It wasn’t a midlife crisis that led to my becoming a goat farmer. Really, it wasn’t.
Last year, my twin sister’s family experienced something of a crisis–the sort of crisis your family hopes to never experience. They were far away in Northeast Arkansas, removed from their social support system, so I asked my twin if she wanted me to move to Arkansas…
And that’s how it started. My original plan was to move at the end of the school year, find an apartment that would let me have five cats and a turtle (if such a place exists), and get an Arkansas teaching license so I could continue my career as a high school English teacher.
What ended up happening was a conversation that went like this:
“You know,” said the twin, “You could just pull a trailer onto our property.”
I looked around their wooded lot and thought, I can make a trailer cute. Like a little gypsy wagon. Since I was expecting to have to pay at least a thousand dollars a month plus an ungodly pet deposit for an apartment in Jonesboro, getting a crappy trailer and making it cute (rent-free!) sounded like a plan.
My brother-in-law Ralphie had a better idea. “By the time you fix up a trailer, it would probably be just as cheap to build a cabin.”
I’m not sure he actually meant that he would do the cabin-building, but that is what happened. Or, I suppose it would be more accurate to say, that is what is happening. The cabin isn’t quite finished yet. Livable, but not finished. The cabin’s name is Leroy, by the way. It is a cabin worthy of a name.
Incidentally, fixing up a crappy trailer would have been cheaper.
Anyway, that’s how the cats and I ended up moving to Arkansas. As for the goats, Ralphie already had a couple of pet goats, and I already made my own soap (I have stupidly sensitive skin), so we decided to combine our hobbies. Which led to an actual soap-making business, Beulah Acres Soap. We have since expanded beyond just goat milk soap. We also make hemp oil soap, vegan soap, tea and coffee soap, and beer soap. Yes, beer soap is a thing.
And that is how I ended up living in a cabin in the woods, taking care of nine goats, and selling soap at craft fairs (and online!). Selling soap doesn’t quite pay the bills (and by “doesn’t quite” I actually mean “doesn’t even almost”), so I also teach a few classes at Arkansas State University. It’s a good life, and I am enjoying it immensely. It is much less quiet than I would have expected–as it turns out, goats are rather noisy, and there’s a set of much-used train tracks right across the road from my cabin. But I love it here–it was the right move for me.