goats

Adding our Goats to the Homestead!

We’ve done it! We’ve added our goats to our farm and it has been such a wonderful experience thus far.

We’ve actually had them for a few months. I picked them up in March after they were 8 weeks old, from a farm about an hour away from our home. Crater, Heart, and Scarlet. The backbone of our homestead. 🙂 The journey thus far had been interesting.

From the beginning, Crater (our whether), was bottle fed. My oldest took the bottle feeding upon himself and jumped right in. He could have actually been weaned at this point, and probably should have been, but I wanted to give Benjibear the opportunity to feed him from a bottle.

Over the next month, Crater (who normally has a thick black coat) turned a brownish red color and I noticed some balding on his tail. He also became really skinny. Almost emaciated looking. Copper Deficiency. I treated him once in April and once in May, provided him with loose minerals and a mineral block specifically for goats, and he finally came out of it. I’d read a lot online about how the sheep/goat combo mineral blocks do not contain the appropriate amount of copper for goats, so just FYI for those reading, watch the copper content in any minerals you buy for your goats. I do not have a vet close by who is familiar with goats. But the people I bought them from were so very helpful. He is doing just great now with a dark black coat and a nice, full tail.

Heart and Scarlet are our two does we are going to be using for breeding. They will be ready to be bread when they are about a year old, so January 2019. The girls are not full blooded nigerian dwarfs, but a mix between a few breeds. The gentleman I bought them from is working towards breeding different goats to obtain a goat with the perfect balance bewteen milk and meat. He’s been working towards this goal for the last 7 years. But the reason I chose these goats was because of how sweet and incredibly loving they are. After my previous goat experience, with a shy, untrusting doe, I was excited to see how loving these girls were. And that is what sold me.

The kids have been taking care of them this summer, with the exception of trimming hooves, and they’ve really enjoyed playing out in the pen with them. It warms my heart to see them all together, running with the goats.

Romans 12:11-12  — Work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 

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faith

In the Beginning…

Here it is! Finally, here is the start of our journey on to a different life.

But to give you an idea of why our lives are going to be different, let me start from the beginning.

It all started about 8 years ago. In May of 2008. I was getting ready to take my last final for my associates degree nursing class. I had stayed up through most the night before the test because I was feeling sick. At the time I attributed it to nerves. After all, this test was going to determine if I was going to be able to move on with my life as an RN, right? I mean, I was doing everything I was supposed to in this game called life. Trying to work my way up in the world by starting at the very bottom. Just like everyone else.

The morning of my final I woke up vomiting. I thought to myself, “No please, anything but this. There’s no way I can miss this test.” See, for those of you who don’t know about nursing finals, if you miss, its a huge deal. There had been horror stories at my university about people who missed the final and were not allowed to retake the test. period. Which is horrifying if you already have a job set up as a graduate nurse pending on, you know, graduating.

So I pressed on, got dressed, and headed out. I actually had to stop on my way to campus twice, to pull over on the side of the road and relive my stomach of the ginger ale I had drank in a pitiful attempt to calm my cramping GI tract. But, I made it to class and I made it on time, sat for the test, and was one of the last students to finish. Upon standing and making my way to exit the room, I started feeling woozy. I attempted to hold myself up on the back of a chair to no avail. The room was darkening and I was going down. I passed out.

I woke up a few minutes later with my then professor hovering over me, passing a wet washcloth over my eyes. She asked me if I was alright. “I guess so” I replied to her. She asked if I’d ever passed out before. “nope, never.” I was a little embarrassed because I wasn’t completely sure what happened. She then asked me something that brought my world crashing back. Something I had not yet even considered with the stress of passing my finals, setting up my NCLEX, and interviewing for my graduate nurse position at the hospital. She asked me if I was pregnant.

