Tuesday, November 19, 2013

we're not getting goats


We're not getting goats.

I'm not sure that I ever mentioned the fact that we thought we were getting goats here, but now we're not.

In the very beginning of this story, the goats were cows.

As part of our homesteading plans, we decided we needed milking cows, probably three. A mama and her calves.

We wanted to stop buying treated milk in plastic bottles, we wanted to stop outsourcing another food that we could produce ourselves, we wanted the cow's poo, we wanted the relationship with another animal and we desperately wanted to experiment with making our own cheeses and yogurt.

So we started researching house cows and while we were in the process of reading and googling and asking around, some gorgeous goat farming friends of ours suggested a milking goat instead and the plans changed.

The cows became goats.

A mama goat and her two kids would provide us with everything a milking cow would but be smaller and more manageable, would help us with our blackberry problems, and would milk less but for longer.

And so we drove out to their farm, met the lovely pregnant Giselle and went home to wait until springtime when she kidded and could come and live happily ever after at our place.

In the meantime we made plans, read lots, spoke to some experts and had some milking lessons.

And then something weird happened.

On the Wednesday before the Friday we were to go and pick our new goats up, I decided we couldn't. I am hardly ever definite when it comes to big farming decisions, but this time I was. It came out of nowhere and I knew it was the right decision.

If we got goats we would be tied down. Every single day, twice a day, we would have to be at home to milk the goats. Every single day, no matter what.

Yes, we could share the goats but that would take time to sort out. Yes, we could probably let the kids drink the milk if we weren't there to milk, but then would they make enough milk for us when we wanted it again?

All of a sudden there were more questions than answers.

All of a sudden it felt like those three goats were going to tie us right down just at the point in time where we have given ourselves some freedom. All of a sudden it felt like those three goats would gobble up more of our time than we have to give. All of a sudden it felt like those goats would drown us in our to-do lists. All of a sudden it felt like we couldn't be 100% certain that those three goats would come here and live the very best lives three goats could live.

And most importantly, all of a sudden I felt that this is the wrong time for us. Our own three kids, with all of their activities, with their three separate schools, with their stories and homework and games and songs and friends and needs. Three extra kids would take our time away from them.

So we made the call. And we grieved for a little while.

Maybe when they're older? Who knows.

But for now I'm happy with following my feelings. With trusting myself.

I'm still buying milk but I can stay out all night if I want to (ha!).

xx

28 comments:

  1. the first photo of the goats devouring the tree would be enough to turn me off having goats let alone all the responsibility of milking twice a day- all for a bit of cheese and biscuits. You made a grand decision!

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    1. ha! yes the thought of the mess they could make if they got out probably should have made my list too. x

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  2. at least you have a few capricorns around. one of whom would LOVE to stay out with you all night xoxox

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  3. My grandparents had 3 three cows as part of their sustainable life and all I remember is my nan washing buckets, clothes, strainers and milking equipment. My granddad did the actual milking but that was just the start of it my nan made butter, cream and other dairy products but I don't remember that so well just the bloody washing up all the time!! So good call for the moment I think. Jo x

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  4. Glad I recently found your blog, love the photos and aspirational homesteading you share. The logo is quite cute too. Will have to keep reading and check out your book when it comes available. :)

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  5. So glad to hear that decisions can be re-made and the world keeps on turning. Good for you.

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  6. Those are pretty big decisions, and as you mentioned....maybe its something you can do when the kids are older and you have more time? It does seem like a good idea, having three goats....

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  7. Definitely sounds like u made the right decision! I do love a nice bit of goat's cheese, but you can get such good stuff in the shops!!!! Xxx

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  8. These goats are just beautiful Kate. We have talked about getting milking goats too...but at the moment we have absolutely no green grass to feed a hungry, milk producing animal. It would be an enormous commitment and you make some great points regarding your decision. The slow/self sufficient life is not always easy is it? Some things are just too difficult.

    I hope you are having a great week x

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  9. You rock! With your complete knowledge of yourself and confidence in your decisions. Way to go you! x

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  10. God I wish I had braids like that! This blog is inspiring, I think it sounds like you've made an excellent decision here. xx

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  11. I hear you about being tied down. It was such a busy summer that even my garden didn't like me. I've thought about different animals, but it wouldn't be fair to them or us, so that thought is on hold for now and maybe forever. And I'm OK with that.

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  12. thankyou for your honesty!! and absolutely - no more holidays or spontaneous trips away !!
    I don't know how you do what you do at the moment with 3 busy kids, let along furry kids too!!
    :)
    Lauren

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  13. Yes, animals are a big responsibility. With our multiple dogs, cats, chickens, and a rabbit, we are limited to the amount of time that we can be away. We have a wonderful petsitter who cares for all of them, but 2 weeks is kind of the max we feel we can be away. We would love to do some extended traveling when our little babe in a couple years older, but we'll have to see how many animals we have left in the crew at that point. Do you have access to raw milk in Australia? We are lucky to be able to purchase it here in Pennsylvania from local farmers.

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    1. We buy it as bath milk.
      It is illegal for the farmer to sell it for human consumption.

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  14. Absolutely getting that. As nice as it would be, it would tie you down, which is the opposite of what you want to accomplish.

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  15. You made the right decision for now, in the future you may want goats, and you may find a friend or two to help you take care of them when you are busy.
    hugs,
    Meredtih

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  16. it's so good to listen to your instinct and your limits. Sometimes what seems like a simple life can get way too complicated!

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  17. I LOVE that last line :-)

    Your common sense is an inspiration. I'm at that point now where I want more animals than is sensible. Were getting two lambs to keep the loan pony happy. And now I want two alpacas to protect the lambs. I feel a bit like the woman who swallowed a fly. xx

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  18. Hi, I've been reading your blog for a while, you don't live that far from me, I'm in Ballan :) Anyway I wanted to send you a link to a blog I've been reading, it's wonderful and there's so much info about house cows.

    http://matronofhusbandry.wordpress.com/

    Anyway, love your blog. :)

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    1. Hello neighbour!
      And thanks for the link. Can't wait to check it out.

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  19. is there somewhere nearby where you can get some raw milk? we get it once a week and it lasts a treat - its the best but, i'm with you on the tie down. louise

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    1. We do but it's illegal for the farmer to sell it for human consumption, so we buy bath milk instead. Crazy.

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  20. You are wise and thoughtful. I admire your ability to be realistic about your own resources. Enjoy the nights out :-)

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  21. Good for you for listening to your instincts. You certainly have plenty in your life, and sometimes we just have to give up good, even excellent, ideas. My girls are 14 & almost 16 and I just realised the other day that for the next few years, life is going to get even busier before it settles down (what with their driving lessons, part-time jobs, studying, etc!). I hope you get your goats later on! And enjoy your nights out now!

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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