Back in early June I sold my goats. It was a decision I had toyed with for awhile, especially whenever I walked out my door and they assailed me with a collective whining bleat. Truly, I have enough whining in my life. When I had a spontaneous vision of removing their vocal chords I knew it was time. I don’t even like goat milk! What was I thinking?
Well, I was dreaming, really, and in a creative way, about my little farm. But what I have always wanted is a milk cow (and some horses, and a pond, and a barn). I went with goats, and Nigerian Dwarf Goats in particular, because they are smaller and more suited to the land I have available. I don’t have acres of pasture, you see, but I do have plenty of browse, which goats prefer, in certain areas of my land. So while the goats were a good fit for my land, they were not a good fit with me. So, no goat milk soap in my future, or goat cheese, and that’s is alright by me.
I still have a dream about a little farm–maybe not the kind of farm that sells a lot of what is grown as its income, but the kind of farm where the family is fed. I describe it as joyful sustainability. I added the joyful recently to my goal, because otherwise I get all stressed out about it, pressuring myself to work hard at this goal, which then completely ruins it.
I gauge my success toward reaching joyful sustainability carefully, and realize that I can support sustainability in other ways as well, such as shopping at the farmer’s market. I am not a master gardener, by any stretch of the imagination. Every year I make improvements, and I’m hoping the addition of a greenhouse will be a big improvement. That is on our to-do list. Somewhere in my future there is a barn, and rabbits and American Guinea Hogs for meat. And I would love to have a milk cow. It would just need to be a little milk cow, which does exist, by the way. Way back when joyful sustainability was part and parcel of life for most folks, the livestock was smaller. There is a wonderful reclamation of these breeds, from miniature Jerseys to Olde English Babydoll Sheep. I would love to participate in the revival of these breeds. But for now I have two gardens, eleven chickens, one chick, two Angora bunnies, and no goats.