We got our first dairy goats in 2005. Since we were planning to breed them and register their kids with the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA), we needed to come up with a herd name. We hadn't launched Goat Milk Stuff at that point (it wasn't even a glimmer in our eye), so we didn't choose Goat Milk Stuff as our herd name.
Since we have a history of moving around, we didn’t want it to be geographically tied to a specific location or farm feature (like Walnut Grove) but instead would reflect our foundational values; things that wouldn’t change.
We turned to the Bible, since that is pretty foundational for us, and thought about the parts that really resonated with us. One of the verses that has been meaningful to our family is 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12.
"But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing."
That verse describes not only our family, but it also seems to go along with farming (or goat herding?) pretty well.
After all, with milking twice a day you’re kind of forced into a relatively quiet life, and goat care is definitely hands-on. With all of the feeding, cleaning, trimming, breeding, birthing, disbudding, tattooing, treating, oh- and milking, there’s precious little time for minding anyone else’s business. Of course, the end result is that we get great fertilizer for growing food in our garden and we get great milk, so for the most part we are not in any need.
While it is a great verse for guiding principles, 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 isn't necessarily helpful with developing a herd name. So we spent some time thinking about people in the Bible who actually lived according to those principles. Paul, the writer of the letter to the Thessalonians, came to mind, but so did a man who traveled with Paul - a man named Aquila.
He isn't mentioned often in the Bible, but from what the Bible does say about him, we know that Aquila was a strong man of God who loved his wife, worked hard with his hands, and was a vocal follower of Jesus.
Aquila shared a common vocation with the Apostle Paul:
"After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers." (Acts 18:1-3)
An interesting side note is that according to Bible.org:
"Since tents were such a prominent part of Hebrew life, Aquila’s parents chose to have their son learn this practical means of earning his livelihood. Their tents were made of rough goat’s hair fabric which took great skill to cut and sew properly. Aquila had acquired that skill and later taught it to his wife, and she happily assisted him in his business."
When we named our herd Aquila Acres, we didn't realize that goats were important for making tents, but it's an interesting connection, don't you think?
Aquila spent a lot of time with Paul and then accompanied Paul when he left for Syria.
"So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him." (Acts 18:18)
Aquila grew in his knowledge of the Lord Jesus and was not afraid to share the full truth of the gospel message.
"Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately." (Acts 18:24-26)
Another interesting note is that in part because of their diligence in accurately sharing "the way of God", Apollos apparently became quite an effective evangelist.
"Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.”" (1 Corinthians 1:12)
We also can relate to Aquila and Priscilla because we attend and host a home church as they did:
"The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house." (1 Corinthians 16:19)
They are also mentioned by Paul in the book of Romans:
"Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house." (Romans 16:3-5)
Aquila is mentioned one more time in the Bible. Shortly before his death, in the last chapter of his last book, Paul says:
"Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus." (2 Timothy 4:19)
Though Aquila is not mentioned often in the Bible, it is clear that he had a prominent role in the life of the Apostle Paul. Aquila and Priscilla risked their lives for his and they were strong Christians who were not afraid to speak up and help others to know Christ.
For those reasons and many others, we decided to use Aquila Acres as our ADGA herd name. Since we've been breeding Alpine dairy goats for so many years, there are hundreds of Aquila Acres dairy goats registered with ADGA.
Disclaimer: This information is provided as an example of how we personally raise goats at Goat Milk Stuff. We are not veterinarians and any information on the GMS website should not be taken as veterinary advice. Please seek the advice of a professional vet before making any changes to your herd management or individual treatment of your goat.