Each morning, Amy Keach milks her dairy goats with the help of her younger son, Andrew. Over the past half decade, the Keach family has expanded their herd to more than 30 animals. Every day, the goats, which Amy often brings to shows and competitions, produce two gallons of milk.
In the rolling hills outside of Frankfort, the goats graze on a small plot of land in Bagdad, Kentucky along the border of Shelbyville and Franklin County. Amy’s husband, Nathan, is serving abroad for the National Guard in Kuwait.
Amy, who grew up in Los Angeles, says she never foresaw owning goats. Her city-bound parents did pay for horseback-riding lessons for her though and unwittingly fostered her love for the countryside. At the age of 17, Amy moved across the country to Kentucky, exiting her southern California life forever. “I like not having my neighbor two feet from me," she says. "Once I moved out of L.A., there was no going back."
Amy’s older son, Matthew works for a metal fabrication plant in town and is out of the house by 4 a.m. Her younger one, Andrew, is homeschooled and spends his morning in the yard. “It's fun," he says. "I get to play with the animals."
Throughout the day, between stretches of gaming on his brother's Xbox, Andrew builds fences, feeds the animals and helps his mother around the house. “Andrew busts his butt," Amy says of her son, "He knows where his food comes from and knows this is important."
The family started raising goats at the end of 2009 after deciding to be more self-sufficient. They use the goat’s milk for cheese for their family. While working on the farm is by no means an easy life, Amy wouldn’t trade it for anything. “They're so honest,” she said of the goats, “Their entire life is doing things to please us. They wake up in the morning, they get on the milk stand, they give us their milk. Betty, for instance, unless she gets a hug, won't get off the milk stand. They have great personalities, they really do."
In the afternoon, with the morning chores done, Amy and Andrew have the opportunity to spend time relaxing in the field. For Amy, it’s the most meaningful part of her day.
“You know, my favorite time is just to go out there and sit and watch them," she says of those afternoons.