A ‘mid-life crisis’ commonly consists of a speedy red Camaro, a colorful new hair-do or an over-the-top vacation home, but Tazewell resident Beth Bohnert is a different breed.
“My mom accused me of having a mid-life crisis, doing what we did, and I told her that if this is a mid-life crisis, everybody should have one because it’s really good,” said Bohnert.
Bohnert left her corporate job of 27 years in Pennsylvania to more to the hills of eastern Tennessee and start a goat farm.
She is now the caretaker of 26 goats, five sheep, four angora rabbits, a llama, a miniature horse, a standard horse, several chickens, guineas, ducks and a few barn cats and dogs.
Bohnert didn’t get goats on a whim. She and her husband of 27 years, Brett, studied and researched goats for years, however Bohnert believes there is no substitute for hands-on learning.
“You know, it’s weird. I never thought I would raise goats because they’re funny looking little farm creatures, but I used cashmere a lot with knitting and now I just love them,” said Bohnert.
Bohnert is a knitter and wanted to grow her own fiber to spin and knit with so she considered raising rabbits, goats and sheep.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is there is a ton to learn about farming and getting into farming has been a huge learning experience. I really love it,” said Bohnert.
She often looks to members of the community to learn from including veterinarians, fellow farmers and neighbors.
“Having animals is not like having children because they can tell you they’re not feeling well, but with animals you have to kind of notice how they’re acting and read their signs by watching them,” said Bohnert.
Due to her work ethic and new-found way of life, Bohnert has been referred to as a ‘pioneer’, however she does not see herself that way.
“I love this lifestyle I’m living and I feel like I was born to live on a farm. I never had the opportunity until now and I love it, but when I step outside myself and take a look from maybe an outsiders perspective I can see why they think that,” said Bohnert.
She believes she is working much harder now for much less pay, but she also sees happiness within herself that she didn’t have before.
Bohnert is the owner of Mountain Hollow Farm and Gift Shop. More information can be found by searching for them on Facebook.
Kelsey Gerhardt may be reached at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardmbdn.