the goat farm in our lives

A few days ago, we caught up with some friends on some news. We had a nice evening, chatted about this and that, until I asked about the wife’s job. She mentioned she’ll only do the job for a certain time anyway and when I asked about her plans afterwards, they looked at each other, then looked at us and told us their plan. They are going to buy a goat farm in Southern France and become farmers.


A goat farm? Southern France?

In case you are wondering: no, they don’t have any experiences with running a farm. Nor do they have any experience with goats. But they are going to do it anyway. Because it has been a dream of both of them. Even before they met, they dreamed about buying a farm one day. And that’s what they are doing now.

I mentioned that this sounds like a brave thing to do. They answered that, for them, it was an easy thing to do. A brave thing would be to stay here and continue to work in an environment where it is expected to collect overtime without ever taking it. Where it is expected to work until late evening although you have a family at home. Where it is expected to work on weekends, just like that, although again you have family at home. Where you get two-year contracts and never know where you’ll end up after that time. An environment where you are just seen as work power and not as human being anymore.

So, a goat farm. In Southern France.

That evening, Karsten and I had troubles falling asleep. Both of us were thinking about this goat farm. And about dreams. And both of us tried to think of something that would be the equivalent of a goat farm in our lives.

It’s not easy. I am still thinking about it and I guess I will be thinking for quite a while. I don’t have such a strong dream that I could immediately name. I always wanted to be a writer. But the reason why I don’t follow that dream is because I am not disciplined enough to sit down and write a book. Maybe that means I wouldn’t be a good writer anyway. After I did an internship at a beautiful open-air-museum in Northern Germany I decided that my dream job would be to be responsible for the interpretation of this museum. To live at the Baltic Sea, cycle to work every day and spend the work day in such a beautiful environment. To tell stories.

But is that comparable with a goat farm? I don’t think so. It’s not like giving up everything to start something completely new.

At the beginning of this year, a youtube video made it into the news. A student at a university poetry slam session with a text about the song “one day” (baby we’ll be old and think of all the stories that we could’ve told…). About the procrastination and the laziness of today’s generations. About the dreams that are never lived because no-one decides to follow them and because no-one dares to make mistakes.

There is nothing better to made you rethink your life than someone your age who buys a goat farm. But I still haven’t come up with a similar dream. I am not talking about traveling or about doing a bungee jump. I am talking about life-changing decisions. Life-changing decision that completely excite you because it’s something you always, always wanted to do.

And yes, of course is the little one a dream of us that came true. But that’s something different. You can’t build your whole happiness around a child, can you? After all, that’s pretty unfair towards the kid. And one day, the children will grow up and will life their own lives, and then what?

What if I don’t have a dream? Is that maybe a general problem of our generation? Are we a generation without dreams? Do too many young people nowadays resigne themselves to working on short contracts, to moving every second year, to long distant relationships because it’s barely possible to find a good job for both partners in the same city? Do too many people just accept to settle for the average? I would never agree to say that our life is dull. On the contrary, it is far from dull and I am very grateful for a lot of things. Yet why do I suddenly feel boring because of a goat farm?

I don’t have a big dream. Anyway, how often do you find mutual dreams? In a marriage, there is no use in following just one persons dream. What about the partner? I am pretty sure that, after a few years, the other one would be somehow frustrated because it’s not a mutual dream. But there is a mingle-mangle of general wishes. Like living near the sea. Raising the little one close to nature. Not feeling the need to count every penny. Being close to the family. Living a life with good friends. Having a job that allows you to spend at least half of your energy on your loved ones. And somehow making a difference.

So what do I do? Just wait for a life-changing opportunity and hope that I’ll recognise it as one when I see it?

So many questions just because of a goat farm…

What about you? Feel free to make use of the comment function this time! I would love to know your dream! What’s your goat farm?


About erdhummel

Familial entropy - that's an insight into our current life which has been fundamentally changed last summer when our daughter was born. Having studied in Cottbus, Germany, and worked/studied in Edinburgh, Scotland, we momentarily live in a small town in Switzerland where Karsten is trying to save the environment and Freddie is trying to save our sanity. Since there is not much time for elaborate, long emails while doing that, we thought a blog might be a good option to smuggle ourselves into the lifes of our friends.
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12 Responses to the goat farm in our lives

  1. eingehirner says:

    Well… my goat farm is, actually… a goat farm. Funny that you write about it. I’m constantly dreaming about leaving everything (except for Sonja and a few good friends) behind, go to the Tessin, buy a couple of houses close to Brione and establish a farm there. With goats and huge cows with horns and sheep and chicken, the small funny ones with bushy legs. Not alone, I’m not that unrealistic (or hermitic), which is, of course, one of the major obstacles of the dream. But it’s there and it keeps me fantasizing about life close to nature…

    • erdhummel says:

      Another goat farm? Maybe I should rethink the whole idea 😉 It does sound tempting though – would you run the farm in order to be self-sufficient or would you try to make an income? And is it a mutual dream? Regarding the loneliness….we would of course visit you! We already said that the little one is going to experience some kick-ass holidays on a goat farm in Southern France…

  2. A small house on an island in the Northern Sea or a small cafe with an integrated bookshop:-)) But to be honest I do not want to spoil your dreams but think about all the work and the intensive smell of a goat farm, no holidays because someone has to take care of the goats and when the little one is adolescent she might complain about living on a goat farm in the middle of nowhere:-))

    • erdhummel says:

      No, no, a goat farm is definitely not for me….I think you have to be very passionate about it in order to run it. But a bookshop with a café is always somehow on our mindes ever since we saw the one at my parents place. We even thought about opening one here, but I don’t think there would be enough people to make it profitable.

