Figuring it out

IMG_5909Some people think we are a little bit odd. After all, who really WANTS to move to a farm? In my daily conversations, the most common question I hear is, “How do you know what to do?”  And my answer is always, “I don’t. ” I grew up in the suburbs, as did hubby. He visited a family farm, but beyond that, neither have had any real exposure to farming.

We have spent the past few years learning about growing vegetables, ready lots of books on alternative farming methods, and asked others lots of questions. The wonderful thing about animals is that they are fairly forgiving. As long as you feed them, they don’t talk back about what you didn’t do.

The biggest learning curve with the animals has been the goats. Every farm has a goat, so why not? Of course we have 4, so as usual, I’ve over done the normal. I also had no idea what male goats were like…I mean no idea. The intention is to breed the goats, have some babies, sell off the babies, and have goats milk from the girls. Goats milk has lots of uses around the homestead: milk, soap, cheese, chicken snacks. The breeding process however, had been less than beautiful. I don’t know what I expected when it came to animals breeding, but the goats have helped me realize it’s not pretty. We have tried to integrate the goats over the past few weeks, but none of them really succeeded. Boys ran around chasing the girls, girls wanted nothing to do with the boys, girls broke through the fence and ran up the hill, boys butt heads with each other trying to fight over the girls. Basically it was the equivalent of teenage boys fighting, except with goats.  So we gave up. We figured we would leave the process for another day or another week or whenever we decided to have at it again.

Yesterday when Hubby went down to the Boys barn for their morning feeding, Timmy was gone. Not sure where he ended up he figured he must’ve broken through the fence and would return when the food was there. He was even more surprised when he headed up to the girls barn and found Timmy hanging out inside their locked gate. He would’ve had to broken through an electric fence, gotten into the barn and scaled a 5 1/2 foot wall.

Once again, the lesson on the farm is to just let things be. We keep learning that the more we leave things alone, the more we realize the animals know what to do without our intervention. We are still not really sure what the proper methodology for integrating goats is, but the goats sure know what to do. Today the girls walked willingly down into the pen and everybody was happy to spend the night together in the same place without any breakouts. So maybe now we will get some baby goats.  I guess the animals will help us figure it out.