Dreams, Goats, and Urban Farming
Urban Farm planning has been such a refreshing process. Working a full-time, demanding career means constantly carving out balance in my life. Admittedly, it has not been an easy thing for me to separate myself from my career all these years. I have let it define who I am. What I am realizing now is that it was not defining me…it has been consuming me. My new engagement into the future and longevity of my happiness and my lifestyle is beginning to take a shape. It may be at times exhausting, but I am working at it every moment I have available to me to do so.
Growing up I wanted to be a writer first, a veterinarian second, a painter third, a writer again, a fashion designer fourth, a costume designer fifth, and a farmer last. Sometimes not in this exact order but always some variation. The consistency that ran true through all of these passions is that I have always seen myself as a leader and as an innovator. I am tempted by the things that scare me, and latch on to that glimmer of hope which breeds persistence. At times this has been my greatest flaw. Other times, it has been my greatest success.
I like to dip into my memories, so I will share a quick vignette about my childhood. It was the first year we bred a goat. At the time my entire life consisted of reading books, riding horses, playing in the fields and woods with my neighbor Grace, keeping a little garden, cuddling chickens on the front porch, and feeding my goats. Just typing all of this out feels like a long exhale as vivid memories scatter like dandelion seeds in my mind. I can smell the grass stains on my jeans, hear the quiet munching of cud, taste the wad of hay I would often carry in my mouth.
I remember watching Pepper, our black Nigerian Dwarf, swell as the babies grew. It was mysterious to me and I often wondered what they did in her belly all day as they waited to be born. When her udder began to fill in I watched her demeanor change. She became more loving. She wanted to lean up against me when I sat in the goat stall and just be with me. I welcomed her, knowing that soon I would be milking her, somehow unaware of what a huge responsibility I had taken on for a young child. When Pepper delivered her babies, after the second one we thought that she was done. When the placenta didn’t pass, we knew there was still a final delivery to happen. When the delivery commenced, the tiniest baby goat I have ever seen to this day entered this world. She was a gray, black, and white doe and she was not breathing.
My mother, quick on her toes and full of compassion and love for animals, desperately tried to clear her airways and feel for a heartbeat. Having to be strong for us, she quietly and quickly resorted to delivering this tiny goat mouth to mouth. When Tinkerbell gave us her first breath there was a relief that I felt surround me like nothing I have ever felt before. I blame and celebrate this moment as the moment that I knew that life gives you what you put into it. If you give up, life gives up. If you persist, then life persists. I am ashamed that I have ignored this in my heart for the years that I have put my career ahead of my happiness. All the years that I avoided a pen and paper as if it would be painful.
Even though some days I feel like everyone is laughing at my dream, I will still push forward. The pressures of this world we have built often invent anxieties that hinder the growth of what is right and what is good. I share this openly because I know what it can be like to watch others who hide their vulnerabilities. I don't want to hide anymore or feel that I have to change my best qualities that don't fit into society's mold of who I "should" be. I want to live my life honestly, kindly, and empirically.
If you believe in something, you have to put the work in to make it happen. If you don’t persevere, then it will never have the chance to grow. There is a responsibility in all of us to live an ethical, meaningful, and productive life. We must use the gifts we find within ourselves and develop them or they will go to waste. Do not let fear pin you to the ground. This is me giving you permission to follow, find, and fulfill your dreams. Please don’t stop.