I want a milk goat.
Actually, if we're being completely honest, I also want a Jersey cow. Or maybe a Jersey/Dexter cross. I want my children to be drinking goat's milk, but I want butter, darn it, and I'm only gonna get that with a cow*.
But alas, one must face reality, disappointing as it may be. And reality right now says that this year, I'm not getting my milk goats. Or Clarabelle. (Because yes, I have already named my cow.)
But wait, you ask, didn't you (finally) move to a farm? What is a farm without milk producing animals? Sigh, I know. I agree.
But. There's this list. You know, the ever-dreaded "to-do" list. And it's growing at a pace I can't keep up with, making my head spin before the snow's even melted off the pasture.
Here's this summer's to-do list:
*Learn to irrigate the hay pasture
*Repair and fill the pond
*Fertilize, cut, bale, and sell the hay
*Plant a small orchard
*Increase the chicken flock to 50, mostly for meat
*Butcher said chickens
*Prepare a nursery or greenhouse
*Learn to garden in a climate several zones colder than what I'm accustomed to
*Plant, weed, and harvest said garden, which is ten times bigger than my previous one
*Learn to pressure can, so I can put by the harvest
*Fix bridges, mend fences, shovel gravel, and other maintentance
*Feed, care for, ride and love the horse we are taking in on a semi-permanent basis
*Maintain a rental property in The Big City
Oh. And homeschool Two Little Girls, keep house, feed the family, have some fun, and otherwise function as a normal housewife.
That list is daunting. Adding a home dairy to the list? I think that tips the scale toward "overwhelming."
Adding milk goats (or Clarabelle) to that list isn't just milking twice a day. It's learning to make cheeses, butter, keeping up with yogurt and kefir. It's trying to sell the excess (or give it away because I'm too chicken to sell it.) It's then raising a pig to consume the excess that I'm too chicken to sell. It's breeding and birthing and possible illness. It's a whole lot of things I'm not sure I'm ready to take on right now, on top of the list of things that absolutely have to be done around here.
So there it is: reality. No milk goats. Or jersey cow. At least, not at this moment. I keep reminding myself that it'll only be a year until having a home dairy might really be an option. But then I look at pictures of those sweet brown jersey cow eyes, and I get all twitterpated again.
I have an incredible ability to take on far too much though, and for once it might be best if I reign it in and take it slow. This is our Forever Home. Not everything has to happen this year. There are many years to come. Before we moved, my best friend and I often joked about how if either of us ended up living out on a farm, we'd likely end up sitting in the middle of a hay pasture bawling because we were too overwhelmed. That doesn't seem too far off now, so I'm realizing I best be careful. And sadly, that might mean Clarabelle and her goat companions might have to wait a year.