Naturally my goats would start kidding just when I have to be four hours away in town or a workshop that I’ve been excitedly thinking about for weeks.
Not to mention the very cranky, very teeth-y kid of my own who had spiked a fever of 39 C the night before.
I’ve talked a little bit before about how impatient I’ve historically been about acquiring and honing all the necessary skills for knitting. The idea of one day having my own flock of sheep that produces the wool I then process, spin and turn into clothing or perhaps a pair of mittens…it’s a dream. A dream with a lot of work attached to it, but a dream I have nonetheless.
There are some things about farming that are unbelievably romantic and beautiful. Other things are just plain dirty and unpleasant. Poopy. Then there are the magical completely terrifying parts. Baby goats fall into this category for me.
Their superpowers of adorableness exceed all else. But the risks, the potential for disaster, are unfortunately something we know well.
We have been watching the barn closely through a baby monitor for the last couple of weeks. In some ways, I’m grateful that though I intended to get this set up back in December…I didn’t.
Let me back up.
You know how back in December I was all “OMG guys! Baby goats!” then everyone was wondering “But when?” and I was like “I don’t know! Soon! Maybe 4-6 weeks?”
How is it possible that we’re less than two months a way from a one year old?
Isla, you’re moving faster, considering more and pushing yourself farther than ever before. You are one determined, methodical little baby.
It’s fascinating to see you observe and interact with the animals. Select specific toys you favour over so many others. The books – the many, many books you just want to hold and turn and play with for hours. Well, maybe not hours but something more like fifteen minutes which I’m pretty sure is the adult attention span equivalent of hours for a baby your size.
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.
The first knitting project I attempted was back in 2009.
A bright magenta super bulky scarf that somehow got wider as I unintentionally added stitches, dropped stitches thereby creating sizable gaps/holes and impressive gauge discrepancies throughout the garment.
But it was such a pretty colour and the action – once I figured it out – was addictive. So addictive.
I kept knitting until the yarn supply started running low then tried to figure out how to cast off. It intimidated me. Maybe I didn’t want the project to finish? For such an incredibly mangled accessory-to-be, I to this day can’t figure out why I made such a precious big deal about trying to cast off perfectly.
Well, perfect wasn’t in the cards. After picking up and putting down the project for a few weeks I finally did what any sane, rational grown up woman would do.
Oh you were thinking I might YouTube a video tutorial? Drop into a yarn store and ask for help?
No of course not, I sabotaged it. Yanked out the oversize needle and quickly tied it up at the end so it wouldn’t unravel.
“Things do not change; we change.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Between the two of us, Scott is the researcher. I’m pretty good at following directions, I often immerse myself in something (knitting, yogurt or bread making, chickens, goats) but if I ever want to track down the real story or the best of something, Scott’s my go-to.
It was at the point that he described what instantly became my dream property that I started to laugh inside at how different my wants and needs are today than they were a mere few years ago. No elevator. No doorman. No indoor gym, parking spot, public transit accessibility.
“Farming with live animals is a 7 day a week, legal form of slavery.” – George Segal
This year, I’m endevouring to keep a daily journal of a few notes from each day in an effort to keep better track of when things happen and how the seasons progress over time. At the end of the month, I’ll share them here too.
But those little anecdotes will be less about context, more about observations.
A couple of years ago, when we were still living off the grid at Blue Jay Lake Farm, I put together a blog post that walked through our typical weekend mornings – when we would handle barn chores. Two cows were milked, green houses were opened, baby goats bottle fed and calves chased up the hill to their fenced in field. Why not do the same for our humble little beginner homestead now?
As we plan for another hectic, whirlwind of a year, it’s hard to imagine what things will look like twelve months from now. Even six months is a bit fuzzy.
Sometimes I can’t help but ask, “who exactly do we think we are?”
A couple of ‘kids’ who really can’t call themselves kids anymore because we have a kid of our own and are both beyond our twenties (well, Scott’s still got a few weeks left to enjoy). We’ve each held down retail jobs, spent most of our time working in marketing and only recently discovered what we’d been missing by establishing a more personalized connection with food, animals and the land where we dwell.
There’s a dead rooster hanging from my front porch.
Not exactly an inspirational quote, but the matter-of-factness of this morning doesn’t leave me feeling terribly inspired. Reflective maybe. Sad. Definitely.
Moose was the rooster we took a chance on. His father, Blue, was our very first rooster. The cuddly, cooing little buddle of blue ameracauna lured us in with his good looks and charming personality. Until we went away for a couple of weeks and came back to a rooster who had thoroughly freaked out our house sitter and turned into a tiny tyrant capable of making the back of your knees ring from frequent, repeated jump kicks.
I spent months trying to reform the bastard until he started harassing the hens as severely as he had been attacking us. Then it was game over. Off with his head.
“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” – Mario Andretti*
This is just a quick note to mark the end of the year. The start of the next chapter. A commitment to be a better person, a stronger family and a much more consistent blogger in 2015.
We have so much that is unknown. Lots to consider, decide and act on in the coming months. Last year we had a vision and action plan for everything that needed to happen before the middle of March. Or rather, before the bean arrived. Then our worlds were turned upside down, inside out and made all the more hectic, incredible, tiring but ultimately…amazing.