We moved in. We finally have a place to call home.
This herd started out with 6 goats. Mocha, Mazy, Viola, Raelynn, Brain & Thomas that we picked out at Heather & Luke's. (These would not be the last to come from there...along with a friendship) The girls lived in half of a 2-stall barn, while the boys lived in the old pig pen.
A couple months later we added Tweed. The barn was getting full so things got shifted around so everyone had a comfy place. A calf hutch was gifted to us by a friend.
More goats were added to the herd via purchases, trades or birthings. My dad & I
drove to a Cabela's in Hamburg, Pa, where we met Lori. Lori was waiting in the parking lot with Shiori & Allie. Little did I know I was getting a wonderful friend along with those 2 does.
Added to the herd was Olegra, Tamara, Mercedes, Bevie, Snickers, Porsche & Jasmine along with oodles of kids. While I would love to keep them all, we had no excess room for them. We added more calf hutches. We moved the milking into the old milkhouse to give more space in the barn. We added an addition to the front of the barn.
Still.....we were running out of room. Kiddings became crowded & overwhelming. Sure, we could have whittled the herd down to smaller numbers. And we did. Some left with tears while others went to good homes.
George & I talked over our options. We finally decided that we needed a new barn. A barn with plenty of room, electricity, running water that could stay on even during the winter, a place to store all the feed, a place for milking that didn't require the goats or I to go outside in inclimate weather, kidding stalls, fans & best of all....no more struggling.
And so....we had it built. The old buildings that sat for the last half century were torn down. The land was pushed around and reconfigured. Cement was poured. The frame started to take shape. Metal was added. Wiring was strung with lights & outlets. Water was replumbed.
And rain. Buckets & buckets of rain fell relentlessly all summer. Delaying our project. Prolonging my dream. It almost seemed hopeless.
Then, after 3 1/2 months of the herd being split up on the farm, it happened. It was a Saturday afternoon. We finally declared that the new barn was ready enough to bring the girls out of their temporary camping homes.
As I walked over to the pastures, I looked at the girls. Trying to decided who would be the first to enter their new home.
It was Jasmine. She is the Herd Queen. She was the first. I called to her, & she came. I took her by the collar, & we walked an unfamiliar path to a new beginning. I talked to her as we went, reassuring her.
"It's ok, Jasmine. Trust me. We are going home. We finally have a home of our own."
There were tears. I won't lie. I cried. A lot.
They were tears of happiness, joy & contentment along with some sadness for the goats that didn't get to live long enough to walk into the barn.
With each goat that I escorted to the barn, I repeated those words, "It's ok. Trust me. We are going home", to reassure them & myself. I was afraid it was going to be a dream, & I would wake up to disappointment.
As I watch the girls walk around & getting familiar with their new home, I couldn't help but think how wonderful my husband truly is. He could have said no. He could have said it can't be that big or sell more goats. But he didn't. He asked what I wanted & made it happen. I'm still trying to come to grips with all of it. I can't believe that it is actually real & ours.
Milkings are easier. Feeding the goats is easier. Cleaning up is easier. No more crawling into pens or the hay loft. No more climbing over walls to get into pens. No more slogging through mud. We still need to finish a lustful of things, but we are getting the boxes ticked off the list.
This barn won't make our life perfect. Better. It gives us a vision for the future of our farm. Plans that include activities & events with the goats that are for entertainment & education.