Goats' Play

Published in Highlights

Vrisnik is a village which boasts many animals. Goats are among the most prized.

Goats enjoying freedom in Vrisnik Goats enjoying freedom in Vrisnik Photo Vivian Grisogono

Vrisnik is one of Hvar Island's lovely inland villages. It is compact, and rises up a hillside, with the parish church of St. Anthony the Abbot at its peak. St. Anthony's feast day is January 17th, so the village holds an annual celebration in his honour on or around this date. Vrisnik is about 173 m above sea level, so most parts of the village command beautiful views over the surrounding countryside.

Among its many attractions, Vrisnik is a village which is unusually full of animals, some of them quite exotic. Some twenty-five years ago when I first arrived in Pitve, goats used to wander around the village freely, performing the useful service of keeping the garden tidy in my absence. Nowadays, only a few households have goats, and they no longer roam free, but are contained within gardens and enclosures. So it was a welcome surprise to come across a couple of young goats having an early evening outing in one of the upper reaches of Vrisnik, making the most of the vegetation which was suddenly lush after some ferocious September storms.

One of the goats was decidedly frisky and inquisitive, and gazed at me with an inquiring look. Did I have any food to offer? Once it was obvious that I did not, it was back to skittering up the wall, the next best thing to a mountainside, in search of something to nibble.

Soon there was another possibility of free food, Vlasta on her bicycle, who was keen to make acquaintance.

Friendly contact was quickly established.

However, once it was clear the friendly hand was empty, it was back to exploring the possibilities of the wall.

The owner of the goats explained that they particularly liked bread, and quickly lost interest if their new human friends didn't provide any.

Then the pair were joined by an impressive white goat, who, we were told, was their grandmother.

Goats are a special asset in a village. They provide pure fresh milk, and some householders make wonderful goat's cheese, also yoghurt. Most of the goat's milk is reserved primarily for children, as it is such a good source of nutrients, without the disadvantages of mass-farmed dairy produce. I was surprised to learn that during Socialist times goats were largely banned, because of the damage they did to the woodlands. It seemed strange to curtail such an important natural source of nutrition, which was part of an age-old tradition. I just hope Croatia's accession to the EU doesn't produce any such ill-founded restriction - if that happened, it would go against the human right of individuals to choose their food sources. It would be a cause of sorrow and serious complaint.

Untroubled by any such gloomy possibilities, the goats continued to scamper around and enjoy the soft evening air, which was still damp at the tail-end of the rainy day. They didn't take any notice of the greater world around them, but the view down to Svirče in the slight haze was magical to the human eye, rounding off a perfect happy experience.

© Vivian Grisogono 2014

 

You are here: Home highlights Goats' Play

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Products withdrawn because of serious contamination are on the rise, report finds

    The number of meat and poultry products recalled in the US for potentially life-threatening health hazards has nearly doubled since 2013, according to a report by a consumer watchdog group.

    The US Department of Agriculture logged 97 meat recalls for serious health hazards in 2018, ranging from 12 million pounds of raw beef that made close to 250 people ill withsalmonella to the withdrawal of 174,000 pounds of chicken wraps for possible contamination with listeria.

    Continue reading...

  • Alaskans have been enjoying free, organic meat for the past 50 years. Should other places stop turning their noses up?

    My mother texts me four photos of a dead moose the week I leave Alaska. It is freshly hit. The pebbled pink brains fanning across the pavement have not yet grayed in the brisk autumn air. The animal will not go to waste. For the past 50 years, Alaska has been the only state where virtually every piece of large roadkill is eaten.

    Every year, between 600 and 800 moose are killed in Alaska by cars, leaving up to 250,000lb of organic, free-range meat on the road. State troopers who respond to these collisions keep a list of charities and families who have agreed to drive to the scene of an accident at any time, in any weather, to haul away and butcher the body.

    Continue reading...

