South African Boer Bok

Autumn Olive Farms is a family based operation in Augusta County. We have a dual focus model with a singular commitment to the health and wellness of the land, animal and the consumer. We raise the beautiful South African Boer Bok as an environmentally sound method to combat the invasive plant species problem while producing one of the finest and healthiest meats in the world right here in the Shenandoah Valley. The combination of the worlds premier, purpose bred and standardized meat goat with the fantastic forage base of invasive species here in the Valley provides a win-win situation for the land, its owner and the consumer.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

A different kind of kid on the playground...

We were invited by Dr. Mindy Garber, principal at Hugh K. Cassell Elementary School, to bring our goats to the playground to entertain the school kids yesterday.  
 Our Boer Bok goats were the last "kids" to play on the playground before it is to be torn down to make way for a new one.  What a fun afternoon we all had!  

Teachers  and parents were snapping photos. 

Pat Jarrett the photograhper from the Newsleader said it was the highlight of his week!  It is amazing the affect our animals have on people.

The  school kids were squealing and cheering with delight every time a goat jumped off the playground or went up or down the slide. I even heard one teacher say it was okay for the goat kids to break the rule and go up the slide!  The goats had a great time!  

The dogs even got in on the action!  This is Bea, she usually does not like attention, but boy yesterday was a different story!  I looked and there she was standing by the fence letting the kids love on her. This was so good to see. She has been very sick from Lyme's disease. She has had a full recovery!  Thank you Dr. Barton from Commonwealth Veterinary Clinic!  

This is Ms. Peabody our 3 legged goat. She is the most popular goat amongst the kids. They are always looking for and asking about Ms. Peabody. She is an amazing goat!  
 Two of our favorite goats are Wilbur (the one without horns) and #17.  They enjoyed hanging out on the playground.  

One thing you should know is that our goats weren't the last "kids" to play on the playground.  It was actually our son Luke and his friend Forrest.  They were taking a "break" from working...


You see, part of the playground is going to become a "chicken palace" here at Autumn Olive Farms! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Field" Trip....

The fourth grade class at Hugh Cassell Elementary School went on a "field" trip last Thursday. No bus, no fuel, no money spent!  They just walked out of the back of the school and down the path...  

Ready and waiting for the kids to arrive!

Here they come!  

Better turn the electric net off!

The kids learned what the terms sustainable farming, biological control, invasive plants and environmentally friendly mean and got to see those words in action. They also learned about livestock guardian dogs and their purpose.
Clay telling the kids about Mr. Max.  He is the one who contracted meningeal worm when he was young. It caused him to become stunted and weak in his hind legs.  He is one of those animals that is not a "good business decision," so we found a job for him.  He is great with new goat kids that come into our herd from other farms.  His gentle nature is very calming to them and helps them to adjust to their new home.  
Mr. Max then went over for some special attention. He is a very gentle buck and loves to have his head and horns rubbed!

This is #17 he also loves attention!  Ms. Peabody is standing to his left. She is the one who had to have her front leg amputated.  All of the kids were fascinated with Ms. Peabody. She is a remarkable goat! Now whenever we see the kids out and about they all ask "Where is Ms. Peabody?"

The goats ran and followed the kids back up the path.  They were sad to see them go!  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scenes from the Agritourism Festival...

We had a great day at the first annual Shenandoah Valley Agritourism Festival on Sunday at Hermitage Hill Farm! The Festival had a large turnout with over 600 people in attendance!

It was an honor to finally get to meet Joel Salatin when he came by to visit our display.  It was even more exciting to hear him tell us that our farm model is fantastic and that he has never seen one like it! 

The weather was perfect and folks were very interested in learning about our farm and what we do. 
Pat Jarrett/The New Leader

The goats enjoyed being fed branches of autumn olive, honeysuckle, blue weed and privet. 

It is quite different than what most folks are used to when they go to a festival and see goats.
Pat Jarrett/The News Leader

Usually you get a cone with feed in it. Not our goats!  It was a great way to teach kids and adults about the goats natural diet. It also allowed for an up close view to see how their prehensile mouths work to pluck every leaf off of a branch!  

