As some of you who have followed me for awhile know, I’ve really struggled with the concept of selling animals vs. not selling animals over the last couple of years. For those who don’t know, here are the two posts where I initially announced I would no longer sell animals and then backtracked that spring to say I was wrong and had regained my senses😅: Continue reading “Ever Refining the Path”
A lot has changed in the 13 years we’ve been raising goats. Me, especially. What began as a way to be self sufficient almost immediately morphed into a business that we’ve grown successfully over the years. Last year, we finally saw a profit. This year, that profit grew to five figures, a tremendous blessing when all our income options seemed to be drying up – it kept us afloat. Which makes what I’m writing now seem crazy from a financial perspective, but from a spiritual perspective, it is everything right now.
Through it all, year after year, there has been a nagging at my soul about the choices I’m making and the actions I’m carrying out.
Most of you probably wouldn’t know this, but I encountered some serious health issues several years ago that turned my world upside down, physically and spiritually. My dark night of the soul, if you will.
As I’ve progressed further down the spiritual path, I’ve made a firm commitment to myself to always walk in authenticity. And, like I always tell my kids, “You do the right thing, no matter the cost.” Well, the time has come for me to stand firmly on the side of what I feel is right. As you read this, understand that I am talking about my path, and this conversation carries no judgment on what path others walk.
Dealing in the business of animals has begun to feel criminal to me on a cosmic scale. The trauma of disbudding, of castration, of weaning and selling and sending both kids and adults away from the only home they’ve known for the sake of a business transaction has been bothering me more and more. How can I, believing that the same spark within me lights up the eyes of my animal friends, engage in the practice of trading their lives for a dollar? This fall, I have reached the end. I cannot continue to walk out a practice that contradicts my beliefs.
So, effective immediately, we will no longer be selling goats. To those of you with 2022 reservations, I extend my sincere apologies for causing your plans to change. I hope you’ll understand that I’m doing what has been laid on my heart and doing my best to walk in truth and authenticity along the path I’ve been called to follow.
Effective immediately, we will no longer offer disbudding, castration or blood drawing services. We will not be performing these procedures on our own animals.
The same applies to the dogs. This current litter is our last intended litter. I should have listened to this feeling before having another litter, but it reached its breaking point after the deed was done. Losing the income provided by the animals will make it harder to support the animals. We will offer some adult dogs to carefully selected homes and get down to a number we can more sustainably support.
What will I do with the kids born? I don’t know that with certainty. I have ideas and backup plans, but mostly I am walking in trust that the path will continue to be laid out before me as I step into alignment with who I really am. I’m not determining next spring, I am merely drawing my line and setting my intention now that I will no longer transact the lives in my care.
I will still be raising goats, formulating more herbal remedies for them and helping educate folks on how to raise them holistically, so this isn’t the last you’ll see of me.
Until next time, blessings!
I want to take a few minutes to address some common misconceptions about livestock guardian pups and what they can and cannot handle when they first come home.
There is an old school of thought that an 8-12 week pup should be immediately placed out with his stock to get to work. Some folks go so far as to suggest these dogs should be minimally interacted with in order to preserve the bond between pup and the stock he’s guarding. This is flawed, outdated and often results in bad outcomes. Just don’t do it, please. Continue reading “Realistic Expectations for Livestock Guardian Pups”
It’s wildfire season again. Up here in eastern Washington, late summer brings us the perfect conditions for wildfires and this year seems to be even drier than normal. A spark can turn into hundreds or even thousands of acres in heart stopping short time. A fire several miles away can be at your back door before you’ve had time to make all the preparations necessary for evacuation.
As I write this, we have 15 sheep evacuees and their companion livestock guardian pups taking it easy in a pasture on our place. While they’re resting comfortably, their home remains threatened and we await the news of the final outcome. My heart goes out to the family while my mind goes to the steps we all can take to help make an evacuation of our livestock guardian dogs go as smoothly as possible. These steps to livestock guardian wildfire preparedness can help you, your dogs and their foster home transition with less stress on everyone involved. Continue reading “10 Steps to Livestock Guardian Dog Wildfire Preparedness”
Before we got pigs, we just had a bowl of food out for the dogs free choice. Those days were so innocent, so pure, so carefree. Then came the pigs. <cue ominous music>
Now, I’ve had all kinds of livestock for most of my life, but nothing prepared me for life with pigs. They are an entirely different animal altogether. I remember the first time we were moving two of our little sweet adorable piglets out of one pen and into another. Everything was going great, they were following a bucket of grain and we were thrilled with our success. Then they quit coming. I looked back to see those two sweet little angels ravenously devouring a whole chicken we’d fed the dogs, bones crunching in their mouths as they contentedly snorted and chewed. Whoa.
My heart jolted out of my body for probably the 4,000th time in a month to the sound of a honking horn. In the weeks since moving to our new farm, situated right next to a paved road, it had seemed like one catastrophe after another and the honking horn was a sure clue that yet another disaster was unfolding right outside.
Blaze, our benevolent Great Pyrenees, had once again escaped the pasture where she lived and was out on the road stopping cars. This is a 50 MPH road, so you can imagine the chaos that ensued. She would refuse to move, barking at these evident trespassers and nothing we could do short of dragging her back off the road would make her stop. This was happening at the same time as the neighbor issue and I was over capacity for dog related stress. Continue reading “Fencing for the Livestock Guardian Dog”