Wednesday, May 7, 2008
"The Year of the Goat"
Yesterday I finished grad school, and today I finished reading The Year of the Goat. The book has been sitting on the lower shelf of the table next to my bed since I purchased it in August, and I've read Chapter 14 quite a few times. In the interest of full disclosure, author Margaret Hathaway and photographer Karl Schatz visited us in their travels, and she wrote about their visit to our farm in Chapter 14. Now that I've thought about it, I did take it out a few times over the winter holidays to read Chapter 14 to friends and family who visited us.
Now that I've read the whole book, I can say that I love it. I wish I would have taken their logical approach to homesteading before moving out here. Imagine researching something for a whole year and traveling all around the country before finally deciding if it was right for you. When I bought my first goats, I didn't even know that they were born with horns. I had never even milked a goat. I just knew that I loved goat cheese. But enough about me . . .
Margaret and Karl were bona fide New Yorkers when they decided to set off on a 40,000 mile trip to figure out if they should become homesteaders and goatherds. This book is a travelogue of places they went, the things they learned, and the cheese they ate.
Although I've had goats for six years now, I learned a lot. We have dairy goats, and it was interesting to learn about meat goats and pack goats -- far more interesting to read in Margaret's poetically-conversational style than in a how-to book of raising meat goats or packing with goats.
My favorite part of the whole book was the last 20 pages, in which I got teary-eyed several times. No, I'm not going to tell you what happens in those 20 pages, because (1) I don't want to ruin it for you, and (2) I couldn't do it justice. Margaret's narrative style makes the book what it is -- a lovely work of art.