First things first

The first contribution for qarrtsiluni’s Ekphrasis theme has been published. I think this will be a fun edition. I know if I weren’t an editor, I’d be submitting like a fiend. For example, here’s something I just wrote in response to this image.

Living in the country, you learn that you can let almost everything else go, but you must look after the roof. Not far from here there’s a junkyard that sprawls over a couple of hilly fields next to the highway — ranks of auto bodies, refrigerators, stoves and kitchen sinks. I like the idea of lining the highways with refuse, as a daily reminder of our profligate ways. Besides, it’s better than looking at crown vetch. But at this particular place, it’s the old barn that attracts attention, because you can see right through it. Most of the siding has been removed, presumably for some other building project, leaving little but the beams and a tarpaper roof. One can often spot a few goats inside, silhouetted against the sea of rusty metal. Once when we drove by, the entire herd was out front, clustered around an old chevy. One goat stood in the bed of the truck with his front hooves up on the roof of the cab, as if at a podium. He had the beard of prophet. It was a sunny day, with no hint of the wind that was sure to come.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

16 Comments


  1. I saw that very goat, looking out at the world from a kitchen door in Malone, New York. He was chewing, and no doubt had just gotten up from the table to give me a word of wisdom that, alas, I could not understand.

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  2. All this talk about goats is making me hungry. I am going over to La Providencia for lunch. They serve a great bowl of birria de chivo(goat stew) with nice warm hand-made tortillas.

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  3. You know, I’ve never had goat stew. I hear it’s very good.

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  4. I don’t even like the taste of goat cheese. For some reason everyone thinks it’s very chi-chi to put goat cheese in everything, like it’s a symbol of haute cuisine. “Goat cuisine” is more like it.

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  5. I’d rather be a scapegoat than a sacrificial lamb.

    I’m just sayin’….

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  6. Speaking of lamb I need to order some for the Easter feast.

    Dave goat meat is wonderful meat. I prefer a good birria. The meat is marinated and slow cooked for a long time. Goat has a similar taste to lamb but a little stronger. If there are any Mexican or Middle Eastern butcher shops around your neck of the woods they should have goat. If not try to find a farmer around you and buy the whole goat and have it butchered and dressed at a local locker.

    Hey Robin, goat cheese can take a little getting use to for some people. My wife and I like those 4 inch disk shaped caramels made from goats milk that you can buy at the grocery stores for 50 cents. Yummy!

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  7. Thanks for the tips, Fred. We do have an Amish farmer near us who sells goats, and I’ve often thought about having a goat roast. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends are vegetarian. I don’t think they’d believe me if I told them it was a form of tempeh. As for my extended family, some of those folks are picky eaters – I can’t even serve them venison.

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  8. One day I’ll probably go back to being a vegetarian. In the meantime goat meat is very good. Goat cheese, like Robin, I find a bit much. Goat cheese on pizza – who thought that really odd mixture up? – yuk! But it’s goat’s milk I really love. Coffee with milk fresh from a Portuguese goat at 4 am before going out to work in the fields… ah….

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  9. You work in the fields? Or you just dream about it? (Be careful what you wish for!)

    I don’t use many fancy cheeses, I’m afraid. My idea of a wild time is to grate a little bit of greek feta on top of the pizza toppings – with regular ol’ mozzarella underneath.

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  10. Lamb birria is fine — lamb is my favorite meat — but the idea of eating goat still sets me on edge. Maybe it’s all those tin cans they eat in cartoons. And the word “goat” sounds bony. Coffee with fresh goat’s milk…?? Arrgghh.

    Apparently it’s hard to find real barbacoa — Mexican style barbecued goat, including from the head, cooked in a pit dug out of the earth — around here, i.e. north of San Antonio. I wouldn’t know.

    I’ve had some good fancy-ass tacos that contained chevre, though.

    There’s something beautifully chilling and ghostly about a see-through house frame. Goats add an appropriately creepy touch. In short, I’m not a true caprid devotee.

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  11. Wow, I had no idea that goats could provoke such strong reactions in people! Maybe all that old devil imagery is still with us, buried however deep…

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  12. Hey, nice response, editor!

    Goat is OK but I wouldn’t order it on purpose. We had some at an Afghan restaurant not long ago — it’s strong, compared to lamb. But goat cheese – I love all kinds, from the dark yellowish hard ones to the creamy chèvres. — which are a far cry from the feeling of that photo.

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  13. No, there’s nothing especially creamy about that photo, I agree.

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