"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Friday, July 10, 2015

The End of an Era

Hi friends,

I have been wanting to write this post for a several weeks, but it has taken me awhile to get my thoughts together. And it is a sad post for me, so I really haven't been in any hurry to share the news.

It's about our dairy goats.  Since we bought them 2 1/2 years ago, I have often blogged about them. If I counted correctly, 8 times!! Looking back,  it seems as if I  have shared most, if not all, of our goat news with you all.  :)

It has been such a wonderful experience for our family. Our children learned how to care for the goats, the kidding/birthing cycles, how to milk, how to give injections, and so many other things. And the companionship of the goats was wonderful, too - they were just like pets to us. But the biggest advantage to having your own goats is you have your own supply of milk! We drank it raw because that it is the healthiest milk you can drink.

When we first started out on this new adventure, I naturally assumed that the children would eventually adjust to the taste of the goat milk....even if it took a few months. And when I first tasted the milk, I thought, "Well, it tastes good -  a little different than cow's milk, but not in a bad way - just different. The kids won't have a problem with switching over to this."  Ian and Asher loved the milk and the cheese  right from the start. But the other 3 children? Not so much. They tasted it and didn't like it. I even made them drink a small glass of it now and then. But they never could get used to the taste. They wouldn't even have it on their cereal in the morning. I waited patiently - and a long time: 2 1/2 years - for them to get used to the taste of the milk. It never happened.

So, as much as I hated the thought of it, I began considering selling the goats. I asked myself, is it financially prudent to keep 2 goats (actually, 4 goats if you include Sorcha's babies) for 2 children?  With having to buy alfalfa hay, sweet feed, vitamins/minerals, straw for bedding, baking soda (to balance the ph in their rumens), other things that went along with goat herding, I knew that we were putting more into the goats than we were getting from them. Especially considering that there are 3 months out of the year that we don't get any milk from them since they are dried off during those months to prepare for kidding. I mentioned my thoughts to hubby and he seemed to be thinking the same thing. But he never mentioned it to me before because he knew how much I loved my goats.
So we began praying about it and asking the Lord for good homes for the goats - if it was His will for us to sell them. After a few weeks, we mentioned it to the children, and although they seemed a little saddened at the thought, they understood the reasons. They began to pray with us.

Fast forward to mid-June. We decided to try to find buyers for the goats. If we couldn't find any, we would take it as the Lord's will to keep them.  I remembered that there was a Toggenberg breeder about a 2-hour drive from us who once told me to contact her if I ever decided to sell my Toggs. I knew she would give Helena a good home. After all, she puts her goats in goat shows - they are treated like kings and queens! So I called her and asked if she would like to buy Helena and without hesitation she said, "Absolutely!" She came two days later and picked her up.  I watched them go down the driveway. Helena was watching me from the back window of the truck cap as she left. She had a look on her face as if to say, "Why are you getting rid of me?" It was so sad.

Maybe to help relieve some of the guilt I was feeling, we gave Helena a watermelon treat before her new owner arrived. See that look of bliss in her eyes?  Can you tell how much she loved watermelon?  :)

That left Sorcha (and her 2 babies), who isn't purebred like Helena, but she is an excellent milker.  I advertised them online, and that evening, I got text from a potential buyer 45 minutes away. I asked her a few questions and it seemed like the perfect fit: she had dairy goats on the farm she had lived on previously, but sold them before moving because it was too much to have to move them. She has 3 animal-loving children, too. I decided this was "the one" and asked when she could pick them up. Her reply: "I can be there in two days." Wow! It seemed as though everything was happening so fast. But I took it as of the Lord...I knew that He was orchestrating it all. And it made it a little easier knowing that the goats were going to good homes.

Our granddaughters visited a few days before, and gave Sorcha and her babies some going away treats.  :)
.

Two days later, we were putting Sorcha and her babies into the animal trailer of their new owner.
And like Helena, Sorcha had the same questioning look in her eyes right before they left. So I didn't watch them leave; I couldn't. It was just too hard. I went back into the house as the new owner drove away.

Several weeks later, it's getting a little easier, but it is still hard. I try not to go near the  barn unless I have to.  It's too quiet..no bleating..no bells..no nothing. The boys cleaned it out the straw for me soon after the goats left, and I have only been in it once since then. I still catch myself looking out the front windows first thing in the morning to check on them.  I really didn't think that selling them would affect me so much.

And so our goat-heading era has come to an end. The barn is closed up..and looking very lonely. But everything will stay as it is; even the "goat crossing" sign stays put. For now.

It was great while it lasted. Thankfully, we have much of it on video and photos, so we will always remember what we learned over the past 2 1/2 years.

I don't regret one minute of it. And my children don't either.

