If you don't want to read this, at least watch the short movie I just made at the end of this post.
I cried as I walked into the barn to milk them one last time. I wept as I rested my head on their warm shoulders during milking. I bawled as I drove them to their new owners. My sobs and their “maaaas” made a very pathetic chorus, but didn't seem to disturb my eleven year old, who sat next to me in the passenger seat and read a book. It speaks volumes of his emotional security to not be freaked out by this show, don't you think?
The reason I decided to get rid of my goats? I need to take a break (I think) so I can focus on reducing my work load. A few months ago, I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, which comes from stress and means my body doesn't make much cortisol any more, which creates all kinds of nonsense in my body and mind (at least I think I have a mind left).
I have raised goats for over ten years. Although my friends and neighbors helped with regular milking shifts and cheese making, I shouldered the bulk of the responsibility. That means I milked the goats twice a day, made thousands of pounds of cheese (I'm not kidding), done mountains of dishes associated with milking and cheese making, drove the goats around in my minivan to have dates with billy goats so they could get pregnant, stayed up many sleepless nights on baby goat watch, and helped countless baby goats into the world. I have never missed a single birth (except once when my goat delivered a few weeks prematurely). I have had my hands elbow deep in a goat's uterus numerous times to assist a birth. People call me when they have emergencies with their own goats.
I trimmed hundreds of hooves. I burnt off many horn buds. I castrated dozens of boy goats. I gave many shots. I walked cumulative miles leading goats out to pasture. I taught cheese making classes and goat raising classes for many years. I milked goats while still nursing my own kids. I milked goats with a baby strapped to my back. Playing with baby goats is a favorite past time for my children.
I am proud to be called the goat lady.
Now what? Who am I without goats? What is my identity now?
For next year, there might be the possibility of goat sharing. I have friends who would love to share goats (I just sold my favorite one to them). So maybe we will have goats for a month, and then they will have them for a month, and then we will have them again, etc. We'll see. One step at a time...
In the meantime, watch this short video I just made about our homesteading life. It's the first movie I ever made, and it's simple, but pretty sweet.