So much has changed since I last wrote. I left California on September 12 and took a 10-day journey across the country which included visits with family in Utah and Ohio as well as a bit of adventure as we stopped to replace blown out trailer tires, ran out of gas, took our dog to the veterinarian, and spent a TON of money on gas, (8 MPG with a Suburban and a 4540-lb trailer traversing the Rocky Mountains) lodging, and food. We settled down in Winder, GA, where I found a 1.44 acre piece of land with lots of trees and a 14x70 mobile home. After a long delay in starting the job I thought I had lined up, I decided to take a part-time position with the company until a better position came available and I could get promoted.
We wasted no time in establishing our homestead. With no job and not much money, I took to the land with a flat shovel and leveled out a spot of ground behind our house for our garden measuring approximately 40' x 15'. After reading in Mother Earth News about how oats are such a great cover crop, I ventured to my local feed and supply store for a bag of oats to sow in my garden for the fall/winter. While I was there, I looked at the community board and saw an ad for chickens for sale. I called up a man named Doug, visited his house, and came home with 13 chickens! During our visit, I told Doug I was a budding homesteader and wanted to get either some goats or a cow. The next day he called me back to tell me one of his friends had some baby boy goats only two days old whose mother had died, that he was unable to care for them and wanted to find a new home for them. We visited again with Doug and his friend and brought home the cutest little animals ever created: two teeny little white Boer/Nubian goats with brown spots on their heads and necks, huge floppy ears, and the most heart-breaking little cry--mmMMAAAAA!
We immediately began feeding the little billies with baby bottles we had left over from the days when Maddy was on the bottle, and Emily got to work researching raising goats on the internet. Em found a lot of wisdom stating that baby goats need to be socialized with other goats so that they will grow up knowing they are goats and not people or chickens or whoever they socialize with. So we began to feel the need to get some more goats to be surrogate parents to our babies. We looked on Craigslist and found some goats for sale and ended up with two more female Nubian yearlings.
We got lost on the way to Matt's house (the guy who sold us the nannies), so the trip took us an hour longer than we expected. This was very bad for us, since I was planning on erecting a makeshift pen for them in between arriving back at home and having to leave for work. That day I was in training for my job, and I had already been late to work once because of a car accident in the rain, so if I were to have been late again, I would have lost the job. We were considering letting the goats stay in the back of the Suburban while I was at work, but quickly ruled against it for the sake of the goat's safety and comfort as well as the sanitation of our family vehicle. (The carpet in the cargo area in the back of the Suburban was bad enough just from the trip home.)
Immediately upon arrival back home, Em and I got started trying to throw up this 50' length of chain link fence we bought from Doug the chicken man. That entailed unrolling the fence--which was frequently catching on itself--pounding stakes in the ground, and wrapping this length of fence around the stakes and two small trees in our yard. The wrapping was the most difficult part since the part of the yard we were establishing the pen was in the wooded area, and there is a lot of underbrush that was catching the fence. To make matters worse, after we got the pen 70% I went to put the goats in the pen so I could get them out of the car and head to work while Emily reinforced and finalized the accommodations. After I put one goat in the pen, I went back to the car to get the other one and came back to the pen to find the first one escaped and running around the yard! OH NO! I was sure I was going to be late and lose my job. So I put the second goat back and started chasing the first one around the yard. Prior to all this, I put my dogs in the shed so they wouldn't terrorize my goats, but I decided to see what my black dog could do with her Border Collie pedigree. I let both dogs out and they immediately followed my example by chasing the goat around the yard. I had to maneuver so that I was closing in on her on the opposite side from the dogs. It worked out beautifully, and I was able to snag her, put her back in the car, reinforce the pen enough to prevent the goats from getting out, transfer the goats, duck in a phone booth and don my QuikTrip uniform without showering or brushing my hair, and dash off to work in time to clock in before 3:00 pm.
If you could see a picture of my life now and a picture of my life on July 23, you would see prophecy fulfilled. You would see the seeds of happiness and bitterness sown now flourishing. I am grateful for my life, and I am grateful for God's promise that everything will be alright if I stay faithful to him. Now...if I can just master that "staying faithful" part...
More on the story of the burgeoning homestead to follow soon. I must get to my job now--preferably on time.