Exes and Does
Elle King takes a break from the pandemic and starts a "farmily."
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Elle King was living her dreams, touring the world as a musician for the last 10+ years. Suddenly, well, 2020 happened and the world shut down. She found herself at home for far longer than a weekend, much to the confusion of her two dogs. While Elle describes herself as a homebody, the tour bus was that home, not the house she owned. After a bit of reflection, Elle packed up her L.A. house and moved to Santa Fe.
I think that the shutdown of 2020 caused a bit of introspection to occur within many people. It was a great pause during a time when many people’s lives were filled to the brim. For Elle, she asked herself, “When the world wakes up again, what do I want to do and what kind of person do I want to be?” For her, the chaos of 2020 was a wake-up call to decide what was important and what she wanted to remain in her life. She had always dreamed of farm life and having animals, so Elle decided that now was the time to make that dream a reality.
With a new five-acre farm that had already been set up for horses, Elle was ready to start bringing in the animals. Her vision for the farm was to be a small-scale rescue operation for animals that needed a new home. Within days, Elle brought home two miniature donkeys and two bottle-baby goats. Because they were bottle babies, the Nigerian Dwarf goats stayed in the house. They thrived on her schedule. After their morning bottle, they all went outside to “potty.” They literally never peed in the house as long as Elle stuck to the schedule. Now that they are older, the goats reside in the barn.
At the time of this interview, Elle had been at her Santa Fe farm for six weeks. She has experienced a bit of the learning curve of caring for farm animals, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Elle appreciates how this has taught her about patience, love, and even caring for herself better. Nothing goes according to plan, but it has made her a softer person who is more grateful and humble. She has already experienced loss with a donkey that got sick and learned that sometimes you have to accept and let the animal pass peacefully. Sometimes, especially when things don’t go as planned, she enjoys running with all the outdoor animals together in their little arena.
Elle has been blessed with many wonderful friends who have helped her learn and grow in her capacity and knowledge for animal care. She connects best with those who like to own animals just for the pleasure of the animal’s company rather than the typical farm life of what the animal can produce. Nothing against those who farm because everyone needs to eat; they just aren’t her people. Kay, who introduced her to the two goats, is Elle’s go-to for advice especially in regards to goat care.
Elle’s view in regards to the animals on her farm is that they are not property. She is simply the caretaker of these animals as they all live together. She gives them unconditional love, and they return that love. Elle is very affectionate with her animals in giving hugs and kisses. They understand and trust her, and Elle believes that is in part because of the love that she shows. The love she offers to the animals in her care is the same love that Elle has always wanted to receive in her life. She calls the animals her “farmily” and wouldn’t have it any other way. This “farmily” currently includes three miniature donkeys (Sunny, Sully, and Fancy), two Nigerian Dwarf goats (Astro and Rocket), three dogs (Blue, Sugar, plus a new puppy), two rats, and a foster puppy that will eventually go to another home.
In her life as a musician, Elle did not have a lot of stability or structure. With touring, there was constant travel and shows, but not a set schedule. Now, her life revolves around caring for the animals and everything is structured. When the world wakes up again, she will go back on tour, but for now, she is enjoying farm life. While Elle is touring, the farm will be watched over by a close, trusted friend as well as Elle’s fiancé, Dan, who also loves all of the animals.
Elle was able to expand her dreams and bring more of them to life during the shutdown of 2020. If you were to really think about your life, who you are, and what you want to be, would you make changes, too? Whether life is chaotic or “normal,” what do you want to be on the other side? For Elle, she wants to be caring for the animals on her farm, between tours, of course.
Originally published in the March/April 2021 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.