The Night Before
Exactly four years ago, I was sitting on this very porch of a barely completed house. The pastures and fences I’m looking at now didn’t exist. Neither did the crooked red barn that currently houses the goats. Neither did the goats.
At that point, I was done with the building, the hammering, the painting, the nailing, the tiling, the clearing, the clearing, the clearing. We were already four years into our experiment as landowners and had only just (finally) moved in. Although we had kept small beef cattle and a few donkeys on the land since the beginning, I was pacing and desperate to finally bring home my goats. They were always my reason for the land and the country. I had no idea what a life with goats would look like except that it would be fuller, somehow. Better, absolutely. But even I was shocked at their transformative power. My life exists in two categories: Pre & Post Goat. I was teetering on the edge of one, falling into the other, totally unprepared for how completely all my decisions would suddenly revolve around them. For some people this transformation happens when they have children. For me, it started when I got goats.
My first goats came from Pure Luck Dairy , home to a lovely herd of Alpine and Nubians and purveyors of nationally award winning cheeses. Amelia and her husband Ben operate the farm & dairy and each spring sell beautiful babies from their herd of prolific dairy goats. I had taken Amelia’s fantastic cheese making class, had sat in a pile of her baby goats, and in late March of 2012, I waited impatiently for her call that my goats were born and ready to come home. When she finally did call we arranged for me to meet and take the new babies. I remember lying in bed the night before I would meet them, sleepless with simultaneous fear and exhilaration. Even then it was evident the new chapter of this life was starting, and without understanding the ways in which it would rock my universe, I anticipated something big. Cataclysmic. Now I see that I was right.
This entire spring will feel like a prolonged “night before.” With the dairy opening this summer, I can detect the shift our lives have already taken. The “before” and “after” sensations of pride, regret, joy, or sorrow that everyone experiences when they see a snapshot showing change? I feel all that tremble beneath the surface of every day’s mundane details. We are suspended in the bizarre middle space of now, not entirely sure of what’s coming, but completely certain it will change the shape of everything. Just like the goats did. I can hardly wait.