22 comments:

  1. Hi Lisa, I'm so sorry to read that your season of your goat herding has come to an end. :( Your barn does look lonely as I suppose our hen house would without a flock. I'm curious what you're now doing for milk; do you have a good source for raw cow's milk?
    Hope you are enjoying the slow days of summer and rejoicing in God's kindness in providing a good home for Helena & Sorcha. :)
    xo Lisa

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    1. Hi, Lisa,
      Thanks so much for stopping by! :)
      We are now buying cow's milk from the store. We have no source of raw milk, though. At least, none that I know of.
      I am so thankful for the new owners the Lord provided, but I still miss "my girls".
      Hope you are having a lovely summer, my friend. :)
      Love to you~

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  2. We had our 4 chickens taken by a fox a couple of years ago. Even though they made a mess & ate our lovely begonias when they escaped from the coop it was so sad to lose them. They really had personality. It was a great experience for my youngest who was the one who fussed over them. Now she fusses over the cat. X

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    1. We have a cat, too, Carol. Needless to say, he is being lavished with love since we sold our goats. :)

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  3. I pray for something to fill that barn that isn't as expensive to keep but still like a pet. And thank you for praying. My FIL answered last night. Not a long conversation, but a start! Praise God.

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    1. Thank you for praying. And I am rejoicing in the good news about your FIL!

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  4. Hi Lisa, Oh my, I have tears streaming down my face as I read this. I sorry for your "loss". I know it's hard. I know they are missed! You know we sold our 3 Angora goats a few years back and I totally understand. I too felt I should cut our losses at the time, but even now, sometimes my heart wishes our sweet goats were still here (but it was all for the best). I sometimes, briefy, toy with the idea of milk goats, but I'm sure it would be the same at our house as it was at yours -- I'm not sure if I would even like the milk. haha. I know it's good for us though -- the best. I use to buy raw milk from a local farmer, but I don't even do that any more -- I just get it in the glass bottles at the health food store -- I guess I have to choose my battles/resolve.

    Sorry I haven't been here in a while! Not that I don't think of you! I see you on my sidebar and keep thinking I should take time to visit more. Hopefully this will be a start in me getting back into blogging. Love you! ~ jane

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  5. Dear Jane,
    So glad you stopped by!!
    Yes, it has been harder than I could have imagined. Those goats had such unique and wonderful personalities. They were almost like friends. I remember talking to them as a friend and they listened intently, although had no response - lol - except a certain look in their eyes..I can't explain it. One woman told me that their eyes are "tender". Perfect description, I think. :)
    Hope you get back to blogging. I see your site on my sidebar, and always love your posts, although I might not take time to comment. *sigh*
    ~Love you, too!

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  6. Lisa... I got a small scare, I thought you were going to quit blogging, gasp, and I cannot have you do that ever, -hear me?-, lol.
    You are such a tender and nurturing person. Sometimes it is for us, sometimes it isn't. You got good times, I know the goats will be missed, but they will find great owners, and you have all loved them and learned from them.
    Big hugs,
    s

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    1. Lol, Silvia! Sorry for the scare, although I have many times wanted to stop blogging. ;)
      We did learn alot while we had the goats. And we are adjusting to their absence.
      Thank you for your sympathetic words. :)

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  7. Oh that is hard. I am glad you found good homes for them. I have never tasted goats milk, we have one kiddo who can not have cow dairy though so we eat a lot of sheep cheese...it is tricky balancing out the needs of all the kiddos in a family!

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    1. The goat's milk has sweeter taste and smoother texture, I think. The sheep cheese sounds very interesting! :)

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  8. Think Greek food...lots of good Greek cheeses are sheep or goat based...a nice slice of kefalotyri dredged in flour and pan fried is heavenly as is some mizithra shaved over some roasted potatoes or pasta...and feta and veggies with olive oil of course! Oh now I need to go shopping ha!

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    1. I have had lots of goat cheeses, and they tasted wonderful. But sheep cheese is sounding good, too! Your reply is making me hungry! ;)

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  9. That's such a tough decision! I'm glad you were able to find good homes for them though. We had chickens for a couple years but had to give them up because we couldn't protect them well enough. When the bear ripped the roof off our coop we knew it was time to be done. Thankfully a friend who takes good care of her animals was able to take them. But I still miss them, especially at this time of the year when I have watermelon rinds and corn cobs... it was so fun to feed those to the chickens and they'd get so excited to see me coming.

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    1. We have chickens, too - and lots of bears. Thankfully, the bears aren't interested in our hens, though. They do however devour our blackberries. :)
      I miss feeding the goats treats, too. They loved cucumber peelings, and other goodies from my kitchen. We always loved watching them chew. They were such fun.
      Thanks for stopping by today, Amber. :)

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    2. How interesting! I wonder why the bears leave your chickens alone? We have talked to people all up and down our road and heard all sorts of stories about people losing chickens and even goats to the bears. I'm glad they leave your critters alone!

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    3. Amber,
      I just realized that my hubby put Nite Guards around our henhouse, and that is what is keeping the bears away. These lights are wonderful! They protected our goats from coyotes. We would hear the coyotes at night in the field below the goat barn, but they never came close to the barn - they were afraid of the Nite Guards! :)
      Here's the website, if you're interested: http://www.niteguard.com/

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    4. Thank you! We have neighbors who would like to keep chickens and are trying to figure out how to protect them. I will pass that info along.

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    5. You are welcome. I hope your friends are successful!

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Thanks so much for stopping by. I love to hear from my readers, and your thoughts are welcome. And I try my best to respond to each and every comment. :)