June and her goats: pt. 1
One of the more gratifying responses to this book … was that goat people … came out of the woodwork … and shared the same somewhat breathless secret: that living with ruminants somehow changed their lives; they felt less alienated in the world and more at peace – especially when they raised their own food.
from the ‘Afterword’ to Brad Kessler’s book: Goat Song
June came home from a lesson with her piano tutor and friend, Catherine, clutching a new paperback that Catherine and her husband, Pat, had given her. Brad Kessler, the author, is as devoted to his dairy goats as June is to hers.
I’ve read Goat Song too, and recently I took it off the bookshelf again, looking for inspiration for this week’s post. Opening it at the last page, I was hoping to be inspired by a concluding flourish; I found it in the penultimate paragraph. Yes, I thought, yes, that is June’s “somewhat breathless secret”. To personalise Brad’s observation: “Living with goats somehow changed June’s life; she felt less alienated in the world and more at peace – especially when she raised her own food”.
Straight off, after I’d read the paragraph to her, she told me that she remained steadfast in her belief that she couldn’t see the point in, or imagine, living somewhere like Little Owl Gully unless she was milking a cow or goats. A sentiment that the author of Goat Song puts like this in the next and final paragraph of his ‘Afterword’:
.. the link to animals who directly feed us, and thus to the feeling humans had for millenia of a deep communion to place and its animals …
“The link to animals who directly feed us” couldn’t be more direct: June milking, through all four seasons, anywhere from two to four goats by hand; the four does put in kid by our own buck and giving birth in one of our goat houses or paddocks; well-grown young wethers slaughtered on the property by me to put meat on our table.
A leg of goat provided the two of us with enough meat for five dinners last week. Yoghurt and milk are breakfast staples; we each have a large glass of milk at lunchtime and June has a small glass before bed; June’s just finished making another batch of feta cheese. And when we chill out of a Saturday night, June will have a large glass of Kahlua and milk while watching a DVD or a movie we’ve recorded off the telly. (Several steps too far to put milk in my whisky!)
At this time of year, to live and breathe goats leaves her particularly “breathless”: Minnie had a doeling 7 days ago and Delores had a doeling and a buck kid 5 days ago. They feature in next Monday’s story: June and her goats: Pt. 2.
Note: June prefers goats, but we have had house cows in the past as well.
That’s all on modern-day homesteading at Little Owl Gully till next Monday’s post: June and her goats: Pt. 2. Thanks for your company. Bye for now.