Farm Life, Self-Sustaining

It Started so Simple

It started so simple – four baby goats, a little bit of land, a couple bottles.

One year later, there is no simplicity.

None.
Not even a trace of what simplicity there used to be.

I’ve been MIA again…for several reasons. A major one being…the mess that is politics. It hasn’t calmed. Not even a bit. But I’ve calmed enough on the topic not to feel an unnecessary desire to verbally vomit my opinion all over the internet.

The other reason – also major.

We now have thirteen goats. Thirteen.

That’s almost double.

And it happened in no time at all with the kind of drama I oddly prefer. Our Billy Abraham got each of the nanny’s taken care of this year and each of them gave birth to wonderful, healthy little babies that offer so much entertainment.

There were ups and downs. The first birth went off without a hitch at 9:45pm with Caramel giving birth to two beautiful kid does – Luna and Emmie. The second one came a week later and that was far more intense. One kid, our first billy, didn’t make it. Had my husband not woke up at 4am for his hourly checks when we knew mama number two was in labor, it could have been so much worse. The mama went a bit crazy and rejected both babies, smothering one in the process and nearly taking out the second. We brought the tiny thing inside, got two ounces of colostrum in her and that was the first night I co-slept with a goat, keeping her warm next to me until she woke up at 8:30am hungry and looking for her mom. I was anxious to put her back with her mama but when we went out, she was frantically looking for her baby and we were able to reunite them without a hitch.

A little over a month later, on May day, our Trixie gave birth to a beautiful little girl who looks just like her daddy but with white ears. We named her May because it was fitting. And then there was Martin. Martin…was tough. His mom had no idea what she was doing. First time mom, bottle fed herself with only a brief period of time spent with her own dam…it’s to be expected.

Knowing that did not make it any easier

For the first several nights we experience complete frustration and heartbreak, holding her so that Martin could nurse in the mornings and evenings, watching over her to ensure she wouldn’t hurt him. He was our first billy and so adorable that it was impossible for me to understand how his mother couldn’t find it in her to mother him.

Then, one fateful morning, I went out fully expecting a rodeo to force her to feed him and there they stood, Maple cleaning Martin as he nursed from her. It was early, I had zero coffee in me…and that’s what I will claim caused the sudden rush of tears and immense joy. There was my sweet Maple and her little man getting along as if there hadn’t been a single day of doubt.

The newest addition to our modest pack was a Mother’s Day gift to me – a white and gray billy with a sweet disposition that matched Abraham’s perfectly. He’s currently spending the nights inside as he’s still just a little guy and can’t be in with the other mom’s without them getting pushy and shoving him around.

I may be a little protective.Gruff

We’re hoping to build him his own pen tomorrow so that he can spend the night out in the big shed with the girls as he’s been spending his long, lazy days with the rest of the goats and acclimating just fine.

This weekend was a blessing – spending it with my husband and girls, sitting in the pasture and watching the goats graze, every once and awhile drifting over for a scratch behind the ears or a quick grooming from Sammy and Mady.

Though our herd has grown quite a bit, there’s still a great sense of relaxation that comes from being out with them, soaking in the sunshine with a goat head in your lap and watching the babies bounce off their parents. It’s a contentment that makes you not want to move – to sit right where you are with a cup of coffee and soak in the peace. Two years ago there were no goats in the pasture – just a large garden that I loved to sit out in front of. Had I known how much things would change – how something so simple could escalate so quickly into something chaotic and still manageable…I probably wouldn’t have done a thing to stop it.

With the latest addition to our herd trailing behind us, I walked hand in hand with Sammy across the pasture and she looked around with a satisfied grin before glancing up at me and claiming, “We have thirteen goats, mommy. Our lives are amazing!”Totes Mgoats

She couldn’t be more right. Our lives are amazing. Busy, chaotic, messy…but amazing.

Tonight I sit with a bandaged thumb from knicking myself with the clipper while clipping hooves, my husband had to change right away when we got in from doing chores because he was soaked in milk from the bucket he knocked over, the milk strainer is in the dish rack drying off, there are three quarts of milk in the fridge along with several dozen eggs and there is not a moment of downtime except in the late hours of the evening where we can find a handful of minutes, maybe an hour, to relax and enjoy the quiet before we pass out from exhaustion.

There is no garden, no quiet mornings, no lack of adventures….and life is, indeed, amazing.

 

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