Nestled at the base of Black Mesa in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona about 9 miles due east of the historic pioneer town of Snowflake, we (the owners Kathryn and David) work towards rehabilitating and improving this long-abandoned 280-acre "off-grid" homestead property with an eye toward self-sufficiency and a plan for sustainability. This web site documents our continuing plans, progress, pitfalls, and projects.
Recent Happenings at the Ranch
It's Time to Concentrate on Cheese Making
All The Babies are Born
5/17/15 All the goat, sheep, and cow babies have been born for this year! It was a great season and the animals did really well. We had 54 kids, 10 lambs, and 3 calves born. We are now making lots of goats milk cheeses as well as fudge, spiced pecans, and Goats Milk Caramel.
And More Babies
It's The Goats' Turn To Have Babies
2/23/15 We've had 7 lambs born and a Dexter calf so far this year. And now, finally, we are getting some goat kids. Yesterday Audra presented us with three gorgeous doelings. To read about the new kids being born, check out our Kidding Diary. With over 35 more goats due to kid it's going to get busy around here!
We Are Having Babies
"78" Starts Off Our Lambing Season
1/30/15 Our first new baby of 2015 is... A little ewe lamb! Awwwww! Born in a cold January rain storm, she's as sturdy as can be and her mom (affectionately named “78” since that is her ear tag number) is taking good care of her.
From All Of Us At BMR
To hear Cynthia sing the lyrics click on the player
To see our Holiday Cards from previous years, click here.
BMR Superior Genetics Awards
12/1/14 The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) announced today that another six of our goats have now earned their Superior Genetics Awards. The Superior Genetics awards identify and recognize individual animals for their genetic superiority through participation in ADGA's performance programs. Our goats are on DHI milk testing, and participate in Linear Appraisal to judge their confirmation. The award is for both bucks and does and is based on being in the top 15% of the tested goats in their breed according to their performance in these programs or (especially in the case of bucks) their daughters and dams performance. Congratulations to our newest Superior Genetics goats!
Awards Department Report
BMR Awarded a Certificate of Achievement
11/21/14 Cheesemaker David often refers to cheese making as a "classy way to concentrate milk", so it is imperative that our milk be of the highest quality possible in order to make the great cheeses that we are known for. In addition to regular monthly AZ Department of Agriculture testing, we send milk samples from each milking goat to a private lab every month to check on how well the girls are doing their jobs. The milk consistently tests as healthy and clean of E-Coli, Coliform, and other pathogens. Now that consistent high quality has been acknowledged by Dairy Herd Laboratory where most of our testing is done. We thank Basel, the head of Dairy Herd Laboratory, for all of his help and support over the years.
BMR is Awarded a Fork To Farm Grant
9/29/14 BMR has been awarded a Bon Appétit (BAMCO) "Fork to Farm" Grant! The votes have been tallied and Black Mesa Ranch has been selected as the Southwest Region Staff Pick winner of a $5000 grant to expand our aged cheese production capacity. We are completely thrilled and want to thank all our friends and customers who voted for us and especially thank BAMCO for their continuing commitment to supporting small local food producers. Get the full story here: http://www.bamco.com/forktofarm/
What A Deal!
Free Shipping On BMR Cheeses and Candy
7/24/14 Here at Black Mesa Ranch we are excited to announce that we are doing away with our minimum order for cheeses and candies, plus adding free shipping for orders over $75! We are hoping that this will allow more people to try our wonderful products. We have also added three Sampler Packs to our product line-up for an even greater value. Please check out our Ranch Market Page to see all that we have to offer. We really appreciate it, and the goats do too!
Product Development Report
Aged Cheeses Now Available
7/2/14 For over a decade now Black Mesa Ranch has been producing award winning fresh goats' milk cheeses. Our spreadable fresh cheese, our mozzarella style Boule, and Mediterranean-style Feta have all been great hits. Now Cheese Maker, David, has created several styles of aged cheeses. His “Blue Goat” is a feisty Blue cheese. “Dutchess” is a lightly aged, Dutch inspired cheese in the style of Gouda, and David’s Ementhraller” is a nutty-sweet Alpine-style cheese. All are made with 100% goat milk. All are delicious! And now, they are available online. Please give them a try. We think that you’ll like them.
Moving Into Summer
Kidding Season Comes To A Close
6/18/14 We had 31 does kid this year giving us a total of 75 kids - 45 does and 30 bucks making for an incredible doe year! Brill had quadruplet doelings, Serenity and Alchemy had triplet doelings, and Cora, Tory, Tally, Victory, and Melody had twin doelings.
We have kept 11 doelings for our own herd development and sent kids off across the nation. We thank everyone who has shown faith in our animals and brought them into their herds or started new herds with them. We hope you are as blessed with these animals as we have been. We also thank Amanda and Joan for their help during this busy time. They are fabulous, hardworking friends that we really appreciate.
Our new breeding schedule will be posted in July. Please check it out then and put in your reservations early. Pricing is subject to change as our animals earn production awards or other titles throughout the year. Prices for reservations placed before the price increase will be honored.
All of this year's kids are born and the does are milking well. It's time to relax a little and enjoy the ranch. Pictured above is Tarragon with her son Rocket, and Livestock Guardian Dog Pierre, enjoying some quiet time.
Awards Department Report
2014 Linear Appraisal
6/11/14 We had our 2014 American Dairy Goat Association Linear Appraisal on Friday. Linear appraisal is like a show but each goat is judged against the Ideal Goat. Scores 90 and above are Excellent, scores in the 80's are very nice also.
As expected our girls did really well. Three does scored as Excellent with most of the others scoring in the mid to high 80’s. It was a very informative event and we thank the appraiser for doing such a great job.
