Hello. My name is Casey and I am addicted to Craigslist.
Not all of Craigslist, mind you; just the “Farm and Garden” section has become my obsession. Chickens, goats, coops, tools, animal feed…you name it! I stay up late perusing the latest additions and day dreaming about how to work them into my homestead.
But really y’all, Craigslist is dangerous. I have found every one of our animals on that site and there is no rush like scouring ads, contacting sellers, and haggling for a good price. Combo deals are my forte. You are moving and selling your chickens? Throw in your coop and supplies and we have a deal. Selling off some of your flock? How much for all of them? Have two goats for sale? Welllll… I really just want the one, but I would hate to separate them (*wink-wink*).
You get the idea.
We had reluctantly decided not to breed Hazel or Babs this season. Our unsocialized Nigerian Dwarf goat and Pygmy cross (acquired off of Craiglist) still had trust issues and we would hate to breed them only to have catching and milking them be a nightmare. With that in mind we added a French Alpine goat named Ginger to the herd in hopes of getting our hands on the fresh raw goat’s milk that every homesteader dreams of. However after drooling endlessly over chèvre and eggnog recipes, we decided that one freshened goat just wasn’t going to be enough for us. After spending a lunch break scrolling through Craigslist with “include nearby areas” checked, I found a bred Nigerian Dwarf goat named Zoey outside of Knoxville who was due the month after Ginger. I made the call and set a time.
We woke up at dark thirty the next Saturday morning and drove almost two hours (much longer than Google had told me) to pick up our new herd member. Upon finally arriving at the farm, a llama formed our welcome committee with an aggressive spit in Michael’s face which helped make one decision: maybe we did not want our own llamas. But goats were a different story, especially after we were led into the barn where about 20 tiny goats eagerly awaited our arrival. Now, I know that you are thinking “tiny dwarf goats” is redundant, but in this case it was not. The adult goats only weighed about 30-40 pounds while the little goat kids that were running around averaged in the single digits. If you share my love of goats you have to understand; I was in goat heaven. Unlike when we first touched Hazel and Babs who let out unearthly screams, these goats were all very friendly and inquisitive.
First I met Zoey, a tricolor doe who was sweet enough, but not as pretty as Hazel. My eye was drawn to a particular grey and white goat who was standing on a milking stand observing her miniature peers flood us in search of treats. I had to ask and just my luck, she was not only a doe, but was bred as well. Our attention made a 180 shift as Michael also became smitten with this beautiful, dainty little goat. She must be ours. But even through our excitement, logic’s unwelcome whispers attempted to creep out of our subconscious. She was probably going to be too tiny to give us any significant amount of milk and isn’t that why we had driven the two hours to Tennessee? But it only took one look at those two toned horns and sweet demeanor before we couldn’t say no. Not being able to say no seems to be a recurring theme in our lives.
Gracie posing for the camera
The small barn was filled with movement. A Toggenburg buckling jumped in and out of the hay feeder while a doe tried to get into my pocket in search of treats. But it was the tiny, little, adorable baby goat nibbling at Michael’s socks that I couldn’t stop smiling at. Yes, we should have left; we had what we had come for, but I couldn’t help myself! Who, after all, could resist such adorable cuteness?? My brain was instantly flooded with itty bitty goat endorphins as I bent over to scoop up that precious baby goat and laughed as she tried to eat my hair. I put her down to pursue another little one, but she remained at my feet, bleating up at me for more love. As soon as Michael picked her up and she snuggled into his arms happily I knew all control had gone out of the window. It was almost as if I was having an out of body experience. I heard the owner refer to her as a five week old Nigerian Dwarf bottle baby. All logic ran quickly from my brain (we didn’t have bottles, or milk replacement, or have any experience with bottle babies) and I could only think of those precious little bleats and those big brown eyes. It should have been no surprise that the following words escaped my lips: “What would you take for both of them?” My beloved didn’t even have a chance to shoot me his sideways, “are you sure about this?” glance… or maybe I just wasn’t looking at him. Doesn’t matter, the results were the same.
How was I supposed to say no to this?
I blame it on biology. Studies show that women rate men with an affinity for babies as more masculine, sexier, and just overall more attractive. I am pretty sure that the research didn’t include baby goats, but that day in the barn may have just widened the breadth of that study. So I blame it on Michael that we drove home with me giggling in the passenger seat, Gracie (the grey and white doe) bleating in the back, and a very happy Dory (our new bottle baby) in my lap. We have wisely agreed to put on the animal purchasing brakes until spring. Even so, I am having Craigslist “farm & garden” withdrawals since I don’t even trust myself to check the postings, but eight chickens, five goats, three pigs, and two dogs is more than enough to keep us busy.
She is no bigger than the leaves she is eating!