The Hawk-Mo Hotwire

Micro Entrepreneurism, Simple Living & Art

Cart? Horse? What?

I think we often, in retrospect, realize, in this amazing homesteady type journey, long after the fact that we got the cart before the horse.  Most of the time it’s ok  because if we got the proverbial “cart” that means we’re committed to figuring out the “horse”.  And the “horse” ultimately provides something else we want either directly or indirectly. But still, whatever we’ve done is sorta bass ackwards.

For example. The chickens.  One could easily subsite chickens for “cart”, chicken coop for “horse”,  with the direct benefit of eggs and indirect benefit of poop.  Poop as it turns out is pretty darned important, maybe as even as important as eggs but I’m gonna leave that one for mud.  Having ordered and recieved baby chicks long before I ever figured what we were going to do for a chicken coop, we kept the babies inside. For a long time. Then in the garage. For a long time. So long that the chickens forever associated the garage with home and food  even though their horse trailer/chicken coop provided both.

Goats would be another one of those decisions where, at this point, we’d all say we put the cart before the horse.

Just for fun, we read the craigslist farm and garden section kinda regularly. Ya never know what you’re gonna find, right? One day, after our offer was accepted on this property and the mortgage process was on track, mud saw a couple of listings for preggo goats in Floyd.  She emailed me the link; I made contact. Three days later we’re driving through the gates of Well Fed farm, meeting the owners Aaron and Gabriel, and checkin’ out the goats. Man did they have a lot of goats.  The baby goats, were so cute and funny and adorable.  We made a handshake kinda deal for 5Wide,  her sister, Sista, and their babies, once they were born.  We also talked about buying Hazel and her two newborns – boy and girl that were born that morning.  Hazel was a first time mama and sorta feral so she’d be kinda hard to milk but she is pretty. 5W and Sista were old time gals and would be easy to milk. They are not so pretty in the goat scheme of things. We left without any goats.  We didn’t actually own this property yet.  We didn’t even know when our closing date was going to be so the smart thing to do was to wait to purchase goats till we had property.

That resolution lasted maybe three hours… We left the farm, ran errands in town, got a latte at the rooster and talked about the goats the entire time.  We were home all of 15 minutes when Mud proposed we make a temporary goat house using one of our dog crates, fence with the electric netting we got the chickens, and go get our goats. Short story. Within the hour we went and picked up Hazel and her two babies leaving 5W and sista for pickup after we purchased Hawkmo.

Our first goaties. You can see in the back our makeshift dog crate goat house.

Our first goaties. You can see in the back our makeshift dog crate goat house.

Fast forward.

We’ve had Hazel since before Thanksgiving. We picked up 5W, Sista and two more babies the second week of December.  Since we’ve been living at Hawkmo, the goats have been moved twice, lived inside the electric fence, and have free ranged the cabin meadow because we just hadn’t figured out the most practical solution for housing and foraging.  Hank made a portable goat milking stand last week and tested their titties to make sure they still had milk. They did. Yay.  It wasn’t too late in the game to start milking.

Mud’s reading one of Joel Salitin’s books – Salad Bar Beef. I gather from Mud, Joel talks a lot about pasture rotation, keeping things simple and using what you have on hand.  She had the epiphany to move the goats to the garden barn, make a real paddock for them around the barn so they would have a place to hang out while I had my java in the A.M., and create foraging areas in the old garden and around it. Two days later we’ve cleaned out the garden barn – another full trailer load of trash later and probably two bonfires of burnables.  The goats are now living in the barn. Our barn is really a barn.  The trash is gone. We’ve hung gates, made a hay feeder, and put bedding down for the goats.   We repurposed gates from our old garden in Floyd, scrap hog fence panel for the hay feeder, and used the tractor to move one of the many old hay rolls for bedding.

Goaties in the barn. Finally.

Goaties in the barn. Finally.

Next step, probably some minor changes cause the goats are smart. Then, fencing. At least the goaties have a nice home now.  Maybe we can try our hand at milking too, that ought to be another adventure.

The reality is that I’m pretty sure I’ve been doing this for a long time, this being the cart before the horse gig.  ( I wonder if it’s hereditary? )  I spent over $10K on a J24 sailboat  and used truck to haul it around when the kids and I moved to Florida in 1996.  I didn’t know how to sail, I’d been sailing. That’s it. The kids didnt’ know how to sail either. Then there was the whole truck with a clutch pulling a 30ft trailer  to master too. Which Zak helped with, despite him not knowing how to drive standard really. We did more than survive though, we had fun, we were challenged and most importantly, we were a team.

Acquiring the cart before the horse isn’t such a bad thing after all.  The key, I’ve decided is teamwork, a natural melding of our various skills and interests while problem solving and making the next leap.


2 comments on “Cart? Horse? What?

  1. Meka
    January 8, 2013

    As a cart-horser myself i must say it’s not a bad thing at all. What i see is that you set a fine example of not letting anything stop you and that anything is manageable. The working as a team is what is most important in my book. You know i think the world of you. I love Hawk- Mo posts but i really love Mamma Suze posts. Now off to buy my shack in Costa Rica. I’ve never been before but you buy the house before going right? Much love.

    • suze683
      January 9, 2013

      wowser meka, you never cease to make me smile 😀 i’m gonna have to add the phrase cart-horser to my dictionary, it’s a goodie. and as always you find the meat of the matter. lottsalove right back at ya.

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This entry was posted on January 7, 2013 by in Goats.

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