This weekend I had the privilege of sitting in on a #GOATYOGA session held by Half Pint Farm out here in Rochester, WA. Soft music played while I sat in various spots of the rustic barn, as sunlight peeked where it could- sometimes with a goat in my lap, other times smiling at the fun they were having. Goat yoga is becoming a very popular activity around the states, it provides a truly natural atmosphere along with a way to come out of your shell and let the little things go. The presence of animals provides a connection to nature itself during the practice, along with an interaction that is peaceful and positive. BEWARE HOWEVER: YOU MAY LEAVE CLASS WANTING TO GET A GOAT OF YOUR OWN. ❤
I had a chance to ask Rachael Heinrich of Half Pint Farms some questions about her start, the now and what we can anticipate in the future:
LLS: What made you decide to pursue goat yoga?
Rachael: Two summers ago, I was talking with other homesteaders on the Facebook page and someone mentioned goat yoga and how popular it was in Oregon. Someone mentioned my name and that I should do it. This was about the same time that we did our paperwork for Grace Be Given. We created Grace Be Given to help at risk youth and special needs kids. Animals are very therapeutic.
LLS: how long have you been living “the farm life?”
Rachael: Okay, I’m answering your questions, but I have to interject here with a back story. I have PTSD and I’m bipolar. Before my farm, it was hard to get out of bed sometimes. I was so depressed. Then we moved to Rochester on half an acre. I started thinking about things I could do with half an acre. I thought about gardening. And I thought about animals. And I narrowed it down: I wanted goats. And I narrowed it down to a miniature dairy goat, Nigerian Dwarves. I started getting excited and I got so excited, I planned it all on paper and made a homesteading binder. I felt like I had a purpose, something to look forward to. We got a barn, we dug up garden space, we fenced in barnyard. And then I got my first two bottle fed baby goats. I fell in love. That was seven years ago.
LLS: How do you think goats help others, for example in goat yoga and Grace Be Given?
Rachael: I get up on my hardest days bc I have the most loving animals waiting for me to care for them. And it feels good. It helps me. And I wish when I was a kid, I had that for me then. Something that made me feel special. So now fast forward to Grace Be Given. I want kids to have what I didn’t. Animals are therapy for the soul. There’s kids out there who can benefit from a goat hug (when they wrap their neck into yours). Kids who don’t know what nurturing is bc they’ve never been nurtured. And they can come to a farm, and learn to care for something that will love them back. It’s beautiful.
Goat Yoga is effective because one, what’s not fun about pogo stick baby goats bouncing from hay bales to your back? It’s entertaining! But they also touch the heart. They come to you with trust and of course, looking adorable. . .they ignite the nurturing spirit we have in us and we want to just love on them and accept their cuddles as they bond to you. It creates an impression on you that melts stress away, makes you feel valued, and puts you in the moment of now.
LLS: Tell us about Half Pint Farm, and what we can anticipate from you in our area!
Rachael: We named Half Pint Farm bc we are on a half acre, with half sized goats, and the first time I learned to milk, I got half a pint. It just fits us. We have chickens galore, for eggs and meat, and seven does (girl goats), two bucks (daddy goats), five bucklings (baby boys), five bee colonies, a huge garden, and my farm stand. We are expanding as I obtain my cottage license to bake and sell in the stand. We love our lifestyle. It’s work, but it’s rewarding!
Dreaming big, I would love for Grace Be Given to raise enough funds for a down payment on more acreage to expand the farm, so we can accommodate a growing number of people. What to expect from this new chapter? To make a difference, to be the change I want to see. If just a handful of people were benefited by Grace Be Given, I’d be okay with that.
The first round of classes are currently offered through June 7th, 2018 with a 15 person max each class. The price is $30 per class, and she has specials on packages— hurry and try it out while you can grab a spot!