Friday, June 24, 2011

La Ferme = The Farm

Deep in the heart of France, we went on a wild goose chase - or maybe I should say a wild goat chase - through the back roads along the River Aveyron.
After searching high and low for an angora goat farm, I had heard about from my friend Karen, we finally found the sign, La Ferme Chevres Angora, and entered down the mile long driveway - having no idea whether they would be open for visitors at 6:00 in the evening. When we arrived, I jumped out of the car and figured, we've come this far, may as well knock on the door and see if we can meet a goat or two. Rudolpho, one of the two brothers who manages the farm, came out of his 14th century stone house and was happy to show us the lay of the land.
First we visited the atelier, filled with handmade scarves, blankets, socks and mittens - all in the most beautiful shades of reds, browns and blues. They also sold skeins of mohair all freshly cleaned, carded and spun - ready for knitting.
Then it was time to meet the goats - all 200 of them. 150 of the goats are raised for their milk and the remaining 50 are raised for their wool. We spent some time getting to know the baby angora's, and then it was time to milk the goats. Along with Rudolpho and brother Frank's help, Molly and I both took a turn learning how to milk the goats - which has to happen fast if you don't want to get kicked. Drinking fresh goat milk straight from the udder was something new - and had my mom practically running out of the barn - she grew up on a farm and wanted nothing to do with the milking!
At the end of our two hour visit, we had bonded with the goats and the brothers and promised to return soon - feeling an attachment to the land and the agriculture - which we hadn't felt before. This is the deep France experience - the France profound - that I have heard about and wanted to know more.

5 comments:

becky up the hill said...

thats what I'm talking about, love these stories..and the funny goat pix was so cute!

Rose Brier Studio said...

Those are very lovely goats! What a great experience! I've hung out with american sheep from sheering to carded wool (tho no milking). I think french goats are more individualistic and produce superior cheese!

Cuzzin Kathi said...

Wait a minute - was that goat actually smiling for the camera? What a set of choppers! She looks cockeyed - do their eyes move independently like a lizard's?

Kay must have been in hog heaven with all that nice mohair yarn (or should I say sheep heaven?).

QBG said...

Nothing cuter than kid Angora goats. My family in southwest Texas raises Angoras.

Donna K. from N. TX aka Quilting Bear Gal.

Peggy Houston, TX said...

Thank you for sharing this journey and story. I love this photo and want to pinterest... seriously!