BUNKER HILL -- On a whim, Alvin Baral bought a few goats to add to his entourage of tasks, gardening, cattle and, at the time, his job with Center Township in Russell County.
Today, his goat pen runneth over.
Well, not literally, but the numbers now top 100, in all sizes and colors.
"I've got over a hundred here," Baral said. "I just don't know how many over a hundred. They're pretty hard to count."
Baral's venture into the goat business came about three years ago.
"I thought we'd get a few," he said. "We got a few and now we've got this."
A few, including one that has been christened as Amy, are fed with a bottle. Weighing in at only about 5 pounds, Amy was quick to follow Baral around as he prepared the milk replacer, warming it on a hot plate inside the shed where a wood-fired stove is located to ward off the chill of the night in winter.
She wasted no time in sucking down most of what was inside the Dr. Pepper bottle.
The goat venture is in addition to his large-scale garden operation.
"I planted 25 pounds of potatoes," he said.
He'll also plant anywhere from 600 to 700 tomato plants.
"I've planted as high as 850," he said.
Like his parents, Luther and Marlene Baral, people come to him to buy his produce.
"I've never taken any to market," he said.
He does, however, take his goats to market.
Most of the goats, Baral said, end up in New York where there is a concentration of people who eat goat meat. He sells them at the monthly goat and sheep sale at Sylvan Grove.
Baral said he's likely to sell anywhere from 60 to 70 goats this year, after they reach somewhere between 60 and 70 pounds.
"The market's pretty good on them," he said, adding that the price is pretty variable.
Not much different than the cattle he overwinters in a pen just west of the goats, Baral feeds range cubes to the goats as well as bales of hay.
"They take quite a bit of care the first couple weeks when they're small," he said. "I'm seriously thinking about getting out of those cattle and going with these."
He's struggling right now with what to do with the cattle, although he was out fixing fence.
With the cool weather, there isn't much grass in the pastures and water is a problem.
Although he's now retired from Center Township, the cattle, garden and goats keep him plenty busy. Oh, and he's currently Bunker Hill's mayor.
"My social life isn't that good," he said with a laugh.