lunar eclipse to celebrate the downhill trek back to longer days and warmer weather. Life is good at Algedi Farm. Ya gotta love country livin’.
Meet the young farmers...
We love Animals!!!!
|Hi there, my name is Kalee. I'm nineteen years old, and animals are my passion. I'm the main show-woman, milk machine, midwife, kid tamer and overall caretaker for our beloved goats. Aside from having been bitten badly by the goat-y bug, I also am an avid trail rider (on horseback), love running dog agility, and very much enjoy photography (can you guess what my main subject is?! :^).||
|Hey, I'm Jacob. I'm fifteen. I enjoy playing with our barn cats and can occasionally be seen cleaning a stall or petting a goat or horse. I really love to paint Warhammer 40K models and play Magic Cards.||
All photos and text are copyright Algedi Farm and the Rousso family unless otherwise noted. Pictures and text may only be used with our express permission