We moved from Philadelphia to our current home four and a half years ago in search of some land and a little peace and quiet. We built a little yellow chicken coop with a large run and raised our first chicks. We built fences. We put in a big garden and began to learn how to grow things — yellow flowering okra from my childhood, striped beets, giant pumpkins too big to lift out of the garden in Fall.
We lost our beloved dog Annie and got two puppies.
I was working as a midwife at the time and found the exhaustion that goes with the job did not allow me the energy or time to really focus on our life. So I made a career change and became a school nurse. Now I had more time and found myself dreaming of goats. Dairy goats. We converted the barn and prepared for the new arrivals. In the Spring of 2009 our first two Nigerian Dwarf goats came to live with us — Buttercup and Olive. And we built more fences.
And we brought the bees home. We lost both hives that first year and started over with two new hives last year.
We expanded the garden and learned that you cannot give away all that squash, that there is nothing like a perfect sun ripe warm strawberry, that forty tomato plants were a tad ambitious. I dreamed of making cheese and we made a pilgrimage to Massachusetts to take a cheese making class. And I was hooked.
We bred the goats and our first kids were born in the Spring of 2010. The whole project has been a tremendous joy, a lot of hard work, a lesson in patience (milking a first freshener...) and some heartache. When you know nothing there is a lot to learn. This is about the time we discovered the zen of milking. And after the struggling and kicking, the carpal tunnel, and all that spilled milk we learned to “just milk the goat.”
We put up more fencing.
We harvested the honey.
We learned to make soap.
And I made lots and lots of cheese.
So that brings us to today. Three pregnant goats grow bigger by the day. The bees fly out on warm days and have made it through this cold winter. The days grow longer and the chickens are laying again. We make a list of seeds to order and swear this year we will not grow any squash! We explore buying a Jersey cow.
The CSA is born.
And we remain so grateful for this land, these animals, the people who help to make it all work, and to each other for sharing the passion and keeping the dream alive.
Lisa and Laurie