swim for the light

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(photo courtesy of Stephen Pruitt)

‘Why are you so into turtles?’ I get asked often. Instead of a traditional wedding ring, my wife and I chose turtle rings. We lived in Aspen when we were first married, and there was a Kieselstein-Cord shop there. Do you know this designer?

Known for alligator/crocodile belt buckles and other jewelry/paraphernalia, I was astounded to see they had turtles. Well, not real turtles. Turtle jewelry.

Who cares, eh? Well, when I was a teenager, I started collecting turtles. Again, not real turtles. Many of my friends have turtles (they’re great pets, incidentally), but I’ve got my hands full with Ella and Louis.

There are many more turtle-related stories I cold tell you, but I wouldn’t want to upset the goats.

Goats are a bit territorial and jealous by their very nature, you know? Here’s the ring. Nice, eh?

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All Things Goat

no photos please...goat experts don't deserve all this attention

I know it’s been mentioned here before, but I have somehow backed into being some sort of authority on goats. Stalling for time, I posted a photo of me with some goats and slapped the title ‘You Can’t Always Expect Goats‘ on it. Little did I know that after I pressed ‘publish’ I would be forever linked to the world of Capra aegagrus hircus. In case you haven’t been paying attention, that Latin for domestic goat.

There was swooping down from the hills and collapsing to the ground where I talked about fainting goats, and even before that was the above-mentioned blogpost that was buying time for a longer, more detailed blogpost. A bit like what I have here on offer today.

Having said all that, I can offer you just a bit more goat-related. For some reason, I found myself entering ‘goat‘ and ‘controversy‘ into a search engine. There was quite a lot about a goat controversy that made my eyes glaze over, but when I scrolled down far enough, I found All Things Goat, which I have to say is quite a sight for sore eyes.

These are my people. Imagine how much more influential I’ll be in goat-related topics now that I know I can lend all my useful expertise to the people over at All Things Goat: Exploring the world of Capra aegagrus hircus.

You can hardly wait. I can tell.

swooping down from the hills and collapsing to the ground

Bavarian goats only distantly related to Tennessee Fainting Goats

After the ‘man who sawed off his own foot’ post, I could probably take the rest of the week off. Until now, I haven’t been one of those ‘blog everyday’ sorts.

Yet sometimes the goings on in the world just keep serving up things that need to be mentioned. What could possibly follow up the excellence that was shy of working?

Well, if there is anything worthy, it’s this. You know I have a soft spot for goats. You do remember that, right? If you do an internet search with ‘you can’t always expect goats‘, the very first search term takes you to this here blog. It’s one of my many claims to fame.

What goat-related goodness do I have for your knowledge seeking pleasure? Well, this has has had my laughing all day, so I hope you find as much pleasure in it as I have. First of all, I have to tell you where I found it.

My local paper is the Süddeutsche Zeitung, and it’s regularly filled with not only excellent news, but curious things going on around Germany and the world. It’s an excellent paper, and the day I look forward to every week is Friday. It’s the day the Magazin comes out in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. They’ve come up with a very inventive name for this weekly magazine. They call it the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin.

I wish linking to it would help, but it’s behind a paywall. If you want to read the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, you either need the print edition or you need to pony up some cold, hard Geld (money). It’s not an exaggeration for me to say that nearly every week I want to talk about something I’ve found in this periodical.

It’s normally such a hassle to recreate whatever it is that I found there that I just give up at the mere thought of it. But this week, try as I might’ve, I just couldn’t keep all this mirth to myself.

The way our unique and curious goats are introduced in the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin is entertaining, so I’ll do my best to translate the better parts. The title of the article?

Doofe Ziege! (Stupid Goats!)

And it gets better (how could it not?). The subheading?

Würden Sie am liebsten manchmal umfallen, weil Ihnen alles zu viel ist? Es gibt ein Tier, das tut es einfach – nicht nur zu seinem Vorteil (‘Would you rather sometimes fall down because it’s all too much for you? There’s an animal that simply does so, and not always to his advantage‘)

Are you nearly as excited as I was when I read the above early this morning? What animal could they possibly be talking about? Well, it’s the Fainting Goat, of course. Sometimes called the Tennessee Fainting Goat. Here’s a YouTube video of a National Geographic story (that’s a reputable source…you can trust that Mike Daisey didn’t make this one up):

Here’s how Wikipedia describes this little marvel of creation:

‘A fainting goat is a breed of domestic goat whose muscles freeze for roughly 10 seconds when the goat is startled. Though painless, this generally results in the animal collapsing on its side. The characteristic is caused by a hereditary genetic disorder called myotonia congenita. When startled, younger goats will stiffen and fall over. Older goats learn to spread their legs or lean against something when startled, and often they continue to run about in an awkward, stiff-legged shuffle.

‘…Fainting goats have many other names, including Myotonic Goats, Tennessee (Meat) Goats, Nervous Goats, Stiff-leg Goats, Wooden-leg Goats, and Tennessee Fainting Goats’

As the original article states, the goat (any goat, not only the Fainting Goat) is one of the finest animals you can possibly have. Without exception. Goats are above-average animals by almost any standards. They eat a hell of a lot of grass or hay or whatever…actually, goats eats everything.

They eat all the grass then they move on and eat whatever else is in there path. It’s a good thing they’re such wonderful animals, because otherwise goat herders would simply loathe these little guys. The opposite is true. There’s no loathing…goat herders love their goats.

Goats can climb, there are less fires when goats are around (they love eating dry, flammable grass) and best of all? One goat provides even more milk than your average cow (once again: my source is the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin…I’m not making any of this stuff up).

But the best part about the goat? His character. Despite the fact that You Can’t Always Expect Goats, when you do have goats, you have personable and sturdy companions. An animal you can rely on.

With one glaring exception. Yes, you guessed it. The infamous Fainting Goat. These guys just don’t handle stress all that well. To be candid, they don’t handle stress at all. At the first sign of it, their little legs freeze up and they fall to the ground. Not the most advantageous response when being hunted by prey, is it?

The very best part of the original article I read was the way they described where this breed of goat came from. As is often the case, it probably wasn’t meant to be quite as comical in the original German, but it had me in stitches. Here’s how it was in the original:

‘Wo die verrückten Ziegen herkommen, das weiß man bis heute nicht so genau. Angeblich tauchten sie im 19. Jahrhundert in Tennessee auf, seitdem werden sie in den USA gezüchtet…’ (Where the mad goats come from is anyone’s guess. Allegedly, they appeared in Tennessee sometime in the Nineteenth Century and have been bred there ever since…)

The way it’s written evokes this scene of a herd of Fainting Goats coming over the horizon, swooping down into the as-yet-not-entirely-settled lowlands of Tennessee.

They cut a striking pose, don’t they?

Until something startles them, and the whole herd collapses to the ground. For a few tense moments, the swooping will have to wait.

you can’t always expect goats

lahikmajoe with goats

Have been toiling away at a serious blogpost, but it’s not ready to be thrown up on the old Dachshund Blog. Not yet anyway. So, I wanted something new to be here, and I decided on an old photo of me with some goats.

Who doesn’t like goats?

This was one of my more ridiculous facial hair styles, if you’d even call it that, and the goats seemed to be well aware of how preposterous that non-beard beard choice was.

This photo was taken at a Cheese Festival in Bad Tölz several years ago, and I was lucky enough to be there on business. Later this week, I’ll be at another food-related event and I think I might just subject you to some of my impressions of it. Doubt there’ll be goats, though.

No matter how good the event might be, you can’t always expect goats.