Nanny state – An Irishwoman’s Diary on the goats of California

All over San Francisco, small pockets of goats are munching down. They’re in demand as firefighting auxiliaries. Goats are “having a moment”, as we say.

All over San Francisco, small pockets of goats are munching down. They’re in demand as firefighting auxiliaries. Goats are “having a moment”, as we say.

 

Who ya gonna call? Yeah, goatbusters. Up in the Sierras, a goat-led attack against climate change has set the tiny Gold Rush town of Nevada City (population 3,000) abuzz.

Or ableat – meeeehhh – with a GoatFundMe page. But not, they hope, ablaze.

Goats are “having their moment,” as they say in fire-threatened California, which currently is flood, mudslide, avalanche, quake, “atmospheric river” and “Pineapple Express” drenched. Okay God, we get the hint. Give us a break!

Daringly, a herd of 150 pregnant nannies was recently kidnapped by a man naked but for his flag-printed underpants. That’s a feat. All were about to give birth, when the price soars from $150 per nanny. Several wandered onto a freeway, but were reported to be “friendly.” All over San Francisco small pockets of goats are munching down, and meeeehhh.

Goats are “having a moment” as we say, and not for petits crottins de chèvre or that delicious brown Norwegian cheese. They’re in demand as firefighting auxiliaries.

Nevada City natives were made increasingly aware of encroaching wildfires that feed on undergrowth recently. In the Paradise and Camp Fires nearby, 85 lives and 14,000 homes were incinerated in the worst fires in state history. Yosemite is annually ablaze.

Ex-mayor Reinette Senum brought in a herd of goats in a trial run, to chew, chomp, munch, lunch and ruminate through back gardens off its Victorian Main Street as fire-reducing troops.

Goat clearing might yet save this Gold Country gingerbread gem, argues Reinette on her GoatFundMe page.

Reinette is queen of her hometown, thanks to her dazzling CV as the first woman to walk and ski solo across Alaska, founder of the town’s farmers’ market and launcher of the post-carbon coalition. Her record is mixed. She’s also an anti-vaccinator and addicted to Facebook (puh-leeze...!). That’s a toxic blend that should also be munched, crunched, busted, dusted, and cleared.

Ironically, her tiny Gold Country town is currently snowed in and the nearby highway is off-limits because fist-fights have broken out among gas-desperate drivers.

I’ve said it before: Nevada City is a most unusual small town.

This former state capital – first of seven – is where notorious Lola Montez, born Maria Gilbert in Sligo, danced her notorious Spider Dance with her pet bear. You can still visit their cabin and her theatre. She enjoyed a rip-roaring long life, and not only because men outnumbered women by eight to one in the 1860s.

Chuck “Right Stuff” Yaeger lives here. Poet Gary Snyder too. My uncle and aunt retired here and that’s how I got to love it. I also came up when there was a major Yosemite fire and I was newly arrived fire rookie, looking down on it from a cropduster. Giant scarlet ribbons of extinguisher spooled out above firs and pines as the wild life thundered out. On the ground, Yosemite bugs stood at attention with wings folded, waiting for the command to flee.

* * * *

Some of us have tried milking goats and found it trickier than expected, despite their bijou size – tougher than cows, for instance. You thump udders to stimulate milk, but that’s after you catch the nanny. This being California, the nannies resist.

You can buy goats for $150 or rent some from (where else?) Amazon.

And though many folks hate goat milk with neurotic passion, it’s known to be extra good for you. If you chill the milk immediately it loses that barnyard taste – not that I mind.

My buddy the town bookseller took in a herd for a friend, and found them fun. “For a while I really enjoyed having them in my half acre of blackberries at the back. Better than horses, they just chew and chew and chew. I can’t have them in the house. Too undomesticated and smelly,” says Eric. But you can visit goat farms to check out kid season, or join GoatFundMe.

* * * *

Speaking of Facebook, we just read its founder Mark Zuckerberg held a goat roast because he likes this gamey meat that’s intensely loved or loathed. Commandante “Zuckergoat” celebrated his anniversary with a kid roast, says Rolling Stone.

Picture the youthful CEO chilling over a bulletproof espresso. He points at a kid chomping tranquilly away at his succulents. Cue guests arriving. “Alexa!” he yells. “Roast a goat!” Immediately Alexa fires lasers before PETA musters. My only other contact for this was the guy who built his garage turntable – a way to turn a Tesla round for faster exits. That part is true.

My latest passion is that insanely delicious Norwegian goat cheese tasting like cheddar fudge. It’s called GeyTorst (“Gay Toast“), and is made by reducing whey and is favoured by athletes. You try it and try to describe it!

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