  • As Hitachi and Toshiba abandon plans for new British nuclear reactors, Damian Carrington assesses the merits of the technology

    All sources of electricity face the same trilemma in the 21st century: carbon emissions, continuity of supply and cost. The UK government has placed a big bet on nuclear power, but reactors meet only two of the three challenges. Nuclear power is low carbon and a secure source of electricity – but it is hugely expensive.

    In the era of climate change, generating power without belching out carbon emissions is vital. While building nuclear plants and fuelling them requires concrete, transport and so on, the overall emissions are similar to windand solar power. All produce far less carbon than coal or gas-powered stations.

    Continue reading...

  • A complete overhaul of what we eat may be the only way to meet the needs of a planet in crisis. So what’s on – and off – the menu?

    The world faces many challenges over the coming decades, but one of the most significant will be how to feed its expanding global population. By 2050, there will be about 10 billion of us, and how to feed us all, healthily and from sustainable food sources, is something that is already being looked at. The Norway-based thinktank Eat and the British journal the Lancet have teamed up to commission an in-depth, worldwide study, which launches at 35 different locations around the world today, into what it would take to solve this problem – and the ambition is huge.

    The commissioners lay out important caveats. Their solution is contingent on global efforts to stabilise population growth, the achievement of the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement on climate change and stemming worldwide changes in land use, among other things. But they are clear that it depends on far more than just these basic requirements. The initial report presents a flexible daily diet for all food groups based on the best health science, which also limits the impact of food production on the planet.

    Continue reading...

  • Paris agreement for the sea recommended as rates of plastic pollution to skyrocket

    A new global agreement to protect the seas should be a priority for the government to stop our seas becoming a “sewer”, according to a cross-party group of MPs.

    Plastic pollution is set to treble in the next decade, the environmental audit committee warned, while overfishing is denuding vital marine habitats of fish, and climate change is causing harmful warming of the oceans as well as deoxygenation and acidification.

    Continue reading...

  • Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished

    “We knew that something was amiss in the first couple days,” said Brad Lister. “We were driving into the forest and at the same time both Andres and I said: ‘Where are all the birds?’ There was nothing.”

    His return to the Luquillo rainforest in Puerto Rico after 35 years was to reveal an appalling discovery. The insect population that once provided plentiful food for birds throughout the mountainous national park had collapsed. On the ground, 98% had gone. Up in the leafy canopy, 80% had vanished. The most likely culprit by far is global warming.

    Continue reading...

  • Rising temperatures can be charted back to the late 1950s, and the last five years were the five hottest on record

    Last year was the hottest ever measured, continuing an upward trend that is a direct result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

    The key to the measurements is the oceans. Oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat that results from greenhouse gases, so if you want to measure global warming you really have to measure ocean warming.

    Continue reading...

  • Campaigners say it will cut pollution, but opponents claim it will hit poor people hardest

    “I’m just really glad the ULEZ is coming. Children’s lungs can’t wait,” says Jemima Hartshorn, a Brixton resident who helped set up campaign group Mums For Lungs.

    Continue reading...

  • The continent’s largest land mammal plays crucial role in spiritual lives of the tribes

    On 5,000 hectares of unploughed prairie in north-eastern Montana, hundreds of wild bison roam once again. But this herd is not in a national park or a protected sanctuary – they are on tribal lands. Belonging to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of Fort Peck Reservation, the 340 bison is the largest conservation herd in the ongoing bison restoration efforts by North America’s Indigenous people.

    The bison – or as Native Americans call them, buffalo – are not just “sustenance,” according to Leroy Little Bear, a professor at the University of Lethbridge and a leader in the bison restoration efforts with the Blood Tribe. The continent’s largest land mammal plays a major role in the spiritual and cultural lives of numerous Native American tribes, an “integrated relationship,” he said.

    Continue reading...

  • Prospects for species look dire as federal science body finds that only one of the country’s 16 populations is believed to be stable

    Half of Canada’s chinook salmon are endangered, with nearly all other populations in precarious decline, according to a new report, confirming fears that prospects for the species remain dire.

    The reportby the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada concluded that eight of the country’s 16 populations are considered endangered, four are threatened, one is of special concern and the health of two remain unknown.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds