Out of the blue, a month or so ago, a friend forwarded me an email, “Isn’t this the type of goat you have?”
Her husband had been browsing craigslist and found for sale a purebred Guernsey buck. You might know that this is a very rare breed. There aren’t that many in this country (a handful, really), and our goats are part of the breeding program to establish an American version of the breed. Their rarity makes them very interesting to us, and it also presents breeding problems. In the past, we’ve trailered our girls on a four-hour (each way) excursion for breeding.
We hadn’t really considered getting a buck of our own because doing so entails all sorts of extra complications, like separate housing and fencing to keep the girls and boy apart until you want them to be together.
But, you know, a purebred Guernsey is a real find, especially one just a couple hours away from us.
So the wheels began to turn, creakily at first—there were some problems to solve—and then more rapidly and smoothly.
First, we have a small barn, perfectly sized for the herd we have now, but we’d need more space for kids in the spring. The obvious solution to that problem is also the difficult one: selling some goats. We’ve been through this once before, but we didn’t know if we’d find someone who wanted to buy goats this late in the year, when everyone is readying their own farms for winter.
But we got lucky and found good homes within a week for two does.
Next, we needed a place to house the buck separately, at least until the breeding was done and we relatively sure of conception dates. We’d need a shelter, and a sturdy fence.
So we called our favorite fence guy, and, whattaya know, he has a little room in his schedule in the next couple of weeks.
We called our friend Chip (you remember Chip, right? he of the fun earth-moving equipment?), and he had room in his schedule to visit us this morning. We showed him H’s old playhouse, sitting at the side of the yard, overgrown and forlorn, waiting for a new purpose (personally, my idea was to use it to house ducks, but you can’t have everything…).
It seemed sturdy enough after years of neglect. Yeah, he could move it down into the goat yard. Would Monday work for us?
We started talking about the wood-fired bread oven we want to build next spring. He started talking about his stone wall building experience. We went wandering together into the woods to the side of our house, an area we’ve barely explored in 21 years because it’s filled with all sorts of junk that the long ago owners threw there (typical of most old properties, decades before curbside trash collection and recycling centers existed). Old toilets? Check. Car parts? Check.
But Chip has an eye for hidden treasure, and within minutes we were uncovering antique bricks and perfectly shaped field stones for oven building.
Who knows what will happen with that project—spring feels ages away and, if we’re lucky, will be taken up with kidding and milking and cheesemaking—but this morning it felt like a lot of little things that were very mysterious and complicated were becoming a little clearer and a little easier.
How often does that happen?
So, in a little over a week, this lovely young man is going to come live with us. But we still have one major decison to make: what to name him.