"If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans." - James Herriot
The goats are my pride and joy. Our journey began with dairy goats and they continue to be the foundation of our homestead. When our first son was born in 2012, due to several complications we began looking for goat milk. We soon brought home a Nubian doe, Bailee, and that was the beginning of a life changing journey.
I had never milked a goat... and miss Bailee had never been milked. In those first few weeks I learned a lot more than just how to milk a goat! Bailee came with two doe kids so I milked in the morning and her kids got her all day, a milk share method I still use. We were soon getting more milk than the baby was drinking.
What to do with all this extra milk? We started to drink it and cook with it - raw goat milk reigned in our home. We bought another doe and a buck. The next year we were drowning in milk. I learned to make soaps and lotion. At first this was just for us to use and give as gifts but I eventually started selling it. This was where it all took off- the goats were making money now! (Not that you ever make money off of goats, they just help pay their own feed bills.)
As we fell in love with the goats so many aspects of our lives changed. We began to strive for a more sustainable life and to be more in tune with nature. We added rabbits and poultry for eggs, meat, and pelts. I began to grow and harvest herbs for salves, tinctures, and teas. I spent my evenings buried in books and my days in the barn or in the woods, and still do. They encouraged me to grow.
And so, Black Lotus Homestead came to be. We put down our roots in a patch of woods in the Sans Bois mountains of south-eastern Oklahoma. We learn every day and we strive to live with the land and not simply on it.
Our children are growing up in the midst of nature and learning important values- empathy, love, loss, and hard work. They have learned to plant and harvest. They tend the animals that eventually fill our freezer. They are part of this circle and are learning their place and respect for the world around them. I am overjoyed to be able to watch them grow and flourish, wildly as they were meant to be.
My goat journey has also led me to some amazing people that have shared their hard earned wisdom to mentor me in all things goat as well as in soap making. I have been blessed with true friendship that goes beyond goats and am happy to have made some very close friends and new family.
All of this came to be because of an old goat that we brought home... And in the end it always comes back to the goats. Many tough lessons have started in the barn and many tears have been shed there, but so have many celebrations and smiles. Whether a good day or a bad, I find myself going to sit with my girls to share some kisses and soothe my soul. I can't imagine my life without them.