(Rebecca Hammond, July 27, 2017)
Ferndale, MI – The cast of Hamilton showed up in the Ferndale Area District Library’s courtyard on Saturday, in name at least, and the group that gathered in Ferndale was as delighted and enthralled as audiences on Broadway. Three goats, Aaron Burr, Abigail Adams, and Alexander himself ate weeds, handed out kisses, and received pats, claps, and exclamations in return.
“They’re so cute!” “All they do is EAT!” “There’s a full-grown one over there!” and my personal favorite, after a little boy hugged one, “They smell just like goats!”
Amy and John McIntire raise twenty goats in Pontiac on City Girls Farm, and they make soap and lotion from the milk. Their products are sold at Eastern Market in Detroit and Holiday Market in Royal Oak. A customer favorite is Orange Honey soap, made with honey from a Detroit beekeeper. They’ve run this business for three years.
Amy grew up in Birmingham and moved to Chicago where she met John, where both were in the restaurant business. They married and when daughter Katie turned out to be lactose intolerant, they decided to start a dairy, with goats instead of dairy cattle. Goat milk is often easily tolerated by people for whom cow’s milk is not, and the McIntires considered making ice cream and cheese, but the costs of licensing and operating a dairy were prohibitive. Making skin care products was a way to continue raising goats and make a living from them, although the dairy part of the business ended two years ago.
Katie has naming rights, and each year new names for kids revolve around a different theme. Year One’s kids were named after superheroes, Year Two’s after flowers. Katie is a big fan of the musical Hamilton, hence the historical monikers of Year Three.
There are surprises in any business. This year a doe that was expected to have twins instead had quadruplets. This is an unusual circumstance and is dangerous for the morther. She will not be bred again for this reason.
Many of City Girls’ goats are registered Oberhaslis, an American breed that was developed from central Swiss goats brought here in the early 1900s. Oberhaslis are pretty, soft, and radiate a gentle intelligence and friendliness, rather like golden retrievers that eat plants.
City Girls Farm’s website posts visiting hours and contact information. From that website: “Goat milk – hand milked at the City Girls Farm in Pontiac MI – could be your natural answer to better skin’s health. Our handmade goat milk soaps and lotions are wonderful for people with dry or sensitive skin. And they’re equally as wonderful for helping keep everyone’s skin healthier and happier.”
The children’s corner at the Ferndale Area District Library bustles with as many events as a community center might have. Reading groups and story hours are part of any library, but kids here in Ferndale can pet goats, watch the release of butterflies, participate in Star Labs via Oakland County parks, and enjoy lego building sessions and craft gatherings. A concert series for all ages continues with The Detroit Party Marching Band at the library on August 8 at 6:30. Learn more about the library HERE and check out the Oakland County Times White Castle Bold Moves Event page HERE.