Riding herd on a love for goats
Blue and purple ribbons hung from the stalls of Winter Palmateer, showing that her work with meat and show dairy goats had been a success at this year's Clackamas County Fair.
Palmateer, 14, is a member of the Blueberry Sunrise group from Molalla and knows a thing or two about caring for goats – even at such a young age.
"I've been showing goats for six years," she said. "I like being able to care for them and watch them grow."
She's even got one that enjoys cuddles, something the pair do when there's down time for a nap.
And that's understandable when you realize she has to rise before 5 a.m. to get to the fairgrounds and begin the task of caring for, and preparing, her goats. During the summer, she's usually up before 7 a.m., but during school that 5 a.m. hour is a constant.
But, she said, it's been worth it.
"I started doing goats for profit, to make money for college," she said. "That's with the meat goats. They are also sort of portable, so I can take them anywhere."
That's in stark contrast to the horses she also raises on the family farm. So far, all that work has been paying off as ribbons adorn her stalls. But it takes work.
"To get them ready for judging you have to clean them up, clip them," she said. "For meat goats, judges are looking for good muscles on the animal. On the milk goats, they look at the udders. There's a lot of work at the fair."
And with that, she coaxes one of her goats, Caiya, out for a photo.