Hearing a rooster crow made me feel right at home when I woke up with my family in our modest room at the lodge. I stretched my legs on the wooded nature trail, found a pretty flower garden, then headed toward the sound of that rooster!
Various fowl meandered around an open air barn that also housed young goats, hogs and other livestock. A tom turkey strutted proudly, taking notice of everyone who entered the breezeway. Young women were quietly going about their work. One was milking a goat named Clover, while others were bottling and feeding the milk to 3-week-old kids. They explained that this was less stressful on the mother goat.
Educational signs throughout the barn explained details about the various livestock. Signage told how the animals can provide meat, milk, muscle, motivation, money, materials and manure. One sign said the goat has been called the “poor man’s cow.”
The morning’s team of volunteers included college graduate Hannah Lepsch of Kingsport, Tennessee, who’s spending time at the ranch before starting a master’s program; and Sarah Strohmeyer of Warrensburg, Missouri, who’s donating a year before college. In a while, another small team rotated in to help with chores.
|Volunteer Sarah Strohmeyer Bottle Feeds 3-Week-Old Goat|
|Volunteer Milks Clover The Goat|
I noticed a nearby structure that looked more like a barn than a lodge, lined with empty bunks and proudly named the Heifer Hilton. It made our modest overnight room look luxurious, and I was doubly thankful for it after seeing this place.