Posted by: Silver | July 24, 2010

On the marge of Lake Laberge

(with apologies to Robert Service for stealing a line from his seminal Yukon poem, ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’, given to me as ‘essential reading’ for visitors to the Yukon by my last hosts. And just to prove that place-name spelling is every bit as random here as it is in the UK, ‘Laberge’ does, in fact, rhyme with ‘marge’)

My placement at Lake Laberge has provided me with a host of things I could have chosen to write about: I could have told you about Bob, the Tyrannosaurus Rooster, but my thumb is nearly healed again now, so perhaps we should say no more about that; I could have told you about the beauty of Lake Laberge and the rocky bluffs that stand guard over the farm in majestic fashion, but so many people before me have written so much more eloquently about the scenery here already; I could have told you all about zucchini sex, but I think I’ll save that for a later date…

Instead, since the farm on which I was staying constitutes the entirety of the Yukon Territory’s dairy industry, I think I shall tell you about goats. Goats, it transpires, are really quite engaging. They all have quite clearly individual personalities, and it only takes a few days of helping with the daily milking to learn who will stand quietly munching, who will spill her food, who will make a bolt for the door as soon as her milking is finished, and who will try and stay to hoover up every last morsel of food before being ‘persuaded’ to leave. (Incidentally, if you ever want a good full-body work-out, just try ‘persuading’ a goat that she really wants to go somewhere other than where she thinks she wants to go; apparently, a fully-grown goat weighs about 20-30 lb more than I do, and has four heels to dig in (OK, so anatomically they’re not really heels, but you get my drift…)) One young madam (a favourite of mine purely on account of the fact that she was called Chocolate) was notorious for getting up to all sorts of antics on the milking stand, but always seemed remarkably co-operative whenever I was helping with the milking (‘helping’ involves ensuring that the goat is kept topped up with food and suitably entertained whilst being milked); I came to the entirely unsupported conclusion that her calmness was thanks to the sound of my voice, and so began the daily outpouring of non-stop nonsensical verbal randomness and occasional serenading that made me wish that my host (positioned at Chocolate’s milking end) was deaf rather than blind. But Chocolate did stay calm…

And just in case you’re wondering: yes, I milked a goat. Several, in fact. They were remarkably patient and forgiving…

Panoramic shot of Lake Laberge, from one of the aforementioned rocky bluffs

Just too cute....!



  1. Hi, Tana,

    Sounds like you are having a whale of a time! Zucchini sex??!! Is that legal? The goats look really sweet (especially appropriate for one called Chocolate!).
    News for you – have got my results – somehow managed to get a First!!!
    Take care and keep having fun.
    Love from Cass xx

    • Yay! Go Cass!! Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  2. Main thing – did you actually drink the milk? And does it taste different from different goats – and I know this is a long shot, but does Chocolate produce milk chocolate? Now, with a bit of GM you could probably guarantee that, but that would rather defeat the WWOOF objective…
    I’m tempted to google ‘zucchini sex’, but dare not! Cheers for now, John.

    • Hi John,

      Yes, I did drink the milk, but the milk from all the goats is mixed together, so I couldn’t tell you if there are any differences, I’m afraid. I too was hopeful of chocolate milk from Chocolate, but alas was disappointed 😦

      Hmmm, everyone seems very interested in the zucchini sex, I see… all in good time, people! 😉

  3. Tyrannosaurus Rooster?? Well dare I ask? and more to the point dare I ask about Zucchini sex?!
    Good to hear you are having a good time! Chocolate really is the cutest!

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