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.