Later Goaters

I woke up at the crack this morning (not usual what with a newborn, but she was fast asleep) to the sound of a bleating goat. This wouldn’t be unusual except that I gave my goats away some weeks ago.

I feel like I might be letting people down in admitting this but I just could not stay on top of the goats and the baby. When Francis would cry, the goats would hear and began crying. I would be sitting there in my LazyBoy, trying to settle Franny down and I would imagine how I would just open up the gate and let the goats free. Some days I would forget if I fed the goats or not. When I did, I would invariably be carrying the baby while I threw them a chunk of hay, and it would get all over Franny. Forget about mucking out the goat area. I just couldn’t do both–care for goats and a baby. I had to choose. Of course I chose Francis.

I remember I used to read this one farmgirl’s blog a few years ago. I loved it, she was really sarcastic and funny, then one day her posts changed. She kept talking about her bun in the oven, not about funny things that happened on the farm. Then the baby came, and I stopped reading her blog. I felt betrayed, annoyed, BORED. I hope none of you feel that way, but I understand if so.

I remember asking my sister if having a baby was like having livestock. I can report that it is, but 20 times more time consuming and identity modifying. I was lucky that I have a great community of goaters, and Bebe and Gretel went to good homes, where they are happy and loved.

Speaking of which, this Saturday, at Market Hall on College Avenue in Oakland:
The Oakland’s Havenscourt Homestead’s Nigerian Dwarf Goat Petting Zoo is available from noon to 4:00 p.m.
and
Willow and I will be there too, doing a honey extraction demo from 1-2, followed by a panel discussion and signing our new book, “The Essential Urban Farmer.” Margo True, Sunset Magazine Food Editor and editor of Sunset’s popular book, “The One-Block Feast,” will moderate.

Also, Sunday at noon, I’ll be at Jack London Square Farmers’ Market doing a little soft shoe.

As for the nickering sounds, I leaned in to Francis, and realized it was her, snoring.

20 responses to “Later Goaters

  1. I enjoy your blog (farm or baby references alike).

  2. Oh my god, she’s so damned adorable (almost as cute as my own Francis was, back in the day). I’m sorry to hear about your goats, but welcome to the cult. We make our own milk. ;)

  3. What a sweet baby!
    I enjoy your blog no matter what you write about. :)

  4. Heya Novella – Be sure to make time on Saturday afternoon to swing by the petting zoo and give Gretel some scritches. She’s doing fantastic. Her and Candy are best buddies now. This will be her first time out to meet the public. I’m sure you’ll enjoy seeing how happy and healthy she is. *HUGS*

    P.S. I don’t know why they keep calling it “The Oakland’s Havenscourt…” It’s just Havenscourt Homestead.

  5. I love visiting your blog and am happy to read whatever you write, babies or goats, it’s all good!

  6. What a sweet little nugget! Thanks for sharing a picture. Yes, things CHANGE…..people change too, and it’s OK. You are still funny. Having childrens doesn’t neccessarily make you boring……

  7. Awwww, look at your sweet little bunny-goat! Congrats :-)

  8. I can relate. I had chickens for awhile and really enjoyed it. Our landlord thought rats were drawn by the chickens and asked us to get rid of them. While it was bittersweet, I realized the timing couldn’t have been better with a baby on the way. Once he came I realized how I wouldn’t have been able to do both for awhile. 9 months in, it’s starting to look more realistic again.

  9. i do recall asking you if you thought things would change around the farm once lil francis came, and you claimed that you were just gonna add francis to the mix. i was entertained by you rather blase attitude, and you made allusions to how much work the pig was, but you were able to handle that too. i think most of us would be more upset to learn you had given francis away in order to keep the goats. so long as this doesn’t become a mommy blog, i think you are ok. your writing is what we come for, not goats.

  10. We lost a chicken to a heatwave soon after Simon came along. I was already doubting my ability to keep a human alive, nourish him with my bodily fluids, and maintain my sanity through extreme sleep deprivation. Then the Wyandotte up and died! It was crushing.
    Also, in your defense, farming is one of those businesses that doesn’t offer maternity leave.
    As far as we can tell, hay and chicken dust/poop can’t hurt babies. Might even prevent hay fever down the line…

  11. alliegator321

    The fact that you still manage to write a post now and then is impressive. My baby is 20 months and I still haven’t gotten back to any sort of regularity with blogging. And the bees died. :(

  12. It must be fate. I just watched a little video with Billy in it and he mentioned your book “The Essential Urban Farmer”. I didn’t make the connection until I decided to check out your blog which I haven’t visited in months after finishing “Farm City ” My how things have changed your are, as my kids like to call you, a Momma Llama. Congrats!!! As soon as she can get her little fists into the dirt you will have given her one of the greatest gifts on earth. Nature is a beautiful thing. It’s good to catch up with you.
    Let Billy know I miss the N. California Prickly Pears in my Nana’s backyard. I can’t get the buggers to fruit here in the N.W.
    Katherine from Oregon living large on 1 acre.

  13. Human babies are the most needy time sucking creatures in the mammal kingdom…. good thing they are so cute. Enjoy this time, one day (way to soon) you’ll be wondering how Francis grew up so quickly. I know that doesn’t seem possible right now.

  14. So Novella, I am a newby (or should I say “nubi” as in Nubian goats, ha, ha) to your blogsters. I think I have missed alot, but no better time to join in than now, right? I just finished your wonderful book, Farm City, and loved it in it’s entirity from the first sentence (always my way of telling if its going to be a good read or not!) through to the last word. Congratulations on the birth of your baby!! Welcome to the fold. I have four (grown ones and 1 grandbaby now) and I started a mini farm, sort of, during their young years. We bought 2 acres in Loomis, CA, and it just seemed natural to fill it with animals and crops. Of course, the kids always came first, but I liked the challenge of schlepping sheep with the sling on my side. We kind of evolved away from it all as sports and dances and friends took center stage, but now I am back to chickens and a future beehive (inspired by you!) and a half acre of garden. Maybe now I am filling some voids, but nonetheless, the spirit has always stayed in me, and I think it will lie within you as well, goats or not. Best of luck with your new hatch and I look forward to your blogs, drizzling with baby boredom or even baby booming! Leslie

  15. As a 63 year old Grandfather and “urban farmer” who is raising my 1 year old grandson who now lives with me, I can attest motherhood . . . in my case “Grandpahood”, is incredibly hard work. I also have a renewed appreciation and sense of awe for all of the successful mothers out there.

  16. Kaleb Garcia

    How cute! God bless all of you guys! I have been following your blog for three years! You are the first blog i ever read and i allways love it! After reading your articles i got a garden and chickens! I still love your blog and its ok to go back like you always say! hopefuly one day you can get goats again when the baby grows! And even better she can help you!!!!

  17. I had to place a dog that didn’t mix well with the baby – something I would never have thought I would do. Motherhood has this way of both humbling you and making you a super-human. Enjoy the journey!

  18. I look forward to reading your evolving voice! It won’t be long until Francis is “helping” you in the garden. I’m the mother of two girls – 4 months and 4 years old. Both are urban farmers in training ;-)

  19. Parenting is a lot like gardening. It’s all about seasons, tending and feeding. :-) Right now may not be a good season for goats but that doesn’t mean it won’t be 5 years from now. Francis is a DOLL!

  20. Karen littler

    I love your pic of Francis!! Love the bunny ears!! I’ve told many friends to get your book! It’s one I’m keeping mine!! Thanks Can’t wait for the new one!

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