The goat way of life

Just the next morning after publishing the last post we got up very early to drive to the next village that the long-distance buses go through. I was giving a lift to Adam who has started his journey to Wiesentheid in Germany. He is now safe there and I believe that he will write about his experiences there extensively when he gets back. So for now I will concentrate on the days a week ago.

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Last Monday (so now almost two weeks ago) my cousin Matěj who came for the christening of his nephew and niece, gave us a lift to Prague on his way to the airport. Sadly he missed the flight and had to stay a night longer, on the other hand, after a long time we could talk for longer. The next day, after Matěj flew away we travelled to our friends living near the German borders on the south near the town Domažlice. Adam and his friend Adam used to sit together in the classroom. Adam and his wife Helena are now new parents of Alfréd but when we were there they were still expecting. We wanted to see them and their little goat farm before Alfréd comes to the world as we thought they will be too busy then.

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We got there in the early evening just when the sun was setting down. Their homestead is located in the former village now only having four (sorry with Alfréd five) residents. They moved there to a house that belonged to Helena’s grandmother. It is a nice house surrounded by meadows, fields and woods. And this is reflected in the pace of their life which is not rushed. Their plan is to run an goat farm producing milk and cheeses for sale. They now have ten lovely little Anglo-Numibian goats for a start.

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So beside helping a little with chopping some wood we have had a chance going twice a day (well we skipped the morning session most of the time) for an eating walk with the goats. This goes like this – the goats are impatiently waiting for you to come and open the gate, then they run out only to stop after few meters for something little to snack, then they follow you very slowly stopping every now and then for some more to nibble on resulting in you waiting for them to finish. But this is really nice way to go for a walk, you have enough, or I would say even plenty of, time to admire the nature around and talk about anything. I would only point out that it is not that the goat are hungry that they eat all the way, they eat all day on their pasture and their bellies are already full to the point of bursting when you are going for the walk (and they already have one such eating walk behind from the morning). Then when they are returning back they run as fast as they can to be the first one in the cote where they start eating the hay and straw. Because Adam and Helena are so nice to them they then are given some wheat and voilà they eat it, they even fight for it to have more.

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But as you can see the goats are truly cute and clever animals and we really like them. Adam and Helena are planning on getting ten more goats. In order to do so they will need to extend the size of their pastures and also meadows for some hay in the winter. This, however, proves to be harder than expected. Most of the land in the region is owned by two agro-magnates. Especially one of them is of interest to Adam and Helena as he owns the land around their homestead. This person gets funds from EU and other funding bodies such as the ministry of agriculture for keeping the tradition of agriculture in that region. In practice this is nonsense. As Adam complaint not on one occasion he gets the money for cutting the grass twice a year and taking it away. But instead he hardly does it once. And he refuses to give up on the land and sell it to them, even only few hectares for in his view the selling price of this land is not worthy as much as the funding he would loose. Adam and Helena even thought about buying some other land near by and exchange it with this agro-magnate. But the people are trying to discourage, almost scare, them of being farmers. So for now they will have to keep searching for some alternative. But in any case they are hoping that by next winter their business will be slowly taking off. Well we can’t wait to have some cheese from them.

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