Last night was freezing, we were just settling down to watch the Superbowl when our youngest came running in from the barn. 'Mum, there are baby goats over at the barn!', she yelled to me from the kitchen. You can imagine my surprise as we knew most of our goats were not due until the beginning of March. However, our new buck decided that our fencing was not something to be respected but challenged, and he had made it through a couple of times and had obviously been successful. Thankfully all though our night was frigid, both Mum and her two babies are doing great. We were able to get her settled in one of our birthing stalls, she was given a nice fresh, warm bucket of water, extra grain, and the babies were given our barn 'hot water bottles' aka soap stones!
People often ask why we choose to live the lifestyle that we do. The freezing water buckets, the midnight treks over to the barn for night vigils when little ones are on their way. Moving several hundred bales of hay, mucking out stalls... the list could go on. However, as I sit here to write this, (nicely warming up with several layers on and a warm blanket, because I have been freezing ever since my stint at the barn last night!), I'm reminded of the memories we've made. The last couple of years have seen a calf recuperate in our basement! A sow that had a large litter and one had wondered too far and was very close to death, that made it into our living room where she was promptly placed on a blanket covered hot water bottle in a laundry basket, warmed up, given goat colostrum and brought back to full fighting fit, where she was able to go back out to Mum. This past year our two girls got to experience what it means to look after a needy animal 24/7. They were asked if they wanted to adopt three orphaned piglets! What a journey - but they got right to it like champs. These are the memories they will have of life on the farm. My husband and I had literally, a couple of days prior to the piglets coming to our home, said that we were having no more animals. Then along came this opportunity and I just didn't want to say no. How often do you get the chance to do something like that. Let me tell you it's not pretty. Pigs are very clean animals, but when they are being kept in a warm, small environment in your home - they can get rather smelly quick! I'm very thankful for the experience for our girls, but was equally if not more so happy when the piglets were weaned and over at the barn! Not all of our experiences have had happy endings. Like the time a baby goat was very sickly and made its way into our living room. We tried for two weeks but eventually little Bonnie just couldn't go on. These are memories that I hope our kids will take with them for the rest of their lives.
Not only that, but most of what we do, we do as a family, because it takes a family to raise a farm! To move the hay, to muck the stalls, to milk the goats.
Tonight, as I sit here with several layers on, wrapped in a blanket, still trying to get warm from my stint at the barn last night, I'm very thankful for the lifestyle we lead. It isn't always easy, in fact sometimes it's downright hard work and I just want to walk away, but then I'm reminded of our family, our team and the memories we're making.
Kidding season, one of my favorite times on the farm, is upon us and coming up quick. We look forward to sharing the journey with you all as we post photos and videos of goat antics along the way.
Here's to a memory making year, wherever this post may find you. Maybe it's making memories on a farm like ours, maybe it's making memories planting a container garden on your balcony with the kids, or taking a stroll with your dog on a winter's night. Memories, they are often free and last a lifetime.