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Cary Brunswick

February 7, 2009

Outwitted by a gruff Billy the goat

She'd been checking around about getting organic, unpasteurized whole milk (you know, from the cow to you), wanting to find a source a bit closer to Oneonta. Finally, she heard back from a farmer not far away.

He said his farm couldn't sell unprocessed milk because the Health Department or Ag and Markets or somebody would come down on him. He apologized and suggested that we ``just get a goat.''

We looked at each other for a moment, thinking of all the other critters in the neighborhood and how a goat would hardly be noticed among the deer, groundhogs, opossum, squirrels, skunks and raccoons.

Then it hit us. No, not goats, as the memories simultaneously erupted of our weeklong goat-sitting experience years ago. Since then, neither of us has had much of a taste for goat milk or cheese.

It was early summer on the Niagara peninsula when a fellow grad student asked if we wanted to stay at their farm for a week while they had a little vacation.

All we had to do, she said, was look after the chickens and goats, keep the gardens watered if necessary and enjoy the country living. Sounded great. We were excited and looked forward to a week of relaxation.

Our elation began to wane, however, when we made a ``here's what you have to do'' visit to the farm a few days before we moved in.

It was a beautiful spot, on a private country road, with an old farmhouse, a barn, chicken coop and a few other outbuildings. There were flower gardens, blooming shrubs and a vegetable plot.

And there were two goats, a she and a billy, who had a pen, a goat house and their run of part of the barn.

After a slow stroll around the property, Adele introduced us to the goats. They were no trouble, she said, but Gert had an infected teat, so we had to apply a salve to it each night. That was no trouble, she said, except that Billy didn't like people messin' with his mate.

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Cary Brunswick

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