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  • Writer's pictureConstance Wilmoth

Building my herd...

It struck me today as I walked up to the barn. It is a dreary, rainy day marking the beginning of what I call barn season. Most of the summer our goats and horses spend their time outside. This may be grazing out in the field, or basking in the sun of our front steps or our concrete driveway path. Sadly, as the seasons change the goats spend more of their days laying in the barn. This means they can get a little adventurous and enjoy "playing" in our winter hay storage. This can sometimes result in them ruining bales by breaking them open and creating their own nest. Today I was stressing walking up to the barn after a brief break in conference calls, feeling the need to clean up the "mess" that they had created, when I stopped dead in my tracks, and just took in the absolute pleasure and happiness that my goats were exuding. Zoey was nestled in the hay with her two daughters, while Moots stood stoically by the door. MJ was cuddled up on the hay bale above Zoey and Ivy was sprawled in the shavings in one of the stalls.

Without realizing why I knelt down next to Zoey to give her a good pat, and thought about the vast impact she has had in our small herd. When we agreed to purchase her and took the trek to Florida to bring her home, I could have never imagined how much of an impact she would make on my herd and my life. At the time, we were growing our herd and expanding our genetics. We did not know that Ivy would never be able to give us kids, or that Chloe would unexpectedly pass away. So without true forethought, Zoey became the cornerstone of our herd. Not only is she a spectacular mother and a wonderful milker, she is also a successful show doe. She always places high in the ring in many competitive classes that I have shown her in. She gave us six beautiful kids from her past two kiddings and I have retained three of the six. I also know where the other three are, Scarlet who lives with Courtney& Kenny at their farm, Life on Beagle Road is due with kids around thanksgiving time. I cannot wait to see them! Willow, her daughter from this year went to live with family friends that I grew up with in 4-H. Watching their son & daughter enjoy Willow and play brings back many joyful childhood memories and I could not ask for more. Stetson her buckling from this year, now called Rocky lives as a wether with a wonderful family in Northern PA, where he and another companion wether have the run of a huge backyard, and are the pride and joy of their daughter!

This means I kept Stella who is about to be 2 years old from her first kidding along with her brother Turbo. I also kept Godiva a doe kid from this years kidding.

Not to mention MJ's father is Turbo meaning that in my small herd of 8 goats 5 of them are either Zoey's kids or grand kids. It is easy to see why we call her Momma most of the time instead of Zoey. She amazes me with her patience, kindness and loving disposition, she has given us wonderful plentiful milk to raise fat healthy kids, to make delicious, cheese and fudge with, in addition to adding to our farm in a way I could not have ever envisioned when she got out of the vehicle just two short years ago. It just makes me realize that even with the best of intentions things can turn out differently than you planned, and just because it is different does not mean that it is a bad thing. I would not have it any other way! Have a wonderful week and happy goating!

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