I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Since the beginning, I planned to focus on goats here although it was obvious we would have a variety of farm animals to satisfy my borderline psychotic need to be surrounded by lots, and lots, and lots of furry (or feathered) creatures. Goats probably were the priority since I knew them already, having grown up with a few backyard pets. Their small stature makes them more manageable for a lady person, like myself, and their antics – while intolerable to some – are endearing to me. The Latin name for goat, caprine, is the root of words related to dancing, or acting with abandon like: capriole and capricious. Does caper derive from caprine? A word that means both “playful leap or hop” and “a frivolous escapade or prank” (thanks dictionary.com!) likely comes from the infamous goat. It’s no wonder that even the oldest images of a devil show a cloven-hoofed, horned creature. Goats are animals people either love or hate: there’s rarely any middle ground on emotion towards this particular livestock.
I’ve got cows too, and as we plan our dairy, it’s evident cows will play a larger then expected role in the business and the cheese production for a variety of reasons. Although I’ve always loved my Dexter cattle, it’s Winnie the Jersey cow that is making me a cow convert with her affection and gentle, ambling presence, and minimal drama (compared to – you guessed it – the goats). I recently interviewed a goat farm for an article, a family that’s bred dairy goats for 30 years. Although they are ready to downsize, the owner (Mary) told me she can’t bear a life without them, even with all their noise and histrionics. “Who else will scream at me at the fence in the morning?!” she asked with complete seriousness. I know a lot of people who are staunchly opposed to goats for personal or anecdotal reasons. I respect that, but, like Mary the goat farmer, I know there will always be goats here. Because no matter how frustrating, ornery, pushy, or jumpy my goats can be, they approach absolutely everything with curiosity and – well – joy. Total joy. There’s a whole lot to love about that.