I think we should get a goat!!
My husband actually uttered these words to me on our seven hour drive back to Prague today. AND, he was serious.
We had just spent several days in Soelden, Austria. Steve needed some well deserved time off and wanted to go skiing again – his passion. I was dreading the drive and the skiing — especially since my neck has been so out of whack the last few weeks, and since the weather has been so uncooperative. Steve would have happily stayed in a hovel as long as there was good skiing in striking distance, but since he is a gem of a husband, booked us a room at an upscale hotel called the Bergland Solden. He was hoping to guarantee me a comfortable bed, pleasant surroundings for reading, and a SPA should I choose to partake.
Bergland is part of the international collection of “Design Hotels”, and clearly delivered in every respect. Having spent much of my career as a Commercial Interior Designer, I was impressed by the attention to detail in both the rooms and public spaces, especially the lighting which I am persnickety about. Use of LED colored lighting effects all over the place really stood out as a design feature, and well as the use of warm, natural materials throughout. Perfectly situated in the center of town, the hotel is located only a block away from the shuttle that takes you to either gondola. Ski storage on the main level made the whole “equipment ordeal” very easy to manage.
So did I ski? Yes. I must have a guardian angel because the nerve pain in my neck took a 3 day break. In addition, we not only found great snow up on the glacier above the Giggijoch gondola, but 3 days of non-stop sunshine. Steve was in heaven or close to it.
This mountain was perfect for my desire to cruise down wide open blue trails above the tree line. My plan of studying Czech non-stop in the spa’s “quiet room” while Steve went up the hill himself was quickly abandoned (and without guilt, I might add). After 3 days of ski fatigue, I treated myself to a nice Austrian beer before Steve treated me to a massage and wrap back at the spa to round things out.
What does this have to do with the goat, you may ask? Well, we were driving home, and I was now a captive audience in the car. Much like when my children were younger and I used the drive as “uninterrupted talk time”, Steve loved that he had my undivided attention to entertain me with his corny jokes, and use me as a sounding board for some of his “ideas”. More importantly, this was his diplomatic tactic to distract me from the fact that he was well over the speed limit which never sits well with me.
So while I was “back-seat driving” through the Austrian Alps and spotted a field of grazing goats, my husband suggested that we should procure one. Why you ask?? Because ever since moving to Europe, I have developed a taste and love of goat milk products — goat yogurt being my favorite. In Prague you can buy goat yogurt at the various farmers markets throughout the city, but in the winter months there is a drought. “If we had our own goat, then you could have your yogurt all year long”, he exclaimed – very excited I might add as if he had just found the solution to end world hunger. “Do you think Eva (our housekeeper) knows how to milk a goat?”, he continued, “We should text her and ask”. “Don’t you dare”, I said. “Just because she can make strudel, does not make her a “milk-maid”. “Well you can do it then”, he said. “I kind of like the image of you out in the garden donned in one of those Austrian farm-girl outfits doing it yourself”. He has seen too many “Got milk?” Ads….
What garden was he referring to? The one right outside the Ambassador’s residence where we are set to move to our home on the same property next month. Yes, we will soon be sharing a sprawling lawn and garden with the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic. You can read more about the significance of this magnificent, historic home on the Embassy website and come to your own conclusion as to whether a goat in residence is a good idea or not.
Meanwhile, Steve was on a roll, and the conversation became so ridiculous that I just felt I needed to share part of it:
ME: That is very thoughtful of you, and assuming the Ambassador doesn’t mind a creature grazing on his lovely lawn, how do you think the residence manager (who bears a remarkable resemblance to the character Carson on the show “Downton Abbey”) will react?
STEVE: I am sure he would be fine with it if we point out the benefits of having fresh goat’s milk on hand. He might even know where to buy a goat, as he does purchase food and other goods for the household.
ME: I realize a goat is technically “meat”, but we are talking a living animal here.
STEVE: He is very resourceful.
ME: OK, so assuming everyone is on board with the idea, how are we going to keep Lexi (Diplo-dog) from hunting it?? We are going to have enough of a problem with the cats that currently live on the property.
STEVE: Right. Well, we would cordon off an area for a little while until they became good friends.
ME: You mean Lexi and the goat?
ME: And what if that plan goes terribly wrong?
STEVE: Then we would be having fresh goat meat for dinner.
ME: Gross. What would we feed the goat?
STEVE: They are omnivorous. They eat anything. Carrots. We could toss them some carrots.
ME: I wonder if they like goat yogurt?
Owning a goat is not on my bucket list, but my husband is a truly a wonderful man. Just as he pleased me with reservations at a nice hotel, he would make a genuine inquiry into goat procurement if he thought it would make me happy. I thanked him and reminded him that the farmer’s market reopens for the season next Saturday. On second thought, it might be nice to walk out my front door one day and come across an adorable site such as this…