Goat Song

I read the book “Goat Song” by Brad Kesseler from the library in one day and decided to post a review. I have dreamed of having dairy goats for many years and am not swayed from that pursuit but encouraged after reading this book.

The following excerpt/summary is from Amazon.

“Brad Kessler lived in New York City but longed for a life on the land where he could grow his own food. After years of searching for a home, he and his wife, photographer Dona Ann McAdams, found a mountain farmhouse on a dead-end road, with 75 acres of land. One day, when Dona returned home with fresh goat milk from a neighbor’s farm, Kessler made a fresh chèvre, and their life changed forever. They decided to raise dairy goats and make cheese.”

This book is like a daily diary through the seasons as the couple lives with goats and learns about their personalities their breed and how to live in harmony with the animals that feed them.

Kessler explains how it is to herd the goats and just be still and watch them. He includes the history of herding as well as how songs and poetry came from goats and the people they have inspired.

After making cheese in the end it turns out that he is in fact a very good cheesemaker, with his first cheeses getting praise from chefs and restaurants.

They start with four goats and breed two of them. This is followed by Kessler helping his wife Dona, a trained doula, with the birth of four goat kids. There is perhaps too much information about taking the goats to be bred when they think they are in heat as well as in-depth breeding details, but it all kind of goes along with the first-time goat ownership.

The couple also helps a neighbor with haying which I found really fascinating because I tend to get a little excited when it’s hay season here even though I have no need for hay, nor do I grow it or help bail it at anytime. I think it’s a good sign of the season and it’s interesting to note Kessler’s description of the differences in hay and humidity and contents and smell. I thought I was the only weirdo who thought like that.

There is a cheese journal including how much milk the get from the does on each day and what they do with the milk as well as if Hannah, the more stubborn milker puts her foot in the bucket and renders the milk unusable.

This book is a treasure of writing on pastoral living and makes cheese making and goat tending to seem to be such a worthwhile endeavor.


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