All four wee snouts are available... See the pigtures on our Juliana Sales page!
Of all the things that sprout on the farm, piglets are among the most anticipated! They'll be ready to go to new homes in 6 weeks, as pets or breeding stock. Hana has done a great job with her very first crop. :)
All four wee snouts are available... See the pigtures on our Juliana Sales page!
I expected we'd have moved by end of April 2020. Covid wafted in and the entire world halted.
We were all together on that ride, so I won't bore you with our version. :)
Come May 2021 and plans began anew, but it took us four months to get our act together.
We learned recently that in spite of all appeals, we could not take our beloved does with us to Canada. Scrapie regulations, no ifs, ands or buts, even if they were subject to the same strictures as the bucks that we WERE allowed to apply for.
I am griefstricken, yet again. We finally crawled out of our CL experience, with the last two generations of (unvaccinated) goats testing negative. We gave it our all, and invested a small fortune, but now had to give up our herd anyway. Life is not fair, as it is fond of proving.
But let us look on the bright side. We have three incredible does joining us in Canada, thanks to the generosity of Yellow Point Farms and Wonderland. I will hold these does close and cherish them.
My son Gordon and wife Nicole have worked ever so hard to get the place ready for CFIA inspections for our bucks and Juliana pigs. Whether we pass or not, every effort has been made to be in compliance, because herd health is our top priority. We are registered for SCFP in Canada, and look forward to a bright future in spite of challenges.
Life is, after all a journey, and before it ends, we hope to spend more time with all the incredible folks we've met online, and the other old fogey goat breeders I remember from my youth. And for my dear US goat friends, you'll have to put up with me at ADGA conventions and Nationals as I'll finally be able to afford to travel more!
With love and gratitude,
It's been almost 20 years since I moved to the United States to be with the man who continues to put up with and support my shenanigans lo these many years later. Love you, Eric! We spent 9 years in Florida, 11 in California, but the American journey comes to an end in 2020. I am sad and joyful, hopeful and miserable. I had thought to make this little farm in Hollister my last, best home, but the American dream draws to a close.
We are moving into a much (MUCH) smaller farm in Barriere, British Columbia, as soon as we can manage to sell our beloved property in Hollister. We'll be in a multi-generational home again, a lifestyle I loved and cherished from my childhood. It is a rare blessing in life when one's family is as close and loving as ours in spite of our collective insanity, and more than willing to share a mortgage, home and tiny farm. Eric may actually be able to get the double hip replacement he so desperately needs, and possibly ditch the wheelchair for a few more years. We knew it was never going to happen here in the US.
We're moving to a huge and comfortable house, where we old trolls can live in the daylight basement, under the day-star worshipers, with our own kitchen and separate entrance for torchlit boardgaming session, assorted arcane rituals and loud music.
There is plenty of room in the entry hall for many boxes of newborn goats and hatching chicks. There is also, oddly, an enormous indoor pool room - it needs a lot of work and I give my splendid daughter-in-law two years to tire of the maintenance involved, before my son and I turn the whole thing into the largest terrarria/herpetology breeding room in the region. How many waterdragons, beardies, skinks, geckos and snakes can we fit? We may find out one day!
So that's the up-side.
There's always a downside.
I never fully recovered to losing half the herd to CL and pneumonia after the floods of 2017. My silence on this site and lack of traveling to shows reflects that. When the company I worked for was sold, I and many others lost our jobs, and that was the end of being able to afford the California dream. The tiny farmstead in BC beckons with peace, a new start, my beloved family and a health care system and government that I understand and continued to admire from afar. Both Eric and I will put the health care to good use.
I have a lot of Juliana pigs, top notch breeding stock. I can only afford the quarantine process (and space on the new land) for eight: two boars and six sows. If anyone out there wants to try their hand at breeding this fantastic miniature pig, I am letting Juliana breeding stock go at $500 each, half of their value. Want a breeding trio? $1200 for a hand-selected boar and two sows.
Any pigs left when we enter quarantine will have to go by way of auction, not the end result they, or I, prefer.
I am still debating if I want to quarantine our Olandsk Dwarf and Andalusian Blue chickens, or our sweet turkey Eddie. At some point, the cost will become prohibitive, and I have no idea how we will fare with the sale of this property.
The worst of it:
I was stunned and shattered when I learned that due to the draconian Scrapie requirements, I cannot bring any of my Nigerian or Guernsey does to Canada. I registered for the Scrapie program in 2014 but had no idea that there was follow-up work involved. Now it's too late, as the export regimen requires FIVE years of stringent protocols. Strangely enough, I can take bucks with me; they must never leave the new property, cannot live with kids/does (aside from breeding) and upon death, their heads must be sent in for Scrapie testing. Fair enough; I would gladly have permanently quarantined my incredible does, but it is not to be. I have tried applying for a variance, but doubt my prospects on this front. I am broken and exhausted from weeping and must move on with what I can.
