Thursday, January 2, 2014

Walking a Goat On a Leash: What I Did On My Christmas Vacation

Apparently Monkey and Holly take walks regularly. My favorite part of our stroll was the way they'd
gobble up dried leaves like they were eating potato chips.

I think livestock are tricksters of the animal kingdom. If you've ever been to a petting zoo, you know how ridiculously adorable a baby goat can be. It's like they lure you in with their heart-shaped little noses and coy bleats and the next thing you know you're spending your mornings refilling grain bins and shoveling poop. Tricksters.

After Christmas, Mr. W and I went to Fresno to visit his dad and stepmom. They own three miniature ponies, three goats, four sheep, three dogs, three bunnies, a handful of chickens, and I don't even know how many cats. It's very easy to get a farm fix at their house. Or farm fever. The sheep are so cute I found myself considering whether we should maybe add one to our backyard brood later in the year.

But thankfully our roadtrip also included an audio book called Hit By a Farm. Written by the same woman who helped open my eyes to the ubiquitousness of death in country living, the book shares the author's many trials and tribulations setting up a farm, raising sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, and geese, growing grapes, and trying to be a writer. I cannot tell you how much this book hit home with me...

Unfortunately, she confirmed all of my worst fears: farm living is hard ass work. All the time. Those sheep and goats may be cute, but they'll rob you of years of peace and quiet. I already have two cats for that thankyouverymuch.

The desire to raise some furry and feathered friends is definitely shadowed by the fear of all that responsibility. At least on my end. Mr. W takes it in stride. He's been reading a few books on chickens to get us good and prepped...

This one is almost like a photo essay about Mr. W's life: RC helicopter controller, drafting tools, a
fruit and veggie catalog, a chicken book, and one dirty sock. Right on the dining room table.

...and he even tore down the old "killin' shed" to make room for the greenhouse/chicken coop he plans to build.

I like taking baby steps with all this farm stuff. It feels a lot less scary to walk someone else's goat and think about starting with just chickens and a hearty garden. In time, I may be ready for some four-legged additions. And then maybe we'll try our hand at making chevre or manchego.

Our first planter box. Many more to come.

But in the meantime, I'll just stick with fleshing out my list of hen names. Vivienne, Francesca, Cecilia, and Farrah are my current top picks. Or maybe I'll go with Downton Abbey characters. I can tell you this much: our girls are going to be all class...and hopefully not huge pains in the ass...


  1. That photo of your dining room table is hilarious. His whole world wrapped up into one little photo. I like the idea of being able to visit working farms with their beautiful crops and cute little animals, but I'll never be a farm gal myself.

  2. I'll have to do a similar pic of what the table looks like with my stuff on it. And you can come visit our "farm" anytime you want a fix! As long as we can come visit you in the city, too. ;)


Well, whatdya think?