for people who love the littlest dairy goats
Bought the kids July 2015. Bred Mira January, first travel and goat-sitters March, babies June, learned how to milk, sold babies August, started playing with chevre and cheddar, built cheese press, rigged a sort of cheese cave, expanded goat yard, added more play structures for the goats...
...and I keep putting off the eternal question from Willow, "Can I keep another doe next year?" I keep waiting for the proverbial bloom to fall. I waited to see if she'd get tired of the constant mucking, building projects, hoof trimming, and getting up earlier than ever now that she's started public school and still has to do the morning chores. She hasn't neglected her duties and still loves her "kids" very much (although she's terribly grateful when I let her sleep in once a week). The final hurdle will be seeing how it feels to milk through the winter before and after school. This week we'll experience a few single-digit mornings, coinciding with high school finals week. I guess if she can get through the winter with her love of goat ownership intact, there's nothing preventing me from gleefully saying "Yes!"
It was a mercy that Mira had twin boys for her first kidding. If she'd had a doe, we probably would have caved and kept it before the real trial period was over, before waiting to see what kind of milker Mira is, and before rationally thinking about the capacity of the small barn we built for the original pair...before really seeing if we wanted to keep on keeping goats. Instead, I've been able to focus my meager free time on learning to make a few cheeses and improving the habitat the goats occupy, while just envisioning my life once my 15-year-old begins college. If she goes far, do I want to keep on keeping goats...without a fellow parent? (My husband is wonderful and has his talents, but animal care is not one of them.) Ultimately, agreeing to let Willow keep more goats is accepting my future role as the primary caretaker.
These are my musings from the last year and a half. I love the goats so much--and I love Mira's cheese so much--that I'm pretty sure we'll keep on keeping on. I'm really hoping for a doeling out of Mira next year, but mostly because I'm such a sucker for babies. However, I definitely wouldn't complain about someday never having to buy cheese any more, either.
Now I'll just need a bigger cave...