Our last farm on this six-month journey across North America was Lockewood Acres. Nestled between San Franscisco and Sacramento, Lockewood Acres is a small organic farm home to goats, sheep, heritage chickens, fruits and vegetables.
Lockewood Acres introduced us to the joys and pains of raising goats. Each morning and evening we would milk the goats and in between we would spend as much time as possible feeding them leftover produce, petting their cute little bodies and letting them rub their heads against our legs. The majority of our Thanksgiving Day was spent drinking Bloody Mary’s in the goat’s pen. I really cannot overstate how much we loved the goats.
One goat in particular, Noel, was a shy, black and white darling who didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the goats. While we were hand feeding the others fresh fruit, Noel would sulk in the back, never quite in reach of the food. At times, we would craft elaborate distractions that would allow us to reach Noel without the others butting in. Yet, she never seemed to want any of the fruits and vegetables that we had to offer. For the first week, we took pity on adorable Noel and fathomed that she must be at the very bottom of the goat totem pole – what other reason could there be for her un-goatlike behavior?
As the sun was setting one evening, Chase and I entered the pen and set about feeding them dinner. Each day we feed them alfalfa in the morning and oats in the evening, and it is all stored in a garage at the center of their pen. Goats are smart creatures, and the minute we start walking towards the food garage, they all start crowding around, waiting for us to pull up the door, so they can hop onto the bales of food and eat as much as possible before we manage to wrangle them back outside.
Tonight was different story, from the moment we stepped into the pen, Noel had an evil look in her eye. She wasn’t in the back of the herd any longer, she was stomping towards the front and looking right at me. I didn’t notice her at first, because I was too consumed with the love that they other goats were giving us, but, in an instant, I was knocked backwards as her head rammed into my leg. I thought she might be playing at first, but she came at me again, this time even harder. I panicked and shouted for Chase, who came running and pulled her back. After we fed everyone, she seemed to be back to her normal, quiet self and we went to bed thinking she must have just had a bad day.
Early the next morning, we entered the pen again, but this time I kept Chase by my side. I wasn’t about to be attacked by Noel again. She immediately started towards me and head butted me with a greater force than yesterday. This time, Chase witnessed it from the start and we came to the conclusion that not only was Noel crazy, she was jealous. She must have fallen in love with Chase at some point and saw me as a threat to her happiness. Either way, we got out of that pen quick and decided to avoid Noel for the rest of our stay at Lockewood Acres.
Our time at Lockewood Acres ended rather abruptly when we began to feel the itch of a Minnesota Christmas. The nights were getting cold, even in California, and while it was a lovely sight to see Christmas lights wrapped around citrus trees to keep them from freezing, it only increased our desire for snow. After only two weeks, we packed up our car for the last time and headed east. Within two hours, we reached the snow that we were so eagerly anticipating, but this time it covered the Sierra Nevada’s with a blizzard that forced us to turn around and head south. We drove across the deserts of California, sped across Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa until we reached our home, Minnesota. We were welcomed with negative 30 degree weather and three feet of snow. It felt good to be home.