A while ago I mentioned to Husband Brad that it would be nice to make our own goat cheese. Heck, I love Feta. I love any kind of cheese. So he said, sure, we can get a couple of goats and then have a virtual unlimited supply of cheese.
I didn’t want chickens, I didn’t want a pig, I didn’t want any cows. I wanted cute little goats. Goats that looked like this:
I told my best Washington friend, Bridget, that I was going to raise goats on our pasture, make goat cheese and sell it at the local farmers market. I spent days dreaming of the lovely fresh cheese combinations, dreaming of putting on my best Heidi apron, stirring a pot of fragrant milk with a well used wooden spoon, creative culinary perfection. Oh, I was going to make fresh herb goat cheese (tarragon and dill, basil and garlic, oregano and chili – oh the possibilities were endless!). Since we were going to have a blueberry “orchard” I thought that a blueberry chevre would be nice too.
Bridget promptly gifted me with Margaret Hathaway’s book “The Year of the Goat … 40,000 miles and the Quest for the Perfect Cheese.” I literally inhaled it.
But… wait… While I was glued to the pages, I came to a full, screeching stop. Goat milk just doesn’t free flow on its own. You actually have to breed the goats. They have to be pregnant, give birth, then will only produce milk for a certain time afterwards, when you have to them breed them again. I know, it sounds logical, but I don’t think linearly. I’m kinda all over the map with my thinking. Remember, born in the Bronx, no goats on the sidewalks of New York, just learning to negotiate this whole brave new world.
So – this meant that in addition to cute little nanny goats, I had to have a billy goat as well. Sounds good. Until I read further. In order to attract the nannies, billy goats lower their head and … pee on their beards. Seriously. They take leaks on themselves which I guess the nannies find fetching. Because of this, they smell, Hathaway said. I can imagine they smell like wet diapers that sit for months on end. In the rain. Getting more and more ripe as each day goes by. So I would be walking down to the pasture, and greeted with this …
This yellow bearded, smelly thing. My hopes were dashed. I wondered, could we just rent a billy goat for a day or two, then give it back? I wouldn’t need to be around it, just let it root around, do its thing, and go back to whence it came.
Brad said sure, no problem. “But you do know, Susan, that you are going to be the one milking the goats, don’t you?”
I hadn’t really thought about that. Because, well, all those kinds of things are usually Brad’s domain. Anything to do with animals’ nether regions was the realm of his expertise. Dogs have worms? Call Brad. I mean, he was formerly a chiropractor. He was used to touching alien flesh. Me, not at all. Not a hugger, and sometimes when I shake a stranger’s hand, all I can think about is what the hand had been doing prior to grasping mine. I then completely lose concentration and have to stop myself from running full throttle to the nearest bathroom sink. I write about shit. I don’t actually touch it.
I’m still marinating on this. Can I actually reach down and touch the breast of a goat, and yank on it until milk comes out? Can I do this without urping back up in my mouth?
I think maybe I’ll get some alpacas. Alpacas are cute! They make wool! I can sell the wool. And, as far as I know, they never urinate on themselves, or anyone else. The adventure will surely be a lot less messy with a few alpaca on the farm.