the goat mama tradition

When I was a young’in,  my Auntie Roe was a tried & true Goat Mama. She had a barn full of the little creatures and would milk them for her cheese-making craft that she would tote along to her deli job and various farmer’s markets in northern Ohio. I remember one time she had a fresh set of lambs right around Easter time, and brought them out to my grandma’s house in the suburbs so we could play with them. I named them Ryan and Ashlee….after my favorite celebrity couple, Ryan Cabrera and Ashlee Simpson, OF COURSE.

All jokes aside however, I loved my aunt and her bohemian farmer lifestyle. And over the course of my lifetime, I somehow became the goat-loving girl in my friend and family groups, always joking that I’d run off and start my own goat farm one day. The number of Goat Yoga videos shared to my Facebook reached double digits, I kid you not! I became obsessed with Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman memoir, dreaming about falling into the same crazy love story, but never really believing it could happen. There were too many “ifs”. And I mean, how exactly does one farm goats in urban Nashville? Ahem, you don’t.

In a series of completely unrelated events, my aunt passed away last January, leaving only fond memories, a series of goat care-taking books and an old leather backpack that I remember her always lugging around, full of odds and ends and secrets. Around that time, Webb and I had already made the decision for me to move out to the farm in a few months. And as I said before, my desire to belong there had been nagging at me for months, encouraging me to find my “thing”. And wouldn’t you know, right around our house is a perfect little pasture that once held several of Webb’s sister’s goats who were eventually sold when she made her own foray into the city. So really, I found myself with the perfect set-up. All I had to do was take the plunge, guided by my aunt’s passion and spirit and my own fortified sense of wild abandon.

Enter Hank and Chip. My first two little Nigerian Dwarfs.

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I fell in love with Hank on Craigslist, only to be extremely disappointed when I found out he was a wether – i.e. he’d been castrated and would be nothing but a pet and a companion for our other future goats. But in a beautiful turn of events, we were able to package him with a 2 week old buckling – my little bottle-fed baby, Chip, who will one day grow to be our head honcho breeding sire. I’m completely obsessed with the both of them and my body is riddled with bug bites because I refuse to NOT sit with them in the grass at 7:00 in the evening.

Eventually we’ll add several does to the mix and start breeding them for sale. Which means – YAY! – more babies. And while I still have a lot to learn, I feel confident in my ability to dive in and figure it out as I go. I mean, I have no choice now. I HAVE to take care of these little guys. I just wish the stars could’ve aligned a little better so my Auntie Roe could see me now.

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