This weeks GotW features a very special little lady with a very interesting back story. Not only is this cutey seemingly always smiling, but she is just an all around, easy going, happy go lucky goat. Let me introduce you all to Everlily Maples Tootsie Roll, otherwise known around here as "Toots". This beautiful gold and white doe has the palest blue eyes, and same loving temperament that many have come to know as being out of our dearest Carmela - Toots' Grandmother. For Toot's story we need to back up a wee bit to get some history, for those who haven't been following the farm for as long. I am sure no one minds another great goat story anyways right? ;)
In 2014 after Geordon passed away, my son and I had to come to terms with the fact that we would need to sell some of our animals in order to make ends meet. As a family we had all worked hard to build our herd and we had many beloved animals that we were very attached to. Of course as it goes, the ones we were most attached to were the same ones that other people were interested in purchasing. Let me tell you how much THAT reality sucked, when it did sink in. Life throws us curve balls no matter how much we plan or prepare. My new reality at that time was that I would have to sell animals that I had intended to keep forever, just to pay the bills and survive another winter. For anyone who knows me, or has spent any time with me and my herd, you will know how strong my bond to them is. These are not animals to me, nor will they ever be. They are family. My new reality was having to sell my family? It is a bit hard for me to go back there, but it is very fulfilling to see how far we've come.
So how does Toots come into all this? As I was saying, we had to sell some goats. One of the ones that we decided to let go of was Sky River Meadows Neveah (Toots' mom and our miracle baby and Jr Res Champion). To say this was a hard choice is an understatement. We only knew that the best option was to find the best home possible for our dear Neveah, and so we did. Neveah joined a small family homestead called Everlily Maples. We were overjoyed that we were still able to see Neveah and visit with her at shows, and in two years we would hopefully receive a daughter back out of Neveah to add to our herd. In comes Tootsie Roll!!! Toots was born May 1, 2017. Although our plans and direction for the farm had changed greatly by the time, I was thrilled to be getting a another baby goat!! And she was so cute too!!! Courtesy of Everlily Maples - Here are Toots baby photos.
So, moving forward to 2020 and some very interesting observations I have made since Toots joined us. Being born and raised on another farm, to a different family, with their own methods, you would think there would have been some transitional issues adding her to our herd. Once again, as we have witnessed many times - there was no transition. There was the usual sniffing and vague threats of head-butting. It seemed that the entire herd knew who she was and where she came from. To make things even odder, that first night with the herd she was found sleeping next to Carmela (her grandmother) and Soleil (her older sister), as well as other extended family members. After many years of this it still amazes me every time I see evidence of bonds that we clearly can't see. How do they know who their family is automatically? They are not all white and gold, so this isn't a colour issue either. It is an incredible observation though and one I would love to find the answers to one day. If anyone wants to share theories or thoughts on this, hit me up! :)
Since we have arrived at our new location, the herd has really settled into a solid routine. Last year we bred Toots for the first time and she gave birth to a single kid, that we have retained as a wether and named Tommen. Both Toots and Tommen work within the therapeutic herd and Tommen has even ventured indoors with our Goats on the Go! program. If you think about my breeding program and the genetics that I specifically chose to create this herd, Toots is a great example of how solid this genetic temperament is. It can leave the herd and be mixed with other lines, and come back to us, fitting right in as if they were born here. No matter what causes this magic to work, I am just so grateful each and every day for them all. Being surrounded by so much unconditional love each and every day sure does have a way of filling your soul! As we venture out into the world offering our animal programs and introducing the herd into more places, it is comforting to know that I am always surrounded by my family and friends - two legged and four - the best support a girl could have and ever ask for <3