The Year of the Goat (NonFiction)
By Margaret Hathaway
My daughter wants me to buy and maintain for her – a pygmy goat. I do not plan to do this, but I am considering adopting an animal at the zoo and putting it in her name. Secretly I think some of us have a calling to live on the land, just as many do for the sea. I recently read an article about a farmer who advertised for a young couple to assist him on his farm. His own family was not interested in farm life, but there is a growing population of non-farm explorers that are leaving the high-pressure life of big cities and turning to a less stressful life. In this article a young couple worked with the farmer, learning the daily routines of farm animals as well as sowing crops in exchange for room and board, all the meat and vegetables they could eat, and at the end of a contracted time – land for their own farm.
This same calling to the land was right for Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz. Like so many, they had had enough of city life and dreamed of a life raising goats. Margaret and Karl wanted to know how the lives of those who provide meat, dairy and produce differed from their own busy existence. Margaret had been a cookbook editor and preferred to be cooking. Karl was a lover of the animal kingdom. They began their journey by experimenting with goat cheese and milk and exploring their options for goat farming. In 2003 – the Chinese Year of the Goat, they gave up city life and began their adventure.
Margaret and Karl studied the art of making goat cheese – the American way. They really did their homework, visiting multiple farms, goat cheese makers, the International Goat Days Family Festival, the American Dairy Goat Association convention, and the Mountain Goat Ranch. Their adventures took them all over the United States where they also discovered just how much their decision to leave city life had led them to see America. After a full year for Goat 101, what did the author’s do with all their goat knowledge? You will have to read the book, preferably with good wine and some goat cheese and crackers.