Dairy Goat Games

Dreamcatcher Sharing Her Toys

Living with dairy goats is one of the most fun aspects of homesteading or backyard farming. The goats are extremely personable, curious to a fault, loving, engaging, and wonderfully beautiful animals. Keeping the twice daily schedule of milking a goat is a mentally balancing and even near spiritual experience. For myself, I have to say that every time I milk Dreamcatcher, my LaMancha, I find myself wondering why I didn’t start doing this years ago!

Yesterday, my friend Shirley and I drove out to the local electrical company for the acquisition of “goat toys”; those huge wooden spools that hold electrical cable and are discarded once the cable is used up. These spools are very familiar among the goat owning community, and I was both surprised and pleased to find the contractors were more than happy to give them to us for the goats. The spools come in all sizes and are incredibly sturdy. They look not all that different from thread spools, but in, of course, a far larger size.

The folks at the electrical company helped us load the spools into my van and Shirley’s pick up truck, and while the fit was tight, we managed to come home with four fairly good sized goat toys. As we drove away, my mind was racing with thoughts of both how much fun my goats were going to have with our new treasures, and what other uses I might make of spools to be obtained in the future… tables, rocking chairs, planters, benches, and numbers of other uses that had been mentioned during the loading.

When we got back, Shirley’s grandson helped us unload the new goat toys and we easily turned them on their sides to roll across the yard for placement in the goat pens. Once situated, the goats took immediate notice and were soon jumping on and off them, leaping from one to the other, and eventually enjoying the shade they threw under their table tops. It was clear the spools were an instant hit with their new owners.

Early this morning, I started the usual routine. I took the dogs out to the night time goat pen and we released the three goats into the larger yard. The two Nigerians stayed in big pen while Dreamcatcher came in to be milked with the dogs accompanying us. The big goat dutifully took her place on the stanchion and began munching her breakfast while the dogs stood around patiently waiting for the strip milk they have learned is theirs.

After the milking, I took a flake of hay out to the feeder in the big pen with Dreamcatcher and the dogs beside me. Once we got into the pen, Dreamcatcher grabbed a few mouthfuls of food, then suddenly looked up with a curious expression. I could almost see the little wheels turning in her mind as she eyed the spools in the distance, then glanced down at each of the six dogs. “I have new toys and my friends are here to play with me — Oh fun!” All at once, she took off like a shot. She headed straight for the tallest spool and jumped effortlessly on top of it. The two little Nigerians, Tinker and Black Beauty, barely noticed her enthusiasm as they busily picked out their breakfast hay. The dogs, however, gleefully ran to the spool and put their paws up on it, while Dreamcatcher looked from one to the other, acknowledging their willingness to join in the game.

Once she was sure she had all of the dogs attention, she leaped off the spool and ran back to the feeder, grabbed a few more mouthfuls of hay, then looked around at each of the dogs. Just as suddenly and quickly as she had done before, she raced back to the spool and leaped up on top of it. The dogs were right with her in the race, and once more, she acknowledged each one before dashing back to the feeder. This was a great game, and Dreamcatcher was joyously in charge. Back and forth the little group raced, stopping only when Dreamcatcher took her pause either at the top of the spool or at the breakfast bar to grab a quick bite. All eyes were anxiously on her as she orchestrated the next round, and she was clearly enjoying every second of it.

Dreamcatcher kept this racing game up for a good twenty minutes before the dogs started to tire out and lie down in the yard. Still they kept their eyes on her in anticipation, but they could see she was beginning to tire, as well. Finally the big goat called an end to the game, nuzzled a couple of her pals, and went back to eating with the Nigerians. I don’t know what little Tinker and Black Beauty thought of the whole game, but with breakfast in the feeder, they showed no interest in joining in. It was a game that Dreamcatcher created just for her and the dogs; a way of sharing her new toys with them, and I have a feeling they’ll be playing it together again often.

Watching Dreamcatcher play with the dogs and enjoying the bonding I see between them is not only entertaining but intensely gratifying, as well. This is just another aspect of what is often referred to as the back to basics experience that can only be appreciated through a day to day living with our land and our animals. With all of this to appreciate and enjoy, I would be hard pressed to understand why there are folks out there actually paying money to watch television.


A Wish Beyond The Stars – The Johnny Martino Story by Richard Lester

As promised, author and Kalico Village resident Richard Lester is here to talk with Terry about his new best selling book. We want to Thank Richard for gracing us with this interview!

Hi, Richard. I have to tell you, I read your new book and loved it. Honestly, though, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Famous actors, Hollywood, the Mafia… those are not subjects I’m usually drawn to. I read the book solely because you wrote it, and was thoroughly intrigued with it.

Well, thank you, Terry. I really enjoyed writing it, too! For those who don’t know, my latest book project is titled A Wish Beyond The Stars, and it is the story of legendary Hollywood character actor, Johnny Martino.

So tell us a little about Johnny Martino.

