Contrary to what you may believe after reading this, I DO love my goats.
I went to North Carolina yesterday to have dinner with my very dear friends of, oh, I don't know, 14 years??? It was the first time I've been away from my animals since last Christmas. As I drove out of my driveway I had to stop and take this picture. It was cold but sunny and the goats decided to hang out together in and by these little goat shacks even though we have two 16 by 16 foot barns. It made me smile.
I had a wonderful time in Salisbury and relaxed, knowing everyone was in good hands at home with James in charge. I didn't worry once about their care. These friends of mine get together once a month for dinner and after I moved I tried to make it there (3 1/2 hours away) every other month to be with them. In the past year and a half that has dropped off and I haven't spent the time with them that I used to. Here's a picture of us from last night's dinner. I just learned how to use the timer on our camera.
As I drove back north my thoughts turned toward home and what James and I had agreed he would do while I was out of town. I began to cry. Shasta and Dodger were 9 months old, both born here at our little farm. I watched their births. James and I had said if either of their mothers had boys we would neuter them, treat them as we do all the other spoiled goats and then when they were old enough James would take them to the butcher. He did. It's over and I thought I was done crying but as I type this it makes me sad all over again. I know we can't keep all our goats and it's hard to sell cross breed boy goats. Since we eat meat we thought we should do the responsible thing and raise our own in a humane manner, knowing they were comfortable and happy right up till the end of their lives. It doesn't make it easier but I do feel ok about what we did. If I can eat the meat, which I think I can, then we will do it again with some of this year's kids.
When I got home I went out to the barn to be with the others. They were all over me and I felt like I was back where I belonged. After saying hello to me they went back to their browsing and I did something cathartic, shoveled manure. I felt at peace. Being a goat farmer isn't always easy but it's always worth it.