there is also going to be a goat.
When we first moved into our house, we loved the freedom, space, and quiet of the 2.5 acres it came with. There was no heavy traffic flying by our kids at the brisk speed of 95 miles per hour over speed bumps, and no HOA to tell us that our roses have twelve dead leaves that need to be removed immediately or be fined. What there was, was room. Enough room that my husband started making a few passing comments about how he’d love to have a hobby farm someday.
He had lived on one growing up and has fond memories of showing a cow at 4-H and crying because everyone else’s pants were white and his were not. He told stories about squirting cow milk from the utter onto the barn kittens, raising rabbits, and being chased onto the roof of his house by an enormous angry pig named Chester. Apparently, Chester was so angry and mean that when it came time for him to go to the big pig farm in the sky, his freshly cut meat was spoiled. I’m going to guess that’s probably why Chester was so angry.
None of these stories inspired me to join the ranks of hobby farmers. I am not a farm person. I did not grow up on, or near a farm. Nor did I ever wish I had. I did not sit and look outside my bedroom window longing for a pony or a pond with a gaggle of baby geese honking and swimming through the still, dark water. My family didn’t even keep pets for any length of time, with the exception of one dog and a hamster named Herbie. I most certainly was not entertaining the idea of taking care of a cow and a horse every day. The idea of trudging out in the snow in 15-degree weather on some windy January morning to sit in a freezing-cold barn just to milk said cow was not my idea of a good time. What did I know about farms or horses or barns? The most experience I have was when I lived in Southern Arizona, and my family rented this small house that had a dilapidated horse corral near it. Not exactly the same. Sure, there were tarantulas that came out of the wood pieces after it rained, but we didn’t ride them. We didn’t milk them. We didn’t have to haul bails of hay around for them.
I wanted nothing to do with a hobby farm. But, as life shows us time and again, it always has other plans for us while we are busy declaring we will never engage in any acts of hobby farming. And sure enough, slowly things changed around the house. Before I knew it, we had an inside cat, an outside cat, and three fish. Then, we had two more fish—because I forgot to feed them all and only the strong ever survive. We applaud Cookie’s efforts for survival and his penchant for life. He’s a good fish. We have also added two rabbits. I was hesitant about the rabbits because I don’t know anything about rabbits except that they aren’t very durable and I don’t like to hold them because they squirm and kick, so, you do the math.
Here’s what I’ve learned about rabbits so far:
- I’m always afraid they’ll go rogue and bite me.
- They smell like a barn. Not a Joanna Gaines design-y barn. Actual barn.
- They are very messy.
- They eat A LOT.
- Which is why they are messy.
- They chew on everything.
- They are self-potty training. Not only did they choose a potty-corner of their hutch, they even moved all their bedding on it to absorb the potty and make it easy for me to clean. Which is more than my kids do.
- Their back legs kicking freaks me out, like how finding a spider under my sheets might.
We also now have a riding lawn mower, a greenhouse, an understanding that all my flowers will be shared with wild rabbits. I have a garden that is very close to producing things we can eat—and just the other day I caught myself thinking, “Gosh, it would be nice if we had a chicken or two so I wouldn’t have to buy eggs every week.”
I immediately slapped my hands over my mouth hard enough to make my face hurt. What was happening to me? Chickens? I hate birds! Chickens are gross. And dirty. They are so dirty. And gross. So, you know, I’m not even kidding when I tell you that I know there are going to be chickens someday. There is also going to be a goat. I don’t know when, but there will be one. Then I’ll be a full-fledged hobby farmer: a girl with a garden and a goat.
One day I’ll come home and there it will be, out back grazing on the grass and eating my greenhouse panels like a waffle. My husband will simply behave as if it’s the most normal thing in the world to weed whack the patio while a goat stands near him chewing on someone’s croc.
“Look,” he’ll say, “we don’t have to cut the tall grass back there anymore.”
At least I won’t have to milk it. I hope. And maybe, we won’t call him Chester.