|two Nanook Onyx Bear daughters - the front might have been the high seller.|
As is typically the case, we left home about tweleve hours later than we had planned. We had intended to leave Thursday night, which would allow the kids to sleep as we drove, and also allow us to attend the Friday seminars. Even when I listen to a seminar on a topic I thought I understood, I almost always learn something new. My nephew had kindly agreed to watch the goats for us when we were gone, so Chuck tried to prepare for him as best as possible to make it easy. We had two big worries - one, that the goats would run out of water since there is no power and we haul water to the farm every day, and two, that one of the idiots would stick her head through the fence and expire before we could return. We were ready to swap pastures between the doe herd (who mow down a field) and the weanling bucks (who can't keep up with it and let it grow eye high) anyway, so I ran around the field putting more isolators on and we ran a hot wire about 16" or 18" high around the inside of the field to discourage them trying to eat outside the fence. To address the water issue, we had been wanting to try to use a float valve on a stock tank with the water source being a big six or seven hundred gallon water tank. Chuck put it on a trailer so we could fill it at home and then drive it to the farm and just hook it up to a hose to the stock tank. Luckily, the water pressure was sufficient to operate the check valve, so we at least had made those two problems less of an issue for the trip. It just made us run a little behind schedule.
|The giant peach in South Carolina.|
|Now these are some peaches!|
|Roadside peach stand somewhere in Georgia.|
|Finally we arrived at the Fairgrounds.|
|registration table for the SEKGA|
|A rare moment of stillness at the SEKGA conference.|
|breeder tables, some with some handy "how to" info|
|Nice door prize.|
|more Generator granddaughters, these with Sports Kat on the bottom|
|nice little percentage doelings|
|more percentage does by one buck, with very similar body types|
We arrived at Go Fish Georgia, got a map at the desk, and went straight back to the fishing pond out back. Each kid picked out a rod and we got a bag of bait (cut up hot dogs) out of the cooler and found ourselves a quiet place on the bank. The quiet place happened to be where the wind was aiming at us, so after having to figure out the little reels (okay, it has been a while since I fished as a kid) I cast for the kids and they sat down to fish. I noticed nobody else around the pond actually was catching any fish, but before we ran out of bait, Chip did have two hard hits where his bobber jerked under about a foot and he actually witnessed it happen, which made all the difference. I also reminded them a few times that there is a reason the activity is called "fishing" rather than "catching." That sneaky little fish stole his bait each time, but he was excited to have gotten the nibble. After Annalee got over trying to swing the rod like a baseball bat, she got so she could cast about thirty feet out more often than not. They got tired about the time the bait ran out, so we went off in search of the alligator exhibit.
|A study in concentration.|
|One of the pond windows at Go Fish Georgia.|
|Looking for Mr Limpet.|
|Look out Bill Dance!|
|Nasty looking character (on the right).|
On the way to the alligators, we checked out the indoor hatchery and saw the tiny baby fish. We saw the big breeder fish, and the hapless goldfish that was destined to become the breeder fish's dinner. The kids wanted to save it but I mentioned the circle of life, and Annalee excitedly recounted a lesson at her school about how energy is transferred, so they didn't start a rally to save the goldfish. The exhibits were really wonderful - it truly was like looking into a cross section of a pond. I wish we had had more time to linger, but Chuck was getting tired of texting back and forth about the sale goats as the bidding was going on. We saw catfish as large as Chip, and brightly colored bream, and we saw the allgator and the snapping turtles! I had told the kids about snapping turtles, but this was their first good look at one. We don't have alligators up where we live, but we do have snapping turtles. I've always said I'll never move any further South because I will not live where there are alligators. The snapping turtles and copperheads we have are quite enough. We hit the gift shop on the way out and heading back over to the Fairgrounds, stuffed snakes in hand.
|nice buckling in the ring|
I arrived back at the sale barn as they were auctioning a nice young buckling. The sale itself was, in our opinion, a pretty good one. There were some quality goats there in all denominations - percentage, Purebred, and New Zealand. We spoke after the sale to some folks and we all seem to agree that buyers have an idea what they are after, and are pretty picky about it. Evidence of this at this sale was the fact that a nice Purebred would generally bring more than a fair New Zealand, and nice percentages were often bringing more than average Purebreds, as well. By nice, I mean good bodied, decent legged goats with reasonable udders. I also saw again that if we ever bring goats to sell at one of these sales, we will invest in a little extra feed for them. A goat that is a little thin doesn't bring the bids that a sleeker animal does. Dr Sparks was explaining the value of thin but thrifty does that have just weaned kids a few times, but it didn't seem to open up a lot of pursestrings. There were a few does I wish I had the money to buy that I feel did not bring as much as they were worth (one nice little doe was her farm's high indexing goat and I'd have been happy to have had her, but was just tapped), but we only had a certain amount to spend and, for better or worse, Annalee had fallen in love with a goat and we wanted to try to bid on it for her if any of the budget was left. If it had been a poor looking goat it would have been easy to say no and show her why, but we just told her we would see what happened and set our mental limit.
|two Generator granddaughters, one of which came home with us|
|nice doeling - Sports Kat cross on top, Rusty cross on bottom, and now at our farm|
By the end of the sale, we had come away with two NZ doelings, and three 50% does, one of which was an actual fullblood and the other two that were actually 75%. We get a lot of calls about percentage does and we have nothing to offer, and I figured I wanted to start off ahead with high percentage Kikos as a base for our percentage group. We also got Annalee's very loudly colored goat, although I had leaned over and told her we had hit the limit and I was afraid someone else would be taking her home. It seems it was the other bidders' limit, too, so Annalee got her goat. She was not so thrilled to learn that cleaning her room without grief was how she was going to pay for her goat, but she had named the doe Georgia before we had even left the fairgrounds.
|the stands during the sale|
|our purchases coming to get loaded|
Before we left, we visited with some producers that have become friends, and we met several more for the first time and put names to faces. I bought a couple of bags of high copper minerals because the ones I had ordered never showed up and it turns out the feed store found they are a special order, and in his words, he doubted he'd ever be able to get them in for me. I'm going to try these minerals, and I am also having a forage test done to see just what really is in our forage, and if the high iron in the soil truly makes for high iron (or something else) in the pastures.
|Virginia had quite a view for the ride home (other than her brother passed out next to her).|
|Annalee's new goat, "Georgia"|