SO many things have taken place this summer! I have come to this place multiple times trying to update our life, but it is harder to write about something when you are swimming through it, so we just kept swimming. So, let me go back and bring us up to speed.
First, this guy was born! Millie was so stretched, and I worried about her baby getting stuck, so we sat on watch, sleeping next to an open window, checking on her all day, not leaving the farm for days. She laughed at me and birthed him at sunrise one morning. She had cleaned him, and fed him, and sat him next to her for me to find when I came to check in the morning. He was/ is HUGE. He was born the size of the quads at two weeks.
meanwhile, this wet spring brought issues with cocci, a protozoan parasite. We ended up treating all the babies. While checking bottoms multiple times a day, watching all my critters, and holding my breath, this guy showed neurological symptoms. We scooped him up and rushed into the vet, but he was small, and weaker, and didn't make it through the night.These things happen, but it doesn't make it any easier.
,After months of research and planning, of setting things in place to expand our herd, I found myself feeling unsure. Not because of the loss of a kid, not because of the troubles of watching for sickness, not because I wasn't excited about the future of the herd, but mostly because it was all I could think/work on in a day. I am not afraid of hard work. I am willing to put in extra work to accomplish my goals. For us to keep a herd, I have plenty of extra work. Ideally, we would have pastures, multiple pastures, to rotate our herd through to keep them fed ,and healthy ,and free of parasite loads. We have places to browse, good places, but none I can fence, so browsing become herding, and we need to stay nearby. This seems romantic, but less than ideal. To compensate, we give hay year round inside their fenced area. Inside their fenced area, I rake up poo several times a day. Once again, less than ideal. On proper pasture, we would just rotate to a fresh plot after a bit. I rake up hay that has dropped to the ground because they won't eat it then, it becomes soiled, and if they become desperate for a snack, you have them eating soiled hay, so out that goes. This all becomes rather time consuming in a dog chasing its tail sort of way.
Then, for me ,there are two legged kids that need me. There are friends, and family, and summer adventures. We found ourselves passing on some of the adventures, and times with our loved ones. I found my services needed in multiple places at once, telling my children to wait when I really felt they needed me. These are not things I'm comfortable sacrificing. I felt I was carrying my whole world on my back. I planned to move forward, to grow this thing through abundance, but this abundance was hard to balance on my own. Admitting that was not easy, but once I did it was like a breath of air into my tired lungs! Just admitting I was struggling felt empowering, so I knew what I had to do.
I had to reduce my herd. My dreamy, lively herd of goats. I gave myself permission to step back from breeding. Huge chunk of time returned to the family. Also, leaving me with new priorities in the herd. If I'm not breeding, or milking, these qualities are no longer the driving quality making up our herd. We won't sell off all the goats, but now we don't need herdsires, so they could go.
this sweet boy went to make babies in Connecticut!
I adore all my animals, so I have relied heavily on my family to help form the image of our pet herd going forward. We have chosen to keep the "gingersnaps". The boys will be castrated, and be kept as pets. Our one tiny doeling will grow up here. We were their story even before they were born, and we will see how it plays out here on our farm.
And, this girl will stay on to oversee their antics. Each of my four does was special to me, but I needed to choose only four goats to stay on. Phoebe, my little stubborn diva, has grown into an attentive animal. I think she thinks she is a dog. She is mostly patient with the little ones. SHe runs to me when I whistle. She loves to be loved. For all these reasons she was chosen to be our herdqueen. The others will go on to be part of another herd. We have carefully found homes for each of them.
Letting go of the way things have been is really hard. I have found such joy in this experience! We could of stayed with the original girls, but I really felt they should go forward as dairy goats. For them to move forward while we pause here to play a bit more.
While I am grateful to have experienced THIS.......
I am excited to see this through
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!