The very best thing is when the sun returns, and the snow melts, and there is the the smell of earth , and the hope of Spring at last! Spring is so full of fun plans ,and hopes ,and faith that your hard work will pay off in the end, and the possibility of creating something wonderful. I LOVE spring (in case you cant tell). I have big plans for this season. The first few years have been spent building, and learning, and dipping in a toe. There will always be learning, and adding bits and bobs, but this year we are jumping in with both feet! So hooray for Spring!....Plus, the sun just feels so darn good!
These two. We bred just one doe last season. We got one big buck. My youngest son kept asking where was the doeling that we could keep. No doe. Then ,everywhere I looked on the internet there were doelings. One can only hold out so long during kidding season, so come July little Miss Phoebe came to join us. I tried to resist, but I quite frankly took a shine to her, and that was it. She is spoiled rotten, and a bit of a diva. She refused to walk on a leash, and by refused I mean she would leap up, throw herself to the ground, and lay there with her feet in the air. We started walking the goats in the park at the end of the summer, but she never got to go. Sometime in November all the other goats were quite good on the leashes and would hop into the back of our car to go walk with us. Phoebe started to whine at the gate at being left behind, so we grit our teeth, and popped her in the back of the car, and off she went with us. She fish-flopped at first, but I bribed her with sunflower seeds, and I think she just decided it wasn't worth fighting anymore. We ran her little hooves all over the trails in such a long hike, I felt sorry for her, and found myself carrying her up the last big hill. She's been great ever since. She fusses at you to be held seeing as she was such a little thing when we got her, she was cuddled quite a lot, so if you you do lift her up for a cuddle she rewards you with face nuzzles and licks. ( I said she was spoiled!!) Charlotte was bought sight unseen from a breeder I really liked. She was a leap of faith on good genetics. The only thing the breeder mentioned, was that she was rather shy. Well, they handed her over to me and she literally curled her head around my neck, and that was that. She might be my favorite, but don't tell the others! She is last girl in, so she has to get creative sometimes to get her place in things. She does just fine! These two were not in the original farm plan (to keep only from our own breeding), but they are such a joy, I'm so glad I get to wake up to these faces!
So, in this media sharing world there is a place where the work of the farm, and the sharing of the farm overlap. The "felfie". Farm+selfie= Felfie. Utterly ridiculous on one hand, but pure, silly fun on the other. February weather brings all the frozen water buckets, endless need for hay, hay, and more hay, warm water again, stuff every space with straw, and try to thaw oneself a bit between trips outside. Quite frankly, you either crawl off with self pity and wonder why you chose this life, or you hide out in the little hay barn with your animals and snuggle in. While the sane portion of the world relaxes in their warm, dry houses, binge watching netflix and drinking coffee, I find myself in a pile of goats, armed with my camera, taking future album cover shots in case they start a band, and felfies, so that I have solid proof that I've officially lost it!
I never had a dog. I had three brothers instead. Followed by a boyfriend that became my husband who is allergic to dogs. We now have a son who is allergic as well, but not to goats. My son likes to compare our goats to the dogs he could never have otherwise. And, like dogs, our goats are walked on leashes (at least some of the time). It is really amusing when we unload the girls out of the trunk of our suv when we hike at the park. They hop out and prance around like princesses. Everyone we pass asks to pet them, and the tickled expressions of surprise at seeing a small goat walking along like this is so normal. Well, this is our normal. Other than the obvious novelty the point of "walking" them is to improve our communication, to deepen the sensitive system of requesting cooperation , and to "listen" to their needs in a different surrounding. To make the outside world more normal to the goats. It seems to be working. They tend to be happy when jumping willingly into the back of the car( handy when we need to take them to less fun places like the vet), which is a huge improvement from the screams and death rolls that used to take place. We have started all but one of our does as babies, so as to have plenty of time to build this relationship before coming to kidding and milking. All of our goats come running for ear scratches, brushing, and full body hugs. The tiniest of our girls gives kisses if you lift her up. The bucks are new to us. They are older(ish). We are working them on leashes on our property to build that communication and trust. They both follow well, but boy are they strong! Our younger buck likes to walk with us ,and jump, and climb, and I try to keep up with him, but today we let him off the leash for the walk back to our house from the end of our wooded property. I think he had fun leaping spryly over logs and across streams. He stayed right with us. It was great! I never had a dog, but goats are pretty fantastic.
This homestead has been in my head and heart since I was fourteen years old. It has finally come to fruition alongside my husband and sons. Though my hands are more likely to be deep in the soil, milking the goats, or slipped into the hand of one of my children while exploring our woods, I hope to bring my hands back to the keyboard to share our adventures here. Welcome!