Friday, March 13, 2009
Stacking up the challenges
In April 1977 we were done with the birth of new babies, and had the chore of feeding them all. It was fun. But it had to be done 3 times a day. (It did taper off to 2 in May...)
The food wasn't up and edible yet, and wouldn't be for a couple more months. That meant we were eating from the store. And that meant the finances were getting scary.
And looking at the total number of does we suddenly had, with all the babies, we realized we had more mouths to feed than before, and the feed bill was already high.
It is expensive to raise a doeling from newborn till she starts producing a year or so later. She eats and grows and eats and grows, then gets bred, then eats and grows...
And we had 6.
So the bills were accumulating for feed and hay, and aside from the milk we could drink and sell, and the bucklings we had sold, nothing was coming in.
And it was stressful.
The interesting thing is that at no time did we decide to call it quits. The long-term outlook was good...
That was our thinking: sell milk and goats, eat from the garden, later have chickens and maybe ducks and geese and turkeys....
And we knew that this was a wholesome way to raise a family, and learning self-sufficiency seemed very important. With double-digit inflation and high gas prices, the national economy didn't seem as thought it could be trusted.
So in our minds our little project was full speed ahead.
But in our guts we experienced a fair amount of stress.
There was no question we were living a dream, but it verged on a nightmare every so often.
And I was having stress headaches, or possibly migraines, every 3 days, and that definitely took some of the fun out. Sick headaches that meant that lights and sounds were intolerable...
Still, I was happily pregnant with the baby due in November, and I felt really competent being able to carry 100 pound sacks of grain and do other heavy labor when I didn't have the headaches.
I was able to earn a little teaching TM residence courses, and every penny helped.
John was away at scientific conferences fairly often, and I found it stressful to have the three children, the six kids, and the five mother goats all to myself to care for.
That's not actually fair to the children: they milked every morning and night, and did a fair share of chores. I was just feeling a lot of ultimate responsibility on my shoulders, and they didn't seem as much up to that task as they were to carrying the feed sacks.
But the days were warming up, bringing cheery thoughts with them as well as green shoots in the garden. We were ever optimistic. We never once questioned...