All the does and remaining bucks will be sold at the local livestock auction in January. If you are already experienced with CL protocol and want some incredible senior does at absolutely no cost, drop me an email. If you do not and never have had CL, I recommend against it, because it's a lot of work and innately tragic. I am hoping some of the best ladies will grant me little bucks to add to my short list of lads going to Canada. It's the best path I can take out of a heartbreaking situation.
Mythos Farm is on the move.
I hope I can keep up.
In late December, we suffered the heartbreaking loss of Doo2, from a ruptured uterus, shortly after she delivered triplets... everything seemed normal until she went down to push out one more, an enormous, dead and partially rotted kid. Our veterinarians were unable to help and I was beside myself.
My heart ached and I cried bitterly, both because we had lost one of our finest does, and because there was absolutely nothing we could have done about it.
I thought this was the worst blow we could be dealt, but I was wrong. This was before the floods, a joyous, sun-filled winter.
January brought with it frequent, heavy rainfalls and intermittent flooding. At several points, 75% of our fields were under shallow water. In the daytime, it was almost beautiful...
At night, it was worrying, and the waters began to saturate the soil, filling the runoff creek to the very edges...
On February 20th, on our way to work in Redwood City, a flash flood warning came across the Emergency Broadcasting System. This was the second such in 2017, and we turned around immediately. This time, we knew the ground could absorb no more water. We watched, and waited.
On February 21st, the real flood came. Surging forth from a crumbling levee miles away, it swept over San Felipe Road, through our neighbor's houses and past us. I ran out to call in the stragglers, the goats and pigs who thought they had already found higher ground. Here they are, running through the water toward the barn. An hour later, the water was another foot higher.
I grabbed some kids and waded down to the barn to spend the night. The water was over my knees by this time, and difficult to wade through. I made repeated trips to the haystack to get straw, building it up as high as I could in the barns as I watched the water lapping at the doorways. It was close, but we all stayed safe. I could feel it when the water stabilized at 4:00 AM, and began, almost imperceptably, to recede at 5:00 AM.
Our house and yard are built up several feet above the surrounding lands and were untouched.. It was a small island of land in a vast lake. We were dry, warm and had a safe haven in the yard for the bottle babies.
All of our neighbors, however, sufffered significant flood damage and all of the homes and farms to the north of us were evacuated. I am so very, very grateful, for it could have been much worse. Surely we were done with the Fates cruel trials now?
Below, the water levels some ten days after the flash flood. The field is strewn with branches and detritus - the fence on the west side of the property was swept away.
Dead ground squirrels, rabbits, hares, voles, rats and mice littered the mud flats in vast numbers. Vultures and crows dominated the landscape.
2017 will always remain the year of the great floods for us. The floods of January and February set records surpassing those of the late 1800s, but, as devastating as they were, they killed no goats directly. The aftermath did.
The constantly fluctuating weather and disease carried by wet, flowing miasma over more than two months exacted a heavy toll through disease. We suffered numerous losses across the age spectrum (though mainly in kids), due to pneumonia, pinkeye, giardia and frequently recurring coccidiosis. We worked with our veterinarians, but the pathogens simply could not be avoided, not without moving to a new property entirely, and that we could not do.
In all, we lost nine adult goats and over half of our kid crop. Yes, OVER HALF. I cried every morning and had to force myself to do chores, certain that yet another goat would be lying in a quiet heap in a corner, often with no previous overt signs of illness. Not going out would mean that I was not treating them as best I could, but it was all I could do to go. Meanwhile, the pathogens continued to swirl, thrive and infect our animals repeatedly as the water mingled with mucky ooze with each rainfall.
This wet, warm, pooled water lingered and was refilled many times by the rains. It harbored all manner of horrid pathogens that took turns inflicting themselves on the herd.
Pinkeye infections were rampant and very, very fast developing, from a slightly runny eye to fully clouded over within a day. It was the easiest disease of the floods to get under control, as it is sensitive to simple antibiotics. Yoot, below, could barely see out of this eye, but her vision has been entirely restored in the weeks after treatment.
Not so the pneumonia cases; it struck both the very young nursing kids and robust, healthy adults. We tried three different medications and finally had to send a goat in for necropsy and obtained the correct antibiotic (NuFlor) to fight it. As the land dried out again, over the following two months, the gastro-intestinal infections came under control as well.
To this day, I wake up in a cold sweat and dread going out to the barns in the morning. It has taken me this long to write about it, because I break down every time I allow myself to dwell on all the losses we endured together this year. Looking at the many happy goat pictures of the past, I am wounded to see so many that we will never watch grazing in the pasture again.
I was broken. I am still broken.
All we can do is carry on, and I consoled myself in caring for the animals that lived. Thank you to Patrice Sartor, who took many of these pictures, and without whom I could not have managed to get through the floods and aftermath. You are a true friend and undaunted by the worst parts of farming that you have witnessed this year. Thank you for your unrelenting and positive support, my dear friend. Eric was the source of unlimited hugs every time I came in sobbing, and fully supported the insane veterinary expenditure we racked up.
