Friday, 13 July 2012

GOATS A PLENTY


Anyone who has known me for a long time will know that many years ago I kept goats myself. We drunk their milk, we made yogurt and cheese and yes we ate the meat. It is unfortunately impossible to have goats milk without the nanny goat first having kids, and of course it is not possible to keep all the male kids so they, like bull calves go for meat. I can remember a lot of years ago my city dwelling brother in law coming to stay and serving roast leg of goat with all the normal roasty trimmings. We said nothing. After the meal we asked him whether he had enjoyed his meal. His reply "It was the best piece of lamb I've ever tasted".

Proud 'Billy' with his girls
Well now we are living in Uzumlu we see goats all the time. In rural Turkey the keeping of goats is still widely practised, and most of the Turkish families in our village keep at least a couple of goats. These goats provide them with milk, meat and fibre and often they will make the milk into cheese which they then sell to supplement their income. It is very common to see them being walked along the hedgerows and scrub land or to see villagers collecting branches and forage to take back to their goats, which are often kept under or near the family home.

The kids go too

Larger herds are often taken up the foothills of the mountains early in the morning not returning again until early evening. They are accompanied by the goatherd who stays with them all day, gradually moving them along, before eventually bringing them back down the mountain again at night. You can hear the goatherd calling them and chivvying them along up in the mountain throughout the day, although you cannot see them as they are lost in the trees and too far away. But when early evening comes you will see the goatherd bringing them back down again to safety before night fall.

The stragglers on their way home

When we were first here we used to wonder what the funny noises were up in the hills next to the house. Now we know it is the goatherds up there with their goats.


A large herd heading up to summer grazing

We particularly like watching the really large herds being moved. In April they are moved up the mountains to graze on the mountainous shrub lands throughout the summer months and will be brought back down around October time. There will be herds of hundreds of goats and sheep being moved along the roads, together with several goatherds, donkeys carrying their belongings, and lots of dogs. We love to watch these go by our house, and watch them until they meander their way off into the distance.
Meandering up the road to mountain shrub lands

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