Marble Creek Acres

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Let's Ruminate: From goating to wining!<br><br>by Josh Crise, Monthly Goat Rancher Columnist

It’s been a busy past few months. Actually, it seems it has been non-stop for the last nine months, maybe even a bit more. It started early last summer. We embarked on several new adventures last summer, one of which has turned into our latest venture to keep the homestead out of the red and operating square in the black. Goating is work. Everyone knows that. And if you don’t, I am telling you now! It is work. And sometimes no matter how hard you work, there are stil

Artificial Insemination Update

As the year speeds on by into May, we are just about finished up with our kidding season. In years past we’ve been pretty even, percentage wise, between doelings and bucklings. Surprisingly, this year we’ve had a record number of bucklings, 77.78% and just 22.22% doelings...must be something in the water this year. The different groups that we belong to on social media suggest that a lot of other Kiko producers are experiencing similar outcomes this year also. Fortunately, we have had more custo

Hay for Sale

Many of you know from my past writings that a favourite Crise pastime before the all-consuming goat hobby started was going for drives around our beautiful home state of Maine. Once when the kids were little, on one of our many journeys (insert Dateline’s Keith Morrison’s voice), there was a oh-so foretelling sign.

“Hay For Sale” that sign read.

Josh at the wheel, kids strapped into booster seats, we were reading every sign we came upon as the budding readers in t

Making the Most of Everything our Goats Have to Offer

Rather than jump right into today’s topic, I’m going to offer up a quick update on how 2020 shaped up for the Crise Crew and how we’ve turned the corner into 2021. My dad, Josh, has always worked from home. With Covid, however, he’s had a little more time available and mandatory vacation time off to reduce company liability … yada, yada, yada. More time off for dad means more projects he conjures up and we get dragged into. My mom, Kathy, is a faculty instructor in the Computer Technology progra

Cold can’t stop the many tasks needed before kidding begins

As I sit down to write this article today, white stuff, snow, blankets the landscape outside my window. We have been fortunate so far to have a reasonably mild winter but as spring kidding is on my mind, I can’t help but be focused on thorough health checks to make sure the doe herd is ready to go for kidding season. I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who noted, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This time of year is so blah in my wife’s words, which makes it difficult to want to

Adding Artificial Insemination to our Goat Husbandry Arsenal

With the 2020 Cream of the Crop Kiko Sale in Corydon, Indiana under our belts, and our three new does integrated into our herd and settling in quite nicely, it was time to make their Facebook debuts on our farm page and personal pages. We documented our whole trip to the sale on our pages, as we always do, so we can remember our trips, but also for marketing purposes. This year wasn’t any different in regards to comments on our Facebook posts’ pictures. Many people post things such as, “safe tra

Keeping the water flowing can be difficult in Northern Maine

As many of our readers have come to know over the last year or two, we live in New England, specifically Northern Maine. Often we are asked, especially by our fellow southern goat producers, what winter operations are like this far north? Or they crow, something like there is no way I would be a producer in the North! In many ways, it is much the same as it is in other parts of the world, just a heck of a lot colder. This means we need to take a few extra precautions to be successful, as well as

Go(a)t Milk!

The weeks and the days leading up to the Cream of the Crop Kiko Sale in Corydon, Indiana are always filled with much excitement. As we mentioned in September’s Goat Rancher, we love road trips and all that comes along with them. This year is no different. We have been cooped up in Northern Maine for far too many months at this point. With news that the sale would surely be on, the planning commenced. Instead of heading straight to Indiana this year, we took the more scenic route: a chance for go

Uncertainties with Covid-19 and Food Scarcity this Season

This year is surely shaping up to be one for the books. It is hard to imagine that anyone will forget the events that unfolded at the turn of 2020. Covid-19 originally brought about many uncertainties and continues to do so today. The unpredictability of the virus has hurt and even closed many businesses. As we are operating a business, we too, contemplated how the virus would affect this year's breeding stock and meat sales.

In past years, customers piqued interest around March and

Three differing perspectives on the best Kiko sale of the year

Look up “professional road-trippers” in any dictionary or online platform and you will find a picture of the Crise Crew! Our kids have been on the road since, well, since before they were born! We could write for days on the driving trips we have taken which include cross-country hauls, Maine to Florida in 24 hours, Alaska, snowstorms, tornadoes, and many more miles of adventures! One of our favorite road-trips now is heading to Corydon, Indiana to the Cream of the Crop Sale!


