Ever Refining the Path

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😅:

The more I travel this earthly walk, the more convinced I am that the animals I’m sharing my life with have the same exact spark of life that is within me.  We are all interconnected at a deep level.  I’m trying to find my way amidst a lot of background noise, fears, doubts and uncertainties about what it is I’m here to do.  As that becomes more clear, the path forward does too.

So I’m here today to again talk about the issue.  As I mentioned before, this is my own path I’m walking out.  I carry no judgment for how others walk out their own paths, so please don’t read condemnation into this, for I have none.  We must by necessity all walk our own unique paths and none of us is qualified to judge the path of another.  With that out of the way, let me continue talking about me. 😁

This path unfolding before me has resulted in a lot of changes.  I detailed another big one in a Facebook post recently: my husband of 19 years moved out this month.  It has been a time of great growth and immense joy for both of us and I’m so grateful every day for the new insights and maturity I am finding along the way.

We began discussing how this would work last October, so for the past 6 months, I’ve been trying to consider what it is I truly want and believe and how I want to move forward.  The topic of selling animals is a nagging thorn that refuses to let up.

Earlier in the season, I concluded that I am no longer able to disbud goats.  That was an issue I’d struggled with for many years, going back and forth as well, mostly because that was what the market wanted me to do but my own conscience told me otherwise.  It finally spoke loud enough that I cannot ignore it and this year’s kid crop is completely natural, the way they were born.

As I reflected on that, though, I started realize how much of what I do is to satisfy others.  I breed for type that I don’t personally feel is optimal for what a true homesteading goat should be.  In the world of The Registry and shows, appraisals, milk testing, etc., we hyper focus on some traits and wind up leaving other traits behind.  I don’t want to breed for maximum production because a balanced goat that can thrive on regional inputs is more important to me.  And so what if that udder has the best rear attachments?  If her hooves are junk, she can’t cut it in my program.  And so on.

So this new phase of my life is all about identifying my own values and goals.

In the course of my career as a “breeder,” I’ve sold animals that have died from poor management, wound up horrifically abused (with the police reports to detail it), been mistreated, neglected, treated as property, as senseless, as objects to be managed.  And every story that came back to me wounded me at a soul level.  I did this.  And yes, I’m not responsible for the actions of others, but I am responsible for my own and that’s what I’m working through right now.  While the vast majority of animals have gone to good homes, I can’t ignore the ones that did not.

From a practical breeding perspective, there have been many I sold as kids only to wish I’d hung on a little longer to see them freshen, to see their potential and the fruits of my efforts to improve the breed.

Since last spring, I’ve been contemplating a variety of scenarios that included: keeping all doe kids until they freshened before deciding who to sell or not selling at all.

I’ve finally slowed down enough to feel the goats again.  And as I mention frequently in my goat group, I rely heavily on intuition to lead me down the path I should go.  So what I’m feeling and knowing right now is this: free for all trading in the lives of others is unacceptable to my current value system.

And what could I do in my breeding program if I strip away the external expectations and focus on what I know to be desirable and true?  This fills me with such excitement, to get down to the basic level of what I hope to accomplish and what can bring the greatest health and vitality to this herd of goats.

So moving forward, I will no longer sell to the general public.  I won’t list animals for sale.  I will raise them up here.  I will love them, and know them each.  If someone approaches me to have a conversation and I sense that they share the same vision and value system, I will be open to discussion.  But lives are precious and I can no longer trade them like a commodity.

But How Will You Feed Them All?

I was pretty incredulous when I received several offers to “rescue” my goats after I made this announcement the first time.  Let me address this from two points before you get all anxious to email me the same offers.  First, I eat meat and I believe that animals raised here with no harm, no pain, no fear and no stress have a vastly better life, even shortened, than meat from any animal I could buy elsewhere, even though I try to purchase from people like me who emphasize humane treatment.  Second, if you believe that I will not be able to afford to feed those in my care, you may want to do some research into scarcity vs. abundance mindsets.  It is a non issue and the only limiting factor is your ability to believe in abundance.  Integrity trumps all.

This begins the season where I stop answering the outer call and adhere to my own values, my own goals, my own integrity and my own path.  My last puppy went home today.  The sun is shining and the only thing on my agenda is to go soak up the sun in the pasture in the presence of my beloved goats, feeling the earth beneath my feet and the sun warming my body while I strive ever toward peace and authentic life.  I can’t wait to find my feet on this new path. <3