Welcome one and all! As a quick recap, Musings of a Goat Herdess is one of my current WIPs. I’ve decided to start this off as a blog series – yay! – which means I’ll get into a schedule of releasing a “chapter” at a time as a blog post. This is the first, and these posts will be done twice a month.
If all goes well – the writing, the feedback, etc. – I will move forward at some point with officially publishing Musings of a Goat Herdess, which, if you haven’t seen my last blog post, is essentially made up of my homesteading experiences with my family, our journey, with the focus on my task of being a “goat shepherd” and some of the discoveries I’ve made along the way.
Sound like fun? Well, I won’t ramble today – news flash! Here is your official sneak peak into Musings of a Goat Herdess, chapter one of our new blog series.
C H A P T E R O N E
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LIKE A SCENE out of Heidi is our hillside today, glowing in the fleeting and precious rays of May sun. The grass reaches up towards the heavens, eclipsing the infant leaves, their attempts at awakening slow, more cautious than their counterparts in nature. I close my eyes and breathe it in. Spring.
All around me, I hear the hasty, yet contented chop-chops of caprine mouths drinking greedily of the hillside’s offering. The goats have discovered the raspberries today, which sprawl here on Bramble, the northernmost slope of our homestead. These vines left in peace for far too long will meet destruction at the hooves and winter-starved appetites of seven goats.
My eyes flutter open as the adolescents charge by, their buoyant stride enhanced by the steepness of this slope. Wilbur makes his advance into the lead, his twin sister Oka in hot pursuit, and both are dogged by their adopted big sister, the one with ears that can’t decide whether to cooperate with her Nubian dairy heritage and fall flopping, or rise to the calling of her rugged Alpine genetics. Their antics as they pass me by bring out a smile. These three came from the same farm, but at different times, and are unrelated, yet they are inseparable, cohesive like honey to a spoon.
At a doe’s soft, tender voice, my gaze drifts uphill to where the locust trees mark the top of the grassy slope. Spice grazes here, glancing about until her twins come bounding to her call. Satisfied at their presence, she returns to the task of gluttony. My smile broadens the way a patch of grass appears so quickly beneath melting snow. These twins have earned a special place in our hearts since their liberating birth two weeks ago.
Beetle paws at the locust tree nearest to her right, her silky coat shining in this radiant sun like chocolate. The lone black stripe which marches down her back glitters as if someone place minute diamonds upon it to capture the light. She is the image of Spice, though separated by her mother’s three years. Little Cricket joins her, aptly named, and colored by a broad creamy belt and a splashing of gold and white.
A breeze tousles the grass. If you listen close, you might hear the whispers it carries from grass to tree to bird and sky. The hidden messages we miss in our chaos and in our drive for bigger, better, newer. Here, here, is peace. In the sway of the grass, the smile of the sun.
As the three young ones of weaning age did moments ago, Cricket takes to the plaything that is the slope. The bounce to her stride is brought to a zenith with a little jump, a twist and a hop. Beetle thunders after her, never going a moment apart from her sister. Spice notices not, or if she does, she is content. She knows they are safe, I’m sure. The twins join the older three, but at a respectable distance. With such a drastic size difference in effect, they face light bullying from Oka and Jubilee. But we’ve raised many goats of these tender ages, and it will not last forever. Amid the grass, the brambles, the raspberries, friendship will form.
Not to be left behind, Eustace plods along after the five, his shaggy dun fur swaggering with his steps. The others dwarf him in size despite his equality of age with the threesome – and though his genetics dictate this fate, the buckling has taken it in his head that he is a great buck, a mighty protector, a fine, noble creature worthy of all respect.
Ah, such pride! In the eyes of our homestead, he is simply Eustace, succumb to smallness, destined to pester the girls with instincts which matured early, son of Phoebe.
As the herd settles, I take a deep breath. There is such peace here, such purpose. Such hope for the soul. How can one explain what can only be felt? How can one express what can only be perceived, sensed in the inmost being? I know I cannot. I may wield the pen, but its power fails me here. So I shall share, but can never express. Show, but can never explain. This is a journey, one my family takes inspired by the words written in the Bible, in Jeremiah, words that challenged us to seek out this lifestyle, to determine the alternative the world has missed.
Stand at the crossroads and look.
Ask for the ancient paths.
Ask where the good way is and walk
in it, and you will find rest for