I Love My Life…No Really

Image by Lori Eanes

Sometimes as I’m trudging down to the goat barn in the dark, wet from rain and mud, to do my twice daily milking chore I have to wonder why the hell am I doing this? Why the hell am I working full time during the week and spending all of my free time doing chores? Doing chores in the dark, in the rain, and perpetually muddy. I plant stuff on the weekends but have no idea until the following weekend if anything has germinated. Worse yet,  I don’t know if I’ve successfully kept the slugs and snails at bay or whether everything has been destroyed.

This time of year I always question this lifestyle. The weekends are the only time I get to see the goats, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, and garden during daylight hours. So all the big chores get crammed into the weekends. It seems that we work just so we can work some more.

A side effect of having animals? Urine, feces and vomit no longer faze me. Hard work and lack of sleep are the rule rather than the exception. Stick my hand in chicken shit? No problem. Step barefoot in cat puke in the middle of the night conveniently deposited right outside the bedroom door? That’s life. Goat feed in our bed? Yep. Being the only person at the Halloween store with real blood on their boots? It’s happened. Medicating a goat every 2 hours for 2 days? Check.

But then, as I stand in a grocery store aisle searching for that one packet of cheesecloth that I know they must have in a sea of random crap, I quickly realize why I do this, even in the dark of winter. And it’s not just because I hate dealing with the grocery store, which I do. Doing things our way make life easier. Not physically easier, obviously, but I don’t have to think about where our food comes from. I don’t have to stand there and stare at labels trying to figure out which product is the lesser of two evils. All the meat in our freezer is from animals that we raised or hunted. The milk is raw and always fresh and clean. There’s no BHT, BHA or high fructose corn syrup. There’s no transfat, no GMOs, and no soy. No factory farmed animal products or industrial farmed crops. No methyl iodide, 2-4,D or glyphosate. No Red #4 or castoreum.

Watching things grow, evolve, and change creates a sense of accomplishment. Pride swells, like a new parent, when your goat kids, your chicken/turkey hatches a clutch of chicks, or your rabbit kindles. Pulling carrots and digging potatoes are like opening presents on Christmas morning or going on a treasure hunt. Nothing tastes better than food grown through a labor of love. Everything is fresh and healthy and happy. Yes, even the carrots are happy.

Our life is interesting, it is fulfilling and it has meaning. And sometimes, on those dark, stormy mornings I need to remember that.


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  1. Amen!

  2. Maggie Davies says:

    I love your life too. No really!
    (Keep up the good work.)

  3. I love reading your posts…thank you for sharing all the good and ‘bad’…I am thankful there are people like you guys who post to give those of us who try some of it…like a little vegetable garden…inspiration. You are truly inspiring and again, thank you for taking the time to post it since I can imagine how busy you must be!

  4. Thank you as always, Rachel, for wedding your gift of prose with your transparency to give a TRUE picture of what this kind of life is like – you bless us!

  5. I totally relate. This morning had me running through the mud in the pouring down rain after 6 escaped junior rabbits that got into the chicken yard. All this in the semidarkness at 6 am before work in my boots and professional clothes. Little turds I wanted to send them to freezer camp right then. I do so love rabbit pie. :)

  6. So True. Thank goodness for hats with ear covers, cute muck boots and warm goat udders.

    • Oh the warm goat udders! I always feel bad in the morning when I first start milking because my hands are so cold. Fortunately they don’t seem to mind all that terribly.

  7. Love this post. So well put. A good one to come back and re read later, maybe on one of those days when the house is a mess, the goats have punched a hole in the fence, aphids have invaded the kale, and you’re racing to the hardware store before it closes in boots spattered with turkey blood, hoping no one notices…
    A friend who owns a goat dairy and I were talking about this very thing the other day and wondering what life would be like without all these things. After talking wistfully about the worry-free vacations and real, actual weekends we could have, our conclusion was…. Boring.

  8. I couldn’t agree more!


    Merry Christmas!

  9. I was just having these same thoughts this morning as I was slogging through the muck in the duck pen in the sleet-y rain. Everything is turning to mud now that the rains have started here in Virginia. The goats are spectacularly unhappy with the turn of the weather and are on a strike, not eating the new hay I bought for them. My work gloves never seem to dry out. But yesterday I picked a huge bouquet of the most beautiful carrots and those things remind me why we do all this.

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