Successful Herding off the Mountain
Our 7th season of the Baatany Project came to a close on September 10 when the goats came down off the mountain. They are now in their Shady Valley, TN home. Please see our HERDING PAGE for more information on the day.
2014 Season Summary
The 7th Annual Herding of the Goats onto and off the Balds took place on June 25 and September 10. After 2013's record wet summer, 2014 was delightfully cooler and drier than average.
We started the season on a very sad note: Baxter, the Great Pyrenees Gentleman Nanny, got out of the fence in Shady Valley and was killed by a vehicle along the highway less than a week before we moved to the balds. Bigdog guarded the goats by himself this year. He had a great time but is at least 8 years old, has some hip and rear leg trouble, and will probably stay at the farm next summer while Gypsy, a new dog, joins us on the balds.
Some 2014 Highlights:
- 22 goats headed up the mountain including:
- #98 & #170 who have been there every summer
- #229 & #248, two of the original 2008 goats, who came out of retirement
- Güzel was the 1st new goat and she clearly had a great time
- The goats need to be in the thickest blackberry early in the summer when they hurt it the most so we moved into new areas on Jane Bald with 2 expanded and 2 new paddocks. This gave us some welcomed privacy off-trail early in the summer and we were back next to the Appalachian Trail by mid-summer, working our way off the balds while browsing most of our original paddocks.
- Two goats left the mountain early: #98 had an injured hip / leg but recovered enough to walk her off the balds on August 13. #1013 got diarrhea again this summer and was also walked (and carried) off the balds on August 20 as she was getting better.
- 3 goats wore bells for the first time: Blue, our otherwise quiet lead goat; #229; and #210, the bell wether.
- 5th year fossil-fuel-free: the goats & dog, scythe, pocket knife, and small drywall saw were our tools of choice.
- Everyone made it safely back to the farm.
- The vegetation plots were monitored and data analysis continues. Unfortunately, the rare Gray's Lily still has problems. We are wrapping up a forensic botany project looking for the disease spores on more than 500 historic lily specimens. It was quite a treat seeing specimens collected by Asa Gray, Charles Sargent, John Redfield, William M. Canby, John Torrey, Merritt Lyndon Fernald, the Brittons, and hundreds of others.
Thank you for your support. And special thanks to the volunteer goatherds and equipment toters who make the project possible.
Baatany Project's Botany Project
The past six years of the Baatany Project has first and foremost been an attempt to restore Grassy Bald and Alder Bald on Roan's western balds using goats as an experimental management tool. The first scientific publication from this project, with Jamey Donaldson as lead author has been published in the Southeastern Naturalist. The full article is available for download here.
Please see our SCIENCE page for full citation listing.
Videographer Lesley Platek of LIFEfilms has made a delightful video highlighting what goes on during a herding up the mountain, and highlights the many volunteers who come to help. (If the video below is not viewable, you should be able to view it here).