Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Harsh Reality

Over the weekend, B and I had a talk. It was short, to the point, brutal in it's practical nature and lack of sentimentality. There was no tugging-of-the-heartstrings or anything like that. During the course of this talk, I decided that I have become a pretty different person than I was even a year ago. I looked at every angle with a cold, calculating eye; I made rational decisions based on facts, not on nostalgia; I didn't even cry.

What could we possibly have been talking about?


We decided to sell our small, little goat herd.

"But...but...but...K!!! WWWWWWHHHHYYYYY???????"

Several reasons, really (and no, not because they're noisy! I have not become THAT cold-hearted!).

When we moved the goats to the little farm, it was with the intention of clearing a bunch of land, building a little barn, building a little goat house, and giving our little goat families all the room they could want. We had hoped to do all of this with recycled materials and fencing that we brought with us.

Not happening. We were pretty unrealistic in our goals. We constructed a temporary goat area (right beside the kitchen as I mentioned before) where we planned to keep them until we had our goat paradise ready. Well..they made quick work of everything even remotely edible in their little area and we had to start buying hay for them. We started with square bales which got really expensive, really fast. When we moved up to buying round bales (or rolls as I now know they're called around here) we thought we'd struck gold. Alas, not so much.

At last count, they were going through 2 round bales and 2 bags of feed a month at a cost of roughly one hundred dollars monthly...and that was stretching it out as much as we could without depriving them of food. And that's just to keep them fed!! That doesn't include dewormer or time spent trimming hooves or cleaning out the poop and wasted hay.

Now, when we embarked on this goat raising journey, we had big plans. I was going to be a proper milkmaid and we were going to sell the kids and the goats were going to browse and forage and need little supplementation and everything would come up roses. But, reality struck and we moved a couple times and the milking didn't start happening until we got settled up here. Betty was almost dry at that point and it was hardly worth the trouble to milk her for the tiny, tiny little bit of milk I was able to get each morning.

So, what we ended up with were some really, really expensive pets. And, since this is a farm, not a goat refuge, that's just not practical.

Now our little goat families live on a 300 acre farm with 60 some-odd other goats. And from what I could glean, the new owners have no problem with having a goat refuge and really expensive pets. So, all's well that ends well, especially for the goats. They'll be much happier and much healthier with all that room to roam.

(And it's gonna be A LOT quieter around here...which isn't a bad thing!)

Since I didn't get nostalgic and sentimental when B and I made the decision to sell, I figure I can get kind of sappy now and post a couple photos of our very first goat, the one who started all this nonsense and get sad.

This is Ernest.

Yes, he's a buck. And yes, he freaked me out at first, but only because I get freaked out easily. He was a sweetheart and a ham.

Hopefully, next time we try our hand at goats, we'll get as lucky as we got this time. Ours were wonderful, gentle, sweethearts and I couldn't have asked for a better group of animals to introduce me to goat raising.

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