Archive for 2011
Two years ago today, my heart changed forever.
We hadn’t planned on getting goats, so we had absolutely nothing prepared when one of P’s friends offered him a month-old kid*. You see, P had mentioned in passing several months prior that maybe someday we’d like to have a goat or two — and then as fate would have it, one of his friend’s does had triplets but only enough milk for two. Pasqualina was the runt, and his friend wasn’t much interested in bottle-feeding. P couldn’t say no.
After meeting Pasqualina, I ran to the pharmacy to buy a baby bottle, and that first day was one of the most challenging of my life. Pasqualina needed to eat, but she was terrified of me, and I ended up wearing *way* more milk than made it into Pasqualina’s kiddie tummy. I don’t think she drank any milk at all that first day — and barely any the second or third days either. I was so scared I’d show up one morning to find her collapsed in a heap.
Yes, she was a stubborn little thing, surely holding out for her biological ma’s udder, but I was her only choice — and she obviously wasn’t too happy about that. But then one magical day, she took the bottle.
I can’t describe how triumphant I felt when she finally stayed put in my lap and drank and drank and drank. And then fell asleep in my arms for cuteness effect.
I never imagined how intelligent, caring, cuddly, and downright fun goats could be — and I certainly never envisioned myself taking care of them. But life has a funny way of giving you what you need when you need it, and so I thank you, Pasqualina, for finding us and bringing us so much love and joy (and Pinta — last year at this time, Pasqualina was pregnant!).
I’ve always been an animal lover, but this kid? She’s something special.
*Since we don’t know her exact birthday, we celebrate today as if it were.
*The full post appears at Bleeding Espresso, but I thought my goat-loving friends would also enjoy so I’m mentioning it here as well.*
Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times), a film set in Calabria by director Michelangelo Frammartino, won the 2010 Europa Cinemas Label as Best European Film in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. From the trailer and clips I have seen, it beautifully captures the simplicity of life in this gorgeous land I’m proud to call home while effectively relating the universal idea that each of us has “four distinct lives [mineral, vegetable, animal, and man] and so we have to get to know ourselves four times” (my translation from the official trailer below).
The fact that the story revolves around a goatherd isn’t exactly lost on me either.
A description of the film from Tim Lloyd at AdelaideNow:
An old goatherd takes his flock to feed in the high pastures of Calabria then milks them at his stalls at a spectacular hilltop village, where the rhythm and ritual of life appears unchanged in centuries. His cure-all for his failing health is the blessed ash from ceremonies at the local church. He dies, and at his death a newborn goat takes its first breath. It suits the off-beat and curiously satisfying vision of the film, that the goatherd is resurrected as a goat, then as a tree, and eventually as a mineral.
Le Quattro Volte was also named one of the nine best films for 2011 by the Guardian. For more information, be sure to click over to Le Quattro Volte: Cannes Winner Beautifully Describes Calabrian (and Universal) Life — Without Words.
A while ago, I did a post at Bleeding Espresso called “You Know You’re in Italy When…” and readers had a great time with it, joining in and adding their own fabulous responses. I’m hoping some more of the same will happen with this post I like to call:
You Know You’re a Goat Maaaa When…
- You can’t find a piece of clothing without some piece of hay attached.
- You always go back for just a few more face scratches.
- You don’t even notice all the goat berries that surround you.
- You can carry on a full conversation while deftly swiping away your goat’s teeth from your shirt/shorts/pants/shoelaces/jacket.
- You know all your goat’s favorite songs.
- You take special care that your banana peels touch as few surfaces as possible because you know otherwise your goat won’t touch them.
- You plan your meals around what the goats would more prefer the scraps from.
- Your kids come first, period.
So, what say you? How does one know when she’s a goat maaaa?
(Or goat paaaa; we’re equal opportunity here!)
What do goats, particularly Italian goats note Pasqualina and Pinta, have to do with Valentine’s Day? So glad you asked!
Valentine’s Day as we know it has its roots in the ancient Pagan festival of Lupercalia, which was held in mid-February in Rome to purify the city, chase away evil, and also increase fertility. The celebration would begin when vestal virgins delivered cakes made from the first ears of grain of the previous year’s harvest to the cave where a She-Wolf had suckled Romulus and Remus, the brothers who (as the story goes) had founded Rome.
At this point, two naked young men proceeded to sacrifice a goat and a dog — notably this is the only Roman festival in which a goat was sacrificed. Then, according to The Pagan Library:
With the bloody knife, their foreheads were smeared with blood, then wiped clean with wool dipped in milk. The young men laughed and girded themselves in the skin of the sacrificed goat. Much feasting followed. Finally, using strips of the goat skin, the young men ran, each leading a group of priests, around the base of the hills of Rome, around the ancient sacred boundary of the old city called the pomarium. During this run, the women of the city would vie for the opportunity to be scourged by the young men as they ran by, some baring their flesh to get the best results of the fertility blessing (you can see why the Christian church tried so hard to get this ritual banned, but it was so popular that it continued for quite some time under the new regime.)
That’s right, folks! In ancient Rome, the goal of this mid-February event was not to see how many boxes of chocolates you’d get, what color roses you’d receive, or whether you’d get the best conversation heart message. Instead, the race was on to get whipped by a goat skin — and the gals weren’t afraid to go Mardi Gras style either (OK, they were probably baring arms and legs and not breasts, but still…).
So, as you can see, goats have a deeply rooted history with this day for lovers — although it isn’t a particularly pleasant one on the part of the goats. For this reason, I ask that you show your goaties a little extra love this Valentine’s Day, and if they happen to ask for smooches, well, I say give ‘em what they want.
By the way, if you’d like to honor the role goats have played in Valentine’s Days past, please consider giving the gift of a goat through Heifer International: “The gift of a dairy goat represents a lasting, meaningful way for you to help a little boy or girl on the other side of the world.”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Smooches to all!
P.S. Still want more trivia to impress your family and friends? Find out why the heart is a symbol of love and Valentine’s Day.
In case you don’t know, I happen to be one of the co-hosts of World Nutella Day, a celebration of the wonderful chocolate hazelnut spread that goes great with just about everything. The festivities will take place all day tomorrow, so if you’re interested in participating, head over to NutellaDay.com for some ideas.
I’ve been busy baking (recipe tomorrow at Bleeding Espresso), but I couldn’t resist taking the empty jar out to the girls for a photo op:
Don’t worry, I didn’t actually let them eat any Nutella as I doubt it would be very good for them (because it’s *so* good for us, right?!), but they did get some raisins and a banana as their rewards for being so darn photogenic.
Buon World Nutella Day!
I spotted this adorable snow goat on a Facebook friend’s page:
As you can see in the caption, this snow goat was made by Sun Painter in Spindale, NC, home of Spindale Dairy Goat Festival. Here are some highlights from last year’s festival and parade:
If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out, and tell them Michelle at Goat Berries sent you!
And remember if you spot any goats out and about, send them in for GoatSpotting!