For years I’ve bewildered friends and family with my declaration that “one day I would like to have goats.” I mean, it seems perfectly rational to me. And if nothing else, I expect it will be a savings financially over a span of years in terms of admissions we DON’T have to pay to the York Animal Kingdom each summer, just so I can pat the goats in the kiddie petting zoo area. So really, that’s good logical thinking. I can’t understand the consistent surprise that registers on people’s faces when I explain my dream to have a big old farmhouse… with goats.
My husband has grown accustomed to my dreamy chatter. We have certain routines, like all married folk do. He drives, and I talk. Sometimes on long car trips, he’ll glance sideways at me with his eyes smiling, amused at my endless tales. One time when he had a lengthy solo ride, he called me just to hear a story. (Bless him!)
One of the many things he’s heard me say repeatedly is this whole farmhouse-and-goat story. We love old homes, the character and the coziness and the history. In regard to the goat part, however, he held firm to his “no.” I knew this whole goat thing of mine was just a little happy idea that was really not going to happen. But it makes me smile to think of it. My best friend even found a whole calendar of goat photos for me as a Christmas gift last year! It’s a “thing,” I guess you could say. (Of all the “things” to have…. goats?!)
So two months ago we very unexpectedly had the opportunity to buy our old farmhouse. We hadn’t been looking and the whole thing fell into place like only God can orchestrate. There is even an adorable chicken run all built and everything!!!! Chickens are something I had never had a desire to own. They are not cute at all, I once thought. They are not cuddly at all, I once thought. Goats, on the other hand…. Goats are totally charming.
I shrugged and said “why not” to chickens, I mean there was a space for them and all. What’s the harm? And I am enamored. Enamored of chickens. I have never in my life expected to type such words. The last thing I would EVER have anticipated being was a woman enamored of chickens.
My husband constructed the most beautiful chicken house. And I joked with him that there would certainly be room for goats in it’s 12×8′ space. “No goats,” he said. But I think he was smiling a little bit.
The chickens moved into their new digs, and my mother brought her grand-poultry a very festive hen folk painting to adorn their sleeping area. It even looks like Henrie and Rosie!
I ordered baby chicks, as we discussed at length yesterday. I planned Sage’s 5-year old birthday party with her requested chicken theme (which I may have suggested…..). And the night before her party, my best friend texted me that her nephew is selling his goats, and that she could bring them to the party if we wanted them.
Oh. My. Word.
So I shared their darling photos with my husband, and the next day, just as my friend was leaving her parents’ farm in northern Maine, my husband said it was ok with him if we got the goats.
There must have been 3 identical texts from Tessa to confirm that I was actually serious that yes, we would in fact take the goats. And then she called me. Probably just to be sure.
My husband and I had developed an arrangement in regard to the goats: he would not be given mountains of goat-related building projects nor would he be a goat herder. I swore my solemn vow to be the person in charge of all goat maintenance, including but not limited to poop-related goat owning chores.
Rose and Bella, our Nigerian Dwarf girls have been here for 4 days. And they are charming. Even my husband agrees. In fact he is devising (of his own accord) how to make them the perfect goat seesaw. We’ve sectioned (and this is one of those many times I use “we” when I only mean “he”) off a part of the chicken shed, so the goats have their own area and doorway, and they have their own fenced-in back yard. It’s fantastic!
My husband told me with a smile yesterday, “When I was building that coop, I knew there would be goats in it.”
So truth be told, I know precisely nothing about taking care of goats. Well, that’s less true today than it was Saturday. I’ve been reading voraciously. This farm thing is a big new adventure. A crazy, humorous, tender story unfolding. It’s deep, slow breaths of crisp fall air and big skies stretching up over us. It’s a poufy black rooster crowing, making me laugh in the morning while I am out back in my pajamas and muck boots. It’s chickens in my dining room and chickens in the yard and chickens in any and every garden bed I am trying to dig. It’s goats scooting past me into the paddock while I try to balance water pitchers and grain dishes and hay.
And it’s a love story.