Goat Growing Pains

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Blaze thinks my hair is very tasty!

Yup that’s a goat. On my head. At my house in town, where goats are most certainly NOT legal…

I guess that’s what to expect from a Deviant Farmer.

I got a roller coaster of an introduction to farming this spring. In my anal retentive mind, I would learn farming skills methodically, one at a time, in a neat, orderly fashion.

Yeah. Right.

Does that EVER happen in anything involving Mother Nature?

See, last fall the male goats got in with the does when they weren’t supposed to, which leads me back to this past January, and me running around the goat pen in the dark, in freezing temperatures, desperately scooping up newborn baby goats as my husband pulls the moms into kidding pens so the mom and babies can bond, and babies won’t freeze to death.

Just FYI this is NOT the ideal way to kid goats folks.

Anyways, that’s besides the point because it doesn’t matter how frustrated I get at the way the farm is run, or what types of shelter and supplies we don’t have… because at this point in time there are precious little babies with a very small window of opportunity, depending on me to save them.

This story ended with my friend, her mom, and I taking two cold little baby goats back to my house to attempt to revive them, consulting Google on our smart phones along the way.

One of the babies didn’t make it.

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The white one is thriving, the little brown and black one just couldn’t pull through…

We saw her collapse as we got to the farm. I stuffed her in my shirt and got her home as quickly as possible and tried to warm her up. I did some things right, and I did some things wrong. Unfortunately this kind of learning curve in farming involves living creatures, and sometimes contributes to their suffering. I try to tell myself that she was warm and safe and still went more peacefully than she would have in that cold, muddy lot, but it’s a small comfort when you have checked on a baby animal all through the night only to find her dead in the morning.

Another one we rescued the next week went in the same way.

With the next three kids… I got it right. And I keep getting better, more confident, and helping more goat babies and their moms. And that is really, really satisfying.

We took my three out to the farm last week, to get re-integrated into the herd. I miss them so much. My heart aches when I think of them, and I worry about them all the time. I still see them almost daily, going out there for their now once/daily bottle feeding, but when I leave their little cries tear through me. This is the way it has to be though. They are goats, not pets, and have to be accepted into the herd. I suppose in time I will get used to this, but I never plan on getting callous.

I plan on always putting forth this kind of effort for my animals. I consider it my duty as their steward. I have been given the gift of caring for them, and with that comes great effort and great responsibility.

It is a beautiful, painful gift.

Deviant Farming

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Kid’s gotta climb. on EVERYTHING. Oh and that’s my grocery receipt she’s eating.

As you might have guessed from the photo… for the past month and a half we’ve had goats at our house. It’s been both amazing and horrible, but that’s for another post (or several!)

It’s got me thinking though…

This isn’t the first city rule I’ve broken for the sake of farming. I’ve raised meat chicks in my house for the past two springs (until the little peepers got too big and smelly that is) and only a few weeks ago the cops showed up at our house due to reports of us carrying a “body, something larger than a deer” into the house.

What passers by actually saw was four 200-lb cow quarters being carried into our house by my husband and brother-in-law. Yes we’re THOSE neighbors.

It played out something like this:

My mother-in-law, who is over helping us cut up and package about 600 lbs of beef makes a comment about how funny it would be if the police showed up due to us living on an incredibly busy street and doing something this red neck in the city.

About ten minutes later, I glance out the window to see a police car parked in our alley with two officers getting out and motioning towards our house.

“Well, that may just happen” I informed her, at which point my husband wipes the blood and meaty bits off his hands and shirt, just in case. It’s a good thing he did!

A few minutes later we heard a knock on the front door, and opened it to see the two cops, in a wide legged stance with their hands at their hips, standing well away from the door. 

“Hi… uhh.. do you guys hunt?”

My husband’s response: “Well, yes, but we’re butchering a cow in here if that’s what you’re wondering about.”

“….A WHAT?”

“Yeah, see we have a farm in Savannah and this cow had a prolapsed rectum [At this point the cops were completely and utterly done being here] and we had to put her down, so now we are processing the meat. You can come in and see it if you want.”

“Oh, no, no that’s ok. Thank you, have a good day.”

And they left as quickly as they came.

Moral of the story? Be a deviant farmer.

Do what you have to do to learn the skills necessary to pursue the lifestyle you want. Even if it is disgusting, fills your house with strange odors and might not be quite legal sometimes. Even if your friends think you are insane. Do it anyway. The personal satisfaction is well worth it.

It may have taken me a week to scrub cow scum off my kitchen floor, but the deep freeze full of FREE angus beef is DEFINITELY worth it, and we made use of an animal that God provided to us, giving thanks to Him and also respecting the cow by not wasting her life; making the best out of a bad situation. For that I thank her and think of her every time she nourishes us. 

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Freshly cut grass fed Angus steaks. Yum….