We keep Christmas til February 2nd (Candlemas) here, and while the exuberance, so keen those first moments, days, and even weeks after the Nativity - has quieted, and while our oldest children have gone back to school after a long and lingering, generous break back here at home, we were recently blessed by a seeming belated Christmas gift.
Originally we had gotten our goats with the hope of having a source of rich goat's milk someday. A year and a half ago our breeding experiment didn't take, and so even though we took in a wee buckling at the end of this last spring with the hopes of trying to breed again at some point, the last several months our expectations have been reserved. How surprised we were two weeks ago when, lo! Rosie suddenly had a kid! Truly, we had only been watching her very roly-poly sister, and so the birth came as a shock - but naturally also as a welcomed surprise. It was a wonderful jolt into the natural order of things, and also an immediate reordering of our daily life - including the beautiful experience for most of my children to have witnessed the birth. Now, we have little Elanor, and have been offering continual prayers of thanksgiving that Our Lady saw fit to bless us with a relatively easy experience in expanding our little stock of creatures. Cotton, the other pregnant doe, seems ready to kid imminently, and prayers for vigilance and fortitude match our prayers of thanksgiving, since we are really in for it with kidding in the winter! Below freezing temperatures nights (and some days) recently have kept us on our toes, and now that it is a bit warmer it is rainy. But we are in Georgia after all, and their shed is quite cozy when they are all battened down, and me and the children are home days and watchful and ready to be on hand, so we are trustful in His providence.
It has been a lesson in humility and gratitude, for which we are always glad. We are grateful for simple, hard but good, work to do. Witnessing the miracle of life even in the animal realm is really something, and it is inspiring to see how this doe cares for her kid, and how the kid came into the world knowing how to live. She stays close to her mother, who nurtures her in every way, and clearly has an eye for enjoying her little world in every moment. These goats are mild-mannered, affectionate, stoic, interesting, lovely. In addition, there are few more adorable creatures than a baby goat, especially a tiny little Nigerian dwarf goat the size of a kitten, whose feet are made of springs! Please God we will have one or two more safely delivered any time, and please God we will continue to learn to be good stewards, and perhaps enjoy that milk in the next months - another something new we will have to learn to do. Too, may we keep Christmas in our hearts in the most important ways, and always be thankful for the treasures God affords us in this life!
On this little homestead our family aspires to work the land and hand on the Catholic Tradition, walking in wonder and learning to live by the fruits of our labor, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, who guides us to Him.