One of the many things we learned after we were living in the house was that the water came from a spring up the hill from the house.(This is a spitting image of ours at the time.) A pipe ran from the spring into the house. Since we had acquired a mortgage from a local bank based on our ability to pay, there had been no home inspection. In retrospect, I might have worried about contamination, but I never gave it a thought. We were in the middle of the “back to the land” movement among everyone we knew, and it seemed very “authentic.”
The house came with several chickens and a nasty rooster. The chickens laid willy-nilly, so the eggs were of no use for eating. The rooster came at me several times, and I used to leave 2X4’s strategically around the yard to fend him off. Fortunately, he disappeared one night, whether by coyote or the neighbor, I never knew. A student of mine gave me a milk goat named Darla, and we kept her in what had been the outhouse over night. In the day we attached her to a rope on a pulley on a long clothesline so she could munch away. She gave prodigious amounts of milk morning and evening, and I learned to make goat cheese and goat yogurt in addition to drinking goat’s milk. I was nursing my daughter throughout this time, and it felt like my life was completely milkcentric.
Things were going all right, so I thought. But sadly, trouble was just under the surface. It began when the spring ran dry for the first time ever. Then a pack of wild dogs attacked and gravely injured Darla, who I eventually had to put down. Then our marriage came apart. I don’t write about living people without their express permission, so I will leave all the details out of this post. Suffice it to say, my time in the woods came to an end.
I was going to have to find a new place to live with my daughter. And I did.