This blog was inspired ten years ago, when I embarked on a journey to learn about homesteading, farming, and raising goats for cheese and milk. I took an internship at a small goat dairy farm in Monterey, MA with Susan Sellew. I left college life behind, and moved into a log cabin surrounded by tall white pines and blueberries. My new teachers were the plants, animals, and Susan.
Rawson Brook Farm became home for over two years. Each day I gardened, milked goats, made cheese, and raised chickens for meat and eggs. I upheld the philosophy that if I were to eat meat and dairy, I had to know how to raise it myself. Our idealistic young minds are too often taught to ignore our dreams and get real jobs. Instead, I chose to deepen my connection to food and all that sustains me.
I fell in love with the rhythms of homesteading. How each plant and animal nourished my body, in exchange for consistent attention to patterns of life and death, and a good bit of hard work. I don’t even really feel it’s work when the animals and plants are offering us so much. It’s a collaboration. The goats taught me how to be present, live in the moment, and have a little fun.
Ten years later, I invited goats back into my life on my own homestead. Susan offered me two pregnant does in April that kidded in May. Carmen and Stella each had two boys. They are all healthy and get along for the most part, though who can blame the mamas when their boys drive them a little nuts with all their head butting and humping each other. It feels like I have a daycare program when we go for walks, all the little kids running around each other, jumping, bleating, snorting, humping, and chewing on fresh leaves.
It brings me so much joy watching how much goats love uninhibited play. It’s not like they are asking themselves, “Am I being too wild right now? Should I tone it down?” No! They are full on learning how their little bodies work on this earth. Within seconds of being born they are walking, nursing and wagging their tiny tails. At one week they’re already sprinting up and down the driveway bouncing off each other’s backs. It’s a great way to start the day.
I am grateful to Susan Sellew for inviting me into her world of goats. Now, we get to text funny goat videos and medical information back and forth. Whenever anything out of the ordinary happens, I tell her and she always replies with a calm response that makes me remember that I am doing the best I can and the rest is up to mystery.
What does this close connection with the natural world teach me? I continue learning over and over how wise and intelligent bodies are with the complete knowing of how to heal. We have to trust in the time spirits. I always wanted to raise goats of my own, but I had to learn other things before rooting into the homestead. We never really know how long or why certain things happen. There is great freedom in patience, perseverance, non-attachment, remaining open to things not going the way we think, and living in the moment.
We’ve come full circle on the blog post with this being the 10th year anniversary of Farming for Justice. Thanks for reading and enjoy the beautiful fresh green spring!