One small assignment I decided to do for my senior project, was watch some goat videos, and reflect on them, not only on what is going on in the video, but also use that reflection time to look at what I will be doing with my goats in the future. So below are four that I found really interesting, with my reflections, and one poem (I couldn’t help myself). Watch, read, enjoy, and comment below
I was so excited to learn that this video and farm was based in Provence France, because at one point my father lived there and I went to visit him when I was maybe around 12 or 13. Granted we didn’t see any goat farms and I was really picky back then, so most likely didn’t try any of the cheeses, but I do remember the beautiful country side. The short video shows this rare breed of goat, being let out to forage and eat the native plants, one of witch is an herb that is later used in making a soft raw milk cheese. This really started me thinking about the near future, when Nymeria will be milking and what wild herbs she might get into, that I could later use in cheese making, or pair with when done. For my last semester I’ll be working out in the woods during woodlot, and we will be in an area with alot of cedar to cut for fence posts. As we were walking through our cutting spot I couldn’t get out of me head how cool it would be to bring the goats down there to brows on the cedar. Jasper Hill makes a cheese wrapped in it, but I don’t think they let their cows eat it (even if they would on thier own). I’m excited about the cedar this winter, and then come spring the ramps spring up, and feeding Nymeria a hand full of those to spice up the milk before cheese. The terroir of Provence they said in the video was found in that cheese, soon I will have the terroir of Sterling in mine.
This video, has no narrative, and is only a minute long, and I listened to it more then watched it, but I still wanted to reflect on the sound.
The giggle of bells,
The clacking of horns on another
The clipping of hooves on hard dirt
It’s the sounds of a goat herd coming up the mountain
The sounds of a nanny goat crying to be milked,
I hear her bell miles down the field
I hear her bell down the city street
I hear her bell, but when I look up she is not there
She is on the green pasture miles away
But I milked her once, warm udder in hand
Herd her cry once, calling for me
Held her close once, as she pushed new life into an old world
I fed her, and in return she fed me, from body and spirit she fed me,
Now when I hear a bell, I look up waiting,
Waiting, for horns to peak over the hill,
The clipping of hooves over hard packed earth.
The opposite of the Alpine video, this one was silent, showing a group of men putting gas masks of goats, and milking one, during WWI. First its so funny that is takes four guys to milk one goat, two to hold her, one to milk, and one to hold off the baby (not very well). Not to mention the other two to supervise. Anyway, I think a lot of us forget about the animals that get involved in wars, and the very important part they play. Seeing this, I realized I might have known about the horses used in WWI, how that was the last time horses were ever used in combat, and when I was 12 I read a book “War Horse” about a horses perspective of WWI, but I never thought about the livestock. Where did this goat come from, and how did she get there? The Golden Guernsey goats where hidden from the invading Nazi army in WWII. This video says nothing about who these solders are, or where they are. Even this short silent video gets one thinking about the unsung hero’s, that fed an entire army.
I started reading and writing about the domestication of goats, around the same time I watched this video. At one point I was reading in Brad Kessler’s book, Goat song, and he made a reference to Fridrich Engles idea that with the breaking of the bull to plow, came with in the “pivotal point in human society”. That with the domestication of animals came with it a class system. I guess I always understood that, but this video about livestock’s role in parts of Africa like Ethiopia, really put the visual to it. Here in the United states, especially where I grew up in the city, someone’s wealth is measured by maybe education, and material ownership or expensive goods, not by how many cows you own. In fact most people in the city probably have never seen a cow before. The way these animals play such an important part in the cultures depicted in this video was fascinating, not only can livestock show wealth like in the case of the dairy farmer, but also show poverty. The type of animal seemed to matter as well, those that where rich seemed to mostly own cattle, and they were all men, where women and the poor, where seen mostly with goats and sheep. I forget where I read this, but when cattle started to become domesticated, they became the bearers of wealth status, and the goat was the poor mans cow. Not only did animals show wealth, but connection with other people, they said many discussions between elders, or family different family groups, wouldn’t be started until after a trading of animals. This connection to me shows, the dependency our ancestors all had at one point, even those of the city slickers I grew up with.