We'd also like to thank Amanda Henderson for getting the girls milked out once they had been appraised. Mark Zieman (www.DrMyattsWellnessClub.com) was the photographer and he did a great job. Dana Myatt, Sam Bowman, Shelby St. Hilaire, and Madison St. Hilaire helped out with handling the goats and posing them for pictures. Many thanks to all who volunteered their time to come help us out.Tyler, Celeste, and Cora all scored as Excellent!
Just Kidding Around
3/8/14 Kidding season has begun here at Black Mesa Ranch. The does look great and the kids are beautiful. It's hard work though, with many sleepless nights spent in the cold barn. If you'd like to experience the events without getting slimy, dirty, or tired then please check out our Kidding Diary to read about the new generation of goats being born.
BMR Herd Continues To Test CAE Free
2/14/14 Once again our dairy herd has tested 100% CAE free. We test every goat every year just prior to kidding (we pulled and submitted blood samples from 40 goats this year). With the test results in, we can feed our kids delicious raw milk with all it’s benefits, instead of having to pasteurize it to prevent CAE.
CAE is an incurable, debilitating disease that is passed on most frequently dam-to-kid through milk and colostrum. Keeping our goats free of this disease is one of our top priorities, not only because the disease decreases production but because of the suffering it can cause the goats afflicted with it.
And In Our Spare Time
The BMR Website Gets a Facelift
2/1/14 It's been well over a dozen years since we started putting our lives online, and our site had become quite antiquated and in real need of an upgrade. So this is it! It was a big project to redo the site, but it should now work well on mobile devices (such as smart phones and tablets) and be more pleasant to peruse for everyone. Please look over the site and let us know - good or bad - what you think. If you notice a problem with it we'd really like to hear about it! You can email the webmaster (AKA Kathryn) with your comments and suggestions. Please remember that your old bookmarks probably won't work anymore, so please reset them so that you can link to your favorite BMR pages!
More Baby News
Happy New Year!
1/1/14 New Year's Day dawned bright and cold. As I started on my morning rounds to care for all the animals I noticed that the sheep flock seemed a bit bigger. On closer examination I saw the two newborn ewe lambs frolicking with their mom. The lambs were still wet from being born, but they were sturdy and playful already. It's hard to believe that they were inside of their mom just moments ago.
On New Year's Eve David picked up 8 weaner hogs. So now we have a bunch of babies running around the ranch! The small baby pigs are happily keeping our larger hog entertained.
Happy New Year to all.
Ultrasound Weekend at BMR
12/22/13 Our does usually kid with twins or triplets, but sometimes they have quads and, once, an overachiever even had quintuplets. Since the nutrition of each doe is so important during gestation, we decided to get an ultrasound machine so that we could get a sneak preview of the number of kids each doe is carrying. This way we can adjust their nutrition accordingly.
Unfortunately, simply having the machine isn't all that is required. Skill is an essential part of the process. Luckily for us we were able to get a wonderful sonographer to come to the ranch and give us some very intensive training with the new equipment. Arlana was skilled, informative, and endlessly patient with us.
If anyone in the Phoenix, AZ area is interested in learning how to ultrasound or wants to get an ultrasound done on their animals - contact Arlana at: email@example.comTo see our kidding schedule click here.
Awards Department Report
More Superior Genetics and Elite Awards
8/29/13 Once again the American Dairy Goat Association has awarded the title of Superior Genetics to goats that score in the top 15% for production and/or conformation. Opal and Cora really deserve their recognition. Plus the USDA has posted their current list of elite does which includes our Poppy, Princess, Brill, Spring Thyme, Tally, and Ariel. Elite does rank in the top 5% of does for their production and/or confirmation. Our Elite Bucks include Rio, Splash, and Marco. Congratulations to them!
Superior Genetics (SG) titles are awarded only once in a does lifetime and are permanent titles, Elite status is awarded twice yearly and goats can qualify for Elite status multiple times. (All does listed below already have their SG Titles with the exception of Ariel who we're sure will receive it later this year)
What we've been up to at BMR
Web Site Updates
7/28/13 We have now gotten quite a few of our web pages updated with the happenings of the last year. Pages with updates are:
- The Alternative Energy page - read about the latest expense of enjoying "free" solar and wind generated energy.
- The Poultry page - Some new additions, but the ducks have flown the coop.
- The Cow page - David feeds the calf while risking life and limb.
- The Dog and Cat page - new kittens on the ranch.
- The Sheep page - and you thought store bought lamb chops were expensive!
- The Kidding page - the schedule is posted for our upcoming breeding season.
And of course:
- The Goat Lineage pages - all the goats have gotten new updates to their individual pages plus the main herd update reviewing our tragedies and triumphs.
An excuse to play in the dirt
Gardening Season Is Here!
5/25/13 We're off and running with getting the garden in. Our last frost date is June 1st, and last year we were hit hard at the end of May with a garden killing freeze. Our weather forecast indicates that we won't get a repeat of that late frost. David has planted tomatoes, eggplant, onions, peas, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, chives, carrots, and beets. The peppers and other plants will be going out soon.
Awards Department Report
BMR Goats Earn 18 Awards From INBA
4/2/13 The International Nubian Breeders Association (INBA) has announced the 2012 Merit and Awards winners.
An overview of the BMR wins:
1 - Silver Milk Certificate
8 - Bronze Milk Certificates
3 - Excellence in Linear Appraisal Award
5 - Top Milk Production By Age
1 - Extended Lactation Award
Congratulations to all the hardworking girls! What a great group of goats. The individual awards will be listed on the lineage pages.
The full list of this year's winners can be found at: http://www.i-n-b-a.org/programs/merit-a-awards