I raise goats as a hobby
The last few posts I was on on a roll talking about anxiety and stress relief. I have outlines for at least a couple more blogs. But I found myself taking longer…
And longer to put anything down in writing. I’m pretty good about posting every couple of weeks or so. But this was just getting hard.
Then I realized I was letting something happen that I always tell my patients they need to avoid. I had let everything become a chore.
Usually I enjoy my work and my writing. But not so much right then
Everything felt like a ‘have to,’ not a ‘want to.’
This dragging my heels told me it was time to mix things up. And so today, I’m going to talk
about hobbies. Mine in particular.
You don’t have time for a hobby
Or if you do, you don’t have the space, the money, the will, the…
But this is one time that I’m going to say that sometimes you just have to.
I’m sympathetic when people tell me they don’t take the bubble bath “me time” that they’re told about so often ( https://www.sjdpsych.com/post/how-to-make-time-for-you;
https://www.sjdpsych.com/post/reduce-stress-and-anxiety-with-mental-imagery ). To do that you have to steal some time, get the bath going, lock the door (yeah, right, when the screaming you’re hearing says somebody’s murdering your two year old), and a lot of other things.
But for a hobby, it can be minutes.
For years when my kids were little my hobby was fifteen minutes before I went to sleep. Fluff up the pillows, get under the blankets, and read. It was a winding down time plus I could lose myself in whatever novel had come my way.
Now I have more time to spend on things other than work.
Don’t turn your hobby into your job
How often have you gone into a small shop somewhere and really admired what you saw?
Maybe some fabulous handmade wooden toys and Christmas decorations? Beautiful,
artistically flowing candles? Homemade Ice cream and candies?
They’re all so lovely. You know the owners have real pride in their products.
But there’s no one else in the store. And if there are, you and everybody else buy one little thing, then won’t be back for several months.
You know the people who have put so much love and sweat into making their dream happen can’t be making much money. You admire them for the effort. But you also know they can’t possibly be making a living doing what they’re doing.
I’ve talked to many of these people. The wooden toys or candies and candles were something they’d always enjoyed doing. They just wanted to keep on doing it.
So they decided to do it full time.
And now they don’t enjoy it anymore. Now it’s work.
They have to sell. They have to advertise. They have to please the public. The have to make or do the things people want to spend money for.
Of course this isn’t the way it always goes. Sometimes it works out that these very talented people can turn their much treasured arts and crafts into a living.
But the statistics just aren’t there. Most will find they can barely eke out enough to get by and have to do something else. Plus, they don’t love what they’re doing anymore.
A hobby is to love and enjoy
With my sons out of the house and more time to spare, now my hobby is raising dwarf goats for milk production.
Most of the year they’re just fun. I don’t milk them year round like big milk producers do. I just let them dry off and munch grass for nine months.
Then for three months I milk the new moms, make yogurt, cheese and butter and can what's left over.
Like many people who raise goats, I breed them to kid in the spring. (You probably already know this, but just in case… baby goats are ‘kids’ so ‘kidding season’ is the time of year that
the baby goats arrive).
Not only is this safer for the babies: the worst of the weather is over, the sun is warmer and they’ll be able to get out to pasture soon.
But this is also that time when the roads are mud pits ready to eat your axles and before you can find your garden because it’s under three feet of snow. In other words, winter play is over and spring fun hasn’t begun.
So now is time for milking.
The baby goats sound like children
It’s truly amazing how much a baby goat sounds like a small child. They say “mama” just the way a little human would.
In the morning when I go to the barn I turn on folk music. I keep the volume down and look for instrumentals only – no words to disturb me while I let my mind wander.
The does (pronounced like a female deer) know both the milking order and the reward for getting up on the milk stand. Each gets her bucket of grain to eat slowly while I listen to the “whoosh” of milk as it shoots into the jar.
I talk to the does. Someone told me this made them produce more milk just to please me. I don’t believe this, but it makes me feel good to tell them about what I’ll be doing for the day and what I’ll use the milk for.
The sun will be up, but the air will be cold. March and April in Wisconsin aren’t exactly the warmest times of the year.
But the babies will be warm enough next to the moms. And the mosquitos and flies won’t have made an appearance, so leisure time in the barn isn’t a hassle.
I can smile and take deep breaths. I don't have to be at the office until later so I can just enjoy this time talking to the animals and bringing home milks for my family.
It doesn't matter what someone else enjoys
Just out of curiosity, I read up on some types of hobbies. There are truly more than you could possibly count, because there are many different people who love many different things.
The important thing is to find something you can enjoy in your leisure time. it could mean just a few minutes a day, like my novel reading time.
Or it could be for all afternoon when you don't want to have to do anything else.
A hobby is for you. If you don't have a hobby, think of some things you've always wanted to do and try it.
It doesn't have to be time away from everybody else. It could be whittling wood while the kids read to you, or kneading flour while they tell you about their day.
It just has to be something that can put a smile on your face and help you be at ease for just a little while per day.
If you don't have a hobby, think about some things you've wanted to try. Too time consuming? Do some reading about it when the kids are in bed. Educate yourself on what it will take.
But in the meantime, take fifteen minutes out of the day to do only what you want to do. We can all find that much time.
Baby goat by Capering Pines farm
Person reading by @CanStockPhoto Inc/digitalgenetics
Candy counter by @CanStockPhoto Inc/JackF
Twin baby goats by Capering Pines farm
Kneading bread by @CanStockPhoto Inc/alexbowmore