  3. D. says:

    “Just wait for a life-changing opportunity and hope that I’ll recognise it as one when I see it?”
    From the goat farm people in that story: well, that is basically what we did ;-), adding on “and when I’ve recognised it, take it and jump!”
    From my experience, a life dream develops over a long, long time before you even recognize it; and then a lot more time before you actually dare to make it real. It takes a LOT of accumulated momentum to get over the inertia and huge obstacles to start the parabolic goat farm (if you’re not from a goat farmer family in the first place, of course).
    Maybe the one thing that really helped me take that last step was to see others that had done it too: families with 2 kids (3 and 5 years, say), that had up and gone travelling around the world for 2 years on e-bikes. Including the countries where people say you shouldn’t go with kids. Farming families that were so happy, despite the workload (and yes, teenagers did complain about coming from a smelly farm, but later on confirmed that they wouldn’t have had it otherwise). Couples (maybe certain blog-writers will recognize themselves) that started a family despite the precariousness of living off one low, short-term salary. Friends who have started their own companies. People who dared something big for them, who dared to do what THEY wanted with their life. So maybe we just added our goat farm to that garden of “if they did it, you can do it too”.
    PS. I don’t think everyone has to do something big and crazy in their life for it to be fulfilling and have no regrets later on. That depends on each and everyone. We’re all different, and happiness has many different shapes, we never know exactly which (we don’t even know if the goat farm is going to be “it”). But one rule must apply to all I guess: if you’re NOT happy about something, then it’s up to you to do something about it: keep your eyes and heart open and trust yourself to change what needs changing.

    • erdhummel says:

      I think the last point is really important: if you are not happy, it’s time to change. And as a matter of fact, when I was outside with the little one yesterday, I suddenly thought that I am extremly happy at the moment, despite the low salary and a missing goat farm 🙂 Anyhow, it’s always nice to have a dream that you can dream and I am very, very glad that the two of you are fulfilling one. It does sound like a great adventure and I very much agree with your opinion regarding the work conditions in science. And apart from the kick-ass holidays we now know where to buy our trusted goat cheese 😉

  4. caro says:

    my dream right now: read a book (more than 1 page per day before I fall asleep), go for a run whenever I feel like it, watch the sunset (anywhere) on my own or with Felix (but without the kids) and three undisturbed hours in a row to clean our apartment floors. In the future, I think my dream wouldn’t change that much (apart from the floor cleaning).
    But a little piece of land in the Tessin would of course be great. @eingehirner: I recently saw a real estate add on, a small piece of land in Tessin (far off the beaten track) with three truly wonderfull, slighlty ramshackled rusticos on it. But we could not afford it on our own. So, if – in the furture – you are looking for a partner in crime to share a project you can aks us. Worth gifving it a try.

    • caro says:

      coming to think of it, three undisturbed minutes to write a comment without typos would be magical too…

    • eingehirner says:

      The three rustici you write of were not per chance these?
      I found them a few months ago and am still fantasizing about how great it would be to have them, repair and renovate them, with a nice little cast-iron oven and self-made furniture… chopping wood at a freezing -10°C on a blue winter morning… having a “fridge” that is essentially a chamber below a huge rock where an ice-cold streamlet passes through… to live on a self-sustaining, modest basis (with a small garden and the aforementioned goats — we have come to like the Nera Verzasca goats during our last holidays 😉 ), have a small restaurant with just a few home-made snacks for hikers passing by… I would, of course, constantly be busy inventing new ways to use water power for generating electricity, sawing wood, ploughing fields and whatever has been neglected to be made water-driven after the industrial revolution kicked in 😉

      Still, when I think about what it is that gives my life a meaning, it’s not the job (phew!). It’s our belief, our parish, the friends we have here, close to us, the good colleagues at work and the interconnections of them all. Leaving all that (except for the belief) behind for three rustici would mean that every part of it has faded away to a level where it’s of almost no relevance any more. We could have bought a beautiful, completely renovated rustico in Brione (Verzasca) a few months ago. We bought the second half of my mother’s flat instead to support her.

      And, for the sake of completeness: No, it’s not a mutual dream 😉 Not yet, at least. She hasn’t yet entered the “real world” outside university and government.

      • caro says:

        those are exactly the rustici I meant….I keep looking at the pictures….hoping that I will find something similiar once the children are grown up and Felix is retired. That is probably more realistical and actually we are very happy where we are right now. It is good to look for other options from time to time and always come to the conclusion that – for the moment – there is simply nothing more suitable than our present situation. Reading a good book is really all I could wish for at the moment….It is not being modest, it is being happy with what I have. (wow, isn’t that great?)(part of my happiness is not having to work in an office anymore but being at home with the kids. It is at times exhausting but I am not bothered by colleagues and feel no pressure to deliver and to compete.) Let’s talk again about the rustici in 20 years from now!

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