We are unschoolers. Simply put, we learn by doing what we love. Every single day.
And for the past six months, a very large part of that learning, albeit not always out of love but neccesity, has been centered around raising four Nubian goat kids and a livestock guardian pup.
This new adventure did not come on a whim. For months, we, as a family, carefully contemplated all the pros and cons, researched, and respectfully considered each other’s input on the matter.
From barn design, breed research, bookkeeping and bottle feeding to animal dynamics, discipline, disease and death.
The learning has been deep, imperfect and, at times, painful.
For months there were multiple feedings required each day. Bottles had to be washed. A lot. Milk had to be warmed. Even on those nights when we’ve just wanted to put on our pjs and call it a day, the babies needed our time and attention.
Stalls had to be mucked. Sleepovers away from home had to be rescheduled, for duty calls. One more trip to the feed store because we miscalculated on a bag or two. Stormy days when we reeeeeally didn’t want to trudge back to the barnyard and lock them up for the night. Seemingly endless trips to pick up milk for the growing babies.
Shots and medicines to give. And yes, even death…
Raising these goats was seeming more like scutwork, rather than fun.
Scutwork is defined as “trivial, unrewarding, tedious, dirty, and disagreeable chores; usually inherent in the operations of a larger project.” I. Love. That.
And I’ve come to learn that the soul grabbers are almost always intertwined with the seemingly mundane. The scutwork.
Like the deep, belly laughter radiating from a girl frolicking with her goat. The goat kids and human kids calling to and answering each other in a language perfected. Heads butted and hearts stolen. The immense knowledge that is gained through experience. Patience and gratitude and grace and mercy abounding through the actions of sisters working together. The selflessness of girls who let their momma sleep in from farm chores on Sunday mornings. And so much more…
Scutwork, in its most authentic form, is LIFE.
And when we, with humble hearts wide open, take this gift of every day life – the trivial, unrewarding, tedious, dirty, and disagreeable – seeing each and every moment as an opportunity to grow in awareness of a God that marvels in His creation… well… then we are truly living.
And truly learning.