One woman's quest to save money, save the planet, and save her sanity.
One woman's quest to save money, save the planet and save my sanity
Thursday, April 15, 2010
So here they are. These pictures were taken when they were about a week old. From left to right they are Edward, Bella Swan and Jacob. Yes, they are our little Twilight goats. I didn't name them. I've never even read the books. The breeder named them, but I think they are perfect so they are staying.
Since the first idea of homesteading made it's way into my psyche, I have dreamed of milk. A strange thought since I don't actually drink milk, but my family consumes mass quantities of it, in excess of 2 gallons per week, plus all the other dairy we dine on. Yogurt is a staple as is ice cream and of course, cheese. I could never be a vegan because of my obsession with cheese. So this had led me to the obvious conclusion. I need goats.
Now for the why. When I first started telling people that we were getting into Chicken Husbandry, I definitely got some mixed reactions. But, in the way that tattoos have become a societal norm, it seems that keeping chickens is all the rage now and people don't think I am so kooky anymore.
So I thought that when I told people about the goats it would trigger their loony alarms, but I have been very pleasantly surprised. People are excited and curious. Maybe in the next few years their will be a renaissance of home cheesemaking and butter churning. I myself, have yet to acquire these skills which is why we are starting out with three kids. One doe and two wethers (fixed males) to be exact. The doe will eventually be a milker and the wethers are really just for companionship. They were born in March and we will be bringing them home at the end of May once they have been weened and started on grain. The breed we chose is Nigerian Dwarfs. They are small and manageable and excellent milkers for their size. We will spend the first year or so learning the basic care and then we will obviously need to breed the doe which we will most likely do by bringing her back to the farm where we are getting them. Owning a buck is a whole other adventure that I'm not sure we're ready for. Then we will have our own kids and milk!
Besides this benefit to our nutrition and efforts at sustainability, getting goats is also an experience for the family. Raising chickens has been the best family project we have ever taken on and our children are better for it. They have received so many lessons about food, work, the environment and even life and death. Goats will allow them to have additional responsibilities and opportunities. I am particularly interested to see how Josie does with them. She thrives on having jobs to do and is, by far, my best worker. I stopped by the UNH Cooperative Extension office today to find out about starting a Cloverbuds group, which is the junior version of 4H. I am just starting to do some research on this, but it could be great fun.
Here are a few more recent pictures of our crew. Be sure that you will here much about them in the coming months. Decide for yourself if I am clever or crazy and then stay tuned. I know what you're thinking about these kids. They look just like me.
My goal here is to turn people on to the idea that most things that are good for your wallet are also good for your world. That doing things more simply like home cooking and other trappings of domesticity aren't nearly as difficult as people believe and that sometimes we just need a little inspiration to remind us of things that used to be common cent$. I will chronicle my search for a balance between financial and ecological sustainability. More than ever, we need to tighten our wads and some of the things we would love to do to live a "greener" life are not always within our economic grasp. But we can offset the environmentally unfriendly choices that we are sometimes forced to live with by cutting cost and waste in other areas of our daily lives. So join us as we journey towards a greater understanding of our place within our environment and it's place within our budget. Any of my wisdom is purely annecdotal, and I will readily share my failures as well as successes. So what you'll get here is hopefully a bit of edutainment in the form of ideas and tales from the seedy side of our up and coming homestead.