I made it to Washington! After four days on the road, two days in Seattle, and a short drive south, I made it to Left Foot Farms, where I’ll be spending the next two months as a farm intern.
I’m finishing up my second full day here, but it feels like I’ve been here so much longer. So much is done each day, and the day starts at 7:30 in the morning.
Although I’ve only been here for a little over 48 hours, already the farm is starting to feel homey.
The first night I got here, I was asked if I wanted to help bottle-feed the babies. Since there’s only one acceptable answer when asked if you want to bottle-feed baby goats, I jumped right in and helped.
The kids (as baby goats are called) are divided into 5 houses and pens depending on when they were born. We always start with house 1, which houses the youngest ones. The first night they all needed to be bottle fed by hand, but by today, they were using the trough (which holds the bottles for them to drink from) like the older kids.
I’ve already spent time in each of the kid pens during my downtime just watching and playing with the kids. I missed the last birth of the season by just a few days, so this is the last batch of kids to come through. They’ll still be here for a few more weeks, but they’re cutest when they’re young.
Ain’t no party like a muck party!
I got to experience mucking a stall today. All of the interns grabbed pitchforks and wheelbarrows and began hauling out the hay and poop that had built up on the stall floors. In case you need a visual, imagine about 4 inches of thick, poopy, mud covered in a layer of straw. And then picture it 5 times grosser than that. And don’t try to imagine the smell.
Not gonna lie, it was hard work. The muck was stubborn and didn’t want to come up since it was so thick and matted. The wheelbarrows were heavy to carry over to the dump pile. But despite all of this, it was surprisingly gratifying to see a clean pen with new hay when all was said and done. It was also physically gratifying to use my muscles—which TBH don’t get used nearly enough—and work up a good old-fashioned sweat. I’m sure I’ll have much more of that to come, especially since we’re tackling the barn next week.
What’s the point?
As I meet the other interns and spend time with them, I keep getting asked “What brought you here?” I probably should have thought of a better answer before I came out here since my first thought is “That’s a good question.”
If you know me at all, you know that I love goats. One of the other interns said that you’ll start getting tagged in all sorts of goat videos on Facebook after working here… well, too late. I’m already tagged in all of them.
My love of goats was a driving factor for why I wanted to come, but that alone isn’t enough for me to spend the summer on a goat farm across the country instead of getting a “real” internship like so many of my peers are doing. I came because I know it’ll be a good experience that I likely won’t have the chance to do at any other time in my life. I’m at a point where I’m between jobs and I don’t have many financial responsibilities to keep me back home.
This is so outside of my comfort zone—being outside, dealing with bugs, getting dirty—but I know I’m going to learn so much. Not just about raising goats and being a farmer, but about myself too. I don’t know what I’m going to learn, but hopefully by the end of these eight weeks I’ll find out.