Goats

Over a year ago we decided we would get goats. Nubians (I love their long ears, and the high butterfat content), to be bred for milk. I’ve always loved goats, or the idea of goats, I don’t really know much about keeping them, but Hubby has always been against the idea because of the bad rap they get. Little Miss had a milk allergy, and then we discovered that goat’s milk didn’t bother her like cow’s milk. So because of her, Hubby agreed that we could get goats.

Since these were going to be my goats, I wanted to contribute to getting everything ready for them. I did my first construction project: a milk stand, using plans from Fias Co Farm. My construction skills up until this point were very limited. I knew how to use a drill, I could use a circular saw, but I was open to any suggestions I could get, as long as Hubby left the actual constructing to me. I wanted to own the project. I learned how to work safely with the girls around. Whether they were playing in a mud hole nearby, or with one on my back and one ‘helping.’ I completed it. I learned a lot. And I felt empowered. That was July 2015.

20150808_101001_resizedThe next things on our to do list were fencing and building an enclosure. These were the big things that I was happy to rely on Hubby for. We chose our location on the pasture and began setting posts. I learned how to properly tamp posts – by having to do them all over again when I hadn’t done them tight enough the first time. Lesson learned! We also said we wouldn’t do fencing during the summer months again, but haven’t held to that. A barn roof and trusses were passed along to us. This was a huge savings. And forced us to think in terms of a more permanent structure instead of something to just get us by while we were figuring out the whole goat thing.

20160130_092637 (2).jpgI remember thinking this time last year that the whole goat acquisition progress was taking so long. Little did I know…. I was new to this stay at home farming thing though. I had no idea how long things should take. Especially when priorities have to shift to tend to the animals that are already on our property, and home life. By then, Little Miss had outgrown her milk allergy, and we discovered we were expecting another baby. So goat progress was put on hold. In January we picked up again by putting posts in the ground for the structure. Hubby used the water level method to get each of the posts at the right height. This is how the Romans built the aqueducts. Genius! Little Monster was eager to help as always.

In February our lives changed as we said goodbye to our baby Faith. We could have used the time to stall on production once again, but instead it gave us a project to work on together. It gave us purpose when all our plans for the future seemed to fall away. Two weeks after Faith’s delivery some friends came over, they put the trusses up, and we all camped in the goat pen. It was a good weekend filled with joy and hope for the future.

A couple months passed, we built new pens for the expanding pig population. I spent a lot of time in the garden. Eventually, we were able to focus on goats again.

Hubby is a solar contractor and the pallets that the solar panels come on are not your typical pallets. These are sturdy pallets built from 2x4s and 2x6s. This is what we built the goat barn with. Hubby partially disassembled them, cut them to 4-foot lengths, and created the skeleton of the loafing area. It also created an excellent jungle gym for the girls! Once the pallets were up it was easy to affix the T1-11 for siding. We camped again before the weather got too hot.

I started working on the little things I could do alone during the week. I painted the exterior of the goat barn. I made a hay feeder. I made a rain barrel for an automatic waterer since we don’t have access to water out there (a post on this will come later). I made a stand for the rain barrel.

Then hubby and I spent a weekend building a barn door, and the next weekend we installed barred windows and made shutters.

Everything is basically ready for goats now. I’m so happy with how everything has come together. I had no idea it would take this long to get to this point. But I also wasn’t expecting anything this sturdy or permanent when we first started talking about it a year ago. Now I’m shopping for baby goats! And building a small shed (out of pallets, of course) as a place to store hay and grain out of their reach. We hope to have two new girls within a couple of months!

Come back later for final pictures – I still have to paint one more time with the newest additions. Next week, if I have the energy!

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