Getting Out There

Josh and I moved our family to Lee during the fall of 2000. Amelia and Kevin were just a toddler and infant! Lee is the town that I grew up in and where the majority of my family was still living. Josh began commuting (flying) to NYC from Maine each week for work and the kids and I settled into my parents’ home for the winter. Each week Josh would fly home Thursday afternoon and return to the big city Sunday afternoon! Who knew that this beginning so many years ago would lead to our need to expl

Supporting a Health Crazed Nation

Often I am asked by family, friends and even colleagues, why would you eat goat? Or the statement might be announced in a different way ... "I would never eat goat! Goats are too cute." And then, the conversation turns to a bit of curiosity ... "Well, what does goat meat taste like?" So let's explore why you might eat goat meat and what it tastes like in a bit more detail.

Interestingly enough, goat meat, chevon or cabrito, which is considered red meat, is eaten more widely than any o

Offering Mom-servations on a snowy spring day in Maine

Happy Mother’s Day! Just another beautiful May Day here in central Maine! So far today we have six fresh inches of snow! November, December and even January snow is beautiful but this Poor Man’s Fertilizer is NOT beautiful in May! The snowbanks just melted away last week and the grass is finally turning green!

Our herd is still in their winter barn areas. Zulu, our buck, is just a watchful eye away from the big herd and he is raring to get out to the greens! His side of the barn area

Why Kikos? I ask, why not?

Often, I am asked the same two initial questions when I am chatting with friends, customers and even co-workers about life on the farm or ranch. First ... why goats? And second ... why Kikos (key-kos)?

You may have your own answer to the first question already. Or you might be like many others who are just getting started, asking, well, why small ruminants and not cattle or some other type of livestock? Any goat lover, owner or rancher could answer the first question for any variety o

The Moral of the Story

There are certain times during the year the bugs in Maine are horrendous, so you often find yourself swatting, slapping and just being aggravated for a few weeks. The problem is that in this area of Maine, you are constantly saying … well, I can’t do this or that outside because it is below zero, raining, too hot, too muggy, snowing, the bugs will carry you away, etc. The list never ends for why you can’t do something in the great outdoors. For those that know me, I am always working on somethin

We can live without animal protein ... But why would we?

Protein is one of the vital sources of nutrition we need for a balanced diet in our everyday lives. Should a catastrophic disaster strike the United States, or any other region of the world, a balanced diet would be the least of our concerns. The body can live without protein for a maximum of 70 days. After that, the body begins to break down muscle fiber so it can survive. Of course, we have 100s, likely 1000s of choices for protein to help us survive, should Zombies take over … yes, I enjoy a

The Goat that Keeps on Giving

Shortly after beginning our journey into the goating world in 2015, I was blessed with the unique opportunity to travel to India with my dad. We started our two-week stay in India by traversing as tourists. We experienced the hustle and bustle of the city touring through New Delhi by rickshaw, explored beautiful temples, took the most amazing two-hour train ride to Agra where we were able to view and experience the breathtaking architecture of the Taj Mahal (a once in a lifetime must-see). To to

Maternal Instincts: Both Kiko and Human!

About four years ago my father, Joshua Crise, began his research for what would prove to be both a successful and satisfying adventure. Goats! Meat goats, in particular, were the next bit of life that would make their way to our small ranch in Lee, Maine. But first, he had to decide what breed would best fit our environment, as well as, our lifestyle. In late 2015 to early 2016, he had it narrowed down to two breeds: Kikos or Boers. In the end, it was an easy choice. He landed on Kikos

Knock you on your butt, electrified fencing to protect your herd

As December and ultimately Winter approaches in the Northeast, I find myself making lists and checking them twice, to see who has been naughty or nice! Wait, that isn’t quite the right list. Instead, I am meticulously working through our farm-related to-dos … well let’s face it, I like to believe I am anyways. I am always trying to check off an item or two a night and a few items over the weekend, with the hopes of being prepared for the cold months better than I was last year and better than th

What's that smell?

Goats are unique: from their color and body structure to their personalities. They can make you laugh. Sometimes you end up in the wrong place and get a bump or a hard knock, so at times, they definitely can make you cry. They are a ton of work and more importantly, they are a ton of fun and bring a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Now let’s go back a year, five years, ten years, or even thirty years. You’re a new goat owner. You’re puttering around at the barn. Let’s fa

Feed & Forage --- Winter is already knocking on our back door

As Fall approaches (still August at this point when sitting down to write this … type this?), feed and forage are top of our mind. With Winter around the corner --- Yes already! --- and it definitely seems to be arriving earlier and earlier here in Northern Maine, or at least Fall has arrived much earlier than normal, we are left wrestling with prepping our small rural homestead and goat operation for Winter. This includes considering how we will feed hay out over the cold months and what sub-gr

