You all have checked out the website of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, right? I spent a lot of time perusing it late last night, largely due to my recent obsession with keeping goats. The ALBC keeps records of which livestock breeds are dwindling in numbers and growing closer to extinction. There are 11 kinds of livestock on the watch lists and 5 categories for each kind: study, recovering, watch, threatened, and critical. There are only two goat breeds on the critical list, the Arapawa and the San Clemente (groovy California island goats) - both are charming and I am considering becoming a goat breeder just to preserve the lineage of each. Geez.
What sent me over the edge into goat lust, you ask? I checked out this book from the library: Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese, by Brad Kessler. It is dedicated to possibly my favorite author, Annie Dillard, so I knew what I was in for as soon as I read the dedication. The book is about Kessler's move with his photographer wife away from New York City to a farm in Vermont, where they herd goats and make cheese. It's positively dreamy.
Recently, I got a bad diagnosis on the health of my lower back and I'm going to have to sort of change my plans so that I don't cripple myself. My plans were still pretty atmospheric, so it's not going to be a huge sacrifice - especially because of goats. Goats, you see, come in many sizes. There are such things as mini milking goats, which have a weight that will be manageable to me in the future. I may move more towards maneuvering mini milkers.