Johnny has had an amazing show business career, starting with a Top 100 rock and roll song back in the 1950’s (Babysitting Baby), up to the present time where he is still doing movie roles. He became famous doing gangster parts in such movies as Capone (with Ben Gazzara and Sylvester Stallone) and Dillinger (with Warren Oates and Ben Johnson). He is most remembered, however, for his iconic role of Paulie Gatto — Marlon Brando’s traitorous bodyguard in The Godfather.

How did you meet him Johnny?

As you know, my son Gary and I have our own film production company, Blue Heron International Pictures. We met Johnny through our business, and over the past few years, he has helped us out on a number of our projects.

What is your favorite part of the book?

Of course I love all of Johnny’s behind-the-scenes movie stories, as well as his experiences with Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy, and even Pope Pius XII. However, my absolute favorite sections are about his father’s connections with Lucky Luciano.

Luciano is best known as a mobster, but wait until you read the book and discover his other side. Johnny’s father and Luciano teamed up to make the New York water-front safe from Nazi sabotage during World War II, and they went on to help Naval Intelligence to secretly prepare Sicily for an Allied landing — saving the lives of thousands of American GI’s in the process. This is a Lucky Luciano story most people know nothing about, and it would make a great movie.

Are you and Gary planning to make it into that great movie?

Stay Tuned! 🙂

You have also written other books about interesting people. Can you tell us a little about that?

Yes, in fact I only write about interesting people. My first book, Flight of the Blue Heron, is a collection of essays about people whom I have come across in life, and who have a very interesting story to tell. They range from Holocaust survivors and rescuers, to the son of Sheriff Pat Garrett, to Buford Pusser in Tennessee — the sheriff immortalized in the movie, Walking Tall.

My second book, Hollywood Legend: The Johnny Duncan Story, is about my good friend who became famous playing Robin in the 1949 serial, Batman & Robin. He tells of his friends in Hollywood, including Humphrey Bogart, Robert Lowery, Alan Ladd, and his neighbor, Audie Murphy.

I’m really thrilled that A Wish Beyond the Stars is doing so well for you. I would tell anyone who’s looking to read a fun and fascinating biography to be sure to pick it up! Of course, we have a link on the web site in our Kalico Village Store where it can be purchased. Tell us where else we can find the book.

Besides the Kalico Village Store, all my books are available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and Books-A-Million.com — as well as about two dozen smaller internet book retailers throughout the world. Two of them are available electronically on Kindle, Nook, and I-Pad as well.

And what is your next project?

At the moment, we are finishing up our first feature-length movie and it is a documentary about animals and the bonds they form with their humans. It is a love story featuring some of the cutest, most intelligent, and most talented little creatures who we call our pets — animals who truly carve a place in our hearts and become part of our families.

We are thrilled to have former child star Beverly Washburn featured in the film. She owns rescued animals and devotes proceeds from her book, Reel Tears, to animal rescue organizations. Beverly was the adorable little girl in Walt Disney’s Old Yeller, and also appeared in Shane with Allan Ladd. Her body of work on early television shows is immense — ranging from The Lone Ranger, Wagon Train, Dragnet, Leave It To Beaver, the Loretta Young Show to stage and TV appearances with her life-long friend Jack Benny. We are thrilled to have Beverly headlining our cast in Forever Friends.

Thank you so much Richard! Continued success with the book, and we’ll be keeping everyone posted on the progress of Forever Friends!

Welcome To The Kalico Village Blog!

Our website is brand new and a little empty looking at the moment, but we’re excited to tell you we have big plans in the works to bring you important and insightful information on healthful living, homesteading, backyard gardening and farming, and more. The already growing number of village residents represent expertise in everything from raising chickens to exhibiting show goats to producing films to authoring books. And if that isn’t enough, we have more!

Meet Suzanne, our sewing and gardening expert who will show you how to make wonderful handcrafted creations for yourself and your children, and teach you the best ways to get the most out of your backyard vegetable garden. You’ll even find some of Suzanne’s most awesome creations for sale in The Village Store.

Richard Lester will tell you how he came to meet Godfather actor Johnny Martino, and author the hot new best selling book on Johnny’s life story, A Wish Beyond The Stars; The Johnny Martino Story. Richard and his award winning film director son, Gary, will also be telling us about their latest documentary project, Forever Friends, a captivating look at pets and the people who love them.

Also in the Village Square you’ll meet our good friend Bev, who will tell you all about collecting and buying everything from entertainment memorabilia to historical treasures. She’ll even invite you into her shop and show you what’s currently on sale.

Lorraine will be on hand to talk about homeschooling and the challenges of raising children in today’s world. Her expertise in running a small business from home will also be explored.

Regular features on the site include the latest in pet health and animal care, how to make the most out of your backyard homestead, the latest in natural health care for your family, and insights on everything from working with service dogs to supportive senior care in your multi generational home.

We expect you’ll want to be visiting the Village often, and maybe even become a resident!