Catherine Ulibarri, PHD
© Makoto Nakamura
OUR CRITTERS ON THE FARM:
About Flyingcats Farms
In the spring/summer of 1983 I had the chance to work on a friend's farm in western Oregon. I was in charge of the sheep and garden and helped out with other chores as needed such as pulling out all the Queen Anne's Lace in the wether pasture so their wool would not get contaminated by prickly seeds.
I went back to southern California knowing that a major goal in my life was to own and work my own farm.
I finished my Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Behavior at UC Irvine and went on to UCLA for a post-doc. From there it was to Washington State University in Pullman WA. It is my dream position. My family had long vacationed on the shores of Lake Pend O'reille (Pond A Ray) and this is a part of the USA that I love.
Once I was here in Pullman, the idea of a farm came to the forefront. At first I rented and then later bought 3 acres near the edge of town and adjacent to Sunnyside Park. As time went on I purchased a bit larger property north of Pullman proper. I still own the 3 acres in town and supply a year-round informal petting zoo for Pullman residents. The pasture is overgrazed, but there are enough animals to prevent any of them bloating on a nice sunny Sunday when everyone brings their children to feed the animals.
My first additions to my farm were two sheep. Young ewes that I bought from a farming couple in Ritzville. They had farmed for over 60 years and were very kind. She picked out a a beautiful pitch black yearling Ramboulette and a black Suffolk cross. I named the Ramboulette Hannah and the Suffolk Aggie I found someone selling a 4 year old black and white Jacob ram and went and got him. That spring I had my very first lamb!!! I was so excited I was jumping up and down by myself at 6 AM.
From there I branched out to goats, thanks to a veterinary student friend of mine. She came bouncing into the lab and said, "there is a sign on the student board, kid goats for $5 each we have to go you have to have a goat!" So we went and picked out two Saanen goat kids. This was in January so we had them in the kitchen in diapers and they ran and jumped every where. That was a pivotal moment in my life.
Trina had a good laugh at me when we went to get the goats. I was used to sheep and had raised some bummer lambs. They stay tame for a while but only if they know you. I was worried that the goat kids would get out and run away. Little did I know that I would have to do the running away if I didn't want little goats helping/chewing on everything.
Since that day, goats have been a major part of my life. I am very partial to Saanens and didn't realize the tremendous value of the WSU VMP herd until it dispersed. I was very fortunate to breed my does to WSU bucks several times. I also purchased WSU VMP Camay at the dispersal. She kidded with twin bucks year after year and I have no offspring from her.
The same friend that got me into Saanen's brought me my first LaMancha as a birthday present a year or so later. She was a black and tan doe, I don't remember where from, but full grown she probably weighed a whole 60 lbs, but she was the boss of my goat herd all Saanens. She was the first doe I saw bite other does to get them to move. It seemed like she knew her ears were short enough to be safe and she would run up and crunch down on those big Saanen ears. She didn't get to stay for very long though because she started taking hunks out of those Saanen ears with her molars. But it was too late I had been infected with the LaMancha virus.
So here I am 20 years later. I still love Saanens and LaManchas, and the spots on Nubians and those huge long ears have flopped their way into my heart as well. (Nubians always make me think of a cartoon character that is saying "which way did the go?" and their ears flip-flapping back and forth).
Priorities in my/our herd (lumping children in) are as follows:
3) High production with once a day milking
4) Good genotype and phenotype
5) Goats expressing the polled gene
6) Goats that we enjoy having around
*Candid Shots -- Around The Farm*
"ZENNY" with Holly (left) and Niko (right)
My first Appaloosa! "Bunny Hop"
(Sire: "The Messenger" / Dam (pictured): "Twice Blue Sky")
The *ALARM* system ... geese and goslings!
A Summer Ride ...
Stopping for the camera!
Sara on "Angel," Dora on "Casper," Kimber on "Banjo,"
and Catherine on "Thunder"
Zenny on "Munir"
Gilbert, Gillian, and Sara
Time for another camera moment ...
everybody 'swig' your bottles!
Back to Index Page
Created and Maintained by - Elmhaven Web Design
Last Updated - January 21, 2010