Darcy was the very first mammal we got on our farm. Well, her and her daughter Precious. But Precious was not actually very precious in the way of being well-loved. She was more like get-my-head-stuck-in-the-fence-everyday-Precious. We should have named her Ridiculous, really.
But Darcy has been the favorite from the start. When I’d walk into the barn, she’d step her front legs up on the fence and look right into my eyes to greet me. And then one time, she furrowed her lips up and honest to goodness, she smiled at me. I smiled back, and we both just stood there- smiling.
She’s the goat that let me learn how to milk an animal. And what I have discovered since, is that she is maybe more one-of-a-kind than I had ever fully understood. This past year I had such a hard time milking the other two goats, that Darcy shined bright every single day, making sure I didn’t loose my milk-maid self-esteem.
I think what I liked most about Darcy is that she seemed to genuinely like us. We had this mutual affection thing going and I really loved having her around.
By now, you can probably tell I’m having trouble telling this story and what tense I should use. That’s because this fall Rory let me know we needed to find a new home for Darcy. She was getting older and we didn’t want to breed her again. It was time to put her out to pasture, but the trouble was, we didn’t have any pasture to spare. We had too many animals and were starting in on our winter hay already. So Rory said she needed to find a new home.
This news didn’t go over very well with me for a very long time. Like months. But then Rory posted that she was free to a good home to our local Sustainable Farming group and a nearby Cidery said they’d be happy to take her. I was so thrilled, because I have known of this Cidery for a long time, and they wanted her simply as another farm animal for visitors to enjoy on their farm. A perfect fit for friendly Darcy.
So we dropped her off on a Saturday afternoon, enjoyed hot apple cider and a live band that played great music, walked around the orchard and said goodbye with joy and gladness for this happy new home. The horses next door took to her right away, and when we left she was contentedly grazing in a large pasture.
I didn’t shed a tear! I was actually happy for her, and all the apple cores and mush that would certainly fill her days…
But then, on that Wednesday, Rory got a call from the Cidery that Darcy was having trouble getting up, something we had seen recently but attributed to her getting older. On Thursday he got a call that Darcy had died.
I still cannot believe it! I actually wasn’t around these two days, so I wasn’t with Rory and Ivar when they went to go pick her back up and bury her back on our farm. Which makes the whole thing feel surreal and crazy. I mean, I just did not see this ending coming! If we had known she was this close to the end, we would never have brought her to a new home.
So Darcy is gone. Grazing green pastures somewhere else. It turns out we were dropping her off for her hospice care…we just didn’t know it.
Last year someone asked me what my favorite animal was on our farm. I said Darcy. She said, “a what?” I said, “A Darcy. She’s a goat.” “So you like goats?” “Well, mostly I just really like Darcy.”
I have no idea how to wrap this up, other than to say, if you ever get a goat, I hope you get a goat just like Darcy.