Happy Monday to everyone! It is February and the promise of an early spring is on the horizon. I took a few special moments to really notice the smell on the air this morning as I walked back in from the barn. I adore this pre-awakening time of year. When you know the forest and all of nature will begin to reawaken with new life and purpose. For all of those who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), this is not a great time of year for you. On the milder days when the wind blows, take a moment to notice what carries on the breezes. Have hope, for this too shall pass and spring is right around the corner :)
This week for GotW, I have decided to share the story of Aphrodite. It is February after all and why not feature the Goddess of Love this month? Besides all that, "Dite" as she is known as mostly, has a pretty cool and interesting story. She is one of the few who have actually left my herd, lived in a few different places, with a few different people, and returned home to her roots again. Not many people move around that much in their loves, but Dite here has. The life journey this little goat has been on has given her a very unique wisdom and insight. I am pleased to share her story with you all.
Sky River Meadows Aphrodite was born a triplet in the summer of 2014. Her sister and brother were amongst the last babies born that season and as such they always got the most attention. These three were all so very different from each other in every way. Dite was very quiet, more aloof and shyer than her siblings. She was always very cuddly and affectionate though and was often found curled up in someone's lap. In 2014 we had the largest kidding season ever. It was the year my late husband Geordon passed away, and even though he was gone, we still had a LOT of bred does to give birth - 14 to be exact! 2014 saw 32 babies born to Sky River Meadows. It was an insane time on the farm that required the hands of a lot of volunteers. After Geordon's death, I really had to rethink the farm's plan and direction. I also had to think about how much I could manage on my own and I suddenly had a lot more goats than I was prepared for. That meant the sad reality of having to sell many goats that we otherwise perhaps would have kept. The entire process of downsizing the herd in 2014 was fairly traumatic for me. Saying good bye to many beloved goats that I had long term goals for was really hard. Saying good-bye to Aphrodite was really hard for both me and my son. As a farmer, I take finding new homes for my animals very seriously. I do my due diligence. I check people out. Even with the best background checks though, sometimes people can still manage to deceive you. I am not proud to say that the original home I found for Dite turned out to be far less than ideal. The poor girl lived in some rough conditions for a bit there. Very fortunately for Dite, she was not meant to stay there. I was contacted and informed that she was being sold. At that time I was still unable to add another mouth to feed at home, I was able however to find her a wonderful new second home.
In Dites second home, she held the very important position of "Pet Goat" to a lovely young lady. She was loved on, cared for, fed very well and had life all figured out for a bit there. As does tend to happen though, sometimes in life we have to make a choice or a change that affects other aspects of our lives. For this young lady and Dite, a choice had to be made that would result in their separation. As sad as this may sound, it is actually OK. This allowed me to bring our beloved Dite back home to her herd after all these years, AND her human visits her as often as she can. I'd say that's a pretty awesome outcome all around <3 Now we can all enjoy the love and gifts this special goat has to offer.
When I agreed to bring Dite back into the herd after such a long absence, I really didn't know what to expect from the herd. Would they welcome her back? Would they remember her? I really had no idea what to expect. She had a lot of family in the herd including her triplet sister, BUT, she had been gone for 4.5 years. What happened that first night when I brought her back in with the main herd was incredible actually. She and her sister walked right up to each other. They checked each other out just like any other long lost siblings would do after a long separation. The majority of the herd knew who she was and seemed to have no issue with allowing her back. There was very little to no fighting at all. When doing bed checks that first night I found Aphrodite sleeping beside her sister Soleil. My heart absolutely melted for them. If I hadn't witnessed it all with my own eyes I would have never believed it. In all honesty though, Dite has been back for a year now and the transition was as easy as if she never left. Even more incredible though. Dite didn't return alone, she actually came with a friend. A wether named Ozzy was her companion and needed to come with her. I'll spare a lot of the details for Oz's own story, but the herd accepted him immediately as well. A total stranger goat. Born and raised on a different farm, exposed to different things, raised a different way, you would think there would be transition issues. There wasn't. Perhaps Oz was accepted on Dite's word? I He was challenged by the other wethers but only mildly at best. The whole herd was chill with them both! Dite and Oz are definitely besties though. They are always together (and are often in the company of a third goat who recently joined us from the same farm...another story for another GotW post).
Dite definitely has a place in the working therapy herd here. She still enjoys meeting new people and often comes to share some quiet comforting space with people. She and her sister are both very good as sharing "grandmother energy" which could be partly why they are both so special to me. You know that safe, loving feeling you can only get from a Grandmother? Like a nice warm hug :) I am just so happy to have Dite back here on the farm. Just last night, I was personally blessed with some great advice from her that really helped me to find a solution to a common dilemma in my daily routine. She was seriously helpful. Thanks Dite! XOXO
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