You could take a pleasant spin north Saturday just over the Pennsylvania line and come back with the family milk supply taken care of forever. No kidding. Well, yes, kidding, but seriously. It's the Amyr Farm dairy goat sale with 46 pedigreed animals being auctioned off.
Like GCH Ivy Acres Tracy *M S185803, DLM/El, a doe that has produced more than 4,000 quarts of milk without even counting her current lactation and bundles of blue ribbons and purple rosettes in livestock shows. That's what all those letters and numbers around her name mean. They also mean that if you wanted to you could trace her ancestry back more than 300 years, in Switzerland. And you can tell from that S185803 - her registration number with the American Dairy Goat Association - that she's white, because she's of the Saanen breed and all Saanens are white. And you know from that El - the tattoo in her right ear - that she was born in 1972.
What you don't know is what kind of price she'll go for. It could be more than $2,000, which some of the goats in the annual Spotlight Sale of Dairy Goats went for two weeks ago in Orlando, Fla. (or lots more - in the 1976 sale, a doe went for $5,600). She might also go for only $200, which simple arithmetic translates to milk at 5 cents a quart.
Even if you're not now seriously considering investing in a family milk supply (and you shouldn't unless you're equipped to manage it), dropping in on the Amyr Farm sale could be a fun outing. Goats, particularly the kids, are a circus to watch - if there's a word that truly reflects its origins, it's capricious. Amyr Farm is a lovely place, and besides the goats (many more than the 46 in the sale) its internationally famed Arabian horses will be on display.
Amyr Farm is the home of a jolly veterinarian, Dr. Richard H. Stoneback, and his family. The charming old house and the modern barns are set in the rolling hills just outside the rustic old town of Oxford. Get to the vicinity and there should be signs to guide you to the sale.
Besides the white Saanens, included in the sale will be dairy goats of the other four breeds: Toggenburgs, also of Swiss origin, always brown with white facial stripes, feet and tail; Nubians, of African-Mideastern origin, all kinds of colors, but distinctive in their heads with roman nose and long, pendulous ear; French Alpines, all kinds of colors with upright ears and wild, bright eyes; La Manchas, of Spanish/western North American ancestry, all colors, with tiny external ears (a common misconception is that the ears have been cut off).
The auctioneer will pound his gavel to open the sale at 1 p.m. All auction sales tend to be exciting, full of fast-paced action; livestock sales most of all, especially of the stature of this one likely to draw many crafty buyers. Watch the strategies develop as they try to outwit one another, the auctioneer and Dr. Stoneback.