Below, does grazing before yet more rainfall. Shallow, infected ponds can be seen to the left. There was no way to prevent the goats from drinking from them, repeatedly, aside from locking them all up in damp, equally risky barns where they'd be in much closer quarters for transmitting disease back and forth.
What could be worse than losing so many beloved animals to disease, in spite of our efforts?
Years of breeding, testing and care were decimated by a disease I had fought so hard to avoid since I got back into goats in 2010: caseous lymphadenitis. I'll document our CL saga in a separate series of evolving blog posts.
The flood waters are gone, the remaining goats are doing well, life is slowly returning to normal... and we are taking firm control of our CL situation with a solid plan for management and eradication, in conjunction with our vet clinic. Our goat herd is CLOSED to all sales and breeding until such time as we resolve this herd health issue. It's going to be a long while.
I will never forget this year, the war on water, in a region so drought-stricken. Irony and tragedy, lightened by the support of true friends, innumerable hugs and kind words from our fellow goat breeders.
I am glad that I did not give up, and I am resolved: we will recover.
ps. We did NOT have the worst of it, and it makes me braver to see how well others faced their own tragedies. Again, our home and two of three barns were spared - most were not. Below, some images from the surrounding farms and homes in January and February. The lady leading the horse to safety is our neighbor Julie Carriero, who as the Animal Control Officer at the time - she later had to evacuate her own farm with her entire herd of prize-winning Boers.
It seems like only yesterday that we moved to Hollister, but it has been many months now. We are still not unpacked. We have not yet had the time or money to clean and fix things up as we'd like. We've not put in new fencing...
One thing is for sure though. We are on a new path, one that we hope ends in achieving our goal of being a self-sustaining cheesery. We have eight years to reach the goal, and we can only hope that fate supports our efforts.
We changed our name to Mythos Farm a little over a week ago. There is no Tor anywhere near us now, but we live on a magical meadow that is close to cities and yet manages to maintain a quiet, peaceful, almost enchanted quality. Every morning, the farm emerges from a glowing mist, and we are within view of a marvelous ring of golden California mountains that surround our valley. It is a wonderful place to build our own Mythos.
While we slowly let go of the Gryphon Tor herd name that serves us so well for five years, we will retain the appropriately mythical goat of the logo - and will add additional logos and symbols over time as our farm and product line grows.
Brooke Lyn Dorgan posted these images fo our Facebook page today: portrait mugs of her pet wethers, Vinnie and Spike. What a great way to enjoy that morning mug of coffee or tea!
These mugs were created by Buck Run Pottery - which means you can get one made of your special goat too!
For Alaina Sims and all the other folks new to registered goats... you are NOT stupid - this stuff is hard!
One of the most confusing parts of learning how to read pedigrees is navigating the wide range of special symbols and acronyms we encounter. What is a +*B, and is it better than a +*S Buck? Hint: they are the same, but belong to different registries, ADGA and AGS.
I have created a very simple article here as a quick reference: READ ON!
It is somewhat oversimplified, but I have also included links to the relevant ADGA and AGS information for the full picture. Do NOT shy away from reading the expanded information linked there. Just grab a cup of tea and free your mind of distractions.
All of this will soon be old hat... but I admit that I still have to reread the official info from time to time myself. Never rely on memory alone - keep in mind that programs can also change over time, and it pays to check back every year!
It seems that the Araucana is a breed that may have developed in South America from Polynesian or even Chinese birds, not European imports, as many have, until recently, imagined. Historical records show that inhabitants of western South American had well-established flocks of chickens at first contact which exhibited the attributes we associate wth this breed (albeit not all in the same birds!): rumplessness, tufts on the cheeks, and blue eggs.
Moreover, it is now commonly accepted that the three unique features of the American Araucana (not to be confused with Americana) involved the crossbreeding of two distinct South American strains, the Collonca (Peru) and Quetro (Chile).
While there is still a lot of debate on the subject, many theories support migration of chickens from Polynesia or even China (a Chinese shipwreck dating to 1421 has been documented on the Chilean coast, and blue-shelled eggs are found in Chinese history as well).
The history, fact-finding and ongoing speculation (not to mention argument) is absolutely fascinating!
Here are three excellent resources to get you started on your own Araucana mystery hunt:
It's been some time since we launched our original farm site in 2010, and we needed to make some significant changes in order to accommodate our growing needs.
In addition to our original Nigerian Dwarf goat herd, we now have a solid breeding herd of miniature Juliana pigs and have finally settled on five types of heritage chickens that we will work with for the long haul.
It's going to take me some time to peel all the old photos back from the aging FTP server before they poof for all time. My goal is to ensure that people coming to this site will always be able to link to every animal we've ever had listed, generations later.
Like the pic of hour-old kids below, tiny and wobbly, let's see how long it takes to grow this site to the point that I can take it live! With luck, less than the standard 5-month gestation.
Remember to use our SEARCH feature, top right!
You are welcome to use any photos from our site, if you CREDIT them and label specific animals correctly.