It was a couple of years before he died that my friend attempted to persuade David that it was essential that I have goats. I needed goats, he'd say. He told David that it would be charming for me to raise goats and thus spin my own yarn from their wool, and playing on my husband's great love for it, make my own delectable goat cheese. David's counter argument to this was to say that we could a) buy wool sweaters and socks made by someone else whenever we wanted new ones, and b) we could either buy ready-made goat cheese at our local market or if we were so inclined, could still make our own goat cheese from goat's milk bought in a carton from that same local market. Either way, all arguments concluded the same way. Goat related products could be easily had without what my friend considered the essential ingredient missing from our lives: the goats. Thank you very much.
Goats are gentle, comical, affectionate and intelligent creatures. They are simply a delight to be around. However, after giving this much thought, (both before and since my friend's death), I have come to the conclusion that I think I just like the idea of owning goats, not the actual practice of keeping said goats, which is a far less romantic reality. Goats are dirty little animals who require extensive and time-consuming grooming. And to be honest, they smell rather vile. I have also taken into consideration the fact that by no stretch of the imagination could I ever be considered a "morning person," thus making milking time for my prospective goats something of a problem. Me, up before the sun to gather their precious cheese-making milk? I think not. Now, if pygmy goats could be bred to happily and routinely shovel their own shit and smell like roses (or at the very least not nearly so nasty as they do now), that would be a nice start. But the real clincher for me would be the invention of a self-milking goat. I could go out to the barn around brunch time to visit my spotty little friends and they'd have their milk in buckets all ready for me. How much more perfect could it get?
Throughout our many years together, David has often waxed lyrical on his dream of retiring to the country (most likely in the hills of Vermont) to a small farm and raising a large flock of sheep. But that's another story entirely.