Involving Youth Early

With this month’s Goat Rancher focus on “Youth”, it’s left me reflecting on what our home would have been like if I had taken the Kiko meat goat leap when our kids were youngsters. We were always involved in school activities, including music, sports, and other after school outdoor activities but neither my wife nor I were raised on farms so goating was and is foreign to us. There’s nothing you can’t read and research to learn or reach out to locals (mind you local could be anywhere in the world

Finding your Niche --- USDA Private Label

Have any of you considered what your fiscal year looks like? Do you use the standard calendar year? Is your fiscal year based around tax season? Or do you base your fiscal year and your planning around the start of breeding season or kidding season? There is so much to consider as we begin to plan but it also leaves me reflecting on the past year, not specifically about planning but what went well and what I want to repeat or continue doing in the next year. What activities am I specifically eng

Goat Recipes Made Easy

If you are new to goat meat, its mild flavor, and lean fat content, then you may be interested in how you might integrate it into your everyday meals. We get questions on a regular basis asking us how we cook our goat meat as well as what is the best meal to try it in for the first time.

There are tons of recipes on the internet you can search for and try but we like to keep it simple to start. For example, try replacing your hamburger with goat burger in traditional meals like stews,

Mississippi Buck Turned Mainah'

Like many in the meat goat business, we do our research, read, investigate, ask questions, email and call whomever we can and yes leverage Facebook and YouTube to “Get Learned” about tips and tricks or anything under the sun related to the industry. I am no different but at some point, you have to take the plunge into the world of meat goats and so I did a few years back. I work full time from home and travel to meet the commitments of my remote-based role with a leading Education Technology com

Maine ranch gets attention with Kiko car license plate

Marble Creek Acres is a small 6-acre ranch operated by Josh and Kathy and supported by their children, Amelia (20) and Kevin (18) and Josh’s parents, Paul and Karen Crise. Established in 2013 with the purchase of chickens and the planting of apple trees, raised beds and the building of a small greenhouse, we continue to grow our Kiko herd and find unique ways to advertise including our vanity Veteran Maine license plate.

Josh researched Kikos tirelessly, reflecting on a number of poss

Trust Your Gut! by Amelia

It’s been 24 hours now since our second kidding season kicked off. And if we’ve learned anything, it’s this; if you have a gut feeling, follow it. Yesterday morning, March 14, 2018, around 10:00 AM, we saw Kona, one of our pregnant does acting a little like it might have been time to deliver. She was scratching at the ground, looking like she was trying to make a nest area. We went outside and got her all set up in her own pen, but then decided to let her o

The Rock Garden by Karen

Born and raised in California, my husband Paul and I retired, in 2015, to Northern Maine. We live with our oldest son Josh, his wife Kathy and two of our grandchildren Amelia and Kevin as well as Kathy’s dad Pete who joins us from Florida each May through August. When we moved to Maine, we knew it would be different from anything we’d ever experienced. We did not expect that our son would decide to become a goat rancher. Yet here we are living on a goat ranch, Marble

Due date… where are the kids? by Kathy

Welcome Storm Skylar, we are expecting up to 20 inches of fresh March snow and today is the first due date for three of our does. Yes, I am still worrying about everything “goat” related and I am a big baby when it comes to the actual birth part.

We are technology junkies and have security cameras in several areas of the barns to keep an eye on the girls as the day arrives and as the days go by, with less than five hours to go and the does wil

"The Worrier" Published in the Goat Rancher by Josh Crise

Just a quick update to Kathy's blog post, "The Worrier". Kathy was featured in the March edition of the Goat Rancher, titled "Maine winters can't help but create a worrier", on pages 45-46. The Goat Rancher is a magazine which has been in circulation for more than two decades, covering every aspect of the goat industry, from the producer with 1000 head to the small rancher. There are articles from producers and veterinarians as well as other columnist with an

The Worrier by Kathy Crise

As you dive into this post, be sure to read it with Patty Smyth’s “The Warrior” playing as the soundtrack in your head. The mother of Marble Creek Acres, that’s me. The rancher’s wife, mom of two fantastic teens, daughter-in-law to in-laws that I wouldn’t trade if I could, I go by many names. Mom, momma, Kathy, Wifey, and here on the farm, “The Worrier”. That is my role, The Worrier! I worry about everything


Proud Member of

American Kiko Goat Association American Goat Federation National Kiko Registry Locally Owned and Operated United States Department of Agriculture Farm Fresh Veteran Owned and Operated Farm to Table Family Owned and Operated Goat Rancher