Here you go, trivia experts: What animal was first to be domesticated, is a great swimmer, climbs trees, doesn’t sleep (okay, just the wild ones don’t sleep), and has rectangular pupils?
The goat! I know, you think all they do is grow whiskers, eat tin cans, bleat loudly on TV commercials, and lower their heads to butt you one. But it turns out these wily creatures have an amazing story. And, after posting a blog about the sheep who showed up in my neighborhood last year to graze the meadows, I have to give equal time to this year’s grazers, a multi-color festival of grass chewers that I noticed now that Spring is here:
Check it out, one of them is even polka-dot printed:
Here’s another example of a polka dot goat:
Which tells you these are very fashion-forward animals, and are probably totally aware that their Cashmere and Angora fetch a pretty penny when made into upscale garments.
In fact, before coins came along, these relatives of cows and sheep were considered so valuable that they were traded for silver. Obviously you would need a very large wallet, possibly one with wheels, to make such transactions.
But get this: There are more than 600 million goats in the world, and about 300 varieties. And did you know that people drink more goats’ milk than cows’ milk-- and you can digest it in just 20 minutes, versus taking all day for cows’ milk?
Despite the distinctive odor of the non-neutered males, they’re actually one of the cleanest animals and fussiest eaters. They will climb trees for the best leaves,
and are actually credited with discovering coffee. Yessir, goat herders noticed how perky goats were after nibbling coffee beans, and the rest is history. But I am pretty sure Starbucks is not sending so much as one dollar in royalty payment to one goat.
Guess where the phrase, “get your goat” came from. You’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you. It turns out goats make very calming companions, so people kept them with racehorses, to calm them. Thus, if you steal the goat, you agitate the horse, and he won’t race well. Today, when you get someone’s goat, it means you irritate them.
Which, of course, makes me wonder: Do you think Starbucks "gets the goat"of a goat?
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