“Well, I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I should probably check I guess. I’ll check when I get home.” My head was spinning. How could I not know? Why didn’t I think of this? My boyfriend and I had our own place (we were renting from a friend) and I had recently moved out of my parents house. In all actuality I could be, but I was only 20. I had no idea of how to live on my own yet. What was I going to do. Maybe I wasn’t pregnant. But maybe I was.

…I was.

Thus starting the beginning of our little family. Our oldest son BenjiBear was born that November of 2008. My then boyfriend (now my husband) and I spent the next several years trying to figure out how to be parents, pay a mortgage, work, and manage a sitter. What a life shock. I mean, things were no longer about us anymore. We now had this tiny little life we were responsible for. Which in and of itself was a blessing. Children are a blessing for parents. They change you in ways you cannot even imagine. They mature you and put your life into perspective. In a beautifully humbling way.

We had our second child Zaineybaby in February of 2012. I was back in school finishing my bachelors degree for nursing. I had him halfway through my program and ended up having to take him to several classes with me because I was breastfeeding and unable to pump much. When I went back to work with my first kiddo, Benjibear, I was able to pump and breastfeed until he was 10 months old. For our own reasons, we did not want him to have formula. When I was at the point I could no longer produce milk for him, we chose to give him goats milk. After a ton of research, we had decided it was the best match for him. As it ended up, I breastfed Zaineybaby for 8 months before I was unable to produce anymore breastmilk. We switched him over to goats milk as well. Both of my kids thrived on it, which was the beginning of my love for goats milk, and goats.

I went on to finish my bachelors and head back to work. My boyfriend and I were working nights. Our sister in law was watching our two boys while I worked my 3 12 hour shifts at the hospital. Finally, an evening shift had become available. I jumped into that role to try to have a little more routine and be a little less tired from nightshift. My boyfriend and I had discussed homeschool with some degree of curiosity, but neither of us knew much about it. And the boys were still little so we had time to make our minds up. The next couple of years flew by between work, kids, birthdays, holidays, finding God, being saved (there’s another few posts to blog about in these years that passed, but we will save that for another time) and there was a marriage in there as well. (We ended up going to the courthouse to be married, nothing fancy, no big party. Much easier to do with the lives we were currently living). Until finally Benjibear was 5. It was December of 2013. The following August was the time we were going to have to make the decision to put him in school or homeschool.

To be perfectly honest, neither of us was comfortable with someone else teaching our children. I had recently been baptized and incorporating God into what my children learned was a priority. Especially with them being so young. After several conversations, a few sleepless nights while coming to a decision, and the encouragement of Benjibear himself that he wanted to stay home for school, we made that decision. We were going to homeschool our boys.

I switched to part-time at work and we began. We started in Kindergarten and went all the way through until the middle of first grade, when Benjibear asked me to go to public school. He wanted the chance to go to school. Both my husband and I felt that we needed to let him experience school if he was interested in it. So we did. We put him in. Shortly after starting him in school, we found our we were pregnant with baby #3. To make things interesting we did NOT find out the sex of the baby until we had HER. Yes, she was a girl, and another blessing to our lives.

So back to school. Benjibear started in the middle of his first grade year. By the end of his second grade year he was done, and so were we. We were spending two hours a night on average on math homework. He was getting picked on when he rode the bus, and I didn’t feel very comfortable with the things he was coming home and asking me. (Its astonishing what some little kids know about these days). So here we are again. We are finishing up the summer after his second grade year. My husband and I decided that we are going to homeschool again. I quit my full time job at the hospital this last May, to be home with my kiddos. But not just to be home….

After much deliberation, we have also decided, that we want to have goats. Not only have goats, but also have a small goat milk farm that we can make soap, sell milk, teach responsibility to our children by raising and taking care of the goats, and most of all, honor God by the work we do with our farm and family. So this is our goal. This is what we want to do with our lives. Here we are in the very beginning, after the beginning. We are going to do our best to figure out how to make this dream of ours a reality. Our reality. And by Gods grace, it will be.

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