Even the newest addition had to get in on the action!  She wanted to show that at one month old she can forage too!  

Chloe was her normal "stoic" self. She spent most of her time "modeling" as a Pyrenees statue.  She would mosey over for a few rubs every now and then. She was very disappointed the folks were feeding the goats, but not feeding her!  

Our son, Luke was on hand to give out samples of our Autumn Berry Sauce.  We were anxious to get the feedback on our batch of Autumn Berry Spicy Sauce and folks gave us a thumbs up!  All agreed that it was not too hot just a little warm!

Here is a link to The News Leader article about the festival.  You can see more pictures and learn about the festival.  Hope to see you there next year! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our Boer Bok have gone to school and the school has gone green....

The A-Team has gone to school at Hugh Cassell Elementary School. The school has gone green and the green is getting gone!

Looking east toward Turk Mountain on the Skyline Drive
It is a surreal feeling for Clay every time he goes to check the herd. This was part of his original family farm and he can remember hunting ground hogs and making hay in the fields where our Boer Bok are. Who would have ever dreamed that we would have 184 Boer Bok from our herd grazing this land 40 years later?  

The views from the top of the hill are stunning!  This is looking northeast at the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.  

This site has a stand of walnut trees for shade. Clay remembers these being big when he was a little boy. 

It also has concrete pads. The Boer Bok love to climb and play on these! 

They are enjoying this gorgeous weather!

Chloe likes it here as well! She checking the wind for smells of a threat or out of the park balls from the baseball fields.. 

We will be doing a presentation for the school kids next week.  The kids and staff are excited about the "foreign exchange students" that are attending their school.  We are excited to be able to teach a young generation about these beautiful animals, sustainable farming and biological control methods of invasive plants and weeds!  Those are a lot of big words to learn for young kids! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The scent of Romeo...

Clay and I were doing our evening herd check and noticed that the does were super affectionate.  They were crowding all around us and leaning into us to be petted and rubbed. Even the does who usually don't want to have anything to do with us were behaving this way. It seemed a bit odd to see this over affection they were displaying.  
Then it occurred to Clay why they were behaving that way.  Prior to checking the does we checked the bucks and noticed that Romeo needed his hooves trimmed.  Needless to say that when you trim his hooves you have to touch him and when you touch him his "essence" gets on you.  Yes, the girls smelled the scent of Romeo.  "O Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo?" is what they were saying.  Not to worry, they will get to see him and our other buck, The Hardy Boy in about a month.  That will be too much to blog about!   
The Band of Bucks - "Skipper", "Romeo" and "The Hardy Boy"
"The Hardy Boy" and "Romeo"

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Scenes From Kite Day...

Kite Day Coyner Springs, Waynesboro VA

Kite Day was a great success!  There was wind and the kites were flying high.  It was a beautiful site seeing the goats with the kites flying in the background. 
Kite Day Coyner Springs, Waynesboro VA

We did not know how they would react to the kites. They could have cared a less that there was a 50 foot octopus flying in the sky! 

The goats drew quite a crowd. The people really enjoyed seeing them in action and asked a lot of questions.

Of course, the newest member of our herd was a big hit.  

She even put on a little show dancing and prancing around.  

Her mother said enough fun and games!  She took the opportunity to teach some forage skills.  This kid is foraging at 1 week!  What a show off!

Then there was Chloe...  She was a hit when she was awake. She is not used to all of this activity during the day. She works the night shift and sleeps most all day.

"Ho Hum, I'll let them pet me. Just wish they would give me some of that kettlecorn!"

She preferred laying on the hill and looking regal!
Notice Chloe in the background.  This is how she spends most of her days.  
A special thanks to my great nieces Lauren and Maran for helping me give out samples of our Autumn Berry Sauce!
It was great for folks to see the goats foraging on the invasive Autumn Olive plant and then to learn there is a yummy way that THEY could help remove over 5,000 plants from the environment!  Good on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, cheese cake.....
Wild Harvested Autumn Berries