What's YOUR Superpower?
UGH. Isn't she cute? The goat I mean, I hope I look OK too, but this story begins with a goat, like all good stories should. Her name is Snowflake, and she's entirely to blame for why we get introduced to crowds of people as "goat farmers" or why most of my friends' children don't know one adult from the next but they know me -the goat lady.
If you're going to have a superpower in life, you think you'd want it to be something cool like flying, or predicting the future, saving lives. But goat power is definitely a thing, or so I've come to learn.
I'm not any good at predicting the future, but where the goats have taken us thus far is pretty cool and it's all thanks to one special goat.
Snowflake the WOnder Goat
Snowflake was the daintiest, prettiest little black and white Nigerian Dwarf Goat baby. This 'kid' stole my heart and has been running with it ever since. Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with this goat. She is literally my best friend and we hang out all the time.
Well lucky for my husband-to-be, this goat got to be ring-bearer in our wedding. (I was totally OK with being upstaged under these circumstances, even though she also wore white!) Snowflake lived inside our house her first few months with us. Mostly potty trained (and I say mostly because goats really don't even seem to know when they're popping out goat berries) we had some of our best memories in the making.
As Office Goat, she would commandeer my desk chair. Occasionally she would get caught eating all the toilet paper.. And every so often you'd walk back in the room to see a goat on the kitchen counter, table, desk, you name it simply because they have these invisible springs or levitating ability which they of course have to use. We didn't need a paper shredder anymore, either. Suffice to say, House Goats can be very useful but they also keep you on your toes.
My husband and I agreed that Miss Snowflake would move to the barn contingent on bringing home some more goats to keep her company, as goats are herd animals and should have other goats to be with.
This was back in summer of 2016, and as I write this we enter into summer of 2019 (though it's of course storming here at the ranch today with snow at our neighbors above us and frost and fog everywhere..) we have a herd of about 70 miniature goats and I still say, "UGH. SHE'S SO CUTE! I LOVE HER!"every day, every time I see her. This little goat who was so darn awesome, funny, intelligent, emotional and loving that I became a Goat Lady.
The Power of Goats -- I don't think people really even know how awesome they are until given a chance to meet and hang out with a goat. So much of exposure to 'agriculture' now is limited to a county fair or petting zoo, food comes from a grocery store instead of a farmer from down the street, and there's this huge disconnect. When people come to goat yoga, or meet our goats through one of our other public outreach activities, people have an image in mind but they don't really know what to expect.
My goal is always to challenge that expectation. I've got this really cool, state of the art, patented idea too.... let the goats do their own thing. Whatever that is with each goat and they ALL have very different personalities, behaviors, likes, etc., and it's always 'just right' for what people actually need. Goats know, they really do seem to pick-up and have a high emotional intelligence, which I could probably write a whole other entry on (maybe I will).
But whatever people are going through -and we've all got something- some hardship, challenge, loss, that we're in the middle of, entering or coming out of and goats have a way of connecting and centering us. We joke that 'goat yoga' is the adult excuse to come hang out with goats, but the partnership of yoga and our miniature goats has really been a blessing and a quiet moment, or fun memory or a reward for battling and surviving a personal hardship for many people. Sometimes we have people celebrating a birthday or coming wedding, or gifting goat yoga to someone in their lives.
We've had a lot of challenges with the ranch, the goats, the goat yoga -you name it! There've been days I've wanted to throw in the towel and go find a 9 to 5 desk job with air conditioning and wear clothes that don't have holes, stains and smells from you-don't-even-want-to-ask, but it's the stories people tell me after the class as I chug another bottle of water to stay hydrated. The stories of cancer survivors, people battling depression, someone who's experienced a loss or simply breaking out and trying something new. We have best friends, moms and daughters, families, couples (yes guys do goat yoga too!) and for whatever the reason, we all come together and bond over goats. The healing, the connecting, whatever the goats provide for each person. That's Goat Power.
I do the goat yoga to feed my goats. But it's the connection of people and goats I get myself up bright and early to go ask the goats "Who wants to go to goat yoga?" and race them to the trailer to load up and make some new friends somewhere in California.