Two years ago, Scott and I were down in Portland for a mini-break. We ended up meeting two backyard ‘herds’ of Nigerian Dwarf Goats.
As they say, the rest is history.
We already knew we were goat people. We knew that we wanted goats. I was once again relieved and grateful for Scott’s tendency to research every nook and cranny of a subject before reaching a conclusion. Nigerian Dwarfs. Half the size, high butter fat, mildest of milks, lower upkeep costs.
And CUUUUUUUUTE. Let’s not forget how friggin adorable they are.
Easter, our proud, leggy Toggenburg, represented a change, validation, and a chance to have milk right away. Plus we needed to know. Do we really prefer Nigerian Dwarfs or do we just think we do?
Don’t get be wrong, I love Easter. But I don’t think my level of love could compare to the starry eyed magic that emanates from my good friend Kristina who was lovestruck the minute she laid eyes on our dear doe.
Love at first sight.
Six months later and Easter is now on loan – that may turn permanent – to Kristina at her home which incidentally is called… The Goat Barn. I couldn’t possibly make this up. Part of the drive to set up temporary separate accommodations came from our four pregnant little does who were increasingly at odds with our tall girl. Easter escaped a few times. She’d kick them out of the barn. Everyone was just generally on edge.
Of course, we couldn’t just leave her in a field by herself. And knowing that Kristina’s commitment to goats runs deeper than just a passing fancy to ‘goat-sit’ (case in point: in three days she had constructed a full acre five strand electric perimeter fence for her new charges)…we set out to find her a goat of her own who would be Easter’s companion for the next several months.
A 10 month old mostly Alpine with a dash of Nubian and a sprinkle of La Mancha. A beautiful girl who came with three pages of notes detailing her history, quirks, preferences and lineage. I couldn’t help but tell the woman who sold her how rarely (i.e. Never!) I’ve seen this kind of detail and how much it is appreciated.
When we’re ready, I hope I do the same for our customers.
Which brings me back to the other driver for this change.
Scott and I are going all in. We’re committing to Nigerian Dwarfs. We’re establishing a herd.
We’re bringing up 3-4 new bucklings from 3-4 of the best farms on the west coast this summer.
One day, we want to establish a dairy. But that dream is still likely to be 6-10 years down the road.
Sometimes I want to be selfish with my animals. Say “no, you’re mine – I love you and you’re pretty and I’ll miss seeing your face so you stay.” But that wouldn’t be fair. Easter deserves to be the queen that she is (though Camas is already spunky enough to try and give her a run for that position) instead of second fiddle to a bunch of shorties.
Besides, we’ve already established that once we find our land – wherever we find our land – we’d like to bring Kristina with us (you caught that note about the perimeter fencing, right?)…whether she’s committed to leaving her incredible cabin by the sea, well…we have our work cut out to convince her. But no matter what happens – if Kristina, along with Easter and Camas, can come with us or everyone stays at the Goat Barn and we get to come and visit…we can rest assured that our big plans and dreams didn’t prevent us from doing right by each of these animals that have touched our lives so far.