LITCHFIELD — At first, Aaron Grim and his wife, Briis Wile, just wanted a few goats for themselves.

They were homesteading on 13 acres and goats seemed easier to care for than, say, cows. And besides, goat milk was sweet and rich and tasted really good raw.

Six years and 11 goats later — seven of them soon to give birth — the couple has a growing organic creamery business and a new appreciation for the trouble an attention-seeking, fence-jumping goat can get up to.

“They’re 95 percent fun and five percent infuriating,” Grim said. “They’re just smart and they get bored easily — they’re kind of like half livestock, half dog. If you just stood with them and scratched their cheek all day, that would be perfect.”

The couple met about 10 years ago and worked for years on small farms in the United States and Europe. They decided to make a home in Litchfield after connecting with another conservation-minded couple, Brian Kent and Janet Pence, through FarmLink. Kent and Pence handed over a corner of their 100-acre property and, in return, Grim and Wile agreed to work the land and to help with maintenance and chores. 

Their family grew with the birth of their son, Arlo, now 2½, and their homestead grew, too. They created gardens, built a house, got chickens and pigs.

And they got goats — none of whom were concerned about the couple’s attempts to corral them in one place away from the orchard, raspberry patch and garlic growing in the garden.

“We’ve had a lot of goat rodeos, as we call it, trying to get them from one place to another and things going astray, a goat going astray,” Wile said.

The couple discovered one goat-approved way to move them: in their Honda Fit hatchback.

“Usually four at a time, fold the seats down,” Grim said.

But as mischievous as they were, the goats also proved to be friendly, especially toward the couple’s young son. On one recent morning, Arlo wandered through their pen, munching on a piece of hay as the goats ate from the bale. 

“We totally trust him with them at all times,”  Grim said. “Cows would be a little different.”

The couple’s goat herd grew with each birth, and so did the amount of milk they could get. They started Cosmic Goat Farm and Creamery to sell their organic goat cheese, yogurt and raw milk. They now sell from their home and through the Gardiner food co-op and hope to expand to other shops in the area.

The couple hand-milks their goats every morning, forming a relationship with each animal. They know which goat’s the sweetest (Rose), which is the herd queen (Maple), which one always seems to get hay stuck around her horns (Camille).

“They always either want to be fed or be petted,” said Wile, sitting on the pen floor and scratching the backs of heavily pregnant Velvet and Daisy as the goats closed their eyes in bliss.

Seven of the goats are due to give birth any day. The couple expects they’ll spend even more time in the pen once the latest babies arrive.

“We call it the goat vortex,” Grim said. “Playing with the goat kids and we say, ‘Have we been in here for three hours?’ It’s just like time disappears. They’re so much fun and they’re so friendly. When the kids are little, they just love being picked up. You just pick them up and they melt.”  

The couple hopes to grow their herd and expand their creamery business. But for the moment, they’re taking it goat by goat.

“We love having goats,” Wile said. “We want to always have goats.”

Have an idea for Animal Tales? Call Lindsay Tice at 689-2854 or email her at [email protected].

Arlo Grim, 2, lies in the food bin while his mother, Briis Wile, gives attention to her goats at the Cosmic Goat Farm & Creamery in Litchfield. 

Aaron Grim and his wife, Briis Wile, farm and own Cosmic Goat Farm & Creamery in Litchfield. 

Camille is known for getting hay stuck in her horns. 

Arlo Grim, 2, runs, climbs and plays with the goats at Cosmic Goat Farm & Creamery in Litchfield. 

The goats, pigs and chickens find shelter inside a high tunnel at Cosmic Goat Farm & Creamery in Litchfield.

Briis Wile and her 2-year-old son, Arlo Grim, give attention to their goats at the Cosmic Goat Farm & Creamery